Danny Mahoney is a Canadian actor based in London, England. He got his first professional role at the age of 13, at the Theatre Aquarius’ production of The King and I. Danny gained his first success after acting in Other Deserted Cities in London. You might have seen his extraordinary performance in Florence Foster Jenkins, The Second Best Exotic
Marigold Hotel, The Secret Life of Alexander the Great and others. Danny has been busy taking part in a horror series Purgatory, and he plays the main character – Christopher. The television series premiered on the 16th of September and is available to watch on Popstar TV.
Hello, Danny and thanks for joining us today! How have you been since Purgatory’s second season premiered online a few days ago?
Thank you so much for having me! I’ve been really good thanks. It has been a roller coaster working on Purgatory – we shut down production so abruptly last year when the pandemic hit. The producer literally came to my room with a plane ticket and said “you’re flying home tonight”. Production was suspended for a year and I wasn’t sure if we would ever get to finish what we had started. So I’m super excited for everyone to see the second season because we worked so hard, under really strenuous circumstances to get it finished during a pandemic and I’m so proud of how it turned out.
Christopher is your character in this project. What did you like the most about portraying this character?
On the surface Chris has it all: money, success, and a loving marriage with a baby on the way. But he’s been harbouring a secret for eight years that if it ever got out, would ruin his entire life and he would lose everything. I loved exploring Chris’s intense struggle to keep his secret hidden. This super privileged, affluent guy suddenly finds himself in a pressure cooker, feeling powerless, and it was a fun challenge to be constantly straddling that line between keeping it together and completely losing it.
Is there anything in particular that attracted you to this role?
Aside from how excited I was to take on my first leading role in a television series, we filmed on location in an underground cave in Armenia. One of my favourite parts of being an actor is getting to work in places I never would have visited otherwise. I have such an affection for Armenia now and the wonderful people I met and worked with there. And just 18 months ago I couldn’t even point to it on a map.
You’ve mentioned the feeling of freedom and doing what you love in this production, do you think it is rare nowadays?
I think every project is different, with a new collection of people who may have different ways of working. But in my experience most directors want their actors to feel free within the parameters they give them. While shooting Purgatory, the director (Michael Caissie) trusted his actors entirely. And that trust created a space for me to confidently make bold choices and also play around with ideas I wasn’t so sure about. That freedom made Purgatory a very collaborative process, and a collaborative set for me is always the most enjoyable.
Tell us about your early years in the theatre. Could you describe your last experience on stage?
I grew up doing theatre. School musicals led to my first professional job in The King and I at Theatre Aquarius in Hamilton when I was 13. I spent a year of high school touring around venues and schools in Ontario performing in a play about bullying. And every summer of my teens was spent at the Theatre Aquarius Performing Arts Programme. So I guess you can say theatre runs in my blood – it’s been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My last experience on stage was in 2019 in London in a play called Afterglow and it was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had on stage. The play tells the story of a married gay couple in an open relationship, and required a level of intimacy and vulnerability I had never had to portray for a role before. There was also a nude scene and taking on a role that involves having to be naked in front of hundreds of people every night is not a decision you take lightly! I was extremely nervous to accept the role when it was offered, but any actor will tell you that the roles you are most afraid of doing usually become the most rewarding.
What or who influenced you to pursue a career in acting?
I’ve wanted to be an actor for as long as I can remember. Every Christmas I would ask my parents for an agent. During my first summer at the Theatre Aquarius Performing Arts Programme in Hamilton, the program director, Lou Zamprogna, somehow convinced them to help me get my first agent in Toronto when I was 14. I spent five more summers on that program and I owe a lot to Lou and the incredible training he provided me.
Why did you decide to move from Ontario to London?
As my graduation from Queen’s University approached, I knew that I wanted to dedicate my life to being an actor and that I would need proper training if I was going to do that. I was looking for a new adventure and I knew that some of the best acting schools in the world were in London. So I auditioned and was very fortunate to be accepted into LAMDA’s three-year acting program.
Do you have any other talents and hobbies?
I’m a massive fitness freak. I start most days with a gym session so I get to have at least one sense of accomplishment for the day! I’m currently learning to speak German, (ist sehr schwierig) and learning the violin (ist noch schwieriger!). If my violin playing doesn’t improve soon I think my neighbours are going to send me an ultimatum.
What is your most favourite film and why?
For anyone who remembers what VHS tapes are, my dad had recorded Anne of Green Gables from the TV (commercials and all!). I must’ve watched that movie 30 times during my childhood. Megan Follows’ performance is compelling, the relationship between Anne and Marilla is so heartwarming, and that scene in the barn with Anne, Matthew, and the puff sleeves gets me every single time.
Are you satisfied with your career at this stage?
An actor who is satisfied with their career!? I’ve never met one! I’ve got big dreams and that’s what keeps me going in this crazy, unpredictable industry. I’m very proud of what I’ve accomplished but there is still so much more out there and I can’t wait to see what the universe has in store for me.
Do you have other interesting projects coming up and where can we see you next?
Purgatory Season 2 is airing now, with a new episode every Thursday at 9pm EST/9pm PST.