I left Fair City to work on new projects — and now I’m a Hallmark lead, says Richard McWilliams

Former Fair City star Richard McWilliams said he wants to leave the soap to pursue other projects while he has a role in the hit Hallmark movie.

The actor, best known for his role as Michael O’Brien in the hit movie RTE, didn’t have to travel very far for his latest role.

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Richard starring in Love Picture
Richard used to play Michael in Fair City

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Richard used to play Michael in Fair CityCredit: Charity
Richard said he left Fair City to pursue more projects

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Richard said he left Fair City to pursue more projects

Richard plays William in the movie Hallmark Portrait which garnered some glowing reviews from viewers.

The film follows Lily, a curator who discovers a painting that looks just like her.

She goes to find where the painting came from and who drew it, which leads her to Ireland and bumps into Richard’s character.

Speaking to The Irish Sun, Richard said: “I was playing a character who would welcome an American here but I suppose I felt as an actor and as a character that I was showing Ireland to these people and there is a sense of that.

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“None of them had worked in Ireland before I thought and they weren’t here and it would have been nice to shoot here and play as an Irish character in front of an American audience.

“You present Ireland in a light that people can see.”

He also talked about having to change the text a bit to mitigate the stereotypical Irish behavior that was prevalent throughout the text.

The Dublin star explained: “The director [John Lyde] He was also the writer and this was written in America from what he thought was Ireland.

“And I think I kind of had to, I wouldn’t say rewrite it, but I had to kind of look at it and cut out some really big bits and make it kind of as real as possible it would still be the Irish person keeping the idea that we don’t make it gritty urban realism, that plays for a certain audience there.”

Richard played Michael in Fair City from 2014 to 2015 and had a very interesting story from the start.

His character begins by having an affair with Sleepa Cassidy and then ends up trying to save his mother after she was kidnapped.

In the end, Michael was killed and Richard said he wanted to leave to work on new projects.

‘my idea’

He explained, “I actually left her at that time.

“My idea was because I wanted to move on to do other things and the character was really over.

“I mean I could have stayed on I guess as long as I could see the steam ran out.”

Richard continued, “I mean, it’s really out of your hands.

“I mean writers who try to juggle dozens of stories and actors, so it’s hard to take care of one or two people, so they have to do what they have to do.

Dramatic story

“But I got a very good story. When you first come in, they pay attention to what your character is doing because they’re trying to establish it.

“And there was a great love affair between me and Niamh, Claudia Murphy, who is Paul Brennan’s wife, we were having an affair.

“I play a kind of hidden class and it was so cool to watch on the streets of Dublin in this way and the people connected to you as a character.

“It’s all kind of weird when you’re out there. They kind of relate to you as a person that’s how it works.”

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Richard is also taking a break from the small and big screen to take to the stage in Naas to perform in Doing Time.

It will be performing at the Athi Center for the Arts on October 13-14 before moving to the Moat Theatre, Nass on October 15.

Richard said it was good to represent Ireland on American screens

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Richard said it was good to represent Ireland on American screens