The actor Julia Stiles is probably best known for her breakthrough role in the 1999 teen classic, 10 Things I Hate About You, a sharp retelling of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. But that best known for bit doesn’t mean she hasn’t been working steadily – and giving stand-out performances – for the past 20-odd years. Indeed, many will argue that she’s better known for her performance as Nicky Parsons, alongside Dalkey’s own Matt Damon in the Bourne series. Or some others will claim that her Golden Globe-nominated turn as Lumen Pierce in the TV series Dexter is her main claim to fame. And what about her Neil Jordan-created show Riviera on Sky Atlantic? Never mind all that, though, how Irish is she? Actually, more Irish than you might expect, as she told Ray D’Arcy:
"O’Hara is my middle name. So, my mother didn’t change her name – her last name is Stiles – she didn’t change her name when they got married. So, yeah, they decided, I don’t know if it was a feminist thing or just the way it sounds, that O’Hara-Stiles sounds better than Stiles-O’Hara, I don’t know. But O’Hara comes from his side of the family, which is Irish."
Always good to know which Hollywood stars we should be rooting for. In Julia’s new film, The God Committee, she and Kelsey Grammer plays doctors deciding which patient should get a heart transplant.
"We think of doctors as having good intentions and an amazing skill set. And if something tragic happens, it’s out of their hands. But in this movie they’re really given the authority to – and the challenge to – pick and choose which patient’s going to live. And that to me was really thought-provoking and really challenging."
Remarkably, Julia has been acting since the age of 11 and after her initial success, she went back to college, something some people told her would stall her acting career.
"Just at the time that I was becoming more recognisable as an actress and more in demand, but fame is a bizarre thing, especially for somebody, you know, just entering adulthood. When I went to college, I was able to step back and kind of get some perspective on the whole thing."
For fans of Riviera on Sky Atlantic, though, Julia had bad news – there’ll be no fourth season. Why? It’s mostly down to – you guessed it – Covid:
"They were talking about doing a season in Italy, but Covid just, you know, would be so unrealistic. I mean, it would have been last year that we would have shot and you know with all of these second and third waves and uncertainty in the world, it just would have been too much of a risk for the studio."
Shame. For more from Ray’s chat with Julia Stiles, go here.
The God Committee is streaming from 2 July.