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20-Oct-2014 22:17 by 6 Comments

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“It’s something I’ve been exposed to from a really, really early age. But I would never have thought it would be my main instrument – it’s a bit boring, it’s a bit stereotypical – but it has become that.

But it was Walsh-Peelo who landed the lead role as the filmmaker’s teenage alter-ego.

“Ferdia got better and better with each call-back, the reverse usually being the case with kids,” says Carney. The first few days on set, we were thinking: this lad is just nuts!

“My not giving him the part made him come back with a renewed frustration for it each time. Also, he is almost as good-looking as I was as a kid.” The admiration is mutual: “John is a bit of a mad character,” laughs Walsh-Peelo. Once you get to know him he’s great, really fun, but it takes a while to get him and all other these new mad people that were there. But I’ve realised since that you meet loads of people in the industry who have a similar sense of humour.

He has a really funny humour that wasn’t like anything I’ve come across before. On set everyone was interesting and quirky and flamboyant.” Carney’s semi-autobiographical musical is set in shabby 1980s Dublin, where bullied teen Conor (Walsh-Peelo) – lately transferred into the tough, similarly-sounding Dublin 8 Christian Brothers school of the title – puts together a band in order to impress the glamorous, older Raphina (Lucy Boynton).

But readjusting to civilian life hasn’t been easy: “You’ve worked equally with other adults and suddenly you’re just a kid again.

I don’t want to come across as a diva but it’s hard being stuck in a uniform in a room again.

h has recently wowed audiences at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival and has just scooped the seventh Michael Dwyer Discovery Award at last month’s Audi Dublin International Film Festival; it is only the second time that an actor has been named as the recipient.It’s a big step up for a youngster who has quietly spent his formative years in Ashford, Co Wicklow. “It’s one of those things that nobody believes when you tell them at school,” laughs Walsh-Peelo.“But I’ve spent all my life in Ashford because I was born in my house; my little sister, as well.Crazy, really.” For a natural-born homebird, Walsh-Peelo has managed to get around.By age 12, the then young soprano had appeared on , performed solo at the Wexford Opera House, and scored his first professional contract, touring with Opera Theatre Company. His mother, Toni, is a soprano and a teacher at the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama; his siblings – Tadgh, Oisin and Siofradh – have all trained in classical music. By the time I was born there was just so much music in the house. When we were smaller everybody studied classical.” He has a background in vocals and piano, although in recent years he’s all about the guitar.“I’ve played music all my life,” says Ferdia, the third of four Walsh-Peelo kids. “I don’t know what age I was when I first picked a guitar up,” he says. I thought it would be handy thing to know how to play.