Can you tell us about Frank of Ireland in your own words?
Frank of Ireland is a new comedy. It follows 32-year-old wannabe musician Frank Marron (played by Brian Gleeson) being forced to grow up and get a grip on his life.
Who is Aine?
Aine is Frank’s ex-girlfriend. They broke up six years ago, but they keep getting drawn back to each other. She’s a long-term friend, but she’s a hot mess as well basically!
What drew you to the project?
I’m a huge fan of Brian and Domhnall. I think they’re really funny people and I heard that they were doing a comedy, so that was really exciting to me. And I haven’t done comedy since being on stage, in the Cripple of Inishmaan, so I jumped at the chance to challenge myself again in that genre.
Did you know Brian, Domhnall, Michael or Clelia and Sharon at Merman before?
Brian and I did a tv show called Rebellion a few years ago. But the industry in Dublin is quite small, so I’ve known Brian and Domhnall for a while. I met Michael through the boys. I’ve actually never met Sharon, but I’ve been huge fans of Merman’s work as I think what they do is stellar. So, I knew that the mix of Domnhall, Brian and Michael with Sharon and Clelia was a really good alchemy of great artists.
What was it like filming with the guys, and Pom, Tom and Liz?
Pom and myself played mother and daughter in a film called Rosie a few years ago, so I was thrilled to work with her again in a different production and as very different characters. Tom and myself have also worked on The Dublin Murders together and I think he’s hilarious in this. Liz I’ve also known for years, so it felt like just a load of friends getting together. Not only did we have a great laugh on set, we had a short amount of time to make something, so we took it quite seriously, even though it was hard not to laugh. We found it hilarious whilst making it, so we hope that comes across.
The women in Frank of Ireland aren’t just there to take Frank to task, they very much live in their own comedic world but they’re rounded and hapless too, was that something that you think is important for the series?
I think every character in the show goes on their own journey of self-discovery in one way or another. Each person has their moment to think. Mary’s story is really funny and heart-breaking at the same time. And Doofus also. Each person finds themself and their inner search throughout the show. They’re all a mess, but who isn’t!?! Each person has their moment to shine.
Did you have a favourite scene/episode to film?
I really enjoyed the episode where we put on an am-dram version of “A Few Good Women”. That was a lot of fun to make. Pat Shortt is one of my favourite comedians and to watch him direct the show within the episode was hilarious. The episode when they locked themselves in the house, that was also fun to make, with the Home Alone feel to it.
It’s a self-described ‘ridiculous’ comedy, what was the atmosphere like on set?
It was very funny and difficult not to laugh in some scenes. But we had only a few short weeks to make something quite big, so everyone brought their A game going into it.
Viewers will know you from playing Lorraine, Connell’s mum, in Normal People which was obviously one of the biggest shows of last year. Aine couldn’t be further from her as a character, was that fun to play such a departure in terms of shows and characters?
It was very fun. I loved playing Lorraine because she was a good human being. Whereas Aine is a mess, and it’s lovely to play flawed people because we are all flawed. Well, Lorraine is an exception! But yes, I loved playing Aine, her vulnerability and her lack of self-respect was enjoyable to play.
What do you think Lorraine would make of Frank and Peter Brian as Aine’s prospective love interests?!
I don’t think she’d be impressed. But, unless they came to ask for advice, she’d keep her mouth shut. She’d think “She’ll probably figure it out herself at some point”, as everyone does. You know, who’s good for you and who’s bad for you. She would just feel sorry for her really.
It may sound obvious, but here are some Irish sensibilities to Frank of Ireland, Irish comedies have done really well in the past, from Father Ted to The Young Offenders and Derry Girls, why do you think the Irish do it so well?
I think we aren’t afraid to laugh at ourselves, which is the most important thing. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. We find humour in the darkest of moments, and I think that is why those shows are so successful, and hopefully why Frank of Ireland works as well.
What’s next for you?
There’s something that I’ll start on later this year, but it’s not announced so I can’t say anything yet! Watch this space!