Irish Actress Amy Shiels talks about working on home turf projects like 'The Secret' and ‘The Detour’ and her latest role on the new series of cult television show 'Twin Peaks'
IFTN: Talk us through how you got started in acting; what were your biggest influences and who best supported you?
Amy: I come from a family who are in business and never thought becoming an actor was something I could realistically consider. My sights were set on being a professional jockey.
Then one night I stumbled across an actors showcase in Dublin and it got under my skin. I auditioned for some fringe theatre, sent my info off to every casting director and agent in town then booked a role in a film and I was immediately hooked.
Then I jumped in with both feet and went off to drama school, acting has been my life ever since then.
IFTN: Your credits range from roles in ‘Love/Hate’ and ‘Veronica Guerin’ to the more recent ‘The Secret’ and ‘The Detour’. How do your experiences of filming in Ireland compare to those abroad?
Amy: I love Irish storytelling and the way we use language. Irish English has its own specific rhythms and cadence that lends itself beautifully to story telling. There’s a reason we’re known for poetry and story telling. Creatively we punch above our weight.
For me there is something nourishing about filming on home turf and coming home to my family home at the end of the night.
On the other hand there something about the scale and ambition of the American attitude to creating work that I find so inspiring. Their positively and focus is infectious and it taps into my own ambition and helps me give myself permission to go for it and stop worrying about getting things wrong.
IFTN: Talk us through how you came to know David Lynch’s original ‘Twin Peaks’ series—were you always a fan or did it come as part of your research?
Amy: I first saw Twin Peaks just after finishing Cowboys and Angels my cast mate Michael Legge introduced me to it and I was hooked! David Lynch’s work has always made me laugh through my terror - he’s still making me laugh through my terror.
David Lynch creates female characters that are fully rounded. Even the smallest roles have layers and nuance. They are imperfect - as we all are.
What has your experience with long term fans of the show been like since being cast in such a top secret project?
Amy: Twin Peaks fans could not be a more welcoming community of people. I love them - I’m a fan myself.
I was recently at a fan signing at a video game conference in Anaheim signing merchandise for a game I’m in Final Fantasy IV. The creator of the Twin Peaks Festival saw online that I would be there so he traveled down to personally invite me to the Festival this summer. That made me feel very welcome.
IFTN: What projects featuring Irish talent are you looking forward to in 2017?
Amy: Far too many to list here! But I will admit I’m waiting until I have a full evening free to binge watch season three of The Fall. I'm a huge fan of that show, how it’s shot, the reveals, how they built tension and kept our interest even after the secrets were revealed.
One of my long time friends is in Outlander, Sam Heughan, I went to the premier of that with him in NYC and found Catriona Balfe hugely inspiring.
It's an exciting time for Irish film and I love seeing Irish actors and filmmakers achieve recognition for their work abroad. I have to admit, when Meryl Streep said Ruth Neggas name at the Golden Globes I let out an audible squeal and shouted “I did a play with her!"
Returning to Ireland later this year to shoot DONT LET GO with Stephen Dorff.
Currently producing a US documentary THE DARK DOLLAR