Conor Barry speaks to the writer and star of the underdog Irish hit, A Film With Me In It

Half way through the telephone interview with writer/star of new Irish release, A Film With Me In It, Mark Doherty, he had to put the conversation on hold saying “Sorry, my daughter’s drawing on her legs with a biro”.

Not the type of banter you’d expect to be having with the creator of this self-proclaimed “dark little piece”. And a dark little piece it most definitely is.

The comedy follows Mark (not so surprisingly played by Doherty himself) struggling to get any sort of acting gig and his neighbour Pearce (Dylan Moran), a drunk who’s constantly writing a script that’s never going to be finished.

By chance the two become witnesses to a strange chain of inexplicabledeaths and have to figure out what’s going on.

“It takes a few very bizarre coincidences and links them all together” explains Doherty. “Then you have this ridiculous situation that these two lads have to deal with, which is a mounting body count and no chance of telling the truth.”

Doherty, it appears, revels in the bizzare. “Whatever I write tends to be from another little world parallel to ours with the same rules but with odd stuff happening.”

Over his fifteen years of working in entertainment Doherty’s covered the spectrum of bizarre. From his play, Trad about a father and his one hundred-year-old son on an epic search for an estranged child to Soupy Norman, an RTÉ mini-series that sifted through hours of a Polish soup opera and creating a new plot by dubbing over the footage.

With a title like A Film With Me In It and the two main characters being an actor and a writer, inevitably the question crops up; is there a chance the film is partly about yourself?

“You have to start somewhere,” he explains. “I suppose I took my own situation which was often gazing into long periods of unemployment. So, maybe that’s what I did. I just divided myself in two and gave Dylan Moran one of the parts.”

But as far as directing the film, an honour that went to Ian FitzGibbon, he maintains he’d never even considered it. “If I’d been allowed to direct this, it could have been a three-and-a-half hour meditation that I’d be delighted with and that eight people would go and see upstairs in the IFI one Tuesday evening and then it would be pulled.”

As for the aftermath of this already critically acclaimed film Doherty has modest ambitions.

“If people like this hopefully it’ll give us a chance to make some more stuff. And hopefully it will give us the confidence to not necessarily conform to that Hollywood model”.

And with the attention that the film is receiving it may not be too long until we see another “little dark piece” from the mind of Doherty.

A Film With Me In It is in cinemas now.