Here at ÉCU we wish to celebrate the most adroit talents in indie cinema today and seek out the finest actors who display passion, intensity and ingenuity in their work. This week’s spotlight is on Dublin born actor Emmett Scanlan who starred as Charlie Barnum in the dark Irish film Charlie Casanova (2010), a part which won him Best Actor at the ÉCU 2011 awards. Scanlan was carefully chosen for this award out of the all the actors who featured in the 77 films from 26 different countries which made the Official Selection at the European Independent Film Festival 2011. The triumph of winning this prestigious award is certainly worth celebrating this week!

In Charlie Casanova, Scanlan deftly portrays the Machiavellian machinations of a financially ruined sociopath who abdicates all moral responsibility to chance when he decides to let a pack of cards determine his actions. His twisted perception of the world is encapsulated as he derisively quips, “Women; take the shirt off your back then complain about having to iron it.” Thirty-three-year-old Scanlan plays Charlie with a voracious intensity reminiscent of Edward Norton’s portrayal of the narrator in Fight Club or Christian Bale’s role as Patrick Bateman in American Psycho. Scanlan’s ability to incarnate such an intense and shockingly raw character exhibits the kind of attention-grabbing skill which ÉCU looks for in choosing the Best Actor out of the cream of the crop selection of contemporary independent films.

The writer-producer-director of the independently financed Charlie Casanova, Terry McMahon, recruited Scanlan through postings on Facebook. In fact, this is the first feature film conceived and launched through the use of the social networking site. ÉCU’s admiration for the film has also been echoed across the shores, as Charlie Casanova has had an unprecedented reception in the USA for an Irish film of this genre. It was selected for the Native Feature Competition at the highly reputable SXSW Film Festival in Austin Texas and was notably the only non-American film to have made the selection in six years.

Scanlan’s talent for playing twisted characters is apparent from his role in the British Chanel 4 soap opera Hollyoaks, in which he has been appearing as the dark and even somewhat sadistic Brendan Brady since 2010. He claims his love and respect for this character keeps him from pursuing a Hollywood career, and that he would like to see Brendan go out with a bang. He is set to appear alongside other cast-members of the popular soap (Bronagh Waugh and Karen Hassan) in the BBC2 drama The Fall this autumn. ÉCU commends this gifted actor for his role in the exciting independent film Charlie Casanova and looks forward to seeing what fresh talent rises to the challenge of winning the Best Actor award in 2013!

Gill Gillespie

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