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December 31, 2019 - admin - 0 comments - Filed Under: interviews   the nightingale - Share:

New interview with Aisling for The Irish World.

You’ve seen her in The Fall, Jimmy’s Hall and more recently in Game of Thrones, actress Aisling Franciosi told David Hennessy why, when playing a survivor of rape in her starring role in The Nightingale, she felt a responsibility to those who have suffered sexual abuse in real life.

Irish actress Aisling Franciosi first came to people’s attention as the schoolgirl who fell under the spell of Jamie Dornan’s killer in The Fall. She has also acted for director Ken Loach in Jimmy’s Hall. More recently she played Lyanna Stark, the mother of Jon Snow in HBO’s huge fantasy series, Game of Thrones.

She continues to tackle serious themes in her first major big screen role, The Nightingale, in which she plays an Irish convict during Australia’s ‘Black War’ who seeks revenge for the murder of her family and her rape by British soldiers.

Aisling spoke about how she met with survivors of rape to help inform her performance and how she felt a responsibility to them while telling the story and set the record straight on mass audience walk outs in reaction to its violent scenes.

When The Nightingale screened at Sydney Film Festival last year, it was reported that masses walked out because they couldn’t handle the tale of rape and revenge. It was reported that the majority of the audience felt it was too much and left.

Aisling tells The Irish World that this story was misreported: “There were a couple of people who left. I think it was ten out of 900 or something like that. In the festival circuit it’s a very common thing for a million and one different reasons and a million and one kinds of film for people to leave a screening, so I think it must have been a slow news day and I think the reasons that they gave it were blown out of proportion.”

Set in 1825 in the penal colony of Van Diemen’s Land (which is now Tasmania), The Nightingale sees Aisling play Irish convict Clare who goes looking for revenge against the British officers who raped her and killed her husband and baby in front of her eyes. Looking for revenge, Clare follows her assailants through the wilderness with an Aboriginal man as her guide.

“Yes, the film has some very difficult scenes in it to watch but they are not in any way gratuitous, they are there for a reason and they’re shot in a very particular way. I don’t think the word is necessarily graphic, I think it’s more emotionally extremely confronting. Again most people took it through the movie, they didn’t leave.”

“Honestly I’ve been really pleasantly surprised in that the majority of people have responded really well to it. Obviously it’s a very confronting watch and people acknowledge that. I don’t think you can watch it without finding it quite confronting and definitely very thought-provoking.”

“A lot of people say to me that the film really stuck with them for days and they found themselves thinking about the topics and themes in it. That, to me, is a win because my dream and goal making films was to make work that makes people feel something and I definitely feel our film does that and it does it for all the right reasons.”

Aisling has been honoured with an AACTA (Australian equivalent of Oscars of BAFTAs) award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Clare.

“I obviously knew the scenes were going to be a lot but having spoken to Jen (Kent, writer and director), I just realised how intelligent a woman she is and how much thought she put in to this script and the years of research that went into it. I knew that we would be shooting it in a very particular way, the meaning and the message behind the scene and the reason for doing it was very, very clear to us. I wasn’t worried about it being gratuitous. I really don’t think that it is.”

Aisling will be familiar to many from her role in BBC’s The Fall where she played the young babysitter who fell very much under Jamie Dornan’s lead character’s spell. She also acted in Quirke with Gabriel Byrne, for Ken Loach in Jimmy’s Hall and played a huge role in Game of Thrones where, although she only appeared in two episodes, her appearance brought a revelation from the show’s back story.

Aisling wanted to portray her character realistically and met survivors of abuse to inform her portrayal of Clare.

“I felt a massive, massive sense of responsibility not just because I wanted to tell the story of survivors from the get go but during my time doing research I met with real victims and people were extremely generous in sharing their trauma with me in order to get to a place of playing this role as authentically as I could. I really felt the weight of responsibility of telling this story the right way, of filming these scenes the right way and honouring their generosity.

“We had both sides of the reaction spectrum in that we had some survivors and victims of abuse saying that they just found it too much which is completely understandable, but the good side of it is we also had, in particular, women come up to us and say, ‘Thank you for showing the PTSD you have to deal with after an event like this’.

“I had one woman come up to me in LA and say to me, ‘As a victim of sexual violence, I felt understood watching this film’. So there are pretty powerful reactions and that’s what I love about cinema that tries to be honest and bold is that it provokes very, very different reactions and very different reactions provoke conversation and that’s the most important thing.

“When I was reading the script, the main thing that stood out to me was it felt like more than an entertainment piece. Some film and TV is made just purely for entertainment and that’s fine and then there are others that I think do something more. I think that was the feeling I got when I read the script the first time. I thought, ‘Wow, this script is a really powerful story and actually it feels like it is trying to be more’.”

The film tries to accurately represent what a victim really goes through in the days after such an attack so Clare’s ordeal is not over with the end of the attack or even the end of the film.

“The rape was not just a catalyst for the story. What Clare goes through is what a lot of women go through, convicts and the Aboriginal women at that time, and many women continue to be subjected to this kind of abuse even today. This is a reality of being a woman at that time and so for us to tell a story about a female convict in Australia at that time and to set it during what was known as ‘the Black War’ (Struggle between British colonists and Aboriginal Australians in Tasmania in the years 1820- 1832), you can’t possibly tell those stories without honouring the whole truth of them. Unfortunately one of the awful truths that they had to endure was this kind of sexual abuse and assault and violence.

“It was never going to be there as just an element of drama. Jen and I were very clear on it needing to be from the female perspective, for it to be based purely on the emotional damage that violence causes. There’s no skin, there’s no nudity, there are no two bodies in frame, it’s all focused on faces and from the female’s perspective, from Clare’s perspective. It’s important that we see these horrific crimes and acts of pure violence are not just something being done to a body, they are something being done to a human being and the emotional fallout from that is devastating.

“There is so much violence on TV and film and we become incredibly desensitised to it because you can frequently distance yourself from it or disengage from it in some way whether because it’s in a comical setting or if it’s set in some fantastical land or because you don’t get to connect with the victim. In ours we wanted to make sure that you connect with your victim, you see the emotional impact and that you understand truthfully how horrific violence is. It’s not something that should be there just for entertainment.

“If we really want to make progress, we have to avoid cyclical violence: This idea of an eye for an eye. The resilience of Clare was just something that really struck me as well.

“Of course as well looking at how horrific colonialism is and how it strips tribes, people of their identity and how destructive and powerfully dehumanising it can be. Obviously it’s something that happened then, it’s something that is still happening now. I was fascinated by these questions through Clare’s story.”

The Nightingale is available on Apple TV, iTunes, Amazon Video, Sky Store, Virgin Movies, Google Play, Youtube Movies, Rakuten TV, Talk Talk TV, BT TV Store, Playstation Store, Microsoft Store, Curzon Home Cinema.

December 20, 2019 - admin - 0 comments - Filed Under: interviews   the nightingale - Share:

We take a little detour from our witch series to bring you a bonus episode about the new film by director Jennifer Kent, The Nightingale, released in UK cinemas today. Anna interviews the lead actress, Aisling Franciosi, and is joined by Watershed’s Cinema Producer Tara Judah to discuss the film.


December 20, 2019 - admin - 0 comments - Filed Under: interviews   the nightingale - Share:

Are you familiar with Aisling Franciosi? The Irish-Italian actress is still unknown to many, but if you look closer you may recognise her from Game Of Thrones in which she played a young Lyanna Stark (Jon Snow’s mother for the uninitiated).

While Aisling knocked on the door of fame with appearances in Game Of Thrones and The Fall, Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale looks set to be the actor’s breakthrough on the big screen.

Unlike her acclaimed film debut, The Babadook, Kent’s second film isn’t part of the horror genre, but it’s definitely horrific in its own right – probably even more so. A harrowing tale of rape, injustice and revenge that uses colonial 1800s Tasmania as its backdrop. A historical slap in the face that will definitely leave a scar on everyone watching.

Here, Aisling Franciosi shares the good and the difficult of playing Irish convict Clare in The Nightingale.

The Nightingale is painful to watch. Acting in it must have been even worse. How long did you have to work on the character before filming?

I had a nine-month wait between being cast and starting the filming. At the time, having all this time was anxiety inducing, always thinking of the possibility that the production could be stopped (for lack of funding). Looking at it in retrospect though, it was a huge advantage and a blessing, really. It’s so rare to have so much time to prepare for a role, I could really get the character to sink in to my bones.

How did you prepare for this difficult role?

Me and Jen (Jennifer Kent) would talk all the time about the script and I did a lot of personal research, not only just on the historical period but also about the themes of the film. I watched tons of documentaries about sexual violence, violence against women and especially PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). I worked with a clinical psychologist, I got to meet with real victims and social workers in centres for domestic abuse so there was a lot of preparation even before arriving in Tasmania.

Did you have a therapist on set as well?

Not at all times but the same clinical psychologist who worked with Jen on the script and who I worked with to prepare the role was there. She was on set when we were filming those particularly harrowing scenes (Clare, played by Aisling, suffers horrible violence in the film) and I checked in with her at the end of shoots as well.

How was the atmosphere on set while filming those harrowing scenes?

Honestly, those were some of the most upsetting scenes I’ve ever had to film – it was the same for all of us. But, in a strange way – and I know this might sound crazy – I think it was also one of the most special two days of filming. Everyone was so respectful to each other, everyone was trying to get the most truthful performance possible, we were all supporting each other and there was a lot of love on set as well.

Was it painful to watch for you?

Not the first time but the second time I watched it just brought me back. My legs started to shake at that scene (a rape-murder scene) without me even thinking about it. It was really brutal to have to do them but we really felt like we were trying to tell a story for a reason and it kind of took on this extra importance, or it certainly did for me. I talked to these victims who were generous enough to share their trauma with me and their stories with me so I really felt like I had to honour them and their generosity and what happened to them so it was super challenging and really exciting but also quite humbling. It was an honour to be able to be the voice of these women in a way.

Most people know about that period in history but there is not much storytelling around it. Was it difficult to get the film made?

Everything was difficult, the funding, the location and getting everyone there. Of course Jen casting an unknown actress in a lead role didn’t help with the funding! But Jen is fearless and completely uncompromising on things that shouldn’t be compromised. I think she is really brave and sometimes it seems disingenuous to use the word ‘brave’ when talking about filmmaking but when you see some of the visceral reactions she got, to having put her neck on the line and put out this story, to show the truth for what it is, she really is brave.

Do you think we need more bravery in films today?

So much film is about pleasing everyone, not saying anything troubling just to make as much money as possible but that’s not truly what the purpose of storytelling is. Of course even I like to go see a movie that just lets me check out and get entertained for two hours but I think we need more than that. A really huge part of what makes a healthy society is having art that actually says something, that tries to spark conversation and I think despite the backlash that the film got, it did spark conversation. We have got people talking and I think it has been a thought-provoking film experience and I am really proud of being a part of it.

The backlash could seem ridiculous as the violence in The Nightingale is nothing compared to some other films.

Yes, like any Tarantino film! In one way it seems ridiculous but in another way it points to a much deeper societal conversation. The fact that we got so much heat for the violence in our film while, for example, I watched Once Upon A Time In Hollywood and people were laughing their way through a scene where someone gets her face smashed against a wall. It’s a very strange moment when you think ‘why is this type of violence ok?’. Yet, I understand it – and I am a fan of Tarantino so it’s not me doing him down – but it’s an interesting moment to go ‘oh you are ok with this guy making this film with these horrific violent scenes but you are not ok with us actually really showing very little of the violence but showing you the emotional pain’.

What do you think is different?

It’s a very interesting double standard that we have and it’s not necessarily a double standard between men and women – even though it is probably a little bit of that – but I mean double standard as: it’s ok if I am able to disengage but it’s not if you actually make me feel something. It’s fascinating.

Do people fear empathy?

People fear being made to experience uncomfortable feelings. Watching things that have actually happened and are happening.

Some of the scenes are quite intense for you and your co-stars as well, how did you keep the balance during filming?

We didn’t try to keep a balance. Initially there was a conversation about keeping me, Sam and Damon quite separate so that you could have this kind of strange distant dynamic but as soon as we started workshopping some of the material we realised that we really needed to know each other as well as we possibly can. We had to become friends and really trust each other for being able to be in the incredibly vulnerable positions we were in during filming. Not just me but them as well – it’s awful what they have to do. We really got to know each other very well and we were able to do these horrible scenes all the while knowing that we cared about each other and that we trusted each other.

The really interesting relationship in the film is the one you have with Billy. You start from being quite mean to him and then your relationship grows to become a friendship and also a co-dependence. How was building that during the filming and before?

The relationship between us is the most beautiful part of the film and it’s also the most important part. It’s through him and him being able to treat Clare with a bit of human decency and respect that she ultimately decides to save herself and not just go down a road of self-destruction through violence. That was one reason why Jen had Baykali and I arrive six weeks before the filming started, while the rest of the cast arrived three weeks later. She wanted us to build a trusting relationship because of the nature of our relationship in the film. Baykali had never acted before so it was important for him to be comfortable with me in terms of acting but also comfortable with me off screen. I think if you have a good relationship off screen it makes the scenes so much easier.

That friendship also makes for one of the best scenes of the film…

Yes, the moment at the campfire where we sing. In that moment we see that they are both the result of colonisation which strips people from their culture, their music, their dance, their language. Through these two traditional songs, Billy and Clare are really marking their own identity but also realising that the person on the other side isn’t what they thought he/she was. It’s a nice moment of realisation for the two of them.

About the songs, which are in Gaelic and Palawa Kani, did you have the help of a linguist?

I understand and speak Irish so I had to learn the song but it wasn’t too bad. On the other hand, Baykali had to learn Palawa Kani which is a Tasmanian Aboriginal language. At the time of the colonisation, they experienced almost a genocide but the Tasmanian Aboriginals feel very passionately about letting the world know that they are still there. They are piecing back together this ancient language and of course Baykali had to learn it.

We had an Aboriginal advisor on board the whole way through the film and the edit. People can be a bit antsy about who can tell which stories but unfortunately there is intersectionality in life, different stories will intersect. Jen was very aware of that and had Jim Everett, an Aboriginal elder, working with her on the script. He was there every day of the shoot and he was there during the edits to make sure that Billy’s story is truthful and just as valid as Clare’s is.

On to Jennifer Kent, did you know her before?

I had seen The Babadook but I didn’t make the connection straight away when I got the script. I wanted to do the part anyway but realising that it was her script was just another reason to do it.

The way the film is shot feels claustrophobic. Jennifer Kent concentrates on the characters’ faces, almost to force the viewer to look at them.

She wanted to make the public look at the characters as people. She didn’t want them to become dehumanised. She wanted it to be very obvious that you were looking at a human being with a soul, a life and a spirit and not just at a thing or a body that events are happening to. You can’t look away from their humanity.

The Nightingale is in UK and Irish cinemas now.

December 19, 2019 - admin - 0 comments - Filed Under: interviews   podcast   the nightingale - Share:

This week’s Empire Podcast sees a panicked and flustered Chris Hewitt (you’ll have to listen to the show to find out why) sit down with Sam Claflin and Aisling Franciosi, the stars of Jennifer Kent’s wonderful new film, The Nightingale. They talk about working with Kent, the perils of shooting in Australia, and Claflin talks about becoming one with nature.

December 19, 2019 - admin - 0 comments - Filed Under: black narcissus   interviews   movies   the nightingale - Share:

Interview with Aisling for The Irish Times


We must resist the temptation to say that Aisling Franciosi is everywhere. It’s about to feel that way, but the Irish-Italian actor – she nods to both nationalities – has ridden the peaks and troughs of her precarious business. A little over a year ago, her gut-wrenching performance in Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale knocked the Venice Film Festival sideways. As we meet, she’s shooting the juiciest role in a BBC adaptation of Rumer Godden’s Black Narcissus. There is, however, no sense of complacency.

“After The Nightingale, I got one more job and then I had a horrible year – until July of last year,” she says. “You work solidly for seven years and then there’s a dry spell. That was interesting. The Nightingale was getting a lot of attention and people were saying: ‘You’re having such a busy year.’ But I wasn’t actually working.”

People say: ‘If you have positive thoughts, that’s going to affect how you feel.’ The same is true if you are putting yourself in negative feelings for 16 hours a day. I was pretty exhausted by the end of the shoot

At any rate, The Nightingale is finally here to unsettle and engage brave audiences. Kent’s follow-up to The Babadook casts Franciosi as an Irish immigrant to Tasmania who, after a brutal rape, follows her assailant through rough terrain towards a horrific reckoning. Along the way, she gains an understanding of connections between the colonised Irish and the indigenous peoples of Australia. The consistently strong reviews all focused on the ruthless integrity of Franciosi’s performance. It was an emotionally wrenching experience.

“I had played traumatising roles before, but I had been able to leave the work behind when I went home,” she says. “But this was a whole different experience. The material is very heavy in terms of the violence against women and the racially motivated violence. I had nine months between getting the role and shooting. I did a lot of research. I worked with a clinical psychologist. She had worked with the script since the beginning. She facilitated me meeting real victims of domestic violence.”

Franciosi explains that this experience left her with a sense of responsibility towards those victims. She wanted to honour their stories. She didn’t want to trivialise or sensationalise the experience of sexual assault.

“We are in this era of ‘mindfulness’ now,” she says. “People say: ‘If you have positive thoughts, that’s going to affect how you feel.’ The same is true if you are putting yourself in negative feelings for 16 hours a day. I was pretty exhausted by the end of the shoot.”

The rape is hard to watch. So are subsequent beatings and killings. Set in 1825, The Nightingale concerns itself with the roughest frontiers of the British Empire. Society (such as it is) exists amid filth and brutality. Indeed, the film is sufficiently arresting to have generated one backhanded honour: a preposterous scare story in the Daily Mail. Last summer the paper told us that “viewers walk[ed] out of gruesome horror film The Nightingale at Sydney Film Festival”. The piece went on offer no real evidence that “the majority of the sold-out audience . . . felt the historical drama went too far.”

We can probably dismiss that (it’s not a horror film, for starters). But it is reasonable to ask if Franciosi was comfortable with the explicit violence.

I had one woman in her 40s come up and say: ‘As a victim of sexual violence, I now feel understood’

“I didn’t have concerns,” she says. “I knew it would hit people hard and maybe be too much for people. If someone has been through something and they want to leave, that is understandable. That’s fine. We wanted to make sure that if we are making a film about violence you had better feel the emotional impact of that. There are so many films that are violent, but that are set up in a comical way or in a way that allow you to disengage.”

There have been emotional scenes at the end of some screenings.

“Some people have walked out,” she says. “Others have come up to us afterwards and thanked us for showing the effects of PTSD. I had one woman in her 40s come up and say: ‘As a victim of sexual violence, I now feel understood.’”

Now 26, Franciosi speaks with great articulacy about these issues. Her accent is unmistakably Irish, but, resident in New York for five years, she has picked up a few American inflections. There are worse things than being from everywhere. Born in Dublin, daughter of an Irish mother and an Italian dad, she moved with the family to Italy in 1993, but came back four years later when her parents separated. I wonder how she describes herself. Is she Irish? Is she Italian? I guess, like most of us, she’s some class of hyphenate.

“I always mention both,” she says. “My formative years were spent in Dublin. I always feel the need to add: ‘But I am also Italian!’ My mum cooks Italian. I always had a good relationship with my dad. I went back a lot. So I always feel connected to Italy.”

Actors with similarly complex backgrounds often claim that they profit from the variety of voices spinning round their brains. The job involves shifting from one persona to the next. So it can only help if you have lived in different environments and tasted other cultures. Or does it? I’m not sure I am making sense here.

“I’m not sure I have a great answer to that,” she says tolerantly. “From an acting point of view, it helps that I studied languages. I love that. I love the structure of language. When I connect to a script it’s usually because of language. When people see me speak Italian they say: ‘Your whole body changes.’ So there is something in that.”

Such a mix of cultures would once have seemed exotic in Ireland, but I’m betting that, by the time she got to Trinity College Dublin, we were all blase about that sort of thing.

“Yeah, I never really felt exotic,” she says. “When you are used to being who you are you don’t think about it. Maybe in the States that’s still true. They are still impressed by someone from Europe who speaks another language. Ha ha!”

Franciosi did a speech and drama class when she was six and was immediately hooked. She came straight home and told her mother that she was going to be an actor. She admits her parents probably wished she’d chosen something a little less precarious and remembers them being relieved that she stuck to her studies, got a good Leaving Certificate and entered Trinity to study Italian and Spanish. She was, however, always on the lookout for acting jobs. A role in A Christmas Carol at The Gate breached the wall. A strong part opposite Jamie Dornan in the BBC’s The Fall widened the opening.

LA is not the city for me. I don’t love being in a city that is so dominated by the entertainment industry

“Getting The Fall was so cool. It was my first thing in TV. I was still in college. I dropped out . . . Well, actually, I didn’t really drop out; I was given an ultimatum,” she says slightly shamefacedly.

Notwithstanding the quiet periods discussed above, she seems to have made good on that semi-voluntary expulsion. Dark, with a strong, rich speaking voice (and, as demonstrated in The Nightingale, a sure way with a tune), Franciosi is the sort of flexible leading actor casting directors crave. She remains, however, impressively realistic about the challenges faced and overcome. She was here. She was there. She now sounds settled in New York.

“I had been in London for five years and then I did go to LA for a while,” she says. “I have friends there. There are things about it that I like. But it is not the city for me. I don’t love being in a city that is so dominated by the entertainment industry. But it’s easier now with self-taping for auditions. It’s easier to get cast. When I didn’t click with LA, I thought: I will go to New York. It is six hours from LA and six hours from London. It works.”

Following that iffy period after The Nightingale, Franciosi finds herself in an indecently exciting new role. Rumer Godden’s novel Black Narcissus, concerning squabbling nuns in the Himalayas, was a sensation in the pre-war years, but is now best known as the inspiration for Michael Powell’s immortal 1947 film. In the BBC’s new take, Gemma Arterton succeeds Deborah Kerr as the uncertain Sister Clodagh. Diana Rigg is Mother Superior. Franciosi takes over from Kathleen Byron as the sexually voracious, demented Sister Ruth. What a legacy.

“I put the film out of my mind as much as possible,” she says. “I was a bit nervous about watching it. I eventually did and it is amazing, but it is very much of its time. So that set my mind at rest a little. I have to give it my own take.”

The location shoot in rural Nepal is over – a week away from phone and internet service, she tells me – and, as we talk, she is taking breaths between calls to the London set. Contracts are about to be concluded for an exciting, still-secret job coming her way in February. And so the rollicking journey continues.

“When I was younger, I spent a while working in a cafe in Foxrock,” she remembers. “I did a few jobs where I had to live on those savings. Then I was able to replenish them.”

There’s a lesson here.

“People ask for advice and I say: ‘If you can save anything then try and save. Save!’”

Things they don’t teach you at Rada.

The Nightingale is in cinemas now.

December 19, 2019 - admin - 0 comments - Filed Under: interviews   movies   the nightingale   videos - Share:

The star of Jennifer Kent’s new thriller The Nightingale has responded to moviegoers who walked out during a screening of the film at the Australian premiere earlier this year.

Rape (the second instance in the first 30 minutes), murder and infanticide all feature in a shocking sequence which caused numerous audience members to leave the cinema in protest. According to IndieWire, one person could be heard shouting: “She’s already been raped, we don’t need to see it again.”

Now, during an exclusive interview with NME, Aisling Franciosi has given her opinion on why the scene could prove too much for some.

“I think there are a lot of different reasons for why people leave,” she said. “First of all, that [incident] was misreported. At festivals there are always walkouts for a million different reasons. But look, there are some people for whom this film is just too confronting, and to use the modern term, it’s triggering for some people and that’s fine.

“This film isn’t an endurance test, it has its message and I think if you get to the end of it you see what that is.”

Franciosi went on to detail the emotional response she’s received from rape survivors who have watched The Nightingale. “What I love about our film, and films in general is, that it’s never going to have the same impact on everybody,” she said. “We’ve had victims of abuse, for example, who found it too much and had to leave and that is absolutely fine.

“But then we also had victims who came up to us… I had a woman after a screening in LA who said, ‘as a victim of sexual abuse, I feel understood after watching this film.’ And that’s just massive, so it’s always gonna have a different effect on different people and I would never judge anyone for finding it too much.”

However, Franciosi, known for playing Lyanna Stark in Game Of Thrones, also urged cinemagoers to “try and make it through the rest of the film” as there is “an emotional payoff and a very important message” to be discerned by its end.

Later in the same interview, Franciosi and her co-star Sam Claflin (Peaky Blinders) revealed how they reacted upon reading the script – penned by The Babadook director Jennifer Kent – for the first time.

“I found it incredibly upsetting,” said Claflin. “This was the first script that I read after becoming a new father for the first time… After that scene I was like, ‘this is a moment where I either put the script down…’ but I think there’s something about the truth of that moment that I found incredibly compelling and I don’t know why. I was almost fascinated by these people and the world that was created and I continued reading.”

Franciosi also found the script hard to read and admitted she had to “take a bit of a breather” before finishing the 19th Century Tasmania-set revenge thriller.

“Jennifer [Kent]’s writing is so intelligent,” she added. “Unfortunately, these are the realities of what happened then. It’s not something she’s just put in there for the hell of it.”

‘The Nightingale’ is in cinemas now

December 19, 2019 - admin - 0 comments - Filed Under: interviews   the nightingale - Share:

Metro Entertainment’s full interview with Sam and Aisling on “The Nightingale”

Sam Claflin and Aisling Franciosi portray the horrific realities that occurred in 19th-century Tasmania, including endless rape, murder, violence and slaughtering of Aboriginals.

Jennifer Kent’s new period-thriller sees Sam as Lieutenant Hawkins, a power-hungry monster of a man, who would stop at nothing to gain captaincy and kept Aisling’s character Clare Carroll (an Irish convict) as his servant and victim of his sexual sadism.

Speaking to, the 33-year-old Peaky Blinders star revealed: ‘I cried a lot really. We choreographed it to within an inch of its life.’

‘We built a trust and a level of comfort and an understanding of where one another’s boundaries were and how far we can push it with one another. We wanted everyone to feel as safe as possible.’

He recalled the moment in the film when unspeakable evils were forced upon Clare, her husband (Michael Sheasby) and her baby, where Sam was afraid he had actually ‘hurt’ Aisling.

‘There were still moments where, I’ll never forget,’ he continued. ‘Where one of the first scenes we did, the initial traumatic event, I think it was week one, I’ll never forget, I think there was a moment where Jennifer said cut and Aisling was still crying and I wasn’t sure whether it was her in character or whether I had hurt her.’

‘The trauma of it, pretty much every time we did it we were all crying.’

The movie was based upon very real events, and although it is a tough watch, it holds an important narrative that explains how European colonists almost annihilated the island’s entire indigenous population.

Aisling spilled: ‘There was a lot of hugging on set to reassure each other that we’re okay. We also had a clinical psychologist on set too.’

‘She would call for breaks a lot. It wasn’t an ongoing thing, she would come down for the particularly difficult scenes and just make sure we’re okay, call for breaks now and then.’

Aisling spends most of the film with Baykali Ganambarr, a novice actor who plays an Aboriginal tracker Billy helping Clare on her mission of revenge, and he couldn’t be happier that the Aboriginal culture finally got its well-deserved recognition on the big screen.

‘I am so honoured and proud to be representing Aboriginal Australians on the big screen and showing the wide world that this happened to my people and that we are still here,’ Baykali revealed.

‘So many people across the world don’t know that we still exist, and movies like this will definitely open people’s eyes.’

When asked how he reacted first watching the harrowing film, he said: ‘I was so sad, emotional, happy just all sorts of emotions. Sad and emotional because I can’t believe this happened to my people and happy because our story is finally being told and shared to the rest of the world, to finally be recognised and be known that we Aboriginal people of Australia are still here.’

‘The brutality depicted in the movie is only just scratching the surface, it is the first and it is definitely not the last.’

On the bright side, it wasn’t all trauma for the actors of The Nightingale.

As the cast and crew stayed on location for the filming, Sam, Aisling, Baykali and the rest of the team got to wind down from the traumatic days of production.

Aisling laughed: ‘We were all staying together, it wasn’t like we were going back to our own homes. We were all on location, so when we finished we could all hang out and have a drink, play Cards Against Humanity, so it was okay.’

The Nightingale is out in UK and Ireland cinemas now.

December 19, 2019 - admin - 0 comments - Filed Under: Events   interviews   news   Public Appearances   Q&A   the nightingale   videos - Share:

Aisling with her co-star Sam Claflin  attended a Q&A session of “The Nightingale” at Curzon Soho on (November 27) in London, England.

See the photos by clicking on the thumbnails below.


December 16, 2019 - admin - 0 comments - Filed Under: interviews   movies   the nightingale - Share:

Interview with Aisling for Yahoo Movies UK.

The Nightingale star Aisling Franciosi says her film deals with the “emotional damage” of sexual violence, rather than focusing on “gratuitous” brutality.

The new film from The Babadook director Jennifer Kent, set in 19th century Tasmania, has been criticised for its scenes of rape and violence against women, but the 28-year-old leading lady believes the extreme content is justified.

Franciosi portrays Irish convict Clare, who engages in a chase through the bush with British Army lieutenant Hawkins (Sam Claflin) in the wake of a horrific act of violence on his part.

“In showing the reality of [the violence], we show the emotional reality more than anything,” she tells Yahoo Movies UK.

Franciosi says she could name “innumerable” recent films that feature horrible violence, but have not been criticised in the way The Nightingale has been.

“I really believe that our film is not gratuitous at all. In certain aspects, you rarely see most of the act of physical violence on the body. We tend to focus on the emotional damage and you see that through the character’s faces. I think that makes people unbelievably uncomfortable.”

She adds that audiences have become “unbelievably desensitised” to a sort of extreme violence, taking place in a fantasy world which creates a distance between reality and the screen.

“Something in the way that they’re shot allows us to not see a human being,” says Franciosi. “We just see a body that we don’t know. I think [our film] tries to really focus on something being done to a human being. In focusing on the really upsetting emotional damage, we kind of hit a nerve with people.”

Yahoo Movies UK: It’s such an interesting film, this one. How familiar were you with Jennifer from her previous work?

Aisling Franciosi: I had seen The Babadook but, interestingly, when I read the script for The Nightingale for the first time, I just scrolled past the title page and so I started reading the script not knowing that she’d written it. I’d already wanted to do it, but obviously I met Jennifer and that made it even more of a project I wanted to be a part of.

I think, by the time we got to shooting, yes I probably felt a little bit of trepidation. But initially, when I was in the auditioning stage, I think I had gone into “actor wanting to prove themselves” mode. I just wanted to get the part in the bag. Once I got cast, I had a moment of “oh okay, now I have to actually deliver and let’s hope I can do that”.

Well I think you absolutely do that. It’s a very physical, powerful performance that works all of your acting muscles. What was it like to have to get into that space?

I think that was one of the things that attracted me. A role of this scope coming along is very rare, so I knew it would definitely be a challenge but one that I really wanted to see if I was up to. It definitely runs the gamut of all of the emotions. It was the most challenging job I’ve ever done. The material is quite sensitive and the subject matter is pretty heavy and devastating. Just physically as well, it was tricky.

For me, it was the emotional side I found difficult. I was surprised at how difficult I found it to deal with the off-set emotions that arose after filming. That took me by surprise. I thought I could just switch it on and off, but I think because of the material we were doing and also, in my research, I got to meet real victims and social workers who shared their stories with me, so it took on a whole new weight of responsibility. I really felt that when we were shooting the more difficult scenes and I found it quite difficult to turn that emotional tap off at the end of the day.

Between getting the part and filming, nine months had passed. At the beginning, I was quite anxious and worrying whether we would ever get the green light. But in retrospect, it was a real blessing because it’s so rare you get that amount of time to prepare for a role. Within that time, I asked Jennifer to point me in the right direction in terms of historical research from the period. I read books mostly about convict history just because I wanted to get Clare’s story into my bones initially.

>Once we got closer to shooting, I started educating myself on the Aboriginal history of Tasmania. I also watched numerous documentaries about sexual violence and violence against women. I read up about PTSD and I wrote to the clinical psychologist who had worked on the script throughout its development with Jen. That was fascinating and really helpful in terms of navigating the journey of PTSD.

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