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Young Irish Actors among Screen’s 2014 Stars of Tomorrow
05 Jun 2014 : Deirdre Molumby
Sam Keeley
Screen International has just announced its 2014 UK Stars of Tomorrow, profiling names to look out for in rising actors, writers, directors, producers and heads of department. While filmmakers Cathy Brady and Stephen Fingleton were named Stars of Tomorrow last year, this year has seen the inclusion of two up-and-coming young Irish actors – Aisling Franciosi and Sam Keeley.

Aisling Franciosi is the first Irish actress to appear in Stars of Tomorrow. The 22 year old studied at Trinity College Dublin, during which she also took roles in theatre, and left in her fourth year to take a part in RTÉ drama ‘Quirke’ opposite Gabriel Byrne. She was then cast in IFTA-winning series ‘The Fall’ as the bright teenage neighbour of the serial killer played by Jamie Dornan. She recently completed shooting the second series of the BBC NI drama in Belfast.

“I knew that acting was what I wanted to do,” says Franciosi. “I started drama class when I was six years old and that’s when I said I wanted to be an actress. A lot of kids say that but for me I really did mean it. There have been days when I wonder what it’s like to not want to be an actor!”

Franciosi can currently be seen in Ken Loach’s ‘Jimmy’s Hall’ (see an interview with the cast and crew here), and recently attended the Cannes Film Festival where the film premiered. She states that overall, she wants to have “as varied a career as possible. If getting a bit better known allows you to work with and have access to people in the industry, then that’s what I want.”

Sam Keeley came to the attention of the industry by snatching up the lead in ‘Monsters: Dark Continent’, which is directed and written by former Stars of Tomorrow Tom Green and Jay Basu. He is also due to star in Ron Howard’s highly-anticipated ‘Heart of the Sea’, the true story of Moby Dick, for which the 23 year old actor will be required to lose a great deal of weight to play a starving sailor.

Keeley has also attended the Cannes Film Festival, for Rebecca Daly’s art film ‘The Other Side of Sleep’, the feature which also marked his first big break. He also had a small role in E4 series ‘Misfits’ (directed by Tom Green and leading to the ‘Monsters’ role), and also starred opposite Jack Reynor in Lenny Abrahamson’s ‘What Richard Did’.

He is thoughtful and down-to-earth about his career overall, stating “My experience has been practical; I’ve digested the books and come up with my own method, and I’m learning all the time. There’s been some good work I’m involved with out there at the moment, and I’m waiting to hear back from, so I’m excited about the future.

The annual feature in the pre-eminent international film industry publication focuses on actors and filmmakers coming up and making waves in the upcoming years. In the past, the magazine spotlighted John Boyega (recently cast in ‘Star Wars Episode VII’ opposite Domhnall Gleeson), Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield, Robert Pattinson and James McAvoy.

‘Screen’ Contributing Editor Fionnuala Halligan, consulted several industry experts including casting agents, talent agents, managers, producers and directors to select the greatest rising talents in Britain and Ireland from a selection of hundreds of names. She stated, “Opening Stars of Tomorrow out to include talent from the Republic of Ireland and young heads of department gas been tremendously exciting… but now more than ever the pressure is on with the number of places.

“Everyone included this year is on the cusp of a hopefully stellar career in the British and Irish film industries and I hope people will take note. I’m very much looking forward to seeing how they fare in the future.” Wendy Mitchell, Editor of ‘Screen International’, added “We love being able to play a small part in helping grow the careers of this class of stars. It will be inspiring to see where they go next.”

Keeley, Franciosi and the other stars will be toasted at a reception tonight at BAFTA. The event is sponsored by 3 Mills Studios and Air New Zealand, and supported by Creative Skillset and MAC.

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