Sing Street Stars Have a Bit of Boston in Them

Ireland's Ferdia Walsh-Peelo and Mark McKenna recently brought their music to the Charles River.

Ferdia Walsh-Peelo and Mark McKenna in 'Sing Street' Photo by the Weinstein Company

Ferdia Walsh-Peelo and Mark McKenna in ‘Sing Street’ Photo by the Weinstein Company

Between their hipster chic style and flowing brown hair, one could be forgiven for mistaking Irish actors Ferdia Walsh-Peelo and Mark McKenna as members of One Direction.

While they may not have legions of screaming fans like the pop boy band, the pair is quickly becoming rock and rollers in their own right after their first major film roles. Walsh-Peelo and McKenna are two of the stars in Sing Street, the latest musical drama by Oscar-winning director John Carney, which is receiving rave reviews from audiences and critics across the globe.

The film received a standing ovation after a screening at Sundance earlier this year and is poised to become a cult phenomenon as it begins to roll out here in the United States.

“We didn’t expect it to go so well, like ever since Sundance, it’s just been a crazy whirlwind of positivity,” Walsh-Peelo told Boston magazine. “Everybody’s been loving us. It’s kind of developing a little bit of a cult following at home because the people who love it just like love it.”

Walsh-Peelo—who was just 14 when he filmed Sing Street—play Conor, a quiet boy from a dysfunction family who ends up starting a band in order to impress a girl. While the concept has been done before, the film is a lot more fun than your typical teen romance and also features an ’80s inspired soundtrack that you won’t feel ashamed to rock out to in your car.

The pair showed off their musical chops during a recent trip to Boston.

“We were out yesterday taking a stroll, walking by the river there, the River Charles, isn’t it?” Walsh-Peelo says. “It’s not a lake, Mark thinks it’s a lake.”

They may not be experts in Boston’s geography, but the duo does have a bit of the city in them.

Walsh-Peelo has a number of close family friends who live in Boston while McKenna says that his two favorite films are The Departed and Black Mass.

“I’d like to see South Boston and see like Winter Hill and all that where Black Mass was based,” McKenna said during his trip to town.

The budding stars are hoping that Sing Street will turn audiences in Boston and cities across the country into mega-fans like the ones in their home country of Ireland.

Like their countryman and UFC star Conor McGregor, the teens have been getting an insane amount of support from Irish fans.

“Irish fans are really like the best fans in the world,” McKenna says. “When you go to a football match, if it’s an Irish game, Ireland could lose like 5-nill or something and the Irish fans will be like, ‘Yeah! This is the greatest game ever!’”

“We’re really like that in Ireland,” Walsh-Peelo adds. “We all kind of have each other’s back, I think, and like to support our own.”

As Sing Street mania starts to take over the world, don’t be surprised if it earns another Oscar-nod for Carney, who won an Academy Award for Best Original Song for the film Once.

The young actors, who hope to continue their music and acting careers going forward, didn’t feel any pressure over working with a director of Carney’s stature and definitely weren’t thinking about awards season while filming.

“Oscars are so last year,” Walsh-Peelo jokes. “John’s done that, been there. Whatever.”

They just hope that people will have some fun and learn a little bit about Ireland in the ’80s after seeing Sing Street.

“It just gives a really good insight to our own culture,” Walsh-Peelo says. “It was just mad in Ireland at the time.”

Sing Street opens in Boston on Friday, April 22.