Wednesday 25 April 2018

'Filming gets lonely... so it's nice to have tea with mam in the trailer' - Sarah Bolger

BIGGER SPLASH: Actress Sarah Bolger says she is ‘really, really humbled’ to be nominated for an Ifta for her role in ‘Halal Daddy’. Picture: Joel Ryan/AP/REX/Shutterstock
BIGGER SPLASH: Actress Sarah Bolger says she is ‘really, really humbled’ to be nominated for an Ifta for her role in ‘Halal Daddy’. Picture: Joel Ryan/AP/REX/Shutterstock
Niamh Horan

Niamh Horan

In the midst of the red carpet glamour and the whirlwind of life as a Hollywood actress, it's easy to forget the sacrifice and hard work that goes into making it to the top.

But days after she was nominated for Best Actress at this year's Irish Film and Television Awards, Sarah Bolger has given an insight into the sacrifices it takes to follow her dreams.

One of Ireland's leading actresses, the star of The Tudors and The Spiderwick Chronicles - and most recently nominated for her role in Halal Daddy - spoke to the Sunday Independent about the inevitable loneliness of life on the road and time spent apart from family and friends.

"When I was working on The Spiderwick Chronicles, it filmed in Montreal for almost eight months, and my mam and my sister moved with me," says Bolger.

"My dad had a butcher shop here in Dublin and he had to stay at home so we didn't see him. He could come out on one occasion but I could never travel home because the schedule was so tight. So we missed our father so I could do that job and so I could follow this dream.

"Things like that are hard. That was almost a full year of the family not being together.

"I think when you have such a tight-knit family, which I do, it makes it hard but also they're so supportive that it means we did it and we got through it.

"I am so grateful to them for all of it, for sacrifices that I probably didn't even know were happening.

"My mum loved being on set and being able to be with me and being able to support me and I would still have her on set today - that would be my preference. I would happily always have Emma, my sister, or my mum out with me because sometimes you're so lonely. It's so much more enjoyable when you get to come back to the trailer and have a cup of tea with your mam."

Citing a more recent example of the reality of Hollywood life, Bolger says: "The show that I am doing right now is the spin-off of Sons of Anarchy, called Mayans MC. The location is yet to be determined so hypothetically it is probably going to be California, maybe some type of location in Mexico.

"But for me that is a huge chunk of time - it's going to be six or seven months where I won't be able to come home and it's hard sometimes to think about that. So you say: 'All right, I have to go set up a life for a short period of time so far away from everyone.' Even in terms of time difference, it is a really hard job but I think that we all do it because we all love it.

"You have to give every portion of yourself to it. As an artist that is just what you do - because we love it - we were born to do it."

Just off a flight from LA to spend a fleeting weekend with her family and friends before flying out again to work, Bolger describes her feelings about being nominated for Best Actress.

Going back to the moment she heard the news, she says: "I have a plane ticket [to Ireland] in my hand, I am at a premiere in LA, I am raring to get into the car and then I get this email to say I am nominated and it feels like such a privilege. To be honoured in your home town for work that you did in Ireland and work that I did in an Irish accent for the first time in maybe seven years - it just felt so good. I am really, really humbled."

The Irish Film and Television Academy will hold its 15th annual awards show on February 15, in a primetime slot on RTE One.

One subject that did raise eyebrows was the lack of nominees for Best Actress. With just three actresses in the category - Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird), Bolger (Halal Daddy) and Ann Skelly (Kissing Candice) - compared with five men competing for Best Actor, Aine Moriarty of the Ifta attributes the short list to the small number of roles written for women over the past year.

"There are brilliant Irish female directors. For example, nominated this year we have Aisling Walsh (Maudie), Dearbhla Walsh (Fargo) and Emer Reynolds (The Farthest), while Neasa Hardiman won Best Director last year for drama.

"The Ifta has highlighted the lack of lead actress roles in Irish films to the Irish Film Board for a number of years now, as something that needs to be addressed and encouraged, and we are happy that the board is implementing measures to address this."

Sunday Independent

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