At the end of the day… Catriona Balfe
Home at the moment is Glasgow, where I film Outlander. When I walk through the door, I always greet my cat, Eddie, who demands some belly rubs before you can go and do anything else. But when I was filming my new movie Le Mans ’66, my home was in LA. We had this lovely little house, with a swimming pool, just the size of a tiny little handkerchief, but it was nice to come home and go for a swim.
I think that there’s something in the DNA of actors that we thrive on a lack of stability or regime. It sort of suits our personalities. I relish the unpredictability of it in many ways.
LA was home for most people on the crew, so Christian Bale and Matt Damon would go home to see their kids and their families at the end of a day of shooting. But I used to live in LA, so I would go to see old friends and make the most of that time. I was obviously intimidated when we started filming, because Christian is such a legend. But the minute you meet him, and start talking about the work, he’s just Christian and you’re both in this endeavour together. So that made it really easy.
I have to admit I am quite feline, so I have to work really hard and then I love sitting on the couch, usually with a book. Right now I’m reading Three Women by Lisa Taddeo. It’s just fantastic. With TV, especially when I come home from a long day of work, I like something that I don’t have to think about, like Colombo or Murder She Wrote, or even 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown.
Catering on sets isn’t always the best, so I try and cook my meals for work. I’ll do a big thing on Sunday night, where I’ll make three or four dishes and then put them in my Tupperware fridge. It’s all very nerdy, but I feel like it’s the only way to eat well when you’re filming.
I do most of my foundational prep before we start filming – whether it’s your research, or dialect things. But I never learn my lines until the night before. You want to feel like it’s fresh, and that you’re saying them for the first time. I like to write them down, so I’ve got notebooks and notebooks everywhere. I always feel that if you learn things before you sleep, your brain is working on it while you’re sleeping, and when you wake up in the morning you’ve actually done all this subconscious work.
I’ve lived away from Ireland since I was 19, so the phone is very important. There are like 20,000 people in my family, so trying to phone every single one of them takes a month: you kind of rotate. My mum’s use of smartphones is quite funny:
I asked her to send me a photo of a bank statement of mine a while ago, and she posted it to Facebook.
I never get enough sleep. I can pretty much sleep anywhere, but I have terrible habits. I don’t go to bed early enough. I was like one of those annoying little kids who never wanted to go to bed. But I have the best dreams.
‘Le Mans ’66’ is in cinemas nationwide now