By David Hennessy
Valene Kane is recognisable from her starring role in Ivan Kavanagh’s The Fading Light which won the Best Irish Film prize at the 2010 Dublin International Film Festival. From Newry, Valene came to London to study at Central School of Speech and Drama at the age of 18. She has remained ever since and done much stage work in the mean time. Enticing tax breaks have led to exciting times in the Irish industry, welcomed by Valene who has shot Jump and The Fall, starring Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan, in Northern Ireland over the last year.
“Well luckily I’m the only woman that doesn’t die,” Valene tells us about her role in The Fall. “I play a character called Rose who comes into the very last episode and is the key to finding who the killer is because she met him ten years previous and they dated and so she gives some of the key facts about who he is and how to find him. That was great because all my scenes were with Gillian Anderson who was amazing. It was just all such a great cast and set in Northern Ireland which was brilliant.”
Does Valene also have some scenes with the show’s killer, Jamie Dornan of Once Upon A Time? “I don’t, unfortunately. I wish I did. It was all an interrogation between me and Gillian Anderson but if it goes to a second series, there’s potentially scope for me to do scenes with him.
“I’ve been lucky enough to come back and work at home but it (London) is mainly where auditions and castings take place. For a long time I have never been able to use my own accent, I’ve always done English or American so it’s really great to speak how I actually sound.”
Valene describes Jump as a “fun” film, was it fun to make? “Obviously you saw what I was wearing,” she answers hesitantly. Valene’s character dresses up provocatively in a school uniform which she remains in for the film’s entirety. “It was Belfast in February so it was pretty cold and it was four weeks of night shoots which is pretty intense. But five Northern Irish twenty-somethings hanging out and making a great film together was such a great experience. It was amazing, it was cold but great.”
Excellently cast, was this something that attracted Valene to the project? “When I read the script, I thought it was amazing that it was a film about Northern Ireland that wasn’t about the troubles which is just really exciting and new. It was something that I hadn’t seen before. I didn’t know who was playing any of the other parts. Kieron, the director, had worked with most of the other actors before, so kind of had them in mind for the parts. I was the only newbie, it was really exciting. It was amazing to work with the people. We just went to Toronto with the film and that was an incredible experience so it has been really great. I think everyone should see it because it’s not the usual thing that gets produced by Irish cinema. We can only hope that it gets distribution.”
For the full interview see the Christmas issue (December 22-29) of the Irish World