Wednesday 29 January 2020

Capturing the loneliness of the long-distance lover

Whenever I have a flashback to the 1970s, I want Felicity Jones to play the girl who breaks my young heart.

The rather fetching young actress has certainly had plenty of practice.

In 2008's Flashbacks Of A Fool, she played Daniel Craig's teenage crush. In 2010, Ms Jones delivered a double whammy of teenage wildlife, first in Gervais and Merchant's sweet Cemetery Junction and then Irish director Shimmy Marcus' Northern Soul love story SoulBoy.

Seeing Jones, all glammed up and dancing in slow motion to Roxy Music's If There Was Something in Flashbacks will stay with me forever. It's the main reason I need Felicity Jones to play the lead in all my teen flashbacks from now on.

"Anytime, anytime," laughs the 29-year-old actress. "Yeah, I went through a period where I thought I was going to be stuck in the past but, luckily, I clambered out."


Indeed she did. Having just signed on for the lead in Ralph Fiennes' upcoming take on the Hollywood staple The Invisible Woman, Jones has been a busy woman of late. Having popped up in the likes of Dr Who (during the Tennant years) and taking the female lead in the 2007 TV adaptation of Northanger Abbey (shot here in Ireland), in 2010, Jones had no fewer than four movies out. Last year, she managed five, the best of which, Like Crazy, hits Irish cinemas this Friday.

Talk turns to Jones' time in Ireland, shooting the 2007 TV movie adaptation of Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey . . .

"That was great, because we got to see so much of the country. We shot all over the place -- Dublin Castle, Lismore Castle, Ardbraccan House in Meath, Charleville Forest Castle in Tullamore. I felt like I got a real taste of the place. We spent quite a bit of time in Dublin. It was mental. In a good way ... "

In Like Crazy, a largely improvised tale charting the loneliness of a long-distance relationship, Jones plays Anna, crazy in love with New Yorker Jacob (Anton Yelchin) -- only the two star-crossed lovers are being kept apart. By, eh, a visa violation. Hardly the kind of obstacle normally found in great love stories.

"And that's what I loved about it," smiles Jones. "It was just about character. And it's about people. There's no big earthquake or anything like that happening. It's all just kinda simple."

A major hit at Sundance -- where the film won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Dramatic Film, and Jones herself won the Special Jury Prize for her performance -- Like Crazy now looks set for some Oscar love too. Expected?

"Not at all," says Jones. "We made it all in a sort of bubble really, and we didn't have any expectations. We just wanted to make the kind of film that we would like to see, and then to have it received in that way was incredible."

Like Crazy hits Irish cinemas on Friday

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