The girl can’t help it
Young Dublin actor Jordanne Jones is a performer to watch. Michael Doherty catches up with her as her latest film, Metal Heart, is shown at the Junior Galway Film Fleadh this week
Jordanne Jones first came to notice with her superb performance in Frank Berry’s 2014 drama, I Used To Live Here. She has since appeared in the RTÉ mini-series, Rebellion, and in a number of well-received shorts. The Dublin teenager takes the lead role in actor Hugh O’Conor’s directorial debut, Metal Heart, co-starring Moe Dunford and Leah McNamara, which is screened at this week’s Junior Galway Film Fleadh
Metal Heart was premiered at the Galway Fleadh this summer. The reaction was fantastic, so how did it feel for you, sitting in the audience? Jordanne Jones:
It felt great. I had been down at the Fleadh before, when they screened I Used To Live Here and Rebellion, but they were serious topics. I Used To Live Here was about teen suicide and in Rebellion I played a young prostitute. Metal Heart, on the other hand, felt really cheery and you could really have a laugh with people. It was a very di erent experience and the atmosphere was really nice. It was nerve-wracking sitting there, though, because I had never been in a comedy before and I didn’t have any con dence that I would be good at it. But having heard the Galway audience laugh, I have more con dence in my ability to handle comedy in the future.
How did you find working with firsttime director Hugh O’Conor?
Hugh was great at getting us actors into character because he has been there himself. at was very nice.
What did you like about your character, Emma?
I loved that she was an angsty teenager. I loved playing around with the fact that she had an attitude; there was no stopping me!
Did you have any input into Emma’s Goth look?
It’s funny. When I went to the audition I was wearing my Nirvana t-shirt and they were saying, ‘Oh, you’ve dressed for the part,’ but they’re one of my favourite bands, so I think I have a similar taste in music and in clothes to Emma. We both like dark colours!
Your key relationships on screen are with Leah McNamara, who plays your twin sister, and Moe Dunford, who plays the mysterious neighbour. How did those dynamics work for you?
It was amazing with Leah. She was so great. We were like best friends on set. Moe was great to be around. He has so much experience and it was great to talk to him about the business. Moe actually got in touch with me a few years back a er seeing I Used To Live Here and he was very complimentary. We’ve waited a while to work together, but we’ve always admired each other’s work.
Was Paul Murray’s script carved in stone, or did you have any room for improvisation?
Hugh actually gave us a lot of freedom with the script and that made me very comfortable. I felt so much in tune with my character because the script wasn’t carved in stone. I could play around with it a little bit, though not as much as Aaron He ernan, who seemed to improv the whole movie!
We’ll next see you in Niamh Heery’s short film, Lady Black Eyes, which is premiering at the upcoming Cork Film Festival. How was that to work on?
I absolutely loved it. It’s one of my favourite scripts and it was great to work with Daryl McCormack. We only shot for about a week, but it was really intense. And I like intense! I’m really looking forward to seeing it.
You are still at college Jordanne – is it difficult to balance acting with your studies?
I would go insane if I wasn’t able to act! I’m incredibly lucky in that my agent, Jonathan, is able to schedule acting jobs around my studies. I’ve been able to do some shorts and act in some features, all the while I’m studying at university. It does get hectic, but it’s always worth it. I don’t think too far ahead. I look forward to the scripts that come my way and it’s exciting not knowing what direction they will take you. I’m just enjoying the moment!
The 24th Junior Galway Film Fleadh takes place between November 6 and 9. Full details at galwayfilmfleadh. com. Metal Heart will be screened on November 9 at the Pálás; followed by a Q&A with director Hugh O’Conor and Jordanne Jones.