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Friday 18 August 2017

There's not enough lead roles for women, says Gray star Orla Brady

Orla Brady
Orla Brady

Top Irish actress Orla Brady believes lead roles for women in TV and film are so rare that she jumped at the chance to play iconic Irish designer Eileen Gray in The Price of Desire.

The Irish film launched this year's Jameson Dublin International Film Festival and Orla (53) says she's not one to shy away from strong female characters.

"I've done this twice before, I played the first female hunger striker who was another Eileen in Silent Grace and before that I played Shelia Cloney in A Love Divided and I thought that was that," she told the Diary.

"And then I was offered this and I thought, 'good things come in threes' and so I got the chance to play this woman who we have rediscovered as one of our iconic Irish women which was amazing.

"It's a challenge you have to take on because these roles are difficult to come by. There aren't many front and centre female-led films or TV pieces so I was delighted to get this part," she added.

The Bray native went to Paris to study acting when she was 25 but she had to brush up on her French to play furniture designer Eileen.

"Obviously she had lived there all her life so her French was perfect," Brady said.

"I spoke French before but I whitter away with appalling grammar. It's very slangy and Parisian so I really had to up my game.

"Trying to act in French was tough work sometimes. Even if you speak the language, to try to do what you normally do when you're acting in your first language is curious.

"I had to quickly translate and learn how to act in French," she added.

While she's busy promoting the film - which follows Gray's life from her 30s until her death - Brady is set to start filming martial arts drama Into the Badlands with fellow Irish actress Sarah Bolger.

"We're starting our rehearsals in a few weeks, it's a martial arts piece and Sarah and I are both hoping that we get to do some martial arts training so that we can kind of kick ass," she laughed.

"We play rivals which is great fun - I'm delighted to work with her again.

"I worked with her on her first job - she played my little girl in A Love Divided, so it's really nice to reunite with her although the dynamic is different as she's playing my nemesis.

"We have scenes together that are quite kind of cracking so we can't wait to get into it," she added.

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