'Trek' star found theatre experience valuable

Irish actor Colm Meaney has come full circle with his new film “Kings,” which was filmed entirely in the Gaelic language and became the first film submitted by Ireland for consideration in the Academy Awards’ foreign-language film category.

“It was a bit of a challenge for me, as I learned Gaelic in high school, but I’ve been living in Los Angeles for 24 years,” says Meaney, who will be honored tonight at the U.S.-Ireland Alliance’s third annual Oscar Wilde: Honoring the Irish in Film pre-Academy Awards party. “I was supportive of the idea, as there hasn’t been a modern feature film in the Irish language like this.”

Born in Dublin, the actor got his start by taking classes at the Abbey, Dublin’s national theater, and gained notice in Alan Parker’s “The Commitments.” Meaney is probably best known for his role as Chief Operating Officer Miles O’Brien with the television series “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

He found his theater work to be of great help in that role.

“When you looked at the ‘Star Trek’ dialogue, you needed actors with a strong theater background who could play Shakespeare, as it’s heightened drama,” Meaney says. “Suspension of disbelief is required.”

Meanwhile, Meaney has several other projects to look forward to, including “Three and Out,” a black comedy about a London subway driver; “ZOS: Zone of Separation,” a Canadian miniseries about U.N. peacekeepers during the war in Bosnia; and David E. Kelley’s U.S. adaptation of the BBC’s “Life on Mars” — a “page-turner,” as Meaney puts it.

He won’t be having any involvement with the new “Star Trek” film, however.

“Seven years in space was sufficient,” he laughs.

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