With no previous acting experience, Irish-born Eamonn Owens impressed a casting assistant enough to make the finals for the leading role in Neil Jordan's "The Butcher Boy" (1997), adapted from Patrick McCabe's. The then-13-year-old had been a participant in his hometown's marching band and had modeled clothes for a local shop, but acting was not on his agenda--until scouts auditioned him and his classmates for the central role of a troubled youth with homicidal tendencies. The red-haired Owens was a natural as the young Francie Brady, coping with the death of his mother and his virtual abandonment. (The adult character is portrayed by Stephen Rea.) When incarcerated in a correctional facility, the youth becomes an altar boy and experiences visions of the Virgin Mary that offer his comfort. The budding thespian followed with a turn as the younger version of the criminal Martin Cahill (played as an adult by Brendan Gleeson) in John Boorman's biopic "The General" (1998). Owens also landed a supporting role in the BBC-produced series "Amongst Women" and made a cameo appearance as a hunchback alongside younger brother Ciaran (who was cast as the pre-teen Frank McCourt) in "Angela's Ashes" (1999).