31 March 2023 The Irish Film & Television Network
IFTN Interviews Valene Kane, star of ‘The Fall’
05 Nov 2014 : Deirdre Molumby
Following breakout performances in Ivan Kavanagh’s ‘The Fading Light’ and Kieron J. Walsh’s ‘Jump’, actress Valene Kane from Co. Down will now feature in the critically acclaimed BBC series ‘The Fall’. She talks to IFTN about the hit series (which airs its second season this weekend) as well as about her acting career, which continues to grow with casting in international productions such as blockbuster ‘’71’ and ‘Frankenstein’, opposite James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe.

Can you tell me a bit about your character in ‘The Fall’?

“I play Rose Stagg, who is the ex-girlfriend of Paul Spector [played by Jamie Dornan]. In the first series, we just have an interview with her when she comes along and talks about an experience she had with an ex-boyfriend which appears to be similar to what the serial killer is doing.

“She is very normal, married, and a lovely mother of two, and in the second series she obviously gets herself into a bit of trouble because she has gone to the police about Paul Spector, who she knows is Peter.”

How were you cast in ‘The Fall’?

“I was cast in the normal way, I had to put myself on tape and send it into the casting director. But I think a friend of Alan’s [the writer] had seen me in a play prior and had mentioned my name and suggested I would be good for a role. So when the role was written I put myself on tape and they decided to give me the part, which was great.”

As I understand, you’ll be playing a bigger role in the upcoming series?

“Yes, it’s exciting, very much so. When it was talked about, after the series aired, I was really excited about it but you can never really get your hopes up in this game because there is a lot of stuff that’s talked about. But when the script actually landed on my front door and I read the part I was just over the moon that Alan had written such an incredible role for me.”

What can we generally expect from series 2 of ‘The Fall’?

“It’s funny because I recently saw the first two episodes at a press screening in London for the cast and crew. There’s a lot more of the same cool style that the first series had, but there will be more focus on Paul and we see more of who Paul Spector is. There is more of a personal relationship with Rose Stagg and with Katie, the babysitter [played by Aisling Franciosi], as well.”

Between the National Youth Theatre and the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, you did quite a bit of acting training, but it’s only really recently you’ve landed these major roles. Did it happen all of a sudden for you or were you going through hundreds of auditions?

“There has definitely been lots of auditions along the way, but I feel like where I am now is the first time when I really know the type of work I want to do. Drama school can be a bit full on and it was for me. I was really young at 18 and so naïve and it has taken a few years to discover what type of actress I am.

“You do have to get your face seen by the right people and every audition needs to be good so that even if you don’t get the job, you’re still booking the rooms, they think that she’s not right, but she is still good. There is so much competition because there are so many great actors that you have to find a niche and discover what it is that you do best. I think I’m only just understanding not only what I do best but also what excites me and what I’m into.”

What qualities drive you as an actor?

“A real love and passion, I don’t know what else I would do. Even at times I say ‘I’m not doing this anymore, I can’t take another no’, it lasts for about two days and then I realise I love this too much and I need to do it. I think a steely belief in yourself that you have something worth sharing and a real determination as well as an ability to hear ‘you’re too short, you’re too tall, you’re too fat, you’re too thin, you’re too ugly, you’re too pretty’ again and again and again and watch other people get the roles that you want and to keep going.”

Looking forward, you have some great productions under your belt and upcoming films include, and the highly-anticipated ‘Frankenstein’. What can you tell us about that film?

“I can’t say much about the film, but I play an integral part of the story at the beginning. When they realise they have ability to being people back from the dead and I have lost a child, and Daniel Radcliffe delivers my baby and brings the child back from the dead.

“It’s a beautiful film and it will be amazing, James McAvoy is an incredible, incredible actor.”

You also have the thriller ‘Panic’ and a horror called ‘The Hoarder’, opposite Mischa Barton, coming up. Is it important to you to keep your projects varied or what kind of projects do you look out for?

“Great writing usually. The next project I’m working on is a new BBC series called ‘Murder’ which is directed by Birger Larsen (‘The Killing’) and the writing is superb. It was the same with ‘The Fall’ and with ‘’71’ - with ‘’71’ I read the script and thought I have to be in this film, because it’s so brilliant.

“A good director is also really important. In ‘’71’, I just wanted to work more and more with Yann Demange, he’s so my type of director. He lets you do what you want and is willing to improvise but he’s also strong and doesn’t mind telling you you’re shit to your face, which helps when you’re in the dark and not sure if you’re doing it right and giving the director what he wants!”

Between ‘’71’ recently, as well as ‘Jump’ a few years back and now ‘The Fall’, it’s been really interesting seeing Northern Ireland becoming a site of interest for film and TV production.

“It’s crazy, When I left drama school, I never used my own accent and I never thought I would because Northern Ireland was always so synonymous with the Troubles and there were never really interesting projects made there. I remember when I read ‘Jump’ I thought I had to be in it because I thought this is probably the first film that has ever been written that does not reference the Troubles at all. And it’s been really nice being a part of ‘Jump’, ‘The Fall’, ‘’71’ and others as a Northern Irish actress because it means something to me and I’m passionate about it.”

What advice would you give to aspiring actors?

“Know who you really are yourself, because if you don’t know who you are and what type of actor you are you’ll find it really hard navigating and you’ll find it really easy to be swayed by other people who are your competition. Make sure you have other interests, read books, watch films, and don’t let acting take over your life because you’ll become a one dimensional person. Just be a real human in the world, and be inspired by other things in the world, because that way you’ll be a more interesting person and actor.”

‘The Fall’ airs on RTÉ One on Sunday November 9th and on BBC Two on Thursday 13th November.

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