The following is a guest post.
I’m sure we’ve all taken notice of promising new actors before they made a name for themselves. They might have been a bright spot in an otherwise rubbish TV show or a scene stealer in an already reputable film. You detected their inherent talent, their star quality if you will, and followed their fledgling career with interest.
Then after a while, your talent spotting instincts are proven correct and your actor hits the big time. The trending begins – everyone’s talking about them, writing about them, and casting them in mainstream Hollywood blockbusters.
When this happens, I tend to get a bit possessive. Of course I’m happy that they’re successful, proud even, that I spotted that “something special”. But for me there’s also an underlying level of annoyance when other people start laying claim. “Have you seen that new actor, so and so? Wasn’t he sweet in that funny, raunchy comedy about those bridesmaids?” At this point, I’m usually grumbling under my breath, “I’ve been watching him for years!” Such has been my experience with the career of Mr. Chris O’Dowd.
Sure, he’s the “it” guy now. Not your cookie-cutter Hollywood hunk, O’Dowd is a goofy, lanky Irishman with close set eyes and a penchant for facial hair. Yet he’s getting supporting roles in Judd Apatow films and guest starring roles in award-winning hipster dramedies. Seeing as I’ve already endured Lena Dunham’s Small Furniture, I’ll pass on watching Chris’ turn in Girls, but as a long-term fan, there are a few recent and upcoming projects I’m quite excited to see.
Chris has a highly anticipated new HBO/BBC2 sitcom which began airing last night. Written and directed by mockumentary legend, Christopher Guest, Family Tree stars O’Dowd as Tom, a man who has recently lost his job and his girl. With the aid of a box of clues he inherited from a mysterious great aunt, Tom hopes to learn about his ancestry and, in the process, find out who he really is.
He tried his hand at costume drama in the mini-series The Crimson Petal and the White wherein he portrayed a rich but troubled Victorian industrialist who took a strong-willed mistress named Sugar and proceeded to do everything in his power to break her. I missed his Irish accent, hated his transformation into a callous snob and felt quite uncomfortable with his gritty nude scenes.
Chris also played Lindsey Carol, an insecure London radio DJ whose aspirations to be cool inevitably fall flat. FM was a fairly amusing sitcom with a novel format – actual professional bands appearing and performing as themselves. The best part of any given episode though was the on-air banter:
Chris O’Dowd’s wider fame seems to be a good thing so far. His IT Crowd days are almost over, but he’s still making quirky TV sitcoms such as the ones I mentioned above. As for movies, he’s choosing a varied array of projects from indie films like The Sapphires to blockbusters like Thor: The Dark World to voiceover work in the animated feature, Epic.
I suppose those of us who knew him BB (Before Bridesmaids) need to trust his choices and give Chris our blessing. But anytime I see him onscreen in the future, I know I will inevitably flashback to an image of Roy sprawled on the floor of a handicapped designated bathroom, scrambling to find an excuse for being in there in the first place.
Carmen is an American wife and mother of two college students who live away from home. With her yellow lab Malcolm by her side, she watches and writes about British television for her own blog Everything I Know about the UK I Learned from the BBC. Read more of Carmen’s posts here.