You’re Ugly Too – Interview with director Mark Noonan

You're Ugly Too director Mark Noonan thought he wanted to become an architect when he went to college. But later he couldn't resist the idea of filmmaking after spending his free time (or sometimes sneaking off during class) catching the latest American or international film. Post graduation, he quickly found himself helping out on sets and logging in hundreds of film-watching hours. Noonan's film school was hands-on experience, director commentaries and behind-the-scenes DVD extras.  He also traveled and gave himself the life experiences he needed to discover his voice. Finally in 2008, he debut his short film Questions, which won critical acclaim and made the festival circuit.

Noonan describes his journey to becoming a filmmaker. He also talks about meeting Aidan Gillen  (Game of Thrones), via Gillen's brother, who eventually became the inspiration for You're Ugly Too.


In You're Ugly Too, Gillen is Will, a man just released from jail with the condition that he has to take care of his young parentless niece Stacey, played beautifully by up-and-coming actress Lauren Kinsella (Albert Knobbs). Immediately Will and Stacey have no idea how to be around each other. Stacey has never had a real guardian, and Will has no idea how to take care of the not-so-helpless creature. Add to that Will's constant struggle to stay out of trouble. Noonan's script and the actors' execution of the push and pull make for a very earthy and textured story. The backdrop of the film is a trailer park in the Irish midlands– a place where the dynamic duo meet an exotic stream of characters.

Noonan talks about the challenges of filming in rainy Ireland and working with Gillen's hectic schedule.


Kinsella's ability to jump from cheeky street-smart urchin to vulnerable little girl is truly spellbinding. Noonan describes working with Kinsella and the natural chemistry between her and the other actors.

Noonan learned many lessons on the set of his first feature film. Here is a little advice for first time filmmakers or anyone aspiring to delve into the craft. He also talks about his future projects.


You're Ugly Too won the Directors Guild of America and Screen Directors Guild of Ireland and will be screened this Friday, August 21 at the Directors Guild of America Theater. It will also screen at the Helsinki International Film Festival in September.

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