Unusually for most directors, Rory Rooney’s lifestyle is almost as
exciting as his work - and he is gratifyingly thrilled about the whole
He gets his ideas from living above a brothel in Soho (’There’s one
woman who really goes for it ...’), having Damien Hirst as a former
landlord and having cut his teeth running for the maverick director,
Tony Kaye (’like pulling your fingernails out with pliers’).
Back in his production days - achieved by pestering people on the sets
he drove vans to and from after college - he produced Damien Hirst’s
effort for the satellite channel, TNT. ’It all got rather messy when
Hirst tried to shoot a kidney bean out of his arse and the ad was never
shown,’ he reminisces.
The Kaye work - including casting the storm chasers for Volvo’s
’twister’ - paid off. After directing for MTP in Scotland, he was
snapped up sharpish by Jo Godman and is now free to run wild, making
soft-porn pop promos.
He prefers unconventional casting methods. ’I knew this painter who
would make a great art director - I don’t want to look at eight CVs for
Kaye’s influence, he says, can be seen in the ’thoroughness and
spontaneity’ of his own work. But Rooney is still experimenting with his
style, and takes his influences from his immediate environment, which
includes his colleagues at Godman (he describes them as ’excellent
people’ who are willing to spend ’time and effort’ on him).
On set, Rooney is a whirlwind: ’I want to cram in as much as I can and I
probably work at 100 times the speed of everyone else. I am always aware
of the clock ticking away but I never compromise.’
The bulkiest section of his portfolio is devoted to Irn-Bru. ’The agency
called me in at the writing stage, so I was involved right down to
casting the nude bloke for ’invigoration’.’ The Co-op and Zeon watches
used the same tactic, getting him in early, and a test film for the Face
gave him full writing credit. ’I love ideas,’ he says. ’And this is the
way the industry is going.’
Looking ahead, Rooney sees bigger budget work, wants to win some D&AD
pencils and would ’love to do an Irn-Bru on Levi’s’.