The secrets are out on Genevieve’s latest roles
When the first trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hit the internet earlier this year, the secret Genevieve O’Reilly had lived with for almost a year was finally revealed.
The Dublin born, Adelaide raised actor was playing the pivotal supporting role of Mon Mothma, the Rebel Alliance leader who recruits young outlaw Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and pairs her with Captain Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) for a covert mission to steal the plans for the Death Star, the set up for the events in the original 1977 movie.
“My inbox was suddenly very full because I hadn’t told anybody I was doing it,” O’Reilly says. “So when the trailer was released it was very exciting — for me too, which was great.”
It’s particularly heartening for O’Reilly, who played the role in Revenge of the Sith but her scenes ended up being cut.
O’Reilly, born just a few months before the original film was released, has always been a fan. “Isn’t everybody a Star Wars fan? Imagine a story that can bring grandparents, parents and children to the cinema. It is a true phenomenon that all began in the head of one man.”
O’Reilly is well known in the UK where she’s appeared in a number of big TV shows including Spooks, Day of the Triffids, The Honourable Woman and in the title role in Diana: Last Days of a Princess.
Fans of Episodes will remember her as the blind wife of a TV executive, Merc Lapidus, and she’s returned home for roles in the BBC series Banished and the ABC’s return from the dead series Glitch.
O’Reilly also revisits one of the strangest true crime stories in Irish history in the new SBS drama The Secret (mild spoiler alert), the chilling tale of how an affair between dentist Colin Howell (James Nesbitt) and Sunday school teacher Hazel Buchanan (O’Reilly) led to the murder of their partners in 1991.
The pair were upstanding citizens who met at the local Baptist church group in Coleraine, Northern Ireland. Managing to make the murders look like suicide, they got away with the crime for 18 years.
“I didn’t know the story at all,” O’Reilly admits. “So I had a bit of catching up to do because Jimmy (Nesbitt) is from that town, he knows all the people.”
The most fascinating part of the story is trying to understand how two God-fearing, respected members of the community could somehow rationalise their terrible deeds as justified.
“It’s extraordinary,” she says. “Within the righteousness of their religious beliefs they believed somehow that God would approve of murder before divorce.”
THE SECRET, SBS, TONIGHT, 9.30PM