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Northern Irish actor Jamie Dornan says filming 'Belfast' was once in a lifetime opportunity

Jamie also joked about working alongside 'brilliant' 10-year-old Jude Hill

Jamie Dornan (r) plays 'Pa' in the film with Jude Hill (l) who plays 'Buddy' in Belfast

By Jim Gallagher

Hollywood star Jamie Dornan claims making his latest film Belfast in his home city was a pure joy.

Talking to The Graham Norton Show tonight the Fifty Shades actor says it was great to be back working after the pandemic.

“Probably only once in my life will there be a movie about the town I am from,” he says.

“It was like one of those proper gifts. We were one of the first productions shooting in Covid-times and it was such a fun job to do anyway, but particularly at that time when there was so much uncertainty.”

Asked about his young co-star, 10-year-old Jude Hill, Jamie says: “He is brilliant.

“Where we come from taking the mick out of each other is sort of our currency and he was pretty brutal with me.

“At one point his dad came up to me and said, ‘I’ve had a word and asked him to lay off you for a bit.’

“I was like, ‘I appreciate that, but I am okay – I am nearly 40 and I can take it!”

The semi-biographical film by Kenneth Branagh tells the story of life for a nine-year-old, played by June, just as the Troubles were getting underway in 1969.

Dornan plays the boy’s father while Caitriona Balfe is the mother and veteran stars Judi Dench and Ciaran Hinds are the grandparents.

Oscar winning star Dench, 86, has the audience laughing when she tells Graham she thought she was too young to play Branagh’s grandmother.

“When Ken asked me to play his grandmother I thought ‘I’m not old enough to play his grandmother’ but it’s in the 70s and I wear a very dark wig so it’s actually a really young part for me to play.

“I’ve now played his wife and his mother before so there’s nothing left now!”

Revealing she has a new companion, she says: “She’s a 14-year-old parrot called Sweetheart that’s come to live with me.

“She says (in a deep gruff voice) ‘What are you doing?’ and around 11.30am she says, ‘Bedtime.’

“I’m trying to teach her ‘To be, or not to be’ but she just looks at me sideways.”

Asked if she has any sense of slowing down, Judi says: “We’ve all been slowing down for a year so thank goodness I am back at it!”

Former U.S. president Barack Obama and rock legend Bruce Springsteen also appear on the show in a pre-recorded chat from the singer’s New Jersey home to talk about their friendship and their book, Renegades: Born in the USA.

Revealing how they became pals Obama said: “Bruce is kind of shy when you first meet him.

“He’s very charismatic when he is singing but doesn’t say much afterwards. But he said a few things that made me think there is something to this man.”

Bruce adds, “You don’t make that many friends later in life so to bump into somebody you have some things in common with and who happens to be the President of the United States is a little rare.”

Springsteen revealed his rock star lifestyle had created tensions at home with wife Patti in the past.

“I had the bad habit of getting up around noon. At one point she said, ‘You can do that, but you are going to miss the whole thing – the kids are at their best in the morning.’

“The next day I got up at 6am – I was more used to going to bed at 6am – and made pancakes.

“For the next 10 years I cooked breakfast for the children – if I’d ever blown my job as a musician I could have cooked in any diner across America!”

President Obama said: “I think it is fair to say that Michelle was not thrilled with the initial idea of my running for President.

“Once I became President you are living above the store, so I ended up having more time with her and the girls because everyone comes to you and at the end of the day you just go upstairs – there is no commute. That period was easier, but campaigning was rough.”

Obama revealed it was he who encouraged Springsteen to develop his Broadway show after a performance in the White House.

“I didn’t just hand it to him and say, ‘Here you go.’ He did write the songs and the book on which they are based, so I don’t want to overdo it, but I will take a sliver of credit.”

Springsteen adds: “He did suggest that I should take what I did at the White House and find a way to make it a show that other folks could hear. He gave me a good nudge and I’ve got to give him some credit.”

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