Irish actor Jason O’Mara plays Katherine Heigl’s ex-lover on the lam and she’s the bounty hunter out to get him in One for the Money, a comedy drama about relationships, fresh starts, family – and guns.
Heigl is Stephanie Plum, the heroine in Janet Evanovich’ worldwide best-selling eighteen-book action mystery series and the film One for the Money available on Blu-ray Disc (plus Digital Copy), DVD, Digital Download and On Demand just in time for Mother’s Day.
Not only might mums enjoy Hunter’s take-charge, upbeat attitude, no doubt she’ll also enjoy watching O’Mara. Monsters and Critics spoke with the classically trained O’Mara who is hot off TV’s Terra Nova, a theatrical run in London and One for the Money.
M&C: Did you have fun on One for the Money? Did you manage to meet Debbie Reynolds?
O’Mara: Yes and she is a spitfire! I’m not sure about this but I think she gave me a bit of wink and I thought “You go, girl!”
M&C: There’s a lot of physical work and fighting with Katherine Heigl. Did you pull your fake punches because she’s a woman?
O’Mara: I didn’t change a thing! She’s physical and in great shape we did some of our own stunts but at the same time the stunt doubles were terrific. I don’t do a stunt unless it’s 100% safe and I’m committed to it, otherwise, it won’t look good and I’ll look like an idiot. That’s what doubles are for. I’m happy to do some of them but if I’m about to be run over by car, I’m out of there. I’m not Tom Cruise!
M&C: Is comedy as hard as they say?
O’Mara: Yes, they say dying is easy, comedy is hard. I would agree. I think it’s hard to make people laugh especially in an action comedy. There are dark moments in One for the Money that are pretty gruesome moments. And to turn that around and make people laugh is delicate. It’s hard to do, but I’d like to do more comedy. It’s great to be able to make people laugh.
I was in the school play at 16, and I got my first laugh onstage. It was an incredible rush and I’ve been chasing it ever since. It’s in my dreams lately. It was The Merchant of Venice. I auditioned for Shylock but didn’t get it so I did Graziano, a supporting character.
I’m happy to play theatre, that’s one thing that training gives you the ability to go from a lead to a supporting role to a lead again. It’s all the same. I don’t worry about it. Sometimes in America, there is a race to see who the lead is. I tried that, I did that thing, but it was exhausting.
M&C: Theatrical training means you’re overqualified for a lot in Hollywood, but do you find it gives you a leg up on the kinds of roles you get?
O’Mara: I don’t know, that’s a good question. I know how things change, and I am attracted to things that are upbeat or different. I’m rarely the guy who shows in average doctor or law or cop show, I don’t do your average kind of projects so I suppose that’s it. I definitely like to have characters have strong personalities and real emotion so I can get my teeth into it.
I’m attracted to that. TV is harder because you don’t know if it’s going that way. I would never say overqualified. One for the Money was exciting because I got to play Morelli, because of that literary connection to go to the books. They really helped me approach the character in the script, which was quite faithful to the book.
M&C: You’ve done a lot of series television and prime time soaps and film and theatre. How do you figure out which you want to do at any given time?
O’Mara: I just love to work, it’s all good, I do a play a couple of years ago in the Donmar Theatre in London. I always wanted to play there but afterwards itching to get back onto a set again. After TV and film, I want back to theatre and so it’s a good balance.
M&C: Tell me about the To Appomattox? Looks like you’re playing George B. McClellan in a mini-series on the Civil War.
O’Mara: That’s something that had been trying to get into production for some time. We’re trying to get it financed, and it’s been a long journey. It’s very ambitious about the Civil War, written by Michael Frost Beckner who did The Agency and Spy Games.
There are great actors waiting to do it, Bill Paxton, Rob Lowe, Bill Peterson, Stephen Lang, Damian Lewis, Michael C. Hall, an insane group of actors who want to make it, we just have to get the financing.
I’m also working on a pilot, the untitled Ralph Lamb story with Dennis Quaid as my brother. It’s a supporting role and there are so many great actors like Michael Chiklis, and Carrie Ann Moss. But essentially it is an ensemble drama. I’ll hear about that soon. Fingers crossed.
M&C: And what happened to your Irish accent?
O’Mara: I’ve had it beaten out of me really over the years, I worked with so many accent coaches, I think and dream in American now. I don’t say “Where have you been?” I say “Where have you bin?” And I don’t say “clothes” anymore, I say “close”.