The year 2011 was the best of times and the worst of times for Irish actor Chris O’Dowd. On the one hand, he had a breakout role in the blockbuster comedy “Bridesmaids.” On the other hand, he was so broke that he couldn’t afford to watch himself on cable TV.
The Roscommon-born actor, who played Kristen Wiig’s love interest in the blockbuster comedy, moved to Los Angeles from London after ending a seven-year romantic relationship. He snared the role in “Bridesmaids,” and then sank most of his money into buying a house.
That’s where the story takes a strange turn. The movie’s success opened many doors for him – and he spent much of his time slamming them shut.
“At that time I had just done that job which I loved so much,” he told Jarlath Regan during an interview for the “Irishman Abroad: Generation Emigration” podcast series.
“I got really picky and didn't take jobs I would normally take,” he said. “And if you do that for long enough, you end up broke.”
The Irish Independent reports that, for O’Dowd, waiting for the right role required sacrifice. It meant giving up amenities first, and then some basic necessities.
“I was just really broke . . . we got our cable turned off and all that kind of stuff,” he told Regan. “I was in so much debt. It was really scary.”
No cable meant that the actor didn’t get to watch his late night TV appearance on Conan O’Brien’s show. But, scared or not, O’Dowd was determined not to follow the lead of once-hot stars like Kathryn Heigl and do crappy, career-killing films.
“I was being offered a lot of bad rom-coms,” he said. “And a few things which I thought were going to happen just didn’t end up happening.”
During his down time, O’Dowd decided to take charge of his career. Remembering the adage “write what you know,” he started work on “Moone Boy,” a semi-autobiographical TV series set in O’Dowd’s hometown of Boyle, Co. Roscommon. The show is available in the U.S. on Hulu.com.
“Acting is tricky,” he said. “I started writing Moone Boy close after that because I had to be in some way in charge of what I was doing.”
Barring any more acting epiphanies, O’Dowd’s days of being broke and idel are well behind him. A quick scan of his page on IMDb.com revelas that he’s got four completed films set for release in 2014 – “Hippy Hippy Shake,” “Cuban Fury,” “Calvary” and St. Vincent De Van Nuys.” He is currently filming the unnamed Lance Armstrong biopic.
Watch Chris O'Dowd try to cheer up Kristen Wiig in a scene from "Bridesmaids":