The actress Letitia Wright is currently starring in the number one movie at the world box office, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, so she can probably be forgiven for missing the press junket for Aisha, another (presumably more modestly-budgeted) film she stars in. But the writer-director of Aisha must be hoping that some of that box office lustre will make its way onto his film when it's released this month.

It was when he was researching his 2017 film Michael Inside that writer-director Frank Berry learned that the Irish prison system and the Irish immigration system are under the control of the same government department – the Department of Justice. He told Seán Rocks on Arena that he wanted to know more:

"I wanted to educate myself on what the reality is for somebody who comes to Ireland seeking international protection. You know, a system that exists in my name as an Irish citizen and I went on a journey of research, primary research and listening to people’s experiences and collaborating."

The research for the film took a long time, Frank told Seán, as he wanted to make it as realistic as possible:

"Basically, I try and draw from real experiences as much as I can, in so far as I try not to make up anything at all really with the film. So, it involves listening to a lot of people over a long period of time. And then what happens is, sometimes as the research goes on people start to say very similar things, people who don’t even know each other and the picture of the story starts to emerge, starts to come into focus for me as time goes by. So what I do is, I listen and then I go back to my desk and I write down what I’ve heard."

Josh O’Connor, probably best-known for playing Prince Charles in Netflix’s hit series The Crown, told Seán that he’d seen Michael Inside and was immediately attracted to the idea of making Aisha:

"I’d read Aisha and loved it and Frank and I had got on a call and I could tell immediately, having seen his film and having spoken to him, Frank is someone who really takes the time and care to get these things right and accurate."

Telling accurate stories about the life experiences of people fleeing their homes is something that Josh is very interested in:

"Right now, in the UK at least, and I’m sure it’s the same in Ireland, you know, the conversation about how we treat refugees, migrants coming to our shores is really kind of relevant and really quite shocking actually. And so, that felt very important to me."

Josh plays a character called Conor, who works in security at one of the centres where Aisha – Letita Wright’s character – is kept. And Josh was gripped by the way the two characters work in the film:

"I think the temptation sometimes is to kind of, fall into, you know, a love story or something like that. And of course, there is so much love there, but it’s a sort of, it’s a friendship. It’s like a bond between two people in pain."

So impressed was Seán with Josh’s accent in the film that he asked the British actor what part of Dublin he grew up in – a positive review of his pronunciation that Josh was happy to accept. When they were filming, Josh says, he was just relieved that Frank told him the accent was ok:

"It’s terrifying because 'cos I guess you sort of, you know, when we made this film, we were still locked down. I had two weeks, you know, locked in my apartment in Dublin... and once I was allowed out, I just found myself walking around the town trying to listen to people and talk to people and I made friends with a guy called Danny who I met on the streets and he might not have known it, but he sort of helped me out a bit."

Josh has, of course, been equally lauded and lambasted for declaring that he’s a republican when he was initially approached about playing Prince Charles in The Crown, but he has no intention of switching sides, despite having spent time walking in the screen version of the prince’s shoes:

"Ultimately, I’m not in politics and my job is to tell stories that are interesting and ultimately that have many levels and nuances. It’s not always straightforward, you know, I think that, sort of, quote has followed me around for a little bit, like, you know, I’m a republican. I am a republican, but I don’t dislike anyone in the royal family, I think they’re all very, you know, I’m sure, very nice people and do interesting things and some of them probably aren’t so nice, just like any family. But as an institution I don’t agree with it."

You can hear Seán’s full conversation with Frank and Josh by going here. And you can see what happens when Wakanda’s princess and Britain’s prince meet up on screen in Aisha, which opens here on Friday 18 November.