AJ Buckley BELLO #Entertainment

LEPRECHAUNS, DINOSAURS, PILATES & PIXAR. The first-time father reveals all.


Featured in BELLO mag Entertainment November 2015 issue #92 with Romulo Neto on the cover – Download BELLO App for free

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He is due to play Kevin Brady in Netflix’s new series “Narcos,” which details the notorious and scandalous story of Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar. Additionally, he has been cast as Marty “Junior” McCormack in TNT’s critically acclaimed crime drama “Murder in the First.” Despite the serious nature of these shows and the immense brooding depth of these roles, AJ has welcomed with open arms a very different character in the form of a loveable and whimsical T-Rex. It seems the Irish-born actor has a real soft spot for the Disney and Pixar family, no doubt thanks to his new father status.

Having emigrated from Donnybrook, Ireland when he was just six years old, AJ has a penchant to visit his roots again. “I was actually there [Ireland] two years ago. I’d love to go back there again. My daughter’s 21 months old now, so I definitely want to take her back there and show her the land of the leprechauns”.

The newfound father is overjoyed to be playing the adorable Nash in Pixar’s highly anticipated “The Good Dinosaur.” “The reason Pixar are so successful is because they’re such a family. I’m a huge dork, as I love cartoons and I have absolutely loved every Pixar movie that has ever been made. They’re all classics. I actually had to check with my agent and said: ‘Are you sure this offer is me for me?'”
AJ is already getting his daughter geared up to see him on the big screen this Thanksgiving. “Her first time in a movie theatre will be to watch this film [The Good Dinosaur]. I’ve got her loads of dinosaur books and I keep trying to tell her that Daddy’s a T-Rex. She’s pretty pumped up about it so it will be interesting to see her reaction”.



However, the reason he was originally chosen to play Nash wasn’t so adorable. “The director happened to love “Justified.” He was like, ‘I love your character and when I heard your voice I thought you’d be perfect for Nash.’ Nash is this T-Rex who is really friendly and kind of dumb, which is so crazy because my character on “Justified” is a sociopathic, murderous person. You just never know what role is going to get you your next job so it’s quite a funny story. This was definitely on my bucket list.”

Taking a stark turn, AJ is set to make an appearance in Netflix’s upcoming series Narcos. He plays detective Kevin Brady who is exploring the infamous drug cartels in the 70’s, when cocaine first hit the market. “It was really fun, I was in Bogotá, Colombia filming, which was interesting. I had seen some documentaries on Pablo Escobar, but I did not know the depths of what the guy had done. It is pretty insane. He was making $60 million a day at one point and he did not know where to put the money so he would just dig holes and bury it”.

Similar to this role, AJ has also been cast as cop Marty in “Murder in the First.” The level of physical aptitude that was required of him to play this character proved tough. “When I got cast, I was a little out of shape from being a dad. I call it ‘fappy’, fat and happy! So there was this strict requirement that in order for me to play this role I really had to put on some muscle. I had this amazing trainer, Rehan Jalali, who has trained Ben Affleck and a bunch of other actors”.

Not only did AJ improve on his form physically, but he also found a difference in his mindset and approach to life. “My lifestyle just completely changed because there were all these opportunities that opened up for me. I know I’m never going to be this super wiry guy so it is about finding out what is the best you can be with what your body is able to do. That was the approach he took. He said to worry about what everyone else looks like, but on what is the best that you can get you to be and mentally stay there.”

What is even more interesting is the type of exercise AJ embraced while he was training. With his sculpted and toned physique you would not think he got that way from doing downward-facing dog, would you? However, pilates proved to be one of his most intense workouts. “I did a lot of Pilates with Ky Evans. I don’t care what anybody says, it is hard! Ky was a former ballerina. I mean have you ever seen a male ballerina before? They’re jacked!”

Of course, exercise is only the half of it. “The biggest thing was I went on this Mediterranean diet plan from Lee Knaz. I ended up losing like 40 pounds, which is by far the best shape I have ever been in. It’s become addictive. Even when I have cheat days, my body doesn’t feel good, so I find it is much better to eat clean all the time.”

With 2015 rapidly drawing to a close, it is good to know that we will still be able to see AJ in action with “Narcos” and “Murder in the First” before the year’s out. Moreover, “The Good Dinosaur” is due out in theatres on November 25th, just in time for Thanksgiving!

Photography: Ted Sun (www.tedsun.net)
Styling: Catherine Joubert (www.catherinejoubert.com)
Grooming: Joseph Adivari (www.josephadivari.com)

About The Author

Stephane Marquet
Creative Director

First of all, excuse my French! … I was born in the South of France. Lived in Paris for 10 years and travelled the world until I moved to Los Angeles in 2008, because obviously recession was a great time to move to a new country! I also arrived around Halloween and was greeted at the Social Security offices by a nurse who directed to the window Number 6 so a witch could hand me my social security number. Welcome to America. I am a painter, a photographer and the creative director of BELLO mag.

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