Laura Livingstone on the red carpet

Iron Man 2

When Laura Livingstone left Ireland in 2006, she couldn’t have imagined that a few years later she’d be part of the team behind blockbuster hit Iron Man 2 (box office $250,000,000 and counting):

‘I grew up in Armagh itself and moved to the country when I was 16, to Ballymacnab, but I was only there for two years before I went to Dublin for college. My trip here was supposed to be for 18 months, and I’m still here! ‘

She initially moved to Los Angeles when her best friend Claire and her sister got jobs in Orange County, and suggested that she try her luck as well. Her ability to speak Spanish and knowledge of European movie co-production from her time at the Northern Ireland Film Commission won her a job at a film production company setting up their next movie.

When the actor and writers strike bought Hollywood to a halt, she moved to San Francisco and worked on non-profit documentaries and took a digital film course before landing a contract gig at legendary Industrial Light & Music (ILM) in the Presidio, where she worked in the office of the Visual Effects team on the hit movie:

‘I worked as a Production Assistant. Myself and my colleague were responsible for keeping the office ticking and assisting the producer, the production manager and the production coordinators in any way we could. I was also a point of contact and support for the artists and animators working on the movie.‘

She recently returned to Armagh, where there was a surprise waiting. One of her old friends is manager of the local cinema, and she arranged a special screening for nearly 50 people who all walked the red carpet to the city’s arts center for a post-screening party:

‘My sisters and brothers all came home for the screening and my sister’s boyfriend from Liverpool said over a few drinks the night before that someone should dress up as Iron Man. I think he regretted it, as he was handed a costume the next day before the screening! It was funny when the local kids were chatting to him and he was answering questions about Iron Man in a very strong Liverpudlian accent. It was cool when they all saw my name in the credits and everyone cheered!‘

Laura lives right beside Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, and her lifestyle reminds her of home:

‘We barbeque in the park at weekends from spring to autumn, and it’s great living beside the beach. In Ireland I was never far from a beach and they all have something in common; the water is freezing and you don’t go in, but it’s nice for a walk!’

She loved the beaches in L.A. too:

‘When I first landed with my friends we stayed in a hostel on Venice Beach Such an amusing place to live! We met some characters, that’s for sure. Since the girls lived in OC I got to see lots of different places; we went to San Diego for Comic Con, and went clubbing Downtown and in Hollywood. An actor friend of ours got us into loads of clubs and we were a bit of a novelty (three Irish girls!).’

Her favorite place is Santa Monica, where she used to live just off Main Street:

‘I knew all the shops, bars and restaurants there. I would bump into people and it reminded me a little bit of walking down the street in Armagh as it had a community-like feel to it.‘

She goes home to Ireland twice a year and misses department stores Penny’s (in the South) and Primark (in the North), but as for the future she wants to stay in visual effects:

‘I’ll find out soon what I’ll be working on next. In the past I have worked on smaller productions, this is my first experience working on a blockbuster and I loved the excitement of it.’

James Bartlett


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