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McDonough Stars in The Guardian

By April Drew

WHILE taking an afternoon stroll on Monday with his wife and son, Neal McDonough, one of the stars of the new Kevin Costner film The Guardian which is released nationwide this Friday, was happy to talk about his Irish roots to the Irish Voice.

“Anything for a fellow Irish woman” said McDonough.

McDonough, 40, is first generation Irish. He was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts and grew up in Cape Cod. His mother comes from Co. Tipperary and his father from Co. Galway.

His sister is presently living in Clifton in Galway. She is the owner of the Connemara View newspaper.

McDonough spent countless summers in Ireland as a young man. His mother, who passed away 13 years ago, was particularly fond of bringing him and his siblings to visit her family in Tipperary.

“I loved those visits, my mother was wonderful, she knew everyone and I have a lot of fond memories of my trips when I was younger,” he recalled.

Realizing it has been some time since he has been back, McDonough remarked, “I’m due a visit there soon. It’s been about five years since my last visit, a friend’s wedding if I recall,” says McDonough.

McDonough attended Syracuse University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1988. From there he went to the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. It was there he met his South African wife Ruve Robertson, who only 10 months ago gave birth to their first son Morgan.

McDonough began his evolution into film with minor-league roles in movies like Darkman and in popular television series as China Beach and Quantum Leap.

As a child who cherished Star Trek, McDonough was ecstatic when he was cast in the Star Trek: First Contact (1996). The same year McDonough was the voice of Dr. Bruce Banner in the animated television series of The Incredible Hulk.

Steven Spielberg cast McDonough as first Lieutenant Lynn “Buck” Comton in the highly praised HBO miniseries Band of Brothers. McDonough got an opportunity to show his elasticity in roles by playing a disturbed soldier who experiences a nervous breakdown in the middle of war. Spielberg was so impressed with his performance that he instantly cast him for a role in Minority Report, as Tom Cruise’s best friend.

McDonough went from strength to strength. He returned to the television screen for the television series Boomtown, to play a part initially cast for Jimmy Smits.

McDonough’s career soared. He was now being cast for bigger movies like Timeline (2003), Walking Tall (2004) American Gothic (2005) and now The Guardian (2006).

What it was like working with Colin Farrell on Minority Report? McDonough couldn’t have been more complimentary.

“Colin is a terrific guy. He had it tough at the start because he was thrown right into the deep end. It was hard for him to re-bound. He definitely played up his Irishness by being the bad boy and maybe he fell into the act a little but he really is such a terrific great guy,” said McDonough.

McDonough stars with Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher in The Guardian, an enthralling, hard-hitting, edge of your seat story of valor and selfless sacrifice set in the world of Coast Guard Rescue swimmers, men and women who put their lives on the line daily against giant storms and monstrous waves to save the life of others.

McDonough plays Jack Skinner, a drill instructor.

“At the beginning of the movie I’m not the nicest but I turn out to be a good guy at the end,” says McDonough.

McDonough said that making the movie was challenging. There were days when they had to spend eight hours or more in the water.

“I missed out on the boot camp, which was fine by me, because my wife was pregnant with our son Morgan at the time,” said McDonough.

McDonough said making the movie was very enjoyable. His experience working with Costner will stand to him.

“Kevin is literally one of the nicest most genuine guys I’ve ever worked with and definitely one of the best guys in Hollywood,” says McDonough.

When asked to choose one actor that he most admired, he chose two.

“I got lucky this year, I got to work with two amazing actors, Kevin Costner in The Guardian and Al Pacino in 88 Minutes. I really feed off their energy and professionalism and I will use what I learned from them in my future movies.”



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