Just when you thought you knew all the hot young Netflix actors, another comes along to drag you back in. Star of the upcoming Handsome Devil — due to go live on the streaming service next week — Fionn O'Shea is the young Irish actor you need to know. The role follows O'Shea's turn in last year's The Siege of Jadotville.
In the Netflix original, Fionn plays Ned, an "effete and sensitive musician," who teaches his rugby-playing, boarding school roommate that it takes strength to be gentle and kind. It's a cracking watch, complete with a turn by fellow Irishman Andrew Scott as a Dead Poets Society-esque inspirational teacher. And with Fionn set to appear as the male lead of The Aftermath with Keira Knightley and Alexander Skarsgård, it's looking to be a good year for the boy from Dublin. Here are 10 things you need to know about him.
He'd describe himself as "honest": "That's my thing. Because I think people warm to honesty. I think people can see through an image or a facade."
While he'd describe his Handsome Devil character, Ned, as "inspirational": "For a lot of people in school, the hardest thing to be is themselves. And I think Ned is not afraid to completely express himself and not just follow the crowd."
His co-star Nicholas Galitzine's character, Conor, is the complete opposite: "Ned is an effete, sensitive musician and Conor is the star out-half of the rugby team."
Yet the film is, ultimately, about friendship: "It's about their friendship over a year in school, with one teacher trying to bring them closer together and find a common ground, and the rugby coach trying to tear them apart, because he would like his star player to pick his company a little better."
It's not so much based on his own school experience: "Luckily my time in school wasn't like Ned's. I had a really nice time. But John [Butler, director] and I come from very similar backgrounds. We went to similar types of schools. And as soon as I read the script — and this sounds really actor-y — I just got it. I just understood it."
But it was shot in an actual school: "John tried to bring things that were actually happening there into the film. There's one scene where I rip a pocket off his shirt and the guys in the school where we were filming were just doing that everyday."
Fionn's dream role would be a villain: "Someone that somebody really hates. There's something very human about villains. You warm to these characters so much, for some reason."
And if he wasn't an actor, he'd probably be a skateboarder: "I was obsessed with skateboarding. Madly into it. I was convinced I was going to be a professional skateboarder. Before that I was convinced I was going to be a professional footballer. But I kind of gave it up because doing the acting, if you break something..."
He's a proud of growing up in Ireland: "One thing that's made a massive difference, going into an LGBT kind of project, is that we were the first country to legalize gay marriage by popular vote. There was a massive 'home to vote' campaign, people coming over from America and Australia. For anyone coming up through school, that's so inspirational."
And he has some sound advice for anyone wanting to follow in his footsteps: "Just trust yourself. When you're on a job and it feels daunting, trusting that you were picked for a reason and you are the perfect person to play this role and trusting that and having the confidence."
'Handsome Devil' is on Netflix from April 28.
Text Matthew Whitehouse
Photography Lillie Eiger