Guaranteed to have its own very 'special' place in the history of Irish cinema, 'Zonad' reunites actor Simon Delaney and 'Bachelors Walk' creators John and Kieran Carney for a story about an on-the-run chancer in a town that cop-on forgot. Originally a pilot episode/short that was never finished, 'Zonad' spoofs everything from sci-fi to 'Raging Bull' and doesn't let taste get in the way of a good laugh. Harry Guerin talks to Simon Delaney about making the movie and wearing that outfit.
Harry Guerin: Having seen your outfit in 'Zonad', I'll never be able to hear Britney Spears' 'Oops!... I Did It Again' without thinking of you.
Simon Delaney: Mercyful hour of God, I know. I did justice to that costume, didn't I? The most uncomfortable experience of my life: it took two people to get me into it and three people to get me out of it every day. We tried powders, oils... And then the things I had to do in it... I mean, riding a bike while trying to eat a snack box in that suit - it should be an Olympic sport!
HG: How many weeks were you in the suit for?
SD: Eight weeks in total - every day for 12 to 14 hours. It was unbelievably uncomfortable and I'll tell you why: because they only make them for women. We had continuity issues - if you know what I mean.
HG: Did you have the same suit when you made the long-lost pilot for 'Zonad'?
SD: Oh, I did. I had the red suit and a black gimp mask. Yeah. And there was a scene where I had to eat a Full Irish through that mask while drinking a pint of Guinness as well. The things you do for a few bob, huh?
HG: While I was watching 'Zonad' I said to myself, 'If these lads had've tried to make this film in Ireland 25 years ago they would've been jailed'.
SD: Oh yeah, we would've been put in prison, there's no doubt about it. How do you pitch this to the Irish Film Board? 'A-movie- about-an-alcoholic-who-breaks-out-of-a-fancy-dress-party-in-rehab-dressed-as-an-alien-and-ends-up-living-in-a-village-in- Ireland'. How do you pitch that and get money to do it? But they did!
HG: 'A lock' as they say in the business.
SD: Absolutely! 'Where do we sign, lads?' I think one of the things that we're most proud of is the fact that nothing like this has been made in the country before. It's very original and hopefully it will have a life outside Ireland, too. It's a pastiche of movie genres - 50s B-movies, Americana, 'The Quiet Man'. It's very original. It's very silly. It's very funny. It's not going to change anybody's life but what you'll do is you'll laugh your bum off for an hour-and-a-half watching it - hopefully!
HG: It's definitely going to have a life with fellas on DVD on Friday nights. Couple of tins, curry chips...
SD: Stick on 'Zonad'.
HG: For the hundredth time.
SD: Absolutely. It could be a new 'Spinal Tap'. It'll be in everybody's DVD collection! It's a brave film. Look, it's not earth-shattering; it won't change people's lives but it's a recession friendly movie. Did you enjoy it?
HG: Maybe it was a money thing, but I thought that given the quality of the cast - yourself and David Pearse and the others - there was a lot more potential to do stuff.
SD: In what way?
HG: Like, for example, I would've liked to have seen a subplot with the father of the family fancying Zonad as well.
SD: [Laughs] You've got a more warped mind than [director] John Carney! A lot of stuff was shot that didn't make it in the cut - different storylines and that. We shot it two-and-a-half years ago, did some reshoots a year later. It was a very tricky movie to get right. As you were saying we could've went anywhere with the film but we had to kind of stick to a certain storyline and get it right. Yeah, you're right, there's stuff that could have been done, but don't we say that about a lot of movies?
HG: I remember when I watched 'Bachelors Walk', the scenes with you and David Pearse were great. I thought at the time you had brilliant chemistry together and it's the same in 'Zonad'. That's part of the reason that I wish there was more of the two of you in it. Have you ever thought of doing something together like a sitcom?
SD: Not really, but who knows after this. We'd great craic doing it and we'd great craic doing the stuff on 'Bachelors...' The two days we spent [on 'Zonad'] shooting that boxing sequence were the funniest days of my life. David Pearse is just a firecracker of an actor and he's a funny man.
HG: He is.
SD: He's one of the best character actors this country has produced and he doesn't get enough screen time and he doesn't get seen an awful lot by audiences and he should be. I'd love someone to write a road movie for us because that it'd be some craic to do. It's a joy when you work with someone like that because you're just bouncing off each other and it works in a movie like this. As you say, yes there was scope for more stuff and there was more stuff shot, but you don't keep them in the cinema for four hours.
HG: That stuff will be on the DVD, then.
SD: Exactly - with the curry chips.
HG: Would you go back in the suit for a sequel?
SD: Ah look, never say never. I might get it let out a bit.
HG: We're going to see you on RTÉ soon as a judge in the talent show 'Fame the Musical', which is looking for the stars for a new stage production of 'Fame'. How's that going?
SD: We've picked our final 12 now and the live TV show's at the end of April. It's been a huge rollercoaster journey. We've been in London and Cork and Dublin auditioning. We've seen over 1,000 people and just the rollercoaster of emotions, telling people 'yes' and 'no'. It's been unbelievable and hopefully it will make great telly.
HG: And you're also in the new children's series 'ROY' on RTÉ Two.
SD: It was [originally] on CBBC and then they moved it to BBC Two and then it was on BBC One at four o'clock on Fridays. That's been a huge success for them over in the UK. It's the Number One downloaded programme on BBC iPlayer in the UK. Hopefully towards the end of the year now I'll be shooting a second series of that.
HG: Good stuff. Are you getting more calls from England about stuff now?
SD: I've just signed with a new agent over in the UK and obviously with 'Zonad' now we're hoping that what it will do here will determine a release in the UK and there's interest in the US. Please God now doors will open a bit quicker than they have been in the last couple of years. We'll keep at it. I was a sales rep for 11 years and I'm not afraid of asking for work so I'll be out there walking the streets and banging on doors.
HG: Well, two things: I've never seen you crap in anything and my mother loves you.
SD: [Laughs] I'd say she does a lovely bowl of coddle.
HG: She does, yeah.
SD: I knew she would! I love her already! Tell her I love her back!
'Zonad' is in cinemas from 17 March. Read the review of 'Zonad'.