How does one prepare for such a role? “You cheat,” laughs Reynor. “I got very good at finding things out that I wasn’t supposed to know. They used to call me Wandering Jack. I’d be hanging around doors and listening just to find out something, anything, about what was happening the next day. Just so I could be a little bit prepared for it.”
Dollhouse was Reynor’s first major film role – he shot What Richard Did after that – though it’s not his first time on set. Growing up in Wicklow he was, he reckons, an “insane movie fan”, an obsession that first attached itself to Bruce Willis in Die Hard. “I used to watch a ridiculous amount of movies every night,” says Reynor. “Die Hard got me into the whole thing. I think I was seven. I had a taped copy which had been on RTÉ1. I would watch that movie three times in one day. It was mad.”
Not long after, in 2000, Reynor and his family were extras on director Kevin Liddy’s Country. For the rest of the clan it was just some fun and the novelty of a film shoot in their locale; for Jack, it was a way to cajole his way into the limelight.
“I was goofing around the set after school one day and I walked up to somebody and said, ‘Is there any chance I could be in this?’ And they sent me over to wardrobe. The director called me over to do a close up and once the camera was on me, this is all I want to do now.”
Before Lenny Abrahamson and Sheridan came a-calling, Reynor was best known for that earworm milk ad with the dancing skeleton: “Do you remember the one? ‘Them bones, them bones need calcium’?
“Yep. That was my claim to fame until I was 18. I’d be going ‘yeah, I’m going to be actor, I’m going to be an actor’ and everybody ripping the piss out of me singing that song.”
What kind of cocksure nine-year-old begs his way onto a film? Reynor does have an antecedent. His uncle Paul played Harry Molloy on Fair City. Still, Reynor the younger suspects his chutzpah comes from his mother, the human rights activist, Tara O’Grady.
And more precociousness: he has already shot a documentary on the Bahrain Rehabilitation and Anti-Violence Organization (Bravo), the organisation his mother founded to help protect rights and democracy in the Middle Eastern kingdom. “If I’m brave, 99 per cent of it comes from my mother,” says Reynor.
“She’s the bravest person I know. She’s inspirational.”
Dollhouse is on release