You’ve heard her voice in the Marvel movies, but Kerry Condon shows off the full range of her abilities in the new awards-season favorite The Banshees of Inisherin.
Oscar-winning filmmaker Martin McDonagh writes and directs this Irish love letter of a movie, which sees Condon star alongside Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson and Barry Keoghan. The movie has been notable for reuniting the trio of McDonagh, Farrell and Gleeson after they worked together on the 2008 cult classic In Bruges.
In The Banshees of Inisherin, Condon plays Siobhán Súilleabháin, the brilliant, bright and outspoken sister of Farell’s Pádraic Súilleabháin. The actress has received praise from her fellow cast members for her performance and is being mentioned in Academy Awards conversations.
Newsweek sat down with Condon to discuss awards season, why she had to give Farrell a talking-to on the press trip, and why she’ll be shooting a gun at Liam Neeson in her next project.
‘It’s Unbecoming, Colin’
Condon’s voice may sound familiar to a large portion of cinema-goers after she provided the voice for Tony Stark’s AI software F.R.I.D.A.Y. in five Marvel movies (Avengers: Age of Ultron; Captain America: Civil War; Spider-Man: Homecoming; Avengers: Infinity War; and Avengers: Endgame). So while she may be used to speaking up, it was the movie’s two leads, Farrell and Gleeson, who appeared on the late-night talk-show circuit in America to promote the movie.
Fortunately, both men made sure to praise Condon and her performance in The Banshees of Inisherin in the majority of those interviews.
“Of course it’s lovely, but I’m glad too because I did say to Colin: ‘It’s unbecoming for two men to be talking about themselves, you know, from a PR perspective,’” Condon joked. “But I did say that after the fact when they’d already said lovely things about me.”
Condon reunited with McDonagh, whom she’d worked with decades ago, on the new film. “I don’t want to sound like Maggie Smith,” the 39-year-old actress said. “It was actually 23 years ago. The first play that I ever did with him [was] The Lonesome West, then six months later he asked me to do The Lieutenant of Inishmore at the Royal Shakespeare Company, and then we’ve been friends basically my whole life.”
Having worked with McDonagh before and after he gained international recognition for the likes of In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths and Three Billboards, Newsweek asked Condon if she’s noticed a change in the way he works over that time.
“I don’t think he’s changed at all in terms of the notes that he gives now and the notes that I would have been given on my performance when I was doing the plays.
“There’s a lot of really great writers, but not all of them make great directors, and it’s a totally different thing to be a good director. All the spiritual things in the movie, and the nature of it, that wasn’t in the script. When I watched the movie I realized, ‘Oh, he is a good director.’”
Condon continued: “I felt like he really has come on as a director. Also, my performance in the rehearsal room compared with my performance in the end was definitely curated through his notes for me.”
McDonagh is also full of praise for Condon and her abilities. He told Newsweek that he wrote the role of Siobhán (pronounced Shi-vorn) with Condon in mind.
“This is written for her to capture how, or allow her to capture and show off how brilliant she is as an actress,” he said. “I really hope she gets a lot of attention because of how good she is. It’s kind of been a joy knowing for 20 years what she’s got, and then allowing more people to see it.”
The Banshees of Inisherin has a near-perfect 98 percent on the reviews website Rotten Tomatoes and has received consistently high praise from critics and audiences. In the Oscars race, bookmakers have already placed the filmmakers and the cast as some of the favorites for award-season glory. Condon herself has an exceptional chance of being nominated for a Best Supporting Actress award.
“That would mean so much to me,” she said. “I’ve been watching the Oscars since I was a child. My mother is big into films so it was a big deal in our house. She’d tape the Oscars and we’d watch it the next day.
“It would be so surreal, it really would. But at the same time, I don’t want to be sad. I remember my manager saying to me, ‘The day the nominations come out, it’s actually a really sad day for a lot of actors.’ I suppose you don’t think about that. All the people who didn’t get nominated and how kind of sad they must feel that day, so I’m kind of conflicted you know?”
Condon continued: “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want it, but at the same time, you can’t judge art. It’s a tricky job and a tricky industry.”
Outside of the industry recognition for The Banshees of Inisherin, the movie has been well-received in Ireland, too. It’s set in 1923 on a fictional island (Inisherin) off the coast of mainland Ireland. While the Irish Civil War rages on the mainland, a civil war is brewing between two former best friends (Farrell and Gleeson) when one man decides he doesn’t want to be friends anymore.
While it’s a fictional story amid a fictional setting, some of the components of the Irish civil were close to Condon’s heart.
“My uncle’s an Irishman and it really hit home for him, that stubbornness, and then also the Civil War, because my uncle’s side of the family fought. My granddad actually fought his brother in the Civil War, so that resonated with him a bit.”
Keoghan, who plays Dominic in The Banshees of Inisherin, is another actor with a superhero franchise side gig, having starred as the Joker in Robert Pattinson’s The Batman in 2022. He told Newsweek how he looked to his older co-stars for guidance on this project.
“I was learning from co-stars from Brendan, Colin and Kerry, and just the professionalism that they have.” He added: “I learned to be in the moment. Take a second or 10 seconds or 10 minutes just to kind of look out into the Atlantic Ocean and have that moment was very, very, very therapeutic.”
What’s Next for Condon?
Condon also shared details of her next project, In the Land of Saints and Sinners, which is currently in post-production. It’s another Irish movie, but this one has a completely different tone.
“I did a job with Liam Neeson, like an action movie for people who love all that kind of stuff. I got to play a baddie, so [that] was great fun. And I kind of thought: ‘Oh, geez, I can see how you get stuck in the action movie genre’ because it’s great fun.”
When asked whether she got to fight Neeson’s character in the film, Condon said she didn’t want to spoil too much.
“I got to shoot him. I mean if I say ‘shoot him,’ I’m not spoiling it. I didn’t shoot him and kill him. But I got to shoot at him a lot, which was great fun.”
There’s another project Condon is dying to talk about too, but it’s currently classified information. “I’ve asked 20 times for them to let me say it but they won’t. So you can presume it’s top secret. I have to wear a robe over my costume when I go outside to set, so it’s that sort of top-secret thing. I think they’ll be announcing that in February or March.”
The Banshees of Inisherin is in movie theaters now.
The post Kerry Condon on ‘Banshees of Inisherin,’ Oscars and Shooting Liam Neeson appeared first on Newsweek.