It’s not often we have the opportunity to hear an Irish accent in a movie that isn’t about Ireland or about Irish immigrants, so Irish actress Caitríona Balfe maintaining her own accent in George Clooney’s latest release “Money Monster” feels something of a novelty.
Here is an Irish actor playing a role that is not based around her nationality but playing a businesswoman working in New York, who just happens to be Irish.
Directed by Jodie Foster, “Money Monster” features two members of Hollywood royalty, George Clooney and Julia Roberts, as well as English actor Jack O’Connell, whose Dad was from Ballyheigue in Co. Kerry.
Clooney plays a stocks-and-shares TV star Lee Gates who is taken hostage by O’Connell’s Kyle Budwell after he loses $60,000 on a bad investment tip from the TV presenter.
Roberts plays the TV show producer trying to save her show’s star as Budwell straps a suicide vest around Gates’ chest, while “Outlander” lead actress Balfe plays Diane Lester, the spokeswoman for the financial firm experiencing a shady-seeming meltdown, hoping to discover what caused the down-on-his-luck Budwell to lose all his money in the investment.
In her first major film role, Balfe is being interviewed on camera by Clooney’s character and, as a result, spent limited time on set with the stars, but that didn’t stop them from teasing the 36-year-old former model as much as possible.
“They could see me and hear me, but I could only hear them, and so they were teasing me quite a bit,” Balfe told Vanity Fair. “It's weird when you can't see somebody and you're trying to have a conversation. They were like, ‘What are you doing? What are you reading there?’”
Filming “Money Monster” in between seasons of “Outlander,” Balfe said she’s been offered a string of strong female roles but was happy to find that under Jodie Foster’s direction she was not alone.
“It's not like, oh, here is our powerful female character and we're going to let her do the powerful woman thing,” Balfe says, referring to the role played by her co-star Julia Roberts.
“You have two incredibly intelligent businesswomen who are good at what they do.”
The film’s other lead, 25-year-old Jack O’Connell, will be no stranger to Irish movie-goers not just because of his Irish roots but with thanks to last year’s “'71” based around the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Taking on the role of a British soldier left abandoned in the Republican area of Belfast after a riot, the film was critically acclaimed while O’Connell’s performance was also heralded as one of the standout of the film.
“Money Monster” is another huge part for the up-and-coming British star who charmed Angelina Jolie into giving him the lead in last year’s “Unbroken.”
Clooney, who often speaks of his own Irish ancestors from Co. Kilkenny, was seen on set with O’Connell in April 2015, joking with the Derby-born actor as they shot a scene on Wall Street.