Irish actor featuring in gay rugby movie opens up about overcoming bullying

The film and its release have been life-changing in more ways than one for the 33 year-old.

Gay man Pearse Egan playing rugby.

Pearse Egan, who was relentlessly bullied throughout his childhood, has told how the release of his breakthrough film in Irish cinemas has finally allowed him to move on from traumatic past. In From The Side, a poignant new movie about a gay London rugby team, has won over both audiences and critics since arriving in cinemas in both Ireland and the UK last week.

But for the Dublin-born actor, who stars as club comedian Pinky in his debut big screen role, the movie has been life-changing in more ways than one. It also marks the moment he’s finally come to terms with his harrowing past.

The 33-year-old, who was mocked and taunted on a daily basis while at school in Dun Laoghaire, said: “It’s taken so long to get to this point, but finally I feel proud of who I am and what I stand for.”

Now based in London and also working in the city’s competitive stand-up comedy circuit, he continued: “I don’t go back to Ireland much these days, because I often don’t feel I’ve done enough to warrant going home proud. But now it feels different.

“The film is being shown in cinemas in Ireland, and that means everything to me. I can now return home with my head held high, and watch the movie with my mother and friends. What an occasion that will be.”

Pearse, who is openly gay, also told of his hope that the rugby movie, directed by Matt Carter and co-starring former Emmerdale actor Alexander Lincoln, will encourage other young people who are struggling with their sexuality to come out.

Recalling the daily torrent of abuse he suffered during his childhood, he added: “I used to get regular flashbacks constantly of the horrific things I endured at school, whether it was being called a ‘fag’ or a ‘girl’ whenever I opened my mouth, or all the times I was physically attacked.

“I used to use so much energy in hating the kids who picked on me, but now I’ve flipped the narrative. I am in control, and I’ve swapped all that negativity for positivity.

“Both the stand-up and acting have been cathartic for me, but it’s taken up to now, the release of this movie, for me to be able to fully move on. And I’d like to give a big shout out to all the people who bullied me, and tell them that I forgive them.

“I’d love them all to go and see this film. I’m sure they’d get a big shock as to just how good I am on the big screen.”

Pearse also previously appeared on hit TV show Long Lost Family, where he was successfully reunited with his biological father. He has since built up a close bond with his Brazil-based Dad, Eddie Santos, and has even started learning Portuguese so he can communicate better with him.

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