A teenage Donegal actor and director has just premiered his first movie.
At only 17, Jack McAteer Wallace from Muff has already appeared in several films. But for his latest project, Adapt, the sixth year Scoil Mhuire student has stepped behind the camera.
Jack’s ten minute short movie, which he also stars in along with a cast of nine others, received its first big screen outing in St Mary’s Hall, Muff, on Monday.
Set in an apocalyptic world, Adapt sees Jack play Tristan, a teenage boy who must protect his sister from the undead.
Acting has been Jack McAteer Wallace’s passion from a young age and he cut his teeth on the theatre stage, most notably as Skye in Mamma Mia.
Opting though for screen rather than stage, he signed up with the First Act Youth Company.
There under the expert tutelage of Mary Duddy Fitzpatrick, he learnt the ropes before scoring his first ever role. It though came in a less than conventional manner.
“They were shooting a short film in my street called Puddings and they came knocking on doors looking for people to be in it. I had always wanted to act so it was a golden opportunity for me. I only featured for a few seconds but it meant everything to me at the time,” the young star explained.
That was in 2011 and it was not until last year that Jack got the break he had been waiting for, the role that would score him his own page on the biggest movie database of all, IMDB.
‘Take It from Me’ is a comedy directed by Meghan McArdle. It follows a schoolboy, played by Jack, with a strange friend seeking romantic advice from his grandfather who in return demands that they bust him out of a mental institution.
Shot in Derry’s Brooke Park and premiered in the city’s Brunswick Movie Bowl, Take it from Me went on to clinch a gong at the Student Television Awards run by the Royal Television Society.
Since then Jack has appeared in six short movies, including Free Born Man and Ballpoint, and has several auditions in the pipeline.
“People tend to think I am really confident and outgoing but deep down I do suffer a lot from anxiety. Acting helps me deal with that and my family have always been so supportive. They have never treated what I am doing as a joke or as some X Factor audition. They know this is what I want to do and they have backed me all the way.”
One of the parts Jack auditioned for was as Liam in the hit television series, Come Home. The role eventually went to Anthony Boyle of Derry Girls fame.
Now signed with casting professional Pamela Cassells-Totton, Company Director of the Rising Talent Agency, it looks like it is only a matter of time before the starring roles start to roll for Jack McAteer Wallace.
And his rise through the industry has not gone un-noticed by the general public either. The teenager has amassed a following of close to 4,000 friends and fans on Instagram, an increasingly influential platform in the fast-moving world of showbusiness.
Following the premiere of Adapt, the young actor said, “It was shot over two days in Muff with all the scenes taking place in one house, one garage and one street. The two days were one of the best experiences of my life and we have already entered it into ten film festivals. You just never know. Short films do win Oscars but even to have it out there, that will be huge for me.
“I’m making lots of connections although I know it will take time and that it could be up to ten years to make it in the industry. But it is about sticking with it and that is what I intend to do.”