Alex Murphy: On My Culture Radar

The Cork actor on the influence of Cillian Murphy, the comedy of Theo Von, and Shia LaBeouf’s biopic


KCs in Cork, which you could call a high-end chip shop. It does the best takeaway in all of Ireland. They serve pittas, burgers, chicken and chips with an array of different dips and toppings, and it’s all tasty. The queue is always out the door – it’s the hallmark of a good restaurant that people are willing to wait.


I went to see Theo Von last night. I'd been watching his stuff online for a while, and just before Christmas, I thought I'd check to see if he ever plays Ireland. It turned out he was coming to Cork a few weeks later. I felt proud watching him, as if I put him there. I don't normally like American comedy but I admire the way he crafts stories, and he has a great mullet.



There hasn’t been a production of it since it was on Broadway, but I want to see Newsies, about New York paperboys. When I was about 15, we put on a variety show and performed part of it, and I’ve been wanting to see it since. I’m not a particularly extroverted guy and a lot of musicals are big, but this brought something new to the form. It was the first musical that felt like a play to me. It had a bit of everything: tap, ballet, singing about newspapers . . .


For Christmas, my uncle got me two huge Salvador Dalí books. I’m sure you can look up Dalí paintings on your phone, but seeing a hard copy of his paintings makes me appreciate the detail of his work. It’s unlike anything I’ve seen before.


I went to New York with Chris Walley, my co-star on The Young Offenders, for 10 days before Christmas. It wasn't work – it was just two best friends hanging out. No matter how much people hype up New York and tell you how great it is, you can't grasp it until you're there yourself. We went to a lot of dive bars, and a few rooftop bars. Mostly we walked around and people-watched; I love the way anything goes in New York. I can imagine myself living there at some point in my life.


Growing up in Cork, Cillian Murphy was a huge influence. I wouldn't have thought that being an actor was attainable, but when I saw that Cillian down the road was doing very well for himself, it made me think that I could be an actor too. I admire the work he's done – he's followed the good work and not just the pay cheques.


There's a new podcast called I'm Grand Mam, made by two Cork lads living in London. I knew one of them, Kevin Twomey, growing up. It's two friends talking about whatever comes up; they're openly gay so they talk about that, and what it's like to live in London. They don't take themselves too seriously.


I watched Game of Thrones until it finished, and since then I’ve watched Peaky Blinders and Living with Yourself, which didn’t take me long to get through. There’s a lot of great shows from Ireland too, like Derry Girls.


I saw Shia LaBeouf in Honey Boy. It’s a biopic in which he plays his father, and younger actors plays Shia as a child. It’s about his life growing up as a child star and his difficult relationship he had with his father. Considering that, he’s pulled himself together . . . I say, as if I know him. The movie could have been self-indulgent, but it turned out not to be. And in a world of reboots and franchises, I appreciate something different and fresh.

Alex Murphy appears in The Lieutenant of Inishmore, at the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin, from Monday 27th January. See for more details.