Jamie Dornan and Caitriona Balfe sat down with British Vogue to talk about their film “Belfast”, which has earned them awards buzz.
For the publication’s February issue, the Irish stars discuss growing up in the country dubbed the “Emerald Isle”, the important meaning behind the film, and what they hope the younger generation will take from it.
Dornan, who actually grew up in Belfast in the 1980s and ’90s, recalled his youth.
“If you’re born there, and you’re raised there, you’re very cognizant of the fact that you are from a very complicated place,” he said. “From the day I was born, until the day I left, people pretty much were fighting a civil war.”
Balfe noted her own experience living in the Republic of Ireland, right on the border, in Monaghan.
“A very IRA-leaning area. But my dad was a police sergeant — that’s why we were there — so we were brought up very apolitical.”
Dornan and Balfe both acknowledged that, as children, they were unaware of the idea of “sides,” of division, for much of their day-to-day lives.
“I always think back to stuff that became normal, that was not normal. Like trying to meet your mates on Saturday afternoons in town and there’d been a bomb scare,” Dornan said.
“I remember we used to go weekly shopping in the north, and you would go through checkpoints at least once a week. We didn’t even really think about it until our cousins came up from the south and they would be terrified going through, because you’d have British soldiers with machine guns pointed at the car asking for your papers,” Balfe added.
The stars of Kenneth Branagh’s semi-autobiographical film revealed the importance on taking the drama to the Troubles era.
“There’s a young generation who are coming up, who didn’t live through the Troubles, and there is again that kind of romanticism to having a cause and fighting for a cause,” Balfe noted. “Maybe it’s too much to ask for a film to change people’s minds, but I think it’s important that people see it.”
“Anything that can prove that there are no winners at the end of all that is good for the next generation to see,” Dornan agreed, thinking about his own kids and how their lives differ greatly from what he experienced as a child.
“The idea of them checking under their cars for bombs in their driveways… That was normal. You can’t even fathom it now,” he said.
The “Belfast” co-stars lightened the heavy conversation by playing a “truthful” game of Vogue‘s “Never Have I Ever”. Dornan and Balfe revealed their celebrity crushes, which animated characters they thought were “hot,” and what they’ve stolen from previous sets in the video below.
The February issue of British Vogue is on sale now.