In common with a great many classic British sitcoms, Hardy Bucks plays up the confinement of its setting. The characters may be idiots but there’s something tragic about the way they think of Galway as “the big schmoke”, a place that lies beyond their collective reach: “Galway? Sure how would ye even get up there, man?”
“I feel sorry for the poor bastard,” Maloney says of his character Eddie. “He just wants to better himself but he’s too afraid to do anything about it. And he doesn’t have a lot of options. And when you have that kind of time on your hands, of course you start recreationally drinking and smoking hash and driving around town all day.”
In this spirit, Maloney insists that Hardy Bucks functions as legitimate social critique: “It was always in my mind that we were talking for those who don’t have a voice, because living in the countryside, you really don’t have a voice. There are no cultural centres around Swinford. There’s no skate park or place to learn an instrument. I played football with guys in Mayo who could easily have played in the Premier League. But no one was ever going to see them. When I was a kid I always had grandiose dreams like being a race-car driver or footballer. And the response was always the same: ‘Where you going to do that around here?’”
Happily, Hardy Bucks The Movie finally sees the titular vagabonds make it past the Swinford roundabout. Shot on location in Holland and Poland, the new major motion picture sees the Bucks hit the road on the Euro 2012 trail. It does not take long for the group to get waylaid in Amsterdam’s Red Light District and embroiled in a drug-smuggling caper.
It was tricky shooting there and even trickier filming outside the Ireland-Italy match: “We had 20 minutes to do an entire scene from two different angles with everybody shouting behind us,” says Maloney. “I could see the stress etched into the producer’s face. I don’t know how he stayed positive.”
Shot “almost guerrilla style” for €300,000, the production required the cast to travel together in a van across Europe. That went as well as could be expected.
“It was five lads in a caravan,” says Maloney. “It was cosy and we got on, but no beds were made and nothing was put away properly. And then when everything started piling up, you ended up with someone else’s feet in your face at night. By the time we made it back to Holyhead – where it was lashing obviously – it was like something from Jeremy Kyle. I felt like I had come back from combat. I did. You weren’t there, man. You weren’t there.”
Hardy Bucks The Movie premieres at JDIFF 2013 on February 18th, and is on general release from February 22nd