Northern Irish actor Jamie Dornan feels ashamed not enough people know about the real-life heroics that inspired his new movie, The Siege of Jadotville.
The Fifty Shades of Grey star’s latest project centres on the exploits of Irish Commandant Pat Quinlan, who led a standoff with troops against French and Belgian Mercenaries in the Congo in the early 1960s, and he cannot believe his character’s bravery is not a major part of Irish history.
Quinlan and his troops defended Jadotville for days from a sustained attack by the mercenaries hired by Katangese Prime Minister Moise Tshombe before surrendering.
“You can’t believe that this happened and we don’t know about it,” Jamie tells Independent.ie, revealing he was angry throughout filming because his character’s heroics were never officially recognised before his death in 1997.
“Not only did they (troops) not get the recognition they deserved, they got the opposite of that,” the actor rages. “They got put down for their efforts. There’s this whole derogatory term, the Jadotville Jacks, that was used in the army going forward if someone showed an act of cowardice. Even now it angers me so much when you know what these guys really went through.”
Director Richie Smyth, who shot the film just outside Johannesburg in South Africa, admits there was no problem finding extras for the battle scenes as so many locals wanted to be part of the story.
“They were really so passionate about the story,” he explains. “The South African crew just took it on as their own story where they really felt so angry about what had happened. Extras get paid such s**t money, they get terrible food and they work all day and a lot of the time they start to just not show up but they just kept coming back.”
And his research hit the cast and crew hard: “They were in tears,” Smyth says.
The Siege of Jadotville was released in Ireland and the U.K. on Monday (19Sep16).
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