A rising star from western Belfast says she’s ready to “strike while the iron is hot” as she stars in Michael Flatley’s directorial debut, Blackbird.
ary Louise Kelly (29) from Ballymurphy, spoke of her “wonderful friendship” with the legendary Irish dancer as she flew home to attend his orientation premiere at the Lighthouse Cinema in Dublin.
Kelly made a name for herself as a talented singer, performing at venues in bustling Belfast hotels, before moving to London to work as a grammar teacher.
The opportunity came at the age of 21 when she signed as a singer for Flatley’s Lord of the Dance theater. Vacationing in London’s West End for six months was followed by several years of touring around the world before finally settling in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.
Encouraged by Flatley, she went on to audition for the role of singer Madeline in the film, explaining how she got the role despite competing with trained actresses.
“All the girls are well-trained professionals. They all went to drama school, they all know exactly what they’re doing, revising scripts and taking notes. I thought, ‘You know what? I just went to this audition. ‘ And it was Michael who said to me, ‘I want you to come’. I thought, I won’t take it, but at least it will be a good experience for me to go and see what craic is.
“And then I got a call saying we’re taking you to Barbados in five weeks.”
Kelly is no stranger to working with Flatley but he explains that this particular role requires more than just impressive vocals.
“We have a great friendship and to be honest, he took the opportunity to put me on that show because it was my first movie. I could have easily gotten there and not been so good,” she said.
“He wanted to give me a big opportunity and the roles were very diverse. It’s not just singing – it really shows all the endings of that character. “
During the initial challenge, Kelly said she soon acted “like a duck in water”.
Originally shot in 2017, Mary Louise isn’t sure if the film will ever get a wider theatrical release but has been pleasantly surprised by the recent response.
Video of the day
Speaking after the premiere in Dublin, Kelly said that “the atmosphere was amazing”, overwhelmed by messages of support from family and friends back home.
“I just think now that it’s out and has my voice, now is my time to strike while the iron is hot and find an agent.”
Kelly currently lives in Dubai, works as a singer, influencer and model, and has quickly amassed a major social media presence on Instagram and TikTok – one video alone has reached over 6.5 million views.
“When I went to Dubai, I had about six thousand followers… There your Instagram is basically your CV, I think it is definitely a good place for opportunities if you are willing to work and devote the best”.
Talking about future plans, Kelly said she is taking time out every day as Dubai becomes a flexible base for traveling and working abroad. She hopes to secure professional representation soon and is considering going to Los Angeles for the pilot season in the new year.
“If you want anything, you just go for it. You just need a little confidence in yourself, all you need to do is keep knocking and you will get there.”
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/movies/movie-news/actress-mary-louise-kelly-ready-to-lead-hollywood-on-merry-dance-after-making-film-debut-in-michael-flatleys-blackbird-41961220.html Actress Mary Louise Kelly is ready to lead Hollywood in fun dance after making her film debut in Michael Flatley’s Blackbird