Danny Mahoney discovered his love for performing at a young age, which led to studying at the prestigious London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), a critically-lauded stint at The Old Vic Theatre on West End and quite the growing body of work. 

Danny currently stars in Popstar! TV’s horror-thriller series, Purgatory, a project for which he initially didn’t set out to audition. The show follows a group of strangers invited to Shambala, a remote winter resort, for New Year’s Eve. However, one person has plans that don’t involve celebrating, and what transpires is a suspenseful, psychological thrill ride. 

Recently, I had the privilege of chatting with Danny about his role in Purgatory, what fans can expect for the rest of Season Two, his dream role and more. 

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This interview is condensed for clarity.

Melody McCune: We at GGA love a good origin story. What’s Danny Mahoney’s origin story?

Danny Mahoney: I grew up in Dundalk, Ontario, and from there, I made my way to Queen’s University in Kingston. I did four years there, and right after Queen’s, I moved to London to train at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Then, I ended up spending most of my time in London for the past 13 years, so that’s my journey in a nutshell.

MM: Let’s talk about horror-thriller Purgatory, where you star as Chris. How did you get involved with the project?

DM: It was just after Christmas, and I was looking to be productive. I thought, “You know what, I’m going to give myself a task today.” I’m going to try to learn a couple of scenes as fast as I can and do a self-tape, and that’ll be my project for the day. That same day, an email came in from a publication called Backstage, where they put out casting notices. I found the casting for Purgatory — they included sides for the audition.

I didn’t even apply for it. I was like, “Oh, this is perfect; I’ll use this as my practice for the day.” Then, as I was working on the script, I was like, “Oh, I’m enjoying this, and I’m doing the work anyway, so I might as well submit myself for it.” After several auditions, self-tapes and a Zoom callback, I got offered the role.

MM: How does Chris fit into the overall narrative?

DM: Well, without giving too much away, the show centers on the tragic crime that happened eight years before the show starts, and my character, Chris, was monumental in that event. It triggers a revenge plot that sucks all these strangers into this underground cave where they get trapped and are victims to this elaborate plot for which someone’s trying to get revenge on them.

Purgatory actor Danny Mahoney

Pictured: Danny Mahoney

MM: What’s your favorite scene you’ve done on the show so far?

DM: I won’t say very much about it, but my last scene of Season Two is my favorite. I mean, the whole process, it’s such an intense show, and it’s a psychological thriller. We’re stuck in this cave, and there’s so much tension throughout the whole series. It was emotionally draining and taxing, but I loved the challenge of it.

There’s this beautiful scene our writer and director Michael Caissie wrote at the end of Season Two for my character, and it was a cathartic way to finish the season, and it’s a touching scene.

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MM: Do you share any similarities with your character?

DM: Chris has a fear of this secret about what he did coming out, and if that secret were to come out, it would destroy his life, his family and his wife — all the people he loves and cares about would be significantly impacted by it.

So, my way of connecting to this character was to think about my loved ones and how I would feel if I ever did something that would ruin their lives. Just saying those words to you now makes me feel something, and that’s the way I connected with him.

MM: Describe Purgatory using three words.

DM: Intense, claustrophobic and suspenseful.

MM: What can audiences expect for the remainder of Season Two?

DM: A lot more blood to be spilled. Answers to a lot of questions posed in Season One, and I think some satisfaction.

MM: Do you have a dream role? 

DM: I was so impacted and blown away by Band of Brothers when it came out. I re-watched that mini-series so many times. I love history, and in particular, I’m interested in wartime history and the stories of these people put in the most extreme circumstances imaginable. I would love to tell a story related to that. A World War II epic drama would be my dream role.

MM: What advice would you give to aspiring creatives looking to get their foot in the door of the industry?

DM: Take some classes, and find a community. Connect with like-minded people there for the same reason you are, and go for it, whether it’s making short films with other people you know, taking classes, or auditioning and getting into an acting school.

Get as much experience as you can. I had amazing three-year acting training at LAMDA, but the real education happened on the spot and from working. I’ve learned so much from just doing it, so don’t let the fear of not being good, messing up or what people think about you; don’t let that hold you back. Go for it, and don’t be afraid to fail.

Purgatory actor Danny Mahoney

Pictured: Danny Mahoney

MM: What else is on the horizon for you, career-wise?

DM: Well, to be honest, I just flew back to Canada last night! This is my first time home in almost two years because of the pandemic, and I’ve kept the month of October free.

MM: I don’t blame you.

DM: I was like, “Nothing is going to prevent me from coming home and seeing my family.” At the moment, I’m looking forward to a month of just being in Canada, seeing my family, seeing my friends and then when my trip is done, I’ll focus on the next project.

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MM: Good for you. You need to take that time to relax! Have you binge-watched anything interesting during the pandemic?

DM: I watched Promising Young Woman on the plane last night. It’s been on my list for a while, and I’m a huge Carey Mulligan fan. When I saw it was available to view, it was the first thing I watched, and it’s my favorite thing I’ve seen this year.

Carey Mulligan is astonishing, and it’s such a good script. Everyone needs to see this film. In terms of binge-watching, The Morning Show, Little Fires Everywhere, I May Destroy You and I recently re-watched The Comeback with Lisa Kudrow.

MM: Name your top five favorite films.

DM: Someone asked me this recently, and the first thing that popped into my head was Anne of Green Gables. Bridesmaids is a good one. I love The Bourne Trilogy, and I’m such a sucker for The Notebook, so I’ll put that on the list. Number five would be The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

MM: Danny, thank you so much for chatting with me. Congratulations on everything!

DM: Thank you, Melody!

Be sure to follow Danny on Instagram and Twitter. Then, tune in for new episodes of Purgatory every Thursday on Popstar! TV. 

This interview was originally published on 10/8/21.

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