The Irish star of Ripper Street has given some fascinating insights into what she describes as the ‘lunacy of Hollywood’.
Charlene McKenna was talking specifically about life as an acting hopeful during pilot season.
The 31-year-old spent time in Hollywood as an upcoming actress and talks about the emotional toil it can bring.
She told the Irish Independent: “I’ve been living in New York and I’m due to go to LA after Ripper Street finishes filming.
“They want me to go to LA on the back of the Ron Howard job, Clan of The Cave Bear, but I don’t know. I’m very nervous to go back. I think the first time I went, I didn’t enjoy pilot season.
“There’s nothing wrong with Los Angeles. It’s grand. But I didn’t enjoy 900 meetings a day.”
McKenna currently works in London on the hit BBC series Ripper Street. She has also had success in Ireland with TV shows such as Pure Mule, Whistleblower and Row. She won the Best Actress Award at the Irish Film and Television Awards in 2009.
She currently divides her time between London and New York but said she would be likely to head back to LA at some point, despite her reservations.
She said: “I’m a perfectionist and there was no time and I felt really frazzled, so that’s why I’m reticent about going back. I should go though and I will.”
McKenna also revealed how thick skinned actors and actresses need to be, saying that being scrutinised by casting agents can be very intimidating.
The star, from Co Monaghan, said: “Pilot season is lunacy and I’ve yet to meet any actor who says it’s great or that they love working 900 hours a day. You need a thick skin. You’re just judged.
“Obviously I’ve a bigger career in Ireland and the UK, so when you walk into the room there’s a bit of weight, whereas over there, they don’t really know you and you’re torn. It’s interesting.”
McKenna’s American agents would like to see her give Hollywood another try. However, she says she will wait until she finishes Ripper Street before making a decision.
She also revealed that despite playing several roles over the past decade, the fear of being out of work never fully disappears.
She said: “I was thinking about that just the other day. I’ve been doing this, solidly professionally just over ten years. And I’ve never done anything else and sometimes it’s like I’ve just started in that because you sort of are nicely going up the ladder a wee bit and it all becomes relevant so it’s about becoming that job and that job.
“And so, it’s not that you really think you’ll never work again, I think that that (feeling) ‘what if it stops?’ doesn’t go away, mixed with ‘well it shouldn’t’.
“And then like, that going into a mortgage you go, ‘what if that was it then? What do you do?’ So I’m always thinking about what if what if what it but touch all the wood, you just keep going.”
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