Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Local schoolboy lands plum role in new Neeson movie

A Dromintee schoolboy has been plucked from obscurity to land a plum role in an upcoming movie featuring Hollywood actor Liam Neeson, despite never having attended a drama class.

Patrick Roe, a pupil at St. Paul’s High School in Bessbrook, beat off stiff competition to earn himself a part in the film ‘A Christmas Star’, for which Neeson provides voice-over.  The production also stars The Fall actress Bronagh Waugh, Rob James-Collier from Downton Abbey fame, and former Coronation Street actress Suranne Jones.

Patrick has his music teacher to thank for discovering his up-until-now, hidden talents that not even his family knew he had.  And the step in the world of drama has, according to his mother Briege, changed the life of the timid 12-year-old, who has previously been a victim of bullying.

“He had never done drama in his life when he got this part and to say it has changed his life is an understatement,” Briege said.

“Patrick was bullied in the past because he’s mixed race and it was a horrible time for him but this film has completely changed his life and it’s like a second family we’ve made.

“The families have had a sneak peak at some of the finished product and when I saw his name come up in lights, well it was emotional to say the least.  He beat 7,000 other young people to get this part and I am so proud of him.

“Patrick has his heart set on being an actor and I think he’ll go all the way because he’s bloody good at it,” she added proudly.

Patrick plays a computer whizz in the movie, which will premier in Belfast in November, and even though he has yet to meet Neeson, the pair have chatted via Skype.

A Christmas Star’ is a feature length film set in a picturesque village in Northern Ireland and tells the heart-warming story of Noelle, a spirited and special 9-year old. Her story is a journey of self-discovery, faith, doubt and loyalty as she fights to instill the true meaning of Christmas.

Cinemagic – the Belfast company behind the production – was established in 1989 with the aim of bringing together young people in a safe environment where they could meet each other, learn about their respective cultures and traditions and develop new skills and confidence.  It has gone on to develop a worldwide reputation for excellence in children’s programming and, to date, has engaged with over 500,000 young people and screened more than 3,000 films.

Briege says the whole filming process has been a fantastic experience and the Cinemagic team have become “like our second family”.

Describing Patrick as “a natural” on the stage, he said: “They started filming at the end of last year and we’ve had some great days out for filming and I’d say the whole cast and the Cinemagic team are like our second family now.

“The enormity of it all didn’t hit me until I saw his name in lights when we got a sneak peak at some of the finished product two months ago and it was emotional to say the least.  I’m so proud and we can’t wait until November for the premier.”