San Andreas: Donegal teenager Art Parkinson gets his Hollywood break in new disaster film

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Media captionDonegal teenager Art Parkinson's role in new Hollywood blockbuster San Andreas is his major breakthrough in film, as Keiron Tourish reports

As he serves coffees and cakes in his parents' Londonderry café, Art Parkinson could easily pass for a typical teenager.

But instead, his is a life much less ordinary.

This talented 13-year-old from Moville in County Donegal is making a name for himself in Hollywood circles.

He plays a major role as a character called Ollie in new disaster movie San Andreas, about a devastating earthquake that hits San Francisco.

Already having starred in feature films Dracula Untold and Shooting For Socrates, as well as fantasy drama TV series Game of Thrones in which he played Rickon Stock, this latest project is Art's breakthrough in film.

It sees him appear alongside action movie icon and former professional wrestler Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, and he wasn't fazed by the Hollywood A-listers in his company.

"The filming was amazing, working with people like Paul Giamatti and Dwayne Johnson.

"[Dwayne] is a really nice, down to earth guy, and he gave me a lot of tips on set and helped me."

Image copyright ROBYN BECK
Image caption Art says Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson gave him tips on the set of San Andreas

Filming for the role took Art right across the world.

"We went out to Australia to start filming for three months, and after that we went to San Francisco for two weeks," Art says.

"Australia was great, we learned how to surf and we surfed all the time."


Acting is in the family genes. Art's mother Movania had roles in television drama Heartbeat and long-running ITV soap Coronation Street, and she says her son has deserved his big breaks.

"He works very hard, he's very focused," Movania says.

"You could say it's luck, but he really wants to do this and he deserves it because he works so hard."

Despite his new-found fame, Art says there's nothing quite like getting back to Moville for a kickabout with his brothers.

"It's great to get away acting and get that experience, but I love being at home and going back to gaelic and soccer."

Image caption When he is back at home, Art helps out in the family coffee shop in Londonderry

Art's mother says he is the quiet type when he is back home, always keen to lend a hand in the coffee shop.

"We live in a little fishing village and when he comes home he doesn't really talk about it.

"It's a totally different life from the one he leads in Hollywood where he's hanging out with all these famous people that he considers his friends."

Art has recently finished working on animated film Kubo and the Two Strings with Oscar winners Matthew McConaughey and Charlize Theron, but he is remaining tight-lipped about that.


His proud older brothers Padhraig and Pearce Parkinson admit to feelings of jealousy, but are always on hand to "keep him on the ground".

"I don't think many people from Moville have ever got an opportunity like this," Pearce says.

"People think it's brilliant that a boy from Moville can go to Australia and San Francisco and be a big actor."

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