Interview with actress Aisling Franciosi, European Shooting Stars

About her lead role in "The Nightingale", her television experience and the thrill of her first Berlinale

As every year, the Berlinale hosted once again the European Shooting Stars. This event brings together and awards ten promising up-and-coming actors from all over Europe: new talents who have gained recognition for their participation in recent acclaimed films and TV series.

This year’s Shooting Stars included Irish-Italian actress Aisling Franciosi, who is best known for her lead role in “The Nightingale” by Jennifer Kent, presented in competition at last year’s Venice International Film Festival. TV series fans may also know her for portraying Katie in Belfast-set drama “The Fall”, Lyanna Stark in “Game of Thrones” and Kate Crawford in “Legends”.

We met her for a brief interview at the Shooting Stars press event.

 

Hi Aisling, nice to meet you. Let’s start with a question that probably you’re sick to hear: how does it feel to be one of the Shooting Stars?

You know, I didn’t get that question as much as I expected! It feels pretty great, it was actually a big surprise for me, I didn’t realize that I could be on the list. And to fly the Irish flag is pretty cool, a bit surreal too because many actresses that I admire have been awarded in the past, such as Ruth Negga. So it feels surreal but also lovely.

And is this your first time here at the Berlinale?

Yes and it’s exciting, but I have a very packed schedule. When I saw it I thought: oh, better bring some snacks because I don’t think any eating is going to happen!

Let’s talk about “The Nightingale”. It is a film about violent revenge but also a road movie, because your character, Clare, goes on a quest: how did you interpret this dualism of your character?

Clare goes on a difficult journey through Tasmania, but the most interesting part to me was the difficult emotional journey she is undertaking. So it is nice because there are two journeys that are very much intertwined: the physical trudging through the bushes in Tasmania, paired with her finding the way through her grief and loss, her burning fury and search for revenge.

So is she changed at the end?

Absolutely. I think our film is in some way brutal because one of the definitions of brutal is not trying to cover up unpleasantness, but it is really about how important it is to manage to hold on to our empathy and humanity in dark times. It’s easy to love everyone when things are going well, but when times are dark how do you stay human? So by the end, I think her friendship with Billy is the relationship that ultimately leads her to want to choose to save her humanity rather than just… take a different path. I don’t want to give too many spoilers to your readers who haven’t watched it yet!

There are some scenes in which you sing. Are these songs typical of the time the film is set in?

Yes, Jennifer is so specific and detailed that she was never going to let a song that was not from that time in! Those are traditional Irish songs, and I am not lucky enough to be massively skilled… You know, traditional Irish singing has a very particular style and very particular sound and voice that go with it, but I gave it a shot! And it was really nice for me to be able to bring Irish language and songs into a more international movie.

Yeah, traditional Irish songs would deserve more attention! Last question. You played in some TV series too, what difference did you feel between shooting for television and shooting for cinema?

I guess usually with TV you have a longer time with your character, time to explore different facets of it because you get to live with it a little bit longer. But then with Clare, I really felt she was in my bones so that’s a similarity in the film… But I like the idea that a film is a whole world encapsulated in two hours, it’s a nice challenge to be able to bring out the richness in two hours.

Thank you very much, Aisling!

Grazie a te, ciao!

 

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Originaria della provincia di Roma, vive tra l'Europa e la Cina, coltivando la sua passione per lo studio di società e culture. Dottoranda a Berlino, ama scrivere di cinema, viaggi e letteratura. Si ritiene democratica e aperta alla critica, purché non sia rivolta ai libri di Harry Potter.

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