Hu­ber­man close up

‘You don’t want to be seen as a fluffy Wag’ – the south­sider talks north­side with Tara Brady

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Front Page -

RE­FORMED ad­dict Karen is a happy house­frau with a pic­tureper­fect hus­band, an adorable tot and a sub­ur­ban ad­dress when, with­out warn­ing, her ex, Karl, shows up. A bona fide scum­bag from Karen’s colour­ful past, he’s not leav­ing with­out her. Trou­ble en­sues.

As Rewind, a taut, ef­fec­tive thriller from di­rec­tor PJ Dil­lon heats up, ev­ery­one on screen is re­quired to get in touch with his or her in­ner bunny-boiler.

But wait. Isn’t that Allen Leech, the love­able cheeky chap from Cow­boys and An­gels, es­say­ing the men­ac­ing Karl? It gets weirder. Amy Hu­ber­man – yes that Amy Hu­ber­man – plays the de­cep­tively pas­sive hero­ine, a char­ac­ter de­fined by des­per­a­tion and traces of a low-born ac­cent.

Huh? Isn’t she sup­posed to be a nice, mid­dle-class girl? Isn’t she sup­posed to be the Nation’s Sweet­heart? “It would have been eas­ier and less daunt­ing to play an Amer­i­can or Aus­tralian,” laughs the ac­tor. “But when you’re do­ing the ac­cent from down the road it’s ter­ri­fy­ing. Es­pe­cially when the film is for an Ir­ish mar­ket. And es­pe­cially when ev­ery­body knows you as a lit­tle south­side girl. Talk about set­ting your­self up. The first day on set I felt like bricks were com­ing out of my mouth.”

She got bet­ter. In­deed, much of Rewind’s im­pact is de­rived from Hu­ber­man’s in­verted El­iza Doolit­tle, a role she re­gards as the most sig­nif­i­cant in her ca­reer thus far.

“It was such a de­par­ture for me from any­thing I’ve done. I was so ex­cited about go­ing in to it. Peo­ple keep ask­ing me if I was out of my com­fort zone, but I was more in my com­fort zone than ever. I wanted the chal­lenge. I wanted to test my­self. This is what I’m sup­posed to be do­ing . . . Hang on.” She dain­tily leaps to her feet and runs to as­sist a waiter jug­gling a tray at the door.

They don’t call her Lit­tle Miss Sun­shine for noth­ing. Po­lite, im­pec­ca­bly pre­sented and so very pe­tite – can I take her home to my doll’s house, please? – Amy Hu­ber­man can likely be found in the phone­book un­der Well Brought Up. She rat­tles out words in her lit­tle song­bird voice at a spec­tac­u­lar rate, yet fails to say any­thing re­motely im­proper. She’s friendly and says “aw” a lot while main­tain­ing a deco­rum that would put Au­drey Hep­burn to shame. She is, to ply an ar­chaic no­tion, la­dy­like. That fig­ures. She is the only daugh­ter and mid­dle child of Harold (who was born into Lon­don’s Pol­ish Jewish com­mu­nity) and San­dra (from Wex­ford), and was raised in Cabin­teely, sur­rounded by such gen­teel pur­suits as pony rid­ing and bal­let.

“I only did bal­let at school – re­luc­tantly – be­cause ev­ery­body else was do­ing it,” she says. “I am quite a girlie girl. But at the same time Brian of­ten says it would take an aw­ful lot to shock me. I can hold my own in a room of men. I don’t think any­body ever thinks ‘Oh, we can’t talk about that be­cause Amy’s here’. So there must be a streak of tomboy­ish­ness in there.” Brian, for any­one who has re­cently re­turned from a

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