“I remember the day,” Jude Hill reveals about the day he found out he just landed his first ever feature role in “Belfast.” “It was just normal school day and nothing special was happening. I woke up and an email came through. My mum showed me and I read the first sentence, and then I ran around my house screaming for like five minutes!”
We talked with Hill as part of Gold Derby’s special film breakthrough performers “Meet the Experts” Q&A event with key Oscar contenders. Watch our exclusive video interview above.
The Focus Features film is drawn from the childhood experiences of its five-time Oscar-nominated writer and director Kenneth Branagh, following nine-year-old Buddy (Hill), his beloved Pa (Jamie Dornan) and his protective Ma (Caitríona Balfe) as they weigh up whether to stay in Belfast with his loving grandparents (Ciarán Hinds and Judi Dench) after their neighborhood erupts in sectarian violence.
Hill admits that “something just clicked” when it came to bonding with the four relative veteran actors that play his immediate family in the film. In singing their praises, the young actor describes Hinds as “the nicest man you will ever meet on this Earth, he’s so kind-hearted,” and “having Judi Dench as my grandma was just a dream come true,” also revealing that the Oscar winner “was the prankster on set.”
As for his on-set parents, Hill calls Balfe “just amazing, that’s the only word for her. She was the best on-screen mum that you could ever have” and admits that Dornan is one of his best friends. “I did ‘slag him off’ a little bit. Yeah, I take the harm out of him sometimes and just sorta make fun of him. But that’s how people from Northern Ireland sort of show love to each other. Yeah, me and Jamie Dornan, we’re best friends, although we both do slag each other off a little bit!”
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