The Fall star Aisling Franciosi has told RTÉ Entertainment that her harrowing role as an Irish convict in Outback revenge odyssey The Nightingale had a profound effect on her - on-set and off.

The new film from The Babadook writer-director Jennifer Kent tells the story of Clare (Franciosi), a widow on the hunt for Hawkins (Sam Claflin), the British officer who has brought destruction and devastation to her life. 

Helping Clare is Billy (Baykali Ganambarr), an Aboriginal tracker who shows her a way to reconnect with her own humanity as they pick their steps through Tasmania in 1825.

The Nightingale is nominated in 15 categories at next week's Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts awards, with Dubliner Franciosi among the nominees for Best Actress for her career-making performance as Clare.

"It's an incredible role in a really challenging story," Franciosi told RTÉ Entertainment. "Despite the fact that I knew it would be challenging, I just really, really, really wanted Jen to cast me. I was ready to take it on; I didn't agonise over it." 

"The material was obviously sensitive and very difficult," Franciosi continued.

"Thankfully, I had Sam to help me through it, but I was shocked actually at how difficult I found it to kind of maintain my composure in between takes on certain brutal scenes and how difficult I found it to turn the emotional tap off at the end of the day. That was something I'd never had to grapple with before in terms of my performances. 

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"But I think I just really felt the weight of responsibility having met real victims, having had people share their stories with me. Jen pushed us to be as truthful and as authentic as we could be for the importance of this story."    

When asked how she thinks starring in The Nightingale has changed her, Franciosi replied: "Because I found it so difficult to kind of squish back down any negative emotions that I had bottled up without really realising it, I think at the end of that shoot I realised that I probably need to approach how I deal with my own emotions differently in real life. That was kind of an eye-opener."  

The Nightingale is in cinemas now and on demand.

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