the dark side
it. It won’t always be like this.”
We suspect her husband is right; there is something unflappable about Huberman. She smoothes down her leopard-print skirt, as if to prove the point, and points beyond the window where we’re sitting in the Shelbourne Hotel.
“I had a little Marilyn moment on the way here,” she smiles. “The dress went right up as I was crossing the road. I had to have a quick look around. ‘Please don’t let there be a photographer. Think I’m okay. Phew. Keep moving. Keep moving’.”
Taking on the radical career departure required by Rewind, she says, was not necessarily guided by a need to “prove something”. She admits, however, that her marital status has provided her with an additional impetus to succeed.
“It does make you want to make something of yourself. You don’t want to be seen as a fluffy wag.”
She has loved drama since she first took classes at Betty Ann Norton Drama School. Acting did not initially appeal as a profession, however.
“I was never a stage brat. I was insanely giddy as a kid – my mom used to call me The Foghorn – but not precocious. It was never about trying to be in movies or the glitzy side of things. I just loved doing workshops with my brother. I loved getting medals for reading your little poem at speech and drama exams. I loved being creative. It was all the small things that won me over.”
She read social studies at UCD but inevitably fell in with DramSoc. By the time she completed her Master’s programme in media studies she had already landed a recurring role on the domestic GAA drama On Home Ground. Her brother Mark, meanwhile, had embarked on his own thespian career with work on Band of Brothers and Pure Mule.
“Even at university I never thought of it as a viable profession. I thought people who were actors had to go to drama school, and I knew I wasn’t going to do that. It was too huge an expense to ask my parents to cover. But then my brother came out of Trinity with a science degree and became an actor. So that got me thinking.”
Were her parents concerned that they might have two adult dependents on their hands? “I know! Are you proud mom and dad? It can be hard on them because jobs aren’t always there, and you have to move around. But as long as we had an education and as long as myself and Mark are happy, they’re happy. Dad comes from a job where he worked for himself. He was a designer. So we’re used to the idea of going it alone. We weren’t hippies, but in our house there was certainly an ethos of go out there and try it.”
After university she moved to London where, between jobs, she kept herself occupied by writing Hello Heartbreak, her debut novel. Living outside the country at the moment when we all got together and decided that Ireland really, really hearts rugby, she scarcely knew who O’Driscoll was when they first hooked up in 2007.
“Art and sport are very different worlds,” she says
If Rewind was a gamble for a woman whose name is on the guest list for Will’s and Kate’s royal wedding bash, it’s one that has paid off rather handsomely. Her unrecognisably dark central turn has already won her an Ifta and a constellation of glittering reviews. She is just happy to see the film finally making it in to multiplexes, however.
“It’s such a relief. We shot this two years ago. But it’s so hard for Irish films. It’s hard to get them made. And it’s even harder getting them released. It’s an uphill struggle. And it’s such a pity, because I love Irish films.”
In particular? “No. Probably not. I love thrillers and comedies and period drama. I leave almost every movie thinking ‘I loved that’. I’m easily pleased.”
She’s keen to get back to writing, and has her “fingers and toes crossed” for a recently completed UK comedy pilot, but between radio, TV, charity work and being Mrs O’Driscoll, her life is “completely mental”.
“I have no routine any more. This week I was out at a radio play, then down in Limerick for Concern. It’s all go. And I love it. But it was a lot easier to write when I had nothing to do and my head was a bit less frenetic.”
She has, moreover, certain wifely duties to attend to. “I’m wagging it this weekend. I’m going to Cardiff. Where are my pom poms?”
Is it not as glamorous as it looks? “Er. No. We’re there in jeans and runners. No boxes and sunglasses for us. The girls are so lovely. It’s always a really fun weekend.” That all sounds disappointingly unwaggerly.
“I know,” she says. “I’m a failed wag. The tanning thing doesn’t work for me. I’m not using a sunbed; they’re so creepy. And when I’ve had the fake tan done I look mental. Fake lashes make my eyes water and every time I put them damn things on I can feel my head dipping with the weight.”
It’s a good thing she can act.