My Donegal… with actor Jason Matthewson

first_imgRathmullan man Jason Matthewson has quickly become one of Hollywood’s top Irish actors, securing roles in Black Ice, Transformers: The Last Knight, and Karmaa.Beginning his acting career at just 6 years old by taking part in local stage productions, by the age of 16 he was starring in leading roles in theatre and TV in both Ireland and the UK. After finishing secondary school, Jason studied at the world-famous Stella Adler Conservatory in LA, whose alumni include superstars Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, and Martin Sheen but to name a few.Jason now lives between Los Angeles and London, with London being his base for the past four years. This is Jason’s Donegal…(1) What is your favourite place in Donegal and why?If you’d of asked me this when I was growing up I may have had a different answer but now having lived away for a long time, I’d have to say Rathmullan. On the rare occasion the sun decides to come out there is few more beautiful places. Living in huge cities like Los Angeles and London for the better part of ten years now I have come to appreciate the simplicity and calm of home.(2) If you could change one thing about Donegal what would it be?When I was growing up Donegal especially but specifically around the coastline so Rathmullan, Buncrana, Downings etc. were buzzing with tourism and life. It was a bustling time. I remember it very fondly but now a days things have changed and I understand that’s in part down to economy among many other things but I’d love to see some of that come back as it was only a good thing for all involved.(3) Who is the one person that you look up to and why?I don’t know that I have someone in particular that I look up to but there are many I admire whether that’s based on their career or in life. As an actor and a Donegal one at that, it would be hard not to mention our very own late Brian Friel. I’ve had the pleasure of working on many of Brian’s works and meeting the man not long before he passed. My parents obviously would be right up at the top of my list. Then there is a long list of industry people I admire from fellow actors or producers to writer and filmmakers, the list could go on for a while.(4) What’s your happiest memory in Donegal?Now there is a question. It would be hard to pin it down to one memory as there are many happy memories I cherish and a lot of the time wish I could go back to (don’t we all) but memories of my childhood playing about in the fields with my brothers and cousins at my grandfather’s house in Ray would be up there.(5) What has been Donegal’s proudest moment in recent years?That’s a hard one for me to answer having not lived at home in over ten years so I wouldn’t really know but for a Donegal man living abroad one of the proudest times I remember where I was proud of my nation was when we voted Yes for equality in the referendum for equal rights for marriage in the LGBT community. Also the All-Ireland was up there.(6) If you found a magic wand that allowed you to grant one wish, what would it be?That everyone got to do what they WANTED to do in life not what they HAD to do. Imagine what a great place it would be then and how much more advanced we would be.(7) What is your favourite Donegal-made product?Without a doubt McDaid’s Football Special and Banana. There are many things that are hard to get outside Ireland but McDaid’s is impossible. It’s even hard to get it outside Donegal let alone the country. (8) Who is Donegal’s greatest ambassador around the world and why?Again it’s really hard to answer that having not lived at home in so long, it’s tough to get up to date with everything that’s going on back there and keep up to speed with what’s going on in the US and UK. You never know maybe I’ll be an ambassador for Donegal one day.(9) What has been the biggest compliment you’ve ever received?I’ve been really lucky over the years to get to work with some incredible people who I really admire and respect and in a way whether they intend to or not they all impart a little wisdom or smarts your way but recently on the set of Transformer’s Antony Hopkins gave me a really good piece of advice he told me that he admires my drive and although I’m not there yet that I’m very much on the right track.(10) Who is your favourite Donegal sportsperson of all time?Of all time that’s a tough one but as someone not really into sport that much (surprise surprise) the one guy that comes to mind is Shay Given.I think Shay is not only a bit of a legend when it comes to being a sportsman but I think since his retirement from football he has been a pretty good gut for the ambassador of Donegal slot as well. (11) What is your favourite Donegal restaurant?Again I’m going to have to answer this one from memory but one that jumps out at me for being really good is An Bonnán Buí and The Beachcomber in my hometown Rathmullan.(12) What is your favourite Donegal saying or expression?What’s the ‘craic’, I can tell you I get a lot of strange looks especially in America with that one lol!(13) What is the biggest challenge facing the people of Donegal today?Finding a reason to stay I think. It’s so enticing to think that far away fields are greener and sometimes they are, but only sometimes.(14) What is your favourite food that you associate with Donegal?My dad’s pot-roast with Yorkshire pudding and black gravy. That has as little to do with Donegal as fried Mars bars have to do with Scotland but every time I come home (which isn’t nearly as much as I’d like to) my dad makes me that and I associate that meal with home.(15) Is there anything that really annoys you about Donegal or its people?I love the people, it’s the people that make a place and I think that Donegal even within Ireland is a favourite among the counties if not only for the accent and the sense of family and fun. Maybe from time to time an expanded thought pattern could be adopted, just saying lol.(16) Do you have a favourite local band?My brother is a musician, he now lives in Brighton but when he was at home had a band and they were great. ‘The Lazy Sundays’.(17) If you had a million euro to improve something in Donegal what would it be?To go back on what I said earlier I’d say tourism and possibly the roads but both would be to rejuvenate the county and give its people young people especially purpose.So many, myself included have moved away from the county and indeed the country in pursuit of a “better life”. I’d love to see that not being the case or at least that the pursuit of a “better life” does not require you leave home.(18) Where’s the most unusual place you’ve logged on to Donegal Daily?I log on pretty regularly on my phone to see what’s going on from where ever I’m at.The last time I recall I was when I was shooting an episode of The Royals and it was to show Liz Hurley a picture of Rathmullan. (She thought it was beautiful by the way!)(19) Is there anything about Donegal that you are very proud of?Many things, culture and language being absolutely among them. We have a rich history of culture, in the arts and music alone. I find with Donegal people there is a real sense of community which I find even in Donegal folks all over the world that I’ve met on my travels.(20) What is the most rewarding thing about what you do?Oh now with this question I could go on for a while but if I had to mention just a few I’d say the ability to transport an audience member through the power of storytelling to a place where anything is possible and for that all to brief 90 minutes or whatever the duration of the movie, play or TV series take them to a place away from all the worries of daily life where they can forget about all their problems and be completely happy and at peace.To me that’s the power of storytelling.To keep up with Jason you can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vimeo. You can also check out his website: http://www.jasonmatthewson.comMy Donegal… with actor Jason Matthewson was last modified: October 15th, 2017 by Elaine McCalligShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:ACTORdonegalinterviewIrelandjason matthewsonMY DONEGALRathmullantheatretransformerslast_img read more