Saturday 20 January 2018

Oscar joy: Irish 'Philomena' actress Cathy Belton ‘thrilled’ with the string of nominations today

Cathy Belton
Cathy Belton

Aishling Phelan

Irish actress and Philomena star Cathy Belton is ‘‘thrilled’’ with the string of Oscar nominations the film received today.

‘‘It’s so wonderful, I’m absolutely thrilled for Steve and Judi and the film itself, it’s really thrilling news,’’ the actress who played Sister Clare said.

She told Joe Duffy on RTÉ’s Liveline, ‘‘It was extraordinary to work with Judi Dench and Steve Coogan and they were the nicest, most humbling people to be with.’’

The film received four nominations, including Best Actress for Dame Judi Dench, Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Alexandre Desplat gained a nomination for Best Original Score for his music in the film.

Asked if she knew it would be such a powerful film she said, ‘‘Yes, I remember when I read the script, I was blown away by the story.’’

‘‘The minute I finished the script I thought this is a fabulous screenplay.

‘‘With Judi Dench as Philomena, you can’t really go wrong and Steve Croogan who is an absolute genius as well,’’ she said.

The IFTA-nominated actress played Sister Clare, the young harsh nun who took Philomena’s child away from her.

‘‘I knew as an actor as well that I had to come at it and not make a judgement on my character which would be so easily to do obviously with who I was playing.

‘‘I looked at a lot of PR videos for various orders and I approached Sister Clare very neutrally and said well this is her job,’’ she said.

The film, based on a true story, follows 18-year-old Philomena Lee from Limerick after she falls pregnant, is placed in the care of the nuns at Sean Ross and had her child put up for adoption against her will.

‘‘What really hit me about the screenplay when I read it was that it speaks to people beyond the story of Philomena,’’ she said.

Despite the nature of the film, the actress said the cast still managed to have a ‘great laugh’ on set.

While most of the film was shot in London and Washington, some of the more picturesque scenes were filmed in Donegal. 

‘‘Some of it was filmed in Donegal, some of the journey and travelling scenes in the car with Steve and Judi,’’ she said.

 ‘‘My scenes with Judy and Steve were shot just outside London in Hatfield House which is used a lot for film sets as it is a big old manor,’’ she explained.

The actress, who will be making her first trip to the Academy Awards next month, shot her scenes with Oscar-winning Dench in the historic Jacobean house, the home of the 1st Earl of Salisbury in 1611.

‘‘We did the graveyard scenes last year in Oxford just before Christmas,’’ she added.

It was the actress’ second time working with director Stephen Frears as she had a small part in The Snapper in 1993.

She is heading back to theatre for Brian Friel’s ‘Wonderful Tennessee’ in two weeks time in Sheffield in the UK.

She has starred in a number of films including ‘The Tiger’s Trail’ and ‘Roy’ for which she was nominated for an IFTA.

Online Editors

Promoted Links

Entertainment Newsletter

Going out? Staying in? From great gigs to film reviews and listings, entertainment has you covered.

Promoted Links

Editors Choice

Also in Entertainment