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Filmed on Location: Colin O'Donoghue of 'The Rite'

January 26, 2011   |   Written by NY Daily News

When Colin O’Donoghue travels, he’s like a man possessed.

The Irish-born co-star of “The Rite,” a thriller opening Jan. 28 about a young priest training to be an exorcist, loves to immerse himself in other cultures.

O’Donoghue had plenty of opportunity to do just that while working on “The Rite” last year. Playing opposite Anthony Hopkins as his Catholic Church mentor, the 30-year-old actor got to experience both Budapest and Rome for extended periods while on location.

When he wasn’t busy learning how to cast demons out of possessed people, that is.

DAILY NEWS: So what’s scarier? Taking on the Devil in “The Rite” or playing opposite Anthony Hopkins in your first major movie role?

COLIN O’DONOGHUE: They’re both terrifying! Obviously Anthony Hopkins is not quite on the same level as the Devil, but the idea of getting to perform with one of the greatest actors in our lifetime was a pretty daunting task.

The movie was filmed in Budapest and Rome. Were these your first times in both cities?

I had been to Rome before, but never to Budapest. I’d always wanted to go (to Budapest) because I’d always hear friends say they loved it. When you’re there you get to appreciate its unbelievably colorful history, from Roman times to when the Soviet Union controlled it.

Did you get to sightsee much while you were there?

I was pretty busy all day, every day. But on Saturdays and Sundays I’d get to see a bit of the city. We were there at the height of the summer when it was super-hot, though, and then we went back for re-shoots in the dead of winter when it was super-cold. But it was nice to see two sides of the city that way.

What was the most memorable thing about Budapest?

I really enjoyed the Christmas markets. They were beautiful. Just lovely to see and experience. I’d get some hot wine and walk around the markets, trying the local foods.

What about Rome?

I was actually stranded there before we started shooting. I went for a costume fitting and was supposed to only go to Rome for one day, and I ended up being stranded for three weeks because of the ash cloud from the Iceland volcano.

Tough job you have, being forced to stay in Rome on the company’s dime.

I could think of worst places to get stuck. I got to see a good part of the city. Rome is Rome, just one of the most beautiful, magical places on Earth.

What makes it so special?

It’s everything. The people have a special way about them. And everywhere you turn you’re back in the ancient world. Every third building is a church of some kind, where you can (see) some incredible paintings. The whole city is incredible.

Do you consider yourself an avid traveler?

I do like to get out a bit, yes.

What’s your best experience?
I went to Paris when I was 16, and I was there for a month. I was in school and I needed to go learn French. It was magical in a different way from Rome. New York is iconic in modern culture, but Paris is just beautiful. It doesn’t get much more European than that.

You do realize that one of the best movie-star perks is that you get to see the world for free, don’t you?

Yes, but I honestly just want to be doing good work. It doesn’t matter where we shoot. If the script is good and the character is someone I really connect with, that’ll be enough. When I’m working, I’m truly not out to be a tourist in any way.

Who Is Colin?

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Colin O’Donoghue is an Irish actor/musician. He was born in Drogheda, County Louth, Ireland on January 26th, 1981. He is best known for his role as Captain Hook in Once Upon a Time and his role as Michael Kovak in the Rite.

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