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

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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.

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