Filming on Closing the Ring began on March 26, 2006 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Because the story spans two continents and fifty years, research was intense. Production designer Tom McCullagh and costume designer Hazel Webb-Crozier poured over old magazines, books and the internet to provide an accurate representation of life in both America and Northern Ireland during the 1940s and 1990s. A team of technical consultants and specialists, including some of those who honed their skills on Memphis Belle, were brought in to recreate the B-17 crash site. “It’s important to pay attention to details because the smallest misstep can disturb the feeling of a scene if they’re not right, particularly in a film where you’re dealing with two time periods,” says McCullagh.
Shooting in Belfast added verisimilitude that could not otherwise have been achieved on screen. Belfast’s Cave Hill, the site of the 1944 plane crash that inspired the story, served as the location where Quinlan and Jimmy search the remains of the crash site for the ring. It was an arduous climb to the top, and a logistical nightmare getting the film equipment to the location, but once there the cast and crew were rewarded with a spectacular view of Belfast, spread out along the curve of the natural harbour. Due to the difficult geography and for the safety of the crew, the site of the B-17 crash itself was recreated at Clandeboye Estate in Bangor. Belfast was a major shipbuilding centre before and during the War and, as such, was particularly hard hit by the Blitz. For the 1940s bombing scene where young Quinlan and Eleanor Reilly are forced to seek refuge in an Air Raid shelter, McCullagh and his team took advantage of an enclave of houses in East Belfast that were slated for demolition, adding to the street to make it recognizable of the period and demolishing sections of it to make it look as though it had been bombed.
Although Belfast of today is almost unrecognizable from the time of “the Troubles” of the 1980s and ‘90s, at the time the ring is discovered in the story the city is still engulfed in terrorist conflict. For over a week in April, a street in Fort William Parade, a Protestant housing estate in North Belfast was eerily reminiscent of what life must have been like for residents during that period in time as gun-wielding soldiers lined the streets and explosions were staged for the pivotal scene where Ethel comforts a dying soldier, the victim of a bomb blast.
Many of the interiors of the Belfast shoot were filmed on the stages of the Titanic Studios, where McCullagh and his team recreated a claustrophobic wartime Air Raid Shelter as well as the interior of Grandma Reilly’s home.
On May 8, production shifted to Toronto where, while the filming unit was working in Belfast, the Canadian art department had been busy constructing the three different sets that would make up the house that Teddy builds as a testament to his love for Ethel.
The exterior of the house in the early stages of construction was built on a farm near Chalk Lake, Ontario, to suggest that the house was built on a green field site, with other houses springing up beside it as the years go by. The 1990s exterior of the house was located on a well-manicured residential street in Port Perry. The interior sets of the house, both the 1940s version and the 1990s version were recreated on the stages of the Toronto Film Studios.
The filmmakers cast a wide net throughout Southern Ontario to find the quintessential small town locations that would make up the fictional town of Branagan, Michigan of the ‘40s and ‘90s. The Deluxe Restaurant in downtown Dundas, Ontario was one such location, serving as both the Branagan Soda Fountain where Ethel, Teddy, Chuck and Jack share Root Beer floats and youthful flirtations, and the Branagan Bar, where Jack unravels the past for Marie and his son Peter.
The Hamilton International Airport was the setting for the Branagan Airfield and the site of the 1941 scene where Teddy and Chuck get their first taste of flying in a B-17. Vintage aircraft from the world-class Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum lined the runway, while the centrepiece of the scene, a mint condition B-17G Flying Fortress named “Yankee Lady” was flown in from Willow Run, Michigan especially for the scene. The airport was also the setting for the Gander Airfield and the scene where Jack, in the shadow of a Lancaster Bomber, makes a phone call to break the sad news about Teddy’s crash to Ethel Ann.
Additional locations included St Paul’s Church in Welcome, Ontario, where Teddy and Ethel shared their vows and the Needleworks Building in Paris, Ontario, a landmark building which was transformed into dance hall in Belfast in 1944. By the time filming wrapped on June 15, 2006, everyone on set agreed that it had been an inspiring experience. “One of the many joys of being a filmmaker is being able to choose a subject that fills your heart,” says Attenborough. “Love and compassion and understanding and tolerance are so lacking in much of our human conduct these days that I believe that a story that talks about love and talks about loyalty and talks about friendship is much needed in the world right now. There are values in this story, values, which albeit, are couched in entertainment terms, but values that can give one’s life hope. The world has great assets and great funds of decency and kindness that can be called upon if we appeal to it in the right terms. And my hope is that when people leave the cinema after seeing this story, that they will leave with the feeling that love, laughter and compassion really can make the world a better place.”
About the cast
SHIRLEY MACLAINE - Ethel-Ann
Shirley MacLaine has starred in almost 50 motion pictures, countless television specials, her own mini-series and on the Broadway stage. She received an Academy Award for Best Actress in 1984 for Terms of Endearment, after receiving nominations for Some Came Running, The Apartment, Irma La Douce, Turning Point and, as a producer of The Other Half of the Sky: a China Memoir, which she also co-directed. Among her numerous international accolades, she has received 10 Golden Globe Awards, two Venice Film Festival Awards, two Silver Bear Awards from the Berlin Film Festival and in 1999, was presented with Berlin’s Golden Bear Award for Lifetime Achievement. Her television appearances have brought her five Emmy Awards, among many nominations for her six musical television specials. The Shirley MacLaine Special won her the Golden Rose in Montreux. MacLaine made her motion picture debut in 1955 in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Trouble with Harry, followed by Around the World in 80 Days, The Matchmaker, Ask Any Girl, Ocean’s Eleven, Can Can. Two Loves, The Children’s Hour, Two for the Seesaw, What A Way to Go!, John Goldfarb, Please Come Home, The Yellow Rolls-Royce, Gambit, Woman Times Seven, Sweet Charity, Two Mules for Sister Sara, The Possession of Joel Delaney, Being There, A Change of Seasons, Madame Sousatzka, Steel Magnolias, Postcards from the Edge, Used People, Wrestling Ernest Hemingway, Guarding Tess, Mrs Winterbourne and Evening Star, among others. More recently, she starred in Rumour Has It, In Her Shoes, Bewitched, and Carolina.
In 1999, she made her directorial debut and starred in the critically acclaimed independent film Bruno with Kathy Bates, Gary Sinise, Jennifer Tilly, Brett Butler and 10-year-old Alex Linz in the title role of a boy whose individuality wins him the respect of his peers.
MacLaine starred in her first motion picture for television in 1995, pairing with Liza Minnelli in the Ernest Thompson screenplay based on the hit play, West Side Waltz. Among her additional television credits, she played a key cameo in the lavish CBC mini-series Joan of Arc, and in 2001, she united with three other icons of the screen, Elizabeth Taylor, Debbie Reynolds and Joan Collins, in the ABC comedy entitled These Old Broads, written by Carrie Fisher. In 2002, she starred in the CBS mini-series The True Story of the Salem Witch Trials. Most recently, she starred in the title role of famed cosmetics queen Mary Kay Ash in the CBS telefilm Hell on Heels: the Battle of Mary Kay.
Shirley MacLaine was born in Richmond, Virginia, and was raised in Arlington, Virginia, by her real estate broker/musician father and housewife-painter-actress mother. A dancer at heart, she was taking ballet lessons at the age of two-and-a-half and by the time she was a student in high school, she was spending her summers dancing in New York chorus lines.
MacLaine was thrust into stardom when she was the understudy for Carol Haney on Broadway in The Pyjama Game. When Haney broke her ankle, MacLaine went on, drawing the attention of legendary film producer Hal Wallis who was in the audience and immediately signed her to a Paramount Pictures contract.
In 1974 she returned to the stage starring in a one-woman musical revue If They Could See Me Now, which played to sold-out audiences in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Atlantic City and theatres throughout the country as well as highly successful tours of major cities throughout the world. The show was later adapted into an Emmy winning CBS television special. She subsequently starred in two additional television specials: The American Spirit and Gypsy in My Soul, which also received an Emmy.
In 1995, MacLaine’s dancing and singing revue, Out There Tonight, was sold-out during its American tour. She later took the show to Japan, Australia and England as well as a two-and-a-half month tour of Europe. In addition to touring in her own musical stage vehicle she headlined with Frank Sinatra in several critically praised engagements, including shows at Radio City Music Hall in New York and The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles.
An internationally best-selling author, Maclaine has ten popular published books, including “Out on a Limb,” which she co-wrote as a successful mini-series starring Shirley as herself, on ABC Television. Among her other books are the autobiographical “Don’t fall off the Mountain,” “You can get from there to here,” “Dancing in the Light,” “It’s All in the Playing,” “Going Within: A Guide for Inner Transformation,” “Dance While You Can,” and “My Lucky Stars.” More recently she wrote “Out on a Leash,” a unique story of her relationship with her canine friend, and “Terry and the Camino,” which chronicles her 30-day journey on foot on the historic Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage through Northern Spain.
CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER - Jack
Christopher Plummer - who recently completed his Tony-nominated performance as King Lear in Sir Jonathan Miller’s much lauded production at Lincoln Centre - has enjoyed 50 years as one of the English-speaking theatre’s most distinguished actors and as a veteran of international renown, having appeared in more than 100 motion pictures.
It was in his hometown of Montreal that Plummer began his professional career on stage and radio in both French and English. After Eva Le Gallienne gave him his New York debut in 1954, he went on to star in many celebrated, prize-winning productions on Broadway and in London’s West End, including Elia Kazan’s production of Archibald MacLeish’s Pulitzer-winning JB and the title role in Anthony Burgess’ musical Cyrano, for which Plummer won his first Tony. Apart from King Lear, his most recent Broadway success was as the title character in Barrymore, for which he won the Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle Award-The Edwin Booth Award, the Boston Critics’ Award, Chicago’s Jefferson Award and Los Angeles’ Ovation Award as best actor 1997-1998. He was also a leading member of Britain’s National Theatre under Sir Laurence Olivier, the Royal Shakespeare Company under Sir Peter Hall and, in its formative years, Canada’s Stratford Festival under Sir Tyrone Guthrie and Michael Langham. He has played most of the great roles in the classic repertoire.
Plummer’s eclectic career onscreen began when Sidney Lumet gave him his movie debut in Stage Struck. Since then, he has appeared in a host of notable films, including the Academy Award-winning The Sound of Music, The Man Who Would Be King, The Battle of Britain, Waterloo, The Silent Partner, Dragnet, Inside Daisy Clover, Star Trek IV, Malcolm X, Dolores Claiborne, Wolf, Twelve Monkeys, Murder by Decree, Somewhere in Time and a host of others. Plummer’s latest successes include Spike Lee’s Inside Man, as controlling entrepreneur Arthur Case; Michael Mann’s Oscar-nominated The Insider, playing television journalist Mike Wallace, for which he won the Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Las Vegas and National Critics’ Awards; Ron Howard’s Academy Award-winning A Beautiful Mind; and Atom Egoyan’s Ararat. Other recent films include Blizzard, Devil’s Throat, Douglas McGrath’s Nicholas Nickleby, Oliver Stone’s Alexander, National Treasure, Syriana and The New World.
His television appearances, which number into the hundreds, include the BBC’s Emmy-nominated Hamlet at Ellsinore, the six-time Emmy-winning The Thorn Birds, the Emmy-winning Nuremberg, the Emmy-winning Little Moon of Alban, the Emmy-winning The Moneychangers and On Golden Pond, co-starring with Julie Andrews. Plummer has also written for the stage, television and the concert hall.
Aside from many honours in the UK, USA, Austria and Canada, Plummer has won two Tony Awards (six nominations), two Emmy Awards (six nominations), Great Britain’s Evening Standard Award and Canada’s Genie Award. In 1968, sanctioned by Elizabeth II, he was invested as Companion of the Order of Canada, an honorary knighthood. He was made an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts at New York’s Julliard School and received the Governor General’s lifetime achievement award in 2001. In 2002, he was the first performer to be presented with the Jason Robards Award for Excellence in Theatre, in memory of his great friend. Plummer was inducted into the American Theatre’s Hall of Fame in 1986 and into Canada’s Walk of Fame in 1997.
MISCHA BARTON - Young Ethel Ann
At the age of 21, Mischa Barton has developed an extensive filmography and theatrical resume that has made her one of the most sought after young actresses of her generation. In fact, both Neutrogena and Keds have signed her on as a spokesperson. Furthermore, she stars as the female lead in the McG-produced series, The OC. The show has fast become a global phenomenon and recently earned a Television Critics Association Award nomination for “Outstanding Program of the Year.”
Though she has recently been seen alongside Parker Posey, Paul Rudd and Danny DeVito in the dark comedy The OH in Ohio, her feature film debut occurred in 1998 with the critically lauded Sundance favourite Lawn Dogs opposite Sam Rockwell. Barton’s hailed performance was followed by Pups, a modern day version of Bonnie and Clyde for filmmaker Ash (Bang). She has since wracked up key roles in the 1999 blockbusters The Sixth Sense with Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment, and Notting Hill with Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant. Barton spent her 2005 summer hiatus from The OC in Italy filming the lead opposite Hayden Christenson in Dino DeLaurentis’ period piece, Decameron.
Before starting in The OC, Barton had completed work on six features. They include Lost and Delirious opposite Piper Perabo for Lionsgate, and JulieJohnson with Courtney Love and Lili Taylor, both of which premiered at Sundance. She can also be seen in Skipped Parts with Jennifer Jason Leigh and Drew Barrymore, Tart with Melanie Griffith and Dominique Swain, Paranoid with Jessica Alba, and Octane with Madeline Stowe and Jonathan Rhys-Myers.
At age nine, Barton began her promising career in New York Theatre with a lead role in Tony Kushner’s Slavs. She soon segued into the lead role of Emma Hatrick in James Lapine’s Twelve Dreams at the renowned Lincoln Centre. Among her varied stage credits are Where the Truth Lies and One Flea Spare, both of which took place at the New York Shakespeare Festival.
No stranger to television, Barton was featured for three seasons on the daytime drama All My Children. She also portrayed the title role of Frankie alongside Joan Plowright in the recent Showtime feature Frankie and Hazel for producer Barbra Streisand’s Barwood Films. Other credits include the Disney Telefilm A Ring of Endless Light, and the ABC series Once and Again.
Coming up Barton will be seen in St Trinian’s, You and I, Don’t Fade Away, Assassination of a High School President and Walled In.
PETE POSTLETHWAITE - Quinlan
Pete Postlethwaite received an Academy Award nomination for his performance as Giuseppe Conlon in director Jim Sheridan’s In The Name of the Father. His other film credits include such roles as Danny Ormondroyd in Brassed Off, Friar Laurence in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, Kobyashi in The Usual Suspects, Father in Terence Davies' Distant Voices, Still Lives, Tert Card in The Shipping News, and, for Steven Spielberg, Roland Tembo in The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Holabird in Amistad. More recently he has been seen in roles in such films as The Constant Gardener, Dark Water, Aeon Flux and Between Strangers. He will next be seen in the upcoming remake of the horror classic The Omen.
Television roles include Len Green in The Sins, Deric Longden in Lost for Words and Montague Tigg in Martin Chuzzelwit.
A widely respected stage actor, Postlethwaite has appeared with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, the Royal Court, the British Old Vic, and the Everyman. In 1997 he toured in the title role of Macbeth, directed by George Costigan and designed by Ashley Martin-Davis, and in January 2002 he played the role of Max in The Homecoming at the Royal Exchange, Manchester. Postlethwaite has also garnered critical acclaim for his one-man show, Scaramouche Jones, which he first performed at the Dublin Theatre Festival in October 2001. He subsequently toured the UK with the show in 2002 culminating with a four-week run at Riverside Studios in London, receiving a nomination for the TMA Award for Best Actor and winning theWhatsonstage.com Award for Best Solo Performance.
BRENDA FRICKER - Grandma Reilly
Brenda Fricker received an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her role as Mrs Brown in Jim Sheridan’s My Left Foot. The film also garnered her a Los Angeles Film Critics Award, as well as a Golden Globe nomination. Among the native Irishwoman’s other films are John Huston’s Sinful Davey, Jim Sheridan’s The Field, Chris Columbus’ Home Alone 2, George Sluizer’s Utz, Thomas Schlamme’s So I Married an Axe Murderer, William Dear’s Angels in the Outfield, Suri Krishnamma’s A Man of No Importance, Kristian Levring’s The Intended and Joel Schumacher’s A Time to Kill and Veronica Guerin. Most recently she was seen in Pete Travis’ Omagh, Damian O’Donnell’s Inside I’m Dancing, and Gillies Mackinnon’s Tara Road.
Fricker has also starred in several miniseries and telefilms, among them No Tears (IFTA nomination for Best Actress), Torso: the Evelyn Dick Story (Gemini nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Supporting Role) and Call Me: the Rise and Fall of Heidi Fleiss.
NEVE CAMPBELL - Marie
One of the most accomplished actresses of her generation, Neve Campbell has made an indelible impression on audiences with her work in both major motion pictures and on the small screen.
Campbell recently completed filming Relative Stranger with Danny DeVito and Kathy Bates and starred in When I Will Be Loved for director James Toback. Prior to that she completed Churchill: The Hollywood Years, starring opposite Christian Slater for director Peter Richardson, as well as Showtime’s ReeferMadness, a musical satire of the 1930s propaganda film that told of the evils of marijuana.
Campbell starred in The Company for director Robert Altman, co-starring with James Franco and Malcolm McDowell. Campbell, who also produced the film, brought the idea to and developed the script with Barbara Turner (“Pollack”). In 2006, Campbell starred in Arthur Miller’s satirical dark comedy Resurrection Blues, also directed by Altman, at London’s Old Vic Theatre. Matthew Modine, Jane Adams, Peter McDonald and John Wood also starred in the play.
Campbell first came to the attention of audiences when she was cast in the role of Julia Salinger in Fox’s critically acclaimed Golden Globe Award-winning series Party of Five, but it was her starring role in the first instalment of the Scream (1996) trilogy that made her a household name. Audiences last saw Campbell star opposite Jeremy Irons in the Showtime telefilm Last Call (2002). Last Call is a portrait of legendary author F Scott Fitzgerald in his final days, as seen through the eyes of his secretary, aspiring writer Frances Kroll Ring, portrayed by Campbell. Prior to that she starred in the independent film Panic (2001) opposite William H Macy and Donald Sutherland.
In 2000, Campbell starred opposite Danny DeVito, Jamie Lee Curtis and Bette Midler in the whodunit Drowning Mona and in the box-office hit Scream 3. She also starred in the independent film Investigating Sex opposite Nick Nolte and Dermot Mulroney for director Alan Rudolph.
In 1999, she starred with Matthew Perry and Dylan McDermott in the Warner Bros romantic comedy Three to Tango.
In 1998, she starred opposite Matthew Dillon, Denise Richards and Kevin Bacon in John McNaughton’s erotic thriller Wild Things for which she received a nomination for an MTV Movie Award and in 1997 she reprised her role in the first of the two Scream sequels.
A native of Canada, Campbell made her debut in the Toronto production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera. She went on to star in the ABC telefilm The Canterville Ghost opposite Patrick Stewart, NBC’s I Know My Son Is Still Aliveand the syndicated series Catwalk, before being cast in Andrew Fleming’s motion picture The Craft and in the Seventies ensemble drama 54, opposite Ryan Phillippe, Salma Hayek, and Mike Meyers. She also provided the voice of Simba’s daughter, Kiara, in Disney’s video sequel, Simba’s Pride: the Lion King II.
Campbell has received numerous awards and award nominations for her role in the Scream trilogy, including three nominations (one win) for the MTV Movie Award for Best Female Performance for Scream (nomination 1997), Scream 2 (win 1998) and Scream 3 (nomination 2000) and a Blockbuster Award for Favourite Actress - Horror for Scream 2.
GREGORY SMITH - Young Jack
Canadian-born actor, Gregory Smith has turned the industry upside down with his passionate performances, securing his place in the upper tier of Hollywood's hottest young actors.
He is probably best known for his work on the WB's critically acclaimed show Everwood, which built to an emotional close in 2006 after four magnificent seasons.
Smith plays Ephram, opposite Treat Williams as his father, in the story of a family who moves to Colorado after the mother's death.
Most recently Smith was seen with Jordana Brewster in the independent film Nearing Grace, a story of a young man who loses his mother just before graduating from high school. The film was featured last year at the Los Angeles Film Festival and will be released in the late summer of 2006.
Smith has worked with some of Hollywood's biggest names, starring opposite Colin Farrell in the Warner Bros. film American Outlaws, and opposite Mel Gibson and Heath Ledger in Columbia/Tri-Star’s The Patriot. His work in the DreamWorks film Small Soldiers earned him high praise from director Joe Dante. He began his film career at the early age of six and built up a lengthy resume with such films as Leaping Leprechaun and Spellbreaker: Leaping Leprechaun 2, Harriet the Spy, The Adventures of Captain Zoom in Outer Space, a starring role opposite Richard Dreyfuss in Krippendorf's Tribe, and starring with John Hurt in the independent film The Climb.
His work on the small screen is equally eclectic and impressive, earning him the 1997 UNICEF Award at the Berlin Film Festival. Smith has appeared in Street Justice, Hat Squad, Sirens, The Commish, Mom PI, Fly by Night, Meego, Outer Limits, MANTIS, and Are You Afraid of the Dark? He co-starred with Francis Fisher in the NBC movie The Other Mother, and starred opposite Shelly Duvall in the Showtime film My Teacher Ate My Homework, earning him the Young Artist Award for Best Leading Young Actor. He also starred in Disney's television movie Zenon - Girl of the 21st Century, still airing on the Disney Channel.
While not on set, Smith spends his days with his friends and enjoys playing basketball, soccer, baseball and competitive skiing.
Stephen Amell makes his feature film debut with Closing the Ring. A native of Toronto, Amell studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles, California. Returning to his native Toronto to hone his talents in film and television, Amell landed a recurring role as the no-nonsense Spin Instructor on Showtime’s Queer as Folk, along with guest starring roles on Lifetime’s Missing and ESPN’s Tilt.
Amell’s big break came on the HERE! Network’s Dante’s Cove, in which he played Adam, a loveable lout with a huge smile and even bigger bank account. Next came the role of Jason, the resident Jock at Brighton Academy and one of the ‘BP’s’ on the ABC Family hit series Beautiful People, starring Daphne Zuniga. Amell followed this with a starring role on Rent a Goalie, a new series from Showcase, playing Billy Thumbs Up, the young, hotshot goalie.
DAVID ALPAY - Young Chuck
David Alpay made his big screen debut in Atom Egoyan’s Ararat, which premiered at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival and was the opening night gala at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film won the 2003 Genie Award for Best Picture and his performance garnered a Best Actor Nomination. Most recently he played supporting roles in the upcoming features Man of the Year, directed by Barry Levinson, and Ruba Nada's Sabah for Mongrel Media. Recent work for the small screen includes the lead role in the CBC/Barna Alper mini series Whiskey Echo, a recurring role on the critically acclaimed Rhombus/TMN series Slings & Arrows, and a guest star role on UPN's Kevin Hill.
Alpay graduated from the University of Toronto with an Honours Degree in Human Biology and Zoology and a minor in French, and is now completing his Masters in the History of Medicine. Since 1994, he has been the principal violinist for the Canadian Dance Tapestry, a group that showcases traditional Canadian music in festivals around the world. Prior acting experience includes performing the role of the tramp in a university production of Chekhov's classic The Cherry Orchard.
MARTIN McCANN - Jimmy
From the Falls Road in Belfast, Martin McCann found his first opportunities in drama through the Rainbow Factory and St Patrick’s College Bearnagheeha. Memorable performances as Johnny Lightning and Bugsy Malone marked him out from the age of 14 as an outstanding young energy. He made his film debut in Hugh McGrory’s award winning short The Rules of Golf about youthful joyriders.
McCann first visited North America at a young age, when given an opportunity to visit a family in Carolina through a Children of The Troubles program. He is still very friendly with the family and grateful for the wider perspective it gave him at that point in his life. Finding a skill in acting in Belfast also afforded him a special focus - McCann acknowledges that he’s not sure what would have come of him without the encouragement from his family and others to pursue his talent in acting. An Griannan Letterkenny, Pavilion Dún Laoghaire, Barnstorm, Class Acts, Pantoword and Replay Theatre Companies all gave him the opportunity to show his talents to schoolchildren in Christmas and young peoples’ entertainments that rewarded his dynamic teenage energy and shaped his skills for a variety of directors and audiences.
It was his performance for Richard Croxford and the Lyric Theatre audiences as Wilber the Pig in Charlotte’s Web that endeared McCann to an appreciative audience in his home city and gave him a chance to move on to more adult work. His edgy look and gritty voice led him to portray troubled youths in informative films for the Probation and Youth Conferencing services, and for programs on RTE, BBC and TG4. He also played an angry teen in Channel 4’s drama You Lookin’ at Me? More recently he was seen on the BBC on the Wall Gang’s Sketch Show Dry Your Eyes, and in the short film, Endgame.