In Conversation With Bronagh Gallagher The Arts Show

In Conversation With Bronagh Gallagher

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This programme contains some strong language and some scenes which some


This programme contains some strong language and some scenes which some


viewers may find upsetting. This programme contains some strong


language and some scenes which some Ever since she lit up the cinema


screen as Bernie, the backing singer in Alan Parker's seminal


movie The Commitments, Bronagh Gallagher was determined, driven.


Destined to make a life for herself on stage and on camera. The Derry


born actress is picky about the parts she plays. She has worked


with Hollywood A-listers like John Travolta, Glenn Close and Dustin


Hoffman. Her remarkable career Music has been a passion since


childhood. Well-established as a singer-songwriter, she is currently


touring and promoting her second album. And loving the challenge of


singing her own songs to live So what makes the down-to-earth


girl from the Creggan estate such an enduring star? In an Art Show In


Conversation special, we take a closer look at an amazing journey


from Derry to Tinseltown. Broadway Hopefully, this year will be a


great success for the reasons that it was given to the city, that it


will leave a legacy of production. Yet any Joanna of business, that it


shows what talent we have. That it boasts the economy in some way.


And we had your own mum, who was my speech and drama teacher. She


remembers you well. My parents would always try to find


alternative things for us to do in the city. We were all more or less


involved in arts and artistic staff. My parents would take us to the


gallery and any shows that came to town.


Saw this girl is Creggan born and raised, finds these like minded


people in Derry, why not just stay there? I grew up and the Bogside,


went to school in the Creggan, and there was a wonderful film crew


working in the area. They made a fantastic award-winning film and I


was babysitting at the time when the movie was being done. They were


approved -- they were approached by a young director, who was making a


movie, and my name was put forward. I was then offered a part in


another film. I said I could not because I was going to the National


Theatre, but someone spoke some sense into me. People speak about


The Commitments as being your big break. But there was a substantial


body of work. I was working about one year before, starting when I


was 16, about four films, two on television, and some work for the


BBC. Your big break his The Commitments, is that fair to say?


My goodness, absolutely. How many opportunities to actors get?


Working with Alan Parker, one of the world's biggest directors. How


did that come about? We finished conditions, -- finished the


auditions. As Alan Parker walk past, and one actress knocked a drink


over another, then one of them hit me, and we were laughing and


giggling. As he walked past, he saw that. We did not realise he was


looking at us. And that was it. He told us that was the clincher. We


just look like friends. And we still are friends. It is all about


chemistry. CHEERING.


I looked in the mirror and did not recognise myself. I do not know if


I could get my dress off. There will be plenty of volunteers.


When I -- after their audition, I was trying to get that particular


Dublin accent. You have been missing rehearsals.


You can see why! My mother is pregnant, my dad is in the hospital,


I am the only one bringing money in. It is difficult, but hard having


three backing singers when only two shore up. You are not dumping me.


It was such an ensemble cast. And you were all starting to sing,


MUSIC: "Destination Anywhere". It was one of the first major


feature films to be shot in Dublin. The cast and crew, everyone was one


and Parker is a great leader, and it was a great movie. We knew at


the time it was special. following year, we have the


television drama, You, Me & Marley. The character you play, she seems


to be as wild as the rest of them. It is so talented.


Do you think our children will be as small as us? Probably at first.


And probably joy riding. They will not.


It is about how education is the key. And it is what you make it


yourself. If I went to university in England,


although I am not going to. But if I did, would you get a job near me?


I was always told us a child to get my education. Get that behind due.


Because it is a freedom. If you have your exams and career behind


your belt, you can go anywhere. you feel at 18, 19, you were trying


to maintain links with Derry, but also being pushed further and


further, because the opportunities for work were happening further


away? When I look back now, I just seemed to keep going. I worked a


lot. It was relentless. Covered a lot of ground, a huge theatre


queues, with Theatre de Complicite. Some of my favourite work I have


done. And international directors, the Japanese director, going all


over the world. These huge theatre jobs. I was delighted to get work.


I had then move to Dublin and was there a lot. What was driving you?


Was it this year love of driving -- this year love of acting? Standing


in front of the crowd? I was so thankful for the work. But I was


not in the position where I could slow down. Let us move to Los


Angeles, shall we? You are going to appear in 1994 in probably what has


become a cult classic. Pulp Fiction. I know, it is mad.


Deep -- do they use the same gun to peer Stuart years that is used to


peers your nipples? That is against the problem idea. Every one of my


peer since was done with an eagle. I arrived the night before from


Ireland and then I was watching John Travolta up. I was pretty star


struck. I was a fan of his movies. And he was so friendly and so nice,


a really lovely man. Speaking about his Irish and Italian background.


And his children. He became my friend. You are in probably one of


the most famous movie scenes. Yes. The adrenalin needle going straight


into her heart. How much of that was choreographed? Very


specifically. My character was not supposed to be in that scene.


Quentin Tarantino improved at a little, because he wanted it to be


worth my while to be there. The rehearsal was for me to get in


there and mess it up. He said something else, but we shall use


that term. He said, getting there! What they were doing was so


brilliant, I thought, if someone is that of their head, you would just


sit there and look. That might be funnier, but I played its straight


as a close to chaos. SHE SCREAMS. SHE COUGHS.


Say something. Something. You spoke about being star-struck


meeting John Travolta, but you were then in a scene with Dustin Hoffman


in Last Chance Harvey. It is an incredible scene, ordinary dialogue,


romantic comedy. Improvised. In the airport? Yes. We improvised it. It


was his idea. Are you American? That is right.


Don't you be messing her around. will not. She is not here, she has


left for the day. You might still find her at last. I think it starts


about lunchtime at this -- at the South Bank. Yes. Go and get her.


You are improvising with Dustin Hoffman. Is there a moment where


you pinch yourself? He makes you feel so welcome. He is a legend.


There is this all consuming energy. He knows he is Dustin Hoffman and


his charming with that. There are some people that have that


incredible security and wealth. You can go to someone's �15 million


house. But at the end of the day, they are just people. Is there a


craft? Do you discuss it, speaking about how you are getting into a


part or why you chose it? If you have the luxury or rehearsal, or


the person is open to talking to you, not using the method, very


much so. After Glenn Close short the C D -- after Glenn Close shot


has seen, she came and sat down with myself and another actress.


That was all right. It was more Did you get a call from George


Lucas, asking to be en Star Wars? No, I rang him. I rang my agent and


said Star Wars. I would love a part in Star Wars. It was one of those


flukes. I thought I could be anything and it could they get a


costume? The man who cast a Star Wars had come to see occasion Chalk


Circle which was the first show I had done in the National Theatre


the night before. I wept at and met them and they said what about a


fighter pilot? I said, that is me. Whoever was supposed to play that


part had pulled out. I remember them putting the costume on and


they had to shrink the costume. I Captain. Tell them we wish to board


at once. We are all due respect, the ambassadors for the Supreme


Chancellor wish to board immediately. Yes, of course.


does not want to be in Star Wars! It was a blast, it was hilarious.


Instead of the past trying up, they open at and you evolve into a woman


who is making the roles like a mother, a wife and I am thinking of


the street. Come in at have a cup of tea. I do not want tea. You are


not my father, mother, brother, sister. I will not come in. When


you get the opportunity, and this opportunity came up. I had a quiet


period before that. You get the script like that and you just go, I


have to get his part. I have just lost the man I Love. You know what


I mean. I do not need you and my mother running around. I was only


trying to help you. Are you doing that for me? Yes. You have to be


careful that you do not get too much in your own head because then


you performance cannot come out because you are to psyched up. The


greatest piece of advice I was given about acting was to tell a


What? What are you doing? Let me see the scar. You bastard. How


could he do that to me and the kids? You bastard! Telling that


story in the flicker of the eyes. The look says it all. The script


was so fantastic. For her to have that challenge as a character at to


realise he has a scar and he has a scar on his tummy and that is my


husband. He has faked his own death. The rules are there read. The roles


and are varied. We had some harrowing scenes coming up in the


later stuff. I am thinking of sinners, a tremendous row -- the


role. It is based on real-life stories. Unbelievable. We can do


without the noise, thank you. How is she doing? What is she doing


with her feet up? They will be no screaming. If you die it will be no


more than you deserve. I liked the reaction of that film and the


structure it shock within the Church and expose the criminality


of what was going on. The money that was being made. I think it was


the first time I have heard that people really pointed the finger,


did you know these children were being sold for huge money to people


who could not have children? These girls were shipped off to England


or whatever and the shame. They were out cast from their families.


They have taken my baby. What did you tell them? That I let you want?


No. You promised. And eight never made you. I panicked. Marriage.


Never trust a woman who can add up faster than you. That is what my


father used to say. As an actor, if you have an opportunity to tell


those stories, it is a great privilege. I take that very


seriously. These things did go on and they have never really been


dealt with. Is that why you you would choose a role like the


Protestant mother in Holy Cross., because you believe it is your duty


as an actress to tell these stories to a wider audience? If you are


given an opportunity and you know the piece of writing is coming from


someone's research point of view and to represent people in the


community, I have no problem with that. As long as I know what I am


Phone the police, please. No, they will go away if we stay up here.


They think there is nobody here. They will go away, I promise. They


will be gone by the time the police I think she Holy Cross was such a


horrendous experience for anybody that was involved on either side of


it. It was so badly handled that it got into the press. It was only


9/11 that took it away from headline news was that it was out


of control. I wanted to understand what both communities felt like.


Leave it! Are you OK? Give it a few more night. This is your home.


is what you look forward to go to after work. Home is where you take


things for granted like a night's sleep. Do you do much research? How


do you go into a -- another mindset? I went up and met them. I


think it was the community centre and I spoke to people there. What


did they say to you? They felt misrepresented and they were not


lead in a political way. They did not have representation or a


spokesperson. Again, it is tribal. Look what you have done to her! She


is just 10 years old. Does she look Pool are you? Represent yourself.


You are bowling along with a hugely successful music career. Music is


Eight years ago, I released my first album. I to the small band


out on the road and learned a lot about the rock and roll world. It


was hard going. If I had a wonderful reaction to the album.


Then, I decided a couple of years ago I wanted to do it again. I


wrote 10 more songs and got my dream band together and made it and


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 40 seconds


Do I get the feeling now that you are taking acting parts now but the


passion is the music? I do both and I love it. Again, the theatre is


also a huge passion and I have worked a lot in the theatre. A lot


of people would not know the work I have done. It is live performance


and interaction with the audience. With a film, it is very technical


but it is great as well. Looking back, you have built an impressive


career, couriers. They must have been sacrifices? Have there been


any regrets about what you could have done? No. I really believe


that everything happens for a reason. One door closes, perhaps


opportunities you would have liked to have done and then it does not


happen. Then you really are getting. But it reminds you there is no


sense of entitlement. Humility is a great thing. I also realise that


something came in their and that was meant to happen. Were you


annoyed at losing out on War Horse after you played a role in the


theatre was Mark it was an incredible experience. We took the


show from the National and it has been running in the West End for a


number of years. It was an amazing couple of years. It was hard graft.


I do not at all regret any cinematic loss. I do not feel any


connection to that at all. I know the people who had seen the play


will have it in their hearts forever. A lot of the time it does


not work on film. Spielberg sent a message to me and said they had


seen the videos. They said I looked too young. I was delighted! We are


very lucky to do what we do. I constantly remind myself of that.


In our game, there is such huge unemployment. A lot of people break


the hat and the same for music. What is really cool to me at what


really is sexy is people who keep going. You do not sit in a back


crying into your pint and saying I could have done that. Just keep


going. If you have a will and an ability and stuff to do, do your


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