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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: Links   news   the nightingale - Share:

The Nightingale‘ is now available on several digital platforms such as Hulu, Amazon Prime and Google Play. Below we list links to streaming services where you can rent it, buy it or simply watch it. Enjoy!

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


Set in 1825, Clare (Aisling Franciosi), a young Irish convict woman, chases British officer Lieutenant Hawkins (Sam Claflin) through the rugged Tasmanian wilderness, bent on revenge for a terrible act of violence he committed against her family.

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

Aisling Franciosi offers her interpretation of her new film, The Nightingale’s, message to society. The Nightingale is a period thriller written, co-produced, and directed by Jennifer Kent.

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

Aisling and Sam talk about The Nightingale with The Peoples Movies.

Aisling Franciosi is modestly dismissive about one of her most arduous moments while shooting Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale, the uncompromising and often savage story of a woman in 19th century Tasmania whose life is almost destroyed by a British officer. Filming on location during a cold Southern hemisphere winter was hard for the cast and crew alike – and more than a little eventful for Franciosi herself, who had a demanding scene in a fast flowing river.

“On the last day of shooting, in the river I got hypothermia and I fainted and couldn’t go on. Fortunately it was the last day!” She adds that it was probably her own fault “because I said I as OK to go back in for another take probably sooner than I should have.” Nonetheless, it was a shoot that she and co-star, Sam Claflin, are unlikely to forget for a whole host of reasons, not the least of which was the Tasmanian climate. Claflin recalls a day when they “were climbing mountains and the rain was coming at us sideways and it was so cold. Thankfully, our costumes were pretty massive and thick – which was also a problem for when it was really sunny! The entire shoot was physically challenging definitely, and the whole thing was an experience I will remember for the rest of my life.

If the physical side of the shoot was tough, the emotional demands on the cast – and sometimes the crew as well – were even more so. For an actor often associated with heroic and romantic roles, Claflin found it hard to resist playing the profoundly unsympathetic officer who brutalises just about everything and everybody he touches. Finding a way to understand the man was less than easy. “Selfishly, the prospect of playing somebody so far removed from myself was attractive. As an actor, I love losing myself in roles and in immersive experienced and fortunately Jennifer Kent saw some potential in me. We went back and forth on building his history, the sort of man he is, why he’s angry and why he’s got so much rage and bitterness inside him. And we created a backstory, that he grew up in a very violent and aggressive home, a military household so that he was pushed into it at a young age, that he was beaten by his father and he probably had an older brother so that he had that inferiority complex – never being quite good enough – so there was a fear in him, insecurities that make him the way that he is.”