Terry McMahon: 'I wasn’t afraid of being homeless'

The director of St Patrick’s Day and Charlie Casanova has courted his fair share of controversy, but in an extraordinary interview with Roe McDermott he opens up on the turmoil of his own life

A divisive filmmaker, Terry McMahon’s latest work, St Patrick’s Day, is expected to provoke the same level of conversation and controversy as his previous work Charlie Casanova did upon release.

The director’s desire to explore the loneliness, mental fragility and humanity of those on the fringes of society isn’t merely artistic or political; it’s also intensely personal. As a teenager, McMahon spent a year living on the streets, and found himself slipping into a dangerous spiral.

“When you’re homeless, your predisposition to mental illness is already increased a hundred-fold,” he says. “In my case, I have been suicidal, I have been so far on the edges of society that I had no idea how I was going to see another day.”

“I wasn’t afraid of being homeless,” he continues. “I remember waking up in the snow, brushing it off, turning over and going back to sleep. That’s not what I was afraid of. I was afraid of something else that I had never experienced before, which was loneliness.”

Read the full, frank and fascinating interview in the new issue of Hot Press, on sale tomorrow.


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