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Features & Interviews

Jessie Buckley Talks with IFTN
19 Feb 2019 : Nathan Griffin
Jessie Buckley in 'Beast'.
IFTN caught up with Irish actress Jessie Buckley at the Sky Ireland launch to discuss ‘Wild Rose’ ‘Chernobyl’ and the 2019 BAFTAs.

Originally from Killarney, Co. Kerry, Buckley first came to prominence when she came second in the BBC reality television series ‘I’d Do Anything’ in 2008, a talent show series where actresses competed for a major West End musical role. She has appeared as Marya Bolkonskaya in the BBC’s dramatisation of ‘War and Peace’, before earning a major part in the BBC television drama series ‘Taboo’, opposite Tom Hardy. 

Buckley also played the lead in the psychological thriller ‘Beast’ in 2017, which was nominated for Outstanding British Film in the BAFTA 2019 Awards. Buckley herself won the London Critics Circle Film Awards for Best British/Irish Actress of the year for her portrayal of Moll Huntford in the film.

More recently, Buckley has received much acclaim for her performance as the lead in ‘Wild Rose’, a story about a former prison inmate from Glasgow dreaming of becoming a country music star in Nashville. . The film has seen Buckley receive an EE BAFTA Rising Star nomination at the 2019 BAFTA Film Awards alongside Dublin native Barry Keoghan. The Irish actress will also star in the original Sky drama ‘Chernobyl’, a dramatic look at the events surrounding the catastrophic Chernobyl nuclear accident.

IFTN journalist Nathan Griffin caught up with Jessie to find out more about the upcoming series and more.

IFTN:  Firstly, congratulations on the rising star nomination. How was that whole experience?

Jessie: “I had a really lovely night. I get quite nervous at those things because, they are totally surreal and I’m a trainer’s girl and I generally look homeless so I get more nervous about having to wear heels and put on a bit of (a show). But actually I had such a lovely night and it’s so nice to celebrate everyone.”

IFTN: Did you spend a lot of time with Barry Keoghan since you were both nominated in the same category?

Jessie: “We saw each other at dinner and we kinda hung out, yeah. I love Barry and I just think he’s so fantastic. I really think he’s just one of our most exciting new actors. I’d love to work with him. There were a few friendly faces there which was nice, that always makes it better.”

IFTN: With Chernobyl, what can you tell us about the experience of doing such a historically significant series?

Jessie: “Well it was one of my favourite things that I’ve ever shot purely because of that and there was an incredible energy on set. Everybody was so invested in being truthful and telling the truth about the story, which hasn’t really been told truthfully and with that came fear (laughs). You feel responsible because it’s not fiction it’s fact and it’s telling the truth about the story, but I really loved it. I feel we needed to be honest in being part of that story.”

IFTN: You have spoken before about getting to meet someone like Adi Roche and going down that crossroads of dramatization with the real life. How was it meeting her and what did you learn from that?

Jessie: “She is just an incredible woman, what she’s done for Chernobyl and the children of Chernobyl and the families of Chernobyl. I knew about the charity and of her but actually speaking to her and looking at all the stuff that she has done has just blown me away. It’s been really nice for both of us that this story is coming to light and keeping people mindful of what happened and what is continuing to happen. People are still victims of the explosion and there are children who are still incredibly sick. I hope that we can continue to work together and bring some light on the amazing work that she has done with this.”

IFTN: ‘Wild Rose’ is another project that you are getting a lot of acclaim for at the moment. Having a background in singing and theatre, how enjoyable was it to do a project like that?

Jessie: “So much fun! I got to be as Northy and Bulgy and Bold as I possibly could, it was such an amazing shoot and I got to mingle with all my best friends as well. Tom Harper was the director but also was someone that I would do anything for, that I’d trust with my life. We were just a team and it felt really exciting, organic and raw and it felt fresh to see a woman be a character like that. It was reverent and humane and complex. For me it was like a prison break film which made it especially liberating. It was about this tenacious courage of a woman who was breaking down the four walls that she was told she was only allowed to dream in society because she was from Mary hill in Glasgow. Her only trajectory was to go and work in Gregs and she was like “F**k this man, I’m going to go to Nashville and become a country singer”. Sometimes those dreams have consequences but she goes on a journey. Anyway blah blah blah, I loved it! (laughs)”

Jessie Buckley can next be seen in Tom Harper’s ‘Wild Rose’, which is set for an Irish release on April 12th.

'Chernobyl' will air on Sky Atlantic and Now TV this May.

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