29 May 2024 The Irish Film & Television Network
IFTA Q&A Series: ╔anna Hardwicke on Acting
01 May 2023 : Luke Shanahan
╔anna Hardwicke
To mark the 20th anniversary of the IFTA awards, we are showcasing Irish talent who are blazing a trail across our industry, working in front of and behind the camera.

Hosted in association with IFTA, this Q&A Series connects with Irish talent who represent a range of disciplines across our industry. 

We find out what they look out for in the projects they take on, what their approach is to filmmaking and collaboration; what inspires them; and what recent work in the industry they most admire.

Éanna Hardwicke is nominated for Best Lead Actor in a Film for Lakelands. Hardwicke studied at the Lir Academy in Dublin. In 2021, he was IFTA-nominated for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama for Smother. His screen credits also include Lorcan Finnegan’s Vivarium, The Sparrow, Fate: The Winx Saga, and Normal People. He began his career as a child actor in Conor McPherson's The Eclipse.

IFTN: IFTA celebrates 20 years this year. How does this significant milestone reflect the growth and strengthening of the Irish film industry over the past two decades?

ÉANNA: “We've always been a great island for storytelling. And cinema seemed to be the least used medium. We didn't always have a culture of cinema. That's changing now and we have some of the most skilled professionals in the world working here. So that mixed with our brilliant natural storytellers is paying dividends now it seems.”

IFTN: What do you look out for in a script?

ÉANNA: Anything bold and original whatever the genre. And the chance to do something vastly different from what you've done before. With each new story you want to feel like you're jumping into a very different world. Complex characters, dialogue that is particular and considered, and scenes that you can do over and over again and find new things in them.”

IFTN: How do you prepare for auditions, and what advice would you give to younger actors?

ÉANNA: “Prepare and when you think you're done, prepare some more. There's no substitute for that. I'm a believer in learning your lines so well you can do anything with them. And then before you go in, relax, whatever that means to you. Calm your body and mind.”

IFTN: How did you approach playing your character in this film, and how much rehearsal was involved?

ÉANNA: “I always look at how we are similar and how we're different. What are the things, a skill, an accent that you have to pick up. And then I try to imagine the rest. The back story, the way they think, the relationships in their life.”

“Our head of acting used to always say take them on a 24-hour mull over. Go for a walk and think as they do. At the end of the day it's all imagination, and your imagination is like a muscle, it needs to be exercised.”

IFTN: What Irish Actor/s have you been most impressed by recently?

ÉANNA: “Too many to mention. I've always been a huge admirer of Brendan Gleeson. He disappears into the story he's telling and he's so versatile and skilled. And all of the acting in An Cailín Ciúin was great.”

“I worked with brilliant actors on Lakelands, actors who can make you forget you're in a scene altogether. That's the goal I think.”

IFTN: What Director or Actor would you most like to work with and why (Irish or international)?

ÉANNA: “I try not to make lists and just see what comes! I always would have said Lenny Abrahamson, and then I was lucky enough to work with him. So I've been very lucky so far. Paul Thomas Anderson if you're pushing me.”

IFTN: We often are our own worst critics. What is your approach to constructive criticism and inward reflection?

ÉANNA: “Don't beat yourself up ever. This is an apprenticeship and clearly you're going to get better the more you do it. You can't expect to get it all right from day one. And the courage of getting up and making something means you're already on the right track. So learn from the work you've done and keep an open mind to other ways of working at the same time.”

IFTN: What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given in your career?

ÉANNA: “I once heard Kristin Linklater say 'All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy'. A great antidote to the nature of ‘hard’ work . And a reminder that it's all about play in the end. Don't take yourself too seriously and be sure to enjoy it first and foremost.”

Director Colm Quinn discusses documentary Ransom 79
Oscar-nominated Todd Field discusses directing at IFTA Masterclass
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