Being “Lost & Found”: An Interview with Liam O Mochain

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With his beginning in the theatre and in radio plays, actor and filmmaker Liam O Mochain has come a long way into making an impact in the world of cinema in his native Ireland. He has gained major rave for his 2007 film W.C. and has appeared in many television series as well. He is a founding member of the Irish Film and Television Academy and he is back with his latest feature film, Lost & Found, a collection of interconnecting stories, currently playing in various cities with a release in New York on March 29, followed by an L.A. release on April 19 before hitting a VOD/On Demand release on April 30 from Gravitas Ventures.

World Film Geek had the opportunity to speak with O Mochain about his latest film.

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Liam, thank you so much for talking about Lost & Found. I just finished watching it this morning and I loved it, especially how everything came together in a very smooth fashion. I thought it all gelled out quite well and you were just great to watch!
Brilliant! And I’m glad to hear that because I’ve been doing many interviews, and everyone talks about how good I was and how great the film is. (Laughs)

What inspired you to do this film?
I did a film about ten years ago called W.C. and it’s a European term for toilets, you probably would know it. I think a lot of people outside of Europe know what W.C. is, but it was such in a toilet in a late night jazz bar and it was a pretty warm area. But we took seventeen, eighteen days to film this scene. With feature films, they take longer to put them together. So, I wanted to take a break from doing feature films for a while.

I started working on short films and I did one about one of the Ten Commandments, “thou shalt not covet they neighbor’s wife”, but mine was about thy neighbor’s husband. And it was such a great time shooting this in two days and I decided to make a feature film where it’s like a short film, shooting them in segments. I put together ten different stories that I was interested in and all of them were inspired by true stories. Five of them made it into the film and two more stories came across that I either made up or learned about so I added those in as well in the process of making this film, which took over a five-year period. So, you never know what’s going to end up in a film. It’s not always what you think.

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Liam O Mochain as Daniel Morris, the central connection of Lost & Found‘s stories (Gravitas Ventures)

Speaking of the true stories, did they come from personal experiences or did you do some research to bring them to life?
Some came from personal experiences, like the story of the beggar at the train station. It happened to me where I met a guy in Morocco at a bus station. He was going around and telling different stories to say he needed to see his sister and he had all his worldly possessions with him. I really felt bad for not believing him, and so I came up with a story of why these different stories were being told and I kind of really liked that.

The proposal story came from a Canadian couple going through Heathrow and the ring sets off the alarm. This gave him a choice. Either propose there and then or get arrested. I think the real guy actually proposed but I wanted to make it so the guy in the film finds himself in a dilemma. And the wedding, which has the same characters in it, I based that on a different story of something that happened to a friend of a friend. Apparently, the guy never found out he was getting married and had to reset the date, the church, everything. And with the road story, that was based on a myth I had read about and changed it to relate to the narration of the film. So some of the stories were true stories and others were loosely connected.

That’s quite interesting to hear. The supporting cast really did a great job and worked together with you just as well. Was it like that off the set as well?
It was, because we were only meeting three or four days a year. We were meeting on the same holiday weekend in June because many of the cast and crew were working on big TV shows. So, they usualyl had either a week in June or weekends off. In addition, we wanted some really good weather so that’s when we shot it.

The crew would come back and whatever actors I needed that week would come in and it felt like summer camp in the U.S., where you spent about three or four days as well as the few weeks you’re doing prep before everyone shows up. I think sometimes when you are working on longer shoots, it can work people’s nerves. But shooting three or four days, you’re out of there before people realize you annoy them.

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Gabriel (Seamus Hughes) has a surprise for Sile (Aoibhin Garrihy) in Lost & Found (Gravitas Ventures)

(Laughs) That’s a good one! My favorite of the stories is “Grand Opening”, which revolves around Pudge’s bar and what struck me is you sport a completely different look than the other stories. Did you shoot that story first or towards the end?
I shot that first and did another one the following year and decided I didn’t want to have the beard all the time. On all the other ones, I had to have the gradual beard or a couple of days left. So, if you see the film, I gradually go from clean to having stubble to the beard and of course, back to the clean look at the end. Continuity can be a problem though (laughs). That story was the most in terms of production value because it wasn’t so much the fact we had four days, but we had to keep changing the outside of the bar.

We shot that story at a real bar and had to change the inside of the bar as well. The owner of the bar didn’t tell the locals about the shooting there. So they would pass by and see the name constantly changing. They were wondering, what the hell happened to our pub? (laughs) We let the owners keep the signs after we finished shooting and he would use those signs on purpose just annoy his customers (laughs).

You mentioned shooting took a total of four to five years with four-day shoots. Was the challenge gathering up the actors for the segments?
It wasn’t hugely a challenge. The “Lost & Found” story, which is the film’s opening segment, was the one I shot last so I knew what characters I wanted so I knew what actors to bring back. It had to be the setup of the film, so if they weren’t available, I would be kind screwed. So, I purposely did that one last. I was able to get the actors to do one or two stories and then bring them all together. The only challenge was trying to get people back for that first one as well.

Money was also an issue because I would start out okay with the segments. However, when I started the fifth or sixth segments, I was still paying for the previous year’s work. So while that was an issue, something good came out of it. I was able to work on the scripts, see what was shot and then get influenced to do the next segments.

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Eddie (Liam Carney) constantly begs for money for a ticket, but why? The answer is in Lost & Found (Gravitas Ventures)

If you had to pick a favorite segment, what would it be and why?
Wow! That’s like asking me which of my two children are my favorite (Laughs). I like them all in a lot of ways, but I have a certain affinity for the “Grand Opening” story because that was the one we did first. It is based on a real bar in Dublin, which was changing every six months. They weren’t getting any customers and Pudge is based on a bar owner in Cork. I won’t give out his name but he’s based in Cork.

I can imagine because if word got out, I’m sure people will think of the movie seeing this guy (laughs)
There’ll be two words then he’d tell people to leave (laughs). If you go into his pub, he’ll tell you what to drink and if you order something and he doesn’t have it, he’ll just tell you to leave.

That’s crazy! So, finally, are there any upcoming projects that you can talk about?
Sure! I have written a film loosely based on the film Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, with Steve Martin. I love that movie, so I wrote my own version. It will be set in the west of Ireland and will involve two guys and a girl.

That’s something I will look forward to seeing when it is done! Lost and Found is currently playing in various cities and will make its New York premiere on March 29th, then Los Angeles on April 19th, then a VOD/Digital release on April 30th. Those who love the good stories and want both laughs and heart will want to see this. Thank you so much again Liam for talking about the film and I hope the film becomes a hit!
Thank you so much! I hope everyone will get to see the film!

A Special Thank You goes to Katrina Wan PR and Liam O Mochain for making this interview possible.

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