Richie Smyth and Jamie Dornan, respectively director and star of new Irish war film The Siege of Jadotville, appeared on RTÉ Radio 1 with Ryan Tubridy this morning, after Monday's premiere screening in Dublin's Savoy Cinema, They discussed the making of the film, and how they worked to ensure that the project did justice to the real-life soldiers of Jadotville.
Speaking about the preparation for his portrayal of Commandant Pat Quinlan, in particular capturing Quinlan's Kerry accent, Dornan was passionate to do the man justice, noting that with the Kerry brogue, “At least you can go for it, there’s something to throw yourself at”. Aware of the screen's legacy of woeful Irish accents, he worked extensively with a dialogue coach, as well as studying tapes of Pat Quinlan himself to get the voice right. He defines the accent as a “Munster accent, with Kerry-isms in it”.
“We want this to reach a global audience, but I would prefer it to be in the States without subtitles, and I know they do that and I find that hugely racist and frustrating.... We thought that we wouldn’t go for anything too extreme and went for a Munster accent with Kerry-isms in it.”
Dornan also spent an extensive period researching the project, noting that it was “relatively recent history, so there’s people to draw upon who were there, which was invaluable”. Among the cast was Conor Quinlan, Pat Quinlan’s grandson, who was an integral part of Dornan’s research process.
“We had Conor Quinlan, who’s Pat Quinlan’s grandson, who was in the cast with us so he was with me and the rest of us for the three-and-a-half months or whatever it was in Johannesburg, so it was kind of amazing to be able to pick his brain wherever I could. He was brilliant at, you know, giving me a sense of who his grandfather was and he sent me, very early on, an e-mail with all the letters Quinlan wrote to his wife throughout his whole time in the Congo. I felt very privileged to have access to that.”
You can listen to the full interview with Ryan below: