On My Screen: Banshees Of Inisherin Star Kerry Condon Reveals Her Best Career Advice, Desert Island Films & What Makes Her Cry

When Kerry Condon heard her Oscar nomination announced in the early hours of the morning in LA, she was clustered around the television with a group that included her Banshees of Inisherin co-star Colin Farrell. “I remember thinking, ‘Oh Jesus, hang on though. What if it’s bad for one of us?’” Condon says. Fortunately, neither actor was left out in the cold. Making Banshees was a chance for the actress to reunite with writer-director Martin McDonagh, in whose plays and the film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri she had already starred. The Banshees character of Siobhán lets Condon show us her chops — from a scene in which she gently lets down the amorous but tortured young Dominic (Barry Keoghan), to telling Brendan Gleeson’s bull-headed Colm (and men in general), “You’re all feckin’ boring!” Here, Condon reflects on her career thus far and some of her onscreen favorites.

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My First Film Lesson

It’s a good one. I learned it and I was also told it. You have to be prepared to make a fool of yourself. You just have to have no shame, basically, to be a good actress. You have to go big and then you can reign it back. But you have to have balls to go big, because you might look like an idiot, but unless you go big, you’re holding back. Nick Nolte told me a story about an acting class he did with Marlon Brando. Marlon Brando said nothing and just sat there in this chair, and then started to slowly put makeup on and change his outfit and basically made himself absolutely ridiculous with the makeup and the clothes, and that was the lesson at the end: when he was all done and he looked crazy, he was like, “That’s the lesson you need to learn. You have to not be afraid of making a complete fool of yourself and looking like a complete idiot.”

The Best Advice I Ever Received

Keep your expenses low. Because listen, I can be here all day giving you creative advice, but ultimately if you do one TV show and then you’re out blowing your money on a big car that’s costing you three grand a month, and then you think you’re living the dream in this big huge house, because you want to act like you’ve made it, that’s grand. But the job is going to end, and then you’re going to be unemployed. And how are you going to pay for this life that you have? And that’s a mistake so many people make. They just think they’re going to be making that money all their life, and you’re not going to be making that money all your life. There’s going to be a period where you’re not going to be making money at all. Keep your expenses low and also it just frees you up, then you’re more free artistically, because it’s not this notion of, “I have to get a job because I have to pay for this.” You can sit back a bit more and go, “Do I want to do this job?”

The Part I Always Wanted

I don’t have a part that I want to do in the future or anything. I don’t think like that. I just kind of go with what’s in front of me, and if I feel like I want to do it. I never daydream on a part that I’d love to play or anything. But I suppose all the parts that I want, the parts that I really liked, that I wanted, I got. [McDonagh’s play] The Lieutenant of Inishmore would’ve been a part I really wanted, and then the part in [television series] Luck was another one that I would’ve really, really wanted.

The Most Fun I’ve Had On Set

Sometimes I get annoyed if people are having too much fun. I’m like, “This is a business, guys. It’s not fun and games.” You know, I’m pretty serious. I’m always ready, and I don’t be wasting money or dicking around. So, I can’t say I’d be having loads of fun now, but let me think. I mean, I’d probably say Luck, again. Because when I wasn’t on the set I was riding on a racetrack and that was a lot of fun. Getting to ride racehorses on a racetrack, for me, that feeling was so amazing. Also, I don’t want to give off this notion that acting is so amazing and we’re having this laugh all the time. It’s not, it’s really lonely. You’re having a great time and then you’re in a hotel room in the middle of nowhere in New Mexico and you’re alone. Nobody talks about that because everyone wants to think that you’re at the bar with Brad Pitt every evening having a whale of a time. It’s just not true.

My Toughest Challenge

It’s been navigating the press part of the job, because I’ve never done it before, not to this extent. And I never knew that it was part of being an actor, at all. And I don’t think anyone does know that until it happens to them. I’m so glad it’s happened to me now at 41, because I think if this had happened to me in my early 20s, God only knows what would’ve come out of my mouth. I looked at Cate Blanchett with different eyes, because not only was she this brilliant actress, but also I was like, ‘Oh my God, you are still hustling. You are still turning up with these awards and doing these interviews and all. And you’ve been doing this for how many years?’

The Films That Make Me Cry

For somebody who’s not that crazy about getting married, I’m such a romantic. So, The Bridges of Madison County. My brother still to this day talks about it, because he grew up in a house full of women. He was like, “I remember you were all crying over that film.” So, anything romantic, obviously. And I mean, there’s obviously Marley and Me, but I don’t even need to explain why. It’s funny, I was teasing my brother the other day because he nearly started crying at the end of Top Gun, and the only reason he didn’t was because of the fella beside him in the seat on the airplane. He was afraid the guy was going to be like, “Oh my God.”

The Character That’s Most Like Me

Maybe Siobhán. But people know that Siobhán was really dignified in the sense that she didn’t need people to know she was very intelligent, and stuff like that, whereas I kind of do. Well, I mean I don’t need people to know, but I wasn’t as dignified as her. I’d say all of the parts have got bits of me in them, but Mairead in The Lieutenant of Inishmore, maybe. At that time in my life anyway, when I played her, it was very close to who I was and what I believed.

My Desert Island Movies

Jesus Christ. A desert island means what though? That you want to have a laugh or something? But a film I might never get sick of? Parenthood. Ron Howard’s film. I re-watched it recently, and I was like, Jesus, now that I’m older I really see the parenthood theme of it, and I used to relate to the kids. But you know what’s funny, they’re saying that Steve Martin is 35 and I was like, OK, he doesn’t look 35 in it. The benchmark then was Steve Martin with his gray hair. He was 35. I was like, Christ, that makes me feel like I’m 90.

Hannah and Her Sisters by Woody Allen. I think all the actresses in that were brilliant. I’ve always been a big fan of Dianne Wiest. I mean, I know that’s topical to say that right now [regarding Allen], but I don’t want to discredit performances that really I thought were brilliant.

I mean, there are loads of them. This Boy’s Life, The Lost Boys, The Golden Child.

The First Film I Saw In A Theater

Yeah. I was actually asked to review The Lion King. It was the first professional paycheck of my life. I was about 10. In the summer I was at home, and on the radio there was a debate going on about people from the country versus people from the city. And we were from the country. I rang into the radio and said, “People from the city think they’re so brilliant, well they’re not.” So anyway, the radio rings me back and they were like, “Would you like to review a movie for us? Would you like to go to The Lion King?” My review was, “It was excellent. I thought it was really good. I thought it was brilliant.”

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