US network commissions comedy series from O'Dowd


IRISH ACTOR Chris O’Dowd expects to hear next week if a pilot for a comedy series he has written will be broadcast on US network NBC.

O’Dowd (32) has already been commissioned by NBC to write the series, Big Men, which is based on a male weight-loss group. He will also be the executive producer of the show. NBC beat the other three major US networks to the bidding rights for O’Dowd’s script, which he has just completed.

A series on network television in the US would crown an incredible 12 months for the Boyle actor.

O’Dowd was yesterday nominated for an Irish Film and Television Award (Ifta) Rising Star award with three others – actor Emmett J Scanlon and writer-directors John Michael McDonagh and Rebecca Daly.

He has also been nominated for an Ifta in the best supporting actor category for his turn as police officer Nathan Rhodes in Bridesmaids. He has furthermore been nominated in the TV category for best actor in a television drama for the BBC drama The Crimson Petal and the White.

O’Dowd said he was overwhelmed by the amount of success he had had recently. This also includes a nomination this week for the Bafta equivalent of the Rising Star award, with that nomination coming from the public.

In addition he got engaged at Christmas to television presenter Dawn Porter and is filming Moone Boy, a television series based on his own life in his home town of Boyle. Bridesmaids, in which he starred last summer, was the highest-grossing film at the Irish box office last year.

“It has been a very overwhelming couple of weeks I have had,” he said. “I feel very, very lucky at the moment. It has all come at once.”

O’Dowd said he found out only last week that Bridesmaidswas the top grossing film in Ireland last year, taking €4.31 million at the box office.

“I knew it had done well, but to beat things like Harry Potterand all those huge budget films is incredible. I’d say it is very little to do with me. It’s a great film.”

O’Dowd said making Moone Boy, which is loosely based on his own childhood in Boyle, had been an emotional experience.

“The people I have worked with on it have been on dozens and dozens of jobs but they have never felt the warmth and spirit coming at the production,” he said.

“People have been turning up on location with boxes of Roses and barbers have been giving us the keys to their shops when they were on holidays so actors could wash their hair.”

He also praised young actor David Rawle who plays the lead as a character loosely based on O’Dowd as a child. “He’s far more charming and interesting than I am. He’s unbelievable.”

The series is to be broadcast on Sky 1 television in June.