Ciaran Hinds interview: ‘Belfast’
“I was transported by the script when I first read it, to be honest,” newly-minted Oscar nominee Ciaran Hinds reveals about how “Belfast” resonates with him personally. “I identified very much with the way it brought me back to my roots, having left Belfast to begin a career in theater about 45 years ago. I’d go back couple of times a year, always, and you think you’ve gone somewhere else, but what that showed me, was that the roots of my culture and my soul were still deeply embedded inside me, going back into a story like that,” he says. Watch our exclusive video interview above.
SEE Oscar Experts predictions slugfest: Is ‘Belfast’ the one to beat (for now)? [WATCH]
The Focus Features film is based on the childhood experiences of its Oscar-nominated writer and director Kenneth Branagh, following nine-year-old Buddy (Jude 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 (Hinds and Oscar winner Judi Dench) after their neighborhood erupts in sectarian violence.
Surprisingly, after decades as an actor racking up numerous accolades across the pond (particularly for his acclaimed work in theater), this is Hinds’ first career Oscar nomination. He is also one of a few actors this year to have scored nominations across the board in the lead-up to the Oscars, scoring bids from the Critics’ Choice Awards, Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards (ensemble) and BAFTA Awards.
SEE Exclusive Video Interview: Kenneth Branagh (‘Belfast’)
Hinds shares most of his scenes with Dench as his long-suffering wife and his grandson Buddy, portrayed by Hill in his breakthrough role. When revisiting some of his highlight scenes with Hill, Hinds agrees that the touching moments at the local hospital between an ailing grandfather and his loving grandson were the ones he cherished the most.
“It was at that point that we had established the relationship between Jude and myself, which was kind of equal in how they felt with each other; his innocence playing against my supposed wisdom,” Hinds explains. “You could see in his face, his love for his grandfather. And I could see it. I could see him, just looking at me with joy and love and I could see how lovely his spirit was, how beautiful he was and that I wanted to give him advice for life,” he says.
“I know I’m not going to be around, but I don’t want him to carry anything heavy. I don’t want to actually put a weight on those little shoulders, but I want to say a few words that will register with them deeply, which is about his name and where he’s from. And it’s lovely. I mean, Ken wrote ‘you’re not just from Belfast, you’re from Belfast 15,’ you know, and that’s great writing,” Hinds recalls. “In the context of that, as we reach out to immediate family, to extended family, to neighbors, to community, it’s kind of what it’s all about really isn’t it? And that’s why I believe Ken has written was a deeply human film, a humanist film.”