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From Zwire.com

On the road to stardom : LMT actor taking it one show at a time (alyson mention)

By George Robinson

dimanche 16 janvier 2005

His name isn’t a household word yet, but it’s within reach for Lower Makefield actor Kevin Collins.

Collins recently returned from performing at the Theater Royal Haymarket in London’s West End to his childhood home for a Christmas visit with his parents, Bucks County lawyer John Collins and and former Miss Bucks County Kathleen Pagano Collins.

The seven-month West End run of "When Harry Met Sally" wrapped in September with Collins in the role of Sally’s boyfriend, Joe. "I was also understudying Harry, so I played the lead several times for a week," he said.

He shared the London stage with TV’s "90210" star Luke Perry, "Sixteen Candles" film lead Molly Ringwald and actress Alyson Hannigan. The Rob Reiner movie version starring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan was released to area theaters in 1989.

From January 18 to 31, Collins will appear in Shakespeare’s "As You Like It" at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York with Sir Peter Hall directing. He is cast in the role of Jaques DeBoys, one of the three exiled brothers. Peter Hall is the founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Growing up in Lower Makefield, Collins went to St. John the Evangelist in Lower Makefield and then Holy Ghost Preparatory School in Bensalem. After graduating in 1990 from the University of Toronto in Canada, he studied at the National Theater School of Canada in Montreal. "I’ve been away from home for 10 years living in Europe, and I’ve been a working actor for all of those 10 years," he said. "I come home every year for Christmas."

The 36-year-old, tall, boyishly handsome Collins considers himself lucky to be able to say he’s been a professional actor for a decade. "I did an apprenticeship with a theater company over there (Europe), studying for about six years," he recalled.

After theater school, "I spent a year doing the thing that everybody does, working in restaurants and going to auditions until I got a break with Blue Raincoat Theater Company in Ireland, becoming a member in 1995," he said.

Then another theater company, Theatre DeL’Ange Fou in London, came along, and he took advantage of that by overlapping his work with Blue Raincoat up until a year and a half ago.

"I’ve done little commercials here and there in Ireland and England, little things that pay the bills," he said. "I’ve never worked in the States before, so that’s why it’s so exciting to be performing in New York for the first time."

Collins has been cast in his first movie, "Infinite Justice," about a reporter who loses his sister on September 11, and then goes on a quest to find the reasons for the tragedy happening. The film is being directed by the Pakistani-English director, Jamil Dehlavi.

The film takes Collins’ character from New York to London and Pakistan. "I’ve been filming for about a month so far, including a week in Pakistan, and another week in New York, and then that should be a wrap," he said. After the holiday visit with his parents, he was leaving for Pakistan on January 1.

"Nobody terribly well-known is in the movie, many popular English TV and film people, but none particularly known here," he said. When the movie is finished in May, "then I’ll be back looking for work. That’s an actor’s life, it’s the way it works."

Crediting the luck that’s always followed him, Collins, now a freelancer, said, "I just cross my fingers and keep praying and hope something else interesting and exciting comes along. And it’s usually a surprise."

He explained that when an actor works with a theater company, the company is always planning what comes next. "Waiting around for something to come along is quite new to me," he admitted. "A freelance actor is much different. You take what you’re offered, basically." Collins became interested in acting in high school forensics. "I had a really good program in public speaking and dramatics at Holy Ghost, and was in the plays they put on," he remembered.

Is there a dream role he’d like to be cast in ? "I’d love to work with M. Night Shyamalan (’The Village’ and ’Signs’) in Philadelphia," said Collins. "M. Night is a great director, a great film maker. I just like to work with good people who are passionate about what they do. If I can make a career of doing that, then I’d be happy."

Of actors who have reached the heights in the business, he picked two he admires for their versatility and professionalism, Alec Guinness and Donald Sutherland, whom he met in Canada. Of stage roles, movie parts or sitcoms, he’d rather do films because "they are a smooth transition from stage work."

Where does he want to be 10 years from now ? "I hope I’m still acting," said the modest young rising Bucks County star.


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