Chris O’Reilly plays the lead in the paranormal thriller “Provoked”, a budding investigator determined to make contact with the spirit world-and capture the proof to back it up. His character “Matt” pushes forward the notion that -by any means necessary-he will encounter the dead, even to the point of going to extreme measures to do so. What those measures are O’Reilly would not tell me in our recent interview. I tried but we will just have to watch the film to find out. Personally I am hoping for a Ouija board or some sort of blood ritual. Those seem to work wonders when teasing the unseen forces around us.
Chris O’Reilly lives in Massachusetts, but having traversed to many destinations here and abroad, the actor still holds an affection for Dublin-one of the many places he has called home. The one thing that has been a constant foundation for the guy is his love for the stage, telling me that “ Ever since I can remember acting was always more than a hobby for me. I've always loved being on stage and creating new characters and voices.” And according to his New England Actor’s page that is something he is quite good at-characters and voices-even being able to mimic any personality or vocal technique-well almost. O’Reilly’s resume reads more than what “hobby” gives justice to, having also trained in Stage Combat and Jazz, not to mention managing over twenty dance productions. Two fascinating facts about the actor is that he can juggle and considers being a red head a skill-which shows he has a wicked sense of humor. To find out about Chris O’Reilly’s character in “Provoked” and a bit more about the actor himself check out my interview with him.
ASouthernLife: In "Provoked" you play Matt an amateur paranormal investigator, can you tell me more about the character, what drives his fascination with ghost hunting?
Chris O’Reilly: Matt is, like you said, an AMATEUR paranormal investigator and he knows this. He wants nothing more than to be able to experience an actual event that can both open his eyes a little more in this realm of the paranormal and can also give him some validation as a "Ghost Hunter". I think that's what ultimately drives him. His yearning to experience something real.
ASouthernLife: Your character uses potentially dangerous and "maybe" unethical means to stimulate the entities, can you say anything about what it is he does to provoke the spirits?
Chris O’Reilly: Ya know, I could, but I don't really want to. Hahah I want you to see it rather than hear about it. I can tell you why he does it though. He's just at the end of his rope. Spending hours upon hours in houses scanning and recording and consistently coming up with nothing. Imagine you put so much time and effort into something that you love and that you enjoy doing, yet you're always let down. Always. That's how 'Matt' felt.
ASouthernLife: How did you prepare for this role and what about Matt were you able to relate to?
Chris O’Reilly: Well, its funny because 'Matt' is, at least in my mind, a normal guy. The only thing that's out of the norm about him is his passion and career path. But here's the thing, everyone has something in their life they love as much as their counterpart, its just a different kind of love. While 'Matt' loves 'Jamie' - who Nicole Lasala plays amazingly by the way - he also has a love for his career and I feel we all have that. Whether its investigating, painting, acting, dancing, even doing math equations, everyone has a second love that they hold in their heart so I related to that attribute 100%.
That being said, preparing for the role wasn't so much a mental shift but rather an educational one. I needed to learn terminology, correct movements and methods for K2 sweeps, even researching cameras and different lenses that would help capture the paranormal. Also, having a great girlfriend, real or fictional, on set helps you delve into a part and Nicole really helped that transition. She was fun to be on set with yet also extremely professional. That's a hard thing to find.
ASouthernLife: Before preparing for this role was the paranormal something that you were interested in personally? Had you been on an investigation before "Provoked"?
Chris O’Reilly: Actually yes. I've always loved paranormal stories and spiritual encounters that people talk about. A few times in college myself and a few others went on 'Ghost Hunts' and one time I swear I heard something talking to us. It was slightly jarring. And since we didn't drink until AFTER the hunt, I felt it was a real experience.
ASouthernLife: Would you ever consider using extreme measures to contact spirits?
Chris O’Reilly: Absolutely, 100% not. I'd rather not mess with something I can't see.
ASouthernLife: Growing up were there a lot of local legends about haunted places where you lived? Did you ever explore any of the ghost stories to see if they were true or not?
Chris O’Reilly: Not really. I used to look up stories in libraries and rent movies based on legends though. I love those kinds of things.
ASouthernLife: Did you experienced anything paranormal on set while filming "Provoked"?
Chris O’Reilly: Sadly I didn't really, but some others said they had chills within the Borden house. I know Sean felt eyes upon him during an investigation they did.
ASouthernLife: What has it been like filming in the Lizzie Borden house?
Chris O’Reilly: It was amazing. Not only to be filming in the house, but also to be able to read about history and theories on what had occurred. I had gone on a tour of the house years ago, so this time was kind of like round two, just more in depth and personal.
ASouthernLife: Who in the cast do you think would be easily scared by a paranormal event?
Chris O’Reilly: Oh God, that's an easy one. Ms. Nicole Lasala. Followed closely by Kati Salowsky though. ...And maybe Jordan. He talks a big game but...
ASouthernLife: What are some of your favorite horror movies?
Chris O’Reilly: My favorite horror movies are ''The Exorcism of Emily Rose', '28 Days Later', and 'Shaun of the Dead'. I know the last two aren't technically "horror" movies, but I love Zombie films and anything that Simon Pegg does so I'm writing it down.
ASouthernLife: What is the scariest ghost story you have ever heard?
Chris O’Reilly: Any story with a little girl demon or ghost...or dolls. Little girl ghosts and dolls scare the shit out of me.