Jamie Dornan on Playing Kenneth Branagh’s Dad in Belfast, “I Had So Many Questions for Him”

In the semi-autobiographical film ‘Belfast,’ which is set during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, actor Jamie Dornan plays director Kenneth Branagh’s real-life father. Dornan acknowledges that the director made his task surprisingly simple.

Asked about the role, Jamie Dornan told Variety: “We had this brilliant introductory discussion. He was making me feel that I was the only person he wanted to be portraying his father. And we’re talking about his life story.

“I had so many questions for him in the beginning about his father and how he really would have responded in these scenarios, trying to get a sense of his dad beyond the page. It’s not like he wouldn’t answer them, but he was very much like: ‘I want you to do your own thing with it.’

“That’s massive to be given that confidence, rather than trying to be this idealised version of who his father was. So it ended up being easy, because I’ve never felt such freedom on a set. I’ve never felt so confident on a film set before.”

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Jamie Dornan’s Belfast Trailer

Meanwhile, Kenneth Branagh recently claimed he found a “fresh perspective” on The Troubles amid the Covid lockdown, reports femalefirst.co.uk. The filmmaker spent “about 50 years” agonising over how to approach the subject, before he directed ‘Belfast’.

He said: “Basically, I didn’t want to just be staring at my own navel. It wasn’t personal therapy, it was really to see whether the story of a family in a difficult situation – where humour and all the other coping mechanisms we come up with to try and deal with difficult times – could speak to other people.

“This lockdown promoted that, I think, because the introspection and the feeling unsettled that we’ve all shared really drove me back to that time.”

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