The Rise of Chris O’Dowd
The last few years have seen this Irish funnyman’s popularity sky rocket – in little over five years he has gone from being ‘that neurotic Irish guy from the I.T. Crowd’ to a success on both sides of the Atlantic, starring in Universal’s Bridesmaids and HBO’s Girls. So what is the secret to his success? It’s simple. O’ Dowd has that rare quality of being one of those celebrities you could easily go for pint with. His latest role sees him voice a creepy crawly, Grub, in Twentieth Century Fox’s new adventure comedy, EPIC which is released in UK cinemas later this month. To celebrate, we’re taking a retrospective look at his career to date.
Festival is a 2005 British black comedy film about a number of people at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, directed by Annie Griffin. Chris plays Tommy O’Dwyer, an Irish stand-up who tries to seduce local radio host Joan Gerrard. O’Dowd’s efforts resulted in him receiving the BAFTA Scotland award for Best Actor in a Scottish Film.
The IT Crowd (2006 – 2012)
Chris is probably still best known for his role in this Channel 4 sitcom about a bunch of I.T. geeks. His character Roy – so laid back he’s practically lying down – spends most of his time playing video games, reading comics and goofing around as opposed to doing any real work.
How to Lose Friends and Alienate People (2008)
O’Dowd took on a small cameo role alongside Simon Pegg, Jeff Bridges and Megan Fox in this 2008 British comedy film based upon British writer Toby Young’s memoirs. This fish-out-of-water story follows Young’s five-year struggle to make it as a writer in a high profile American publication. Although the film was not warmly received, it was O’Dowd’s first major foray into Hollywood.
The Boat That Rocked (2009)
Set in 1966, it tells the story of the fictitious pirate radio station “Radio Rock” and its crew of eclectic disc jockeys, who broadcast rock and pop music to the United Kingdom from a ship anchored in the North Sea. O’Dowd plays “Simple” Simon Swafford, Radio Rock’s breakfast DJ who marries the too-good-to-be true Elenore only to learn that she is actually in love with another DJ, Gavin.
Gulliver’s Travels (2010)
O’Dowd played General Edward, the bad guy and Gulliver’s tiny Lilliputian arch-nemesis in the 2010 adaptation of Gulliver’s Travels, alongside Jack Black, Jason Segal and Emily Blunt.
Chris played the nicest traffic cop you’ll ever meet in Judd Apatow’s Golden Globe nominated comedy. Nathan is Kristen Wiig’s love interest – he’s the kind of guy who like, accepts you for all your quirks and flaws… and buys you cupcake ingredients. The role won O’Dowd the IFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor.
O’Dowd has a small cameo in Lena Durnham’s cult hit GIRLS. He plays Thomas John, a dissatisfied suit and affluent venture capitalist who has a secret passion for DJing (rather badly) on his corporate laptops. Although she initially spurned him for his corporate un-coolness, he goes on to marry Jessa at the end of Season 1, only to break up a few episodes later.
The Sapphires (2012)
Based on true events, the story sees a group of four young Australian aborigine sisters from a remote mission propelled to singing stardom after their discovery by Dave Lovelace (played by O’ Dowd), a talent scout with a kind heart, very little rhythm but a great knowledge of soul music. Dave secures the sisters their first gig, and flies them to Vietnam to sing for American troops.
This is 40 (2013)
The ‘sort of sequel to Knocked Up’ sees O’Dowd play Ronnie, one of Pete’s employees at their small and niche record company. Ronnie and Pete’s musical incompatibility mean that the company is falling on hard times and burning a huge hole in Pete’s finances along the way!
Epic is released in UK cinemas on 22nd May 2013