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foul mouthed Deadly Cuts star Shauna Higgins says more working-class women should be put centre stage

Shauna plays a working-class hero heroine in the new comedy

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Shauna  Higgins at the Irish premiere of Deadly Cuts at the Odeon Cinema in Point Square Dublin. Pic Brian McEvoy

Shauna Higgins at the Irish premiere of Deadly Cuts at the Odeon Cinema in Point Square Dublin. Pic Brian McEvoy

Shauna Higgins at the Irish premiere of Deadly Cuts at the Odeon Cinema in Point Square Dublin. Pic Brian McEvoy

They're the sassy stylists who play a criminal gang at their own game - the working-class hairdresser heroines who push back against a violent thug with the aid of scissors and hairspray.

Foul-mouthed and funny, the women in new Irish comedy, Deadly Cuts, have the brawn and the blowdryers to take on a feared crime lord.

But for the movie's younger stars, the greatest pleasure was getting to work with the queen of Dublin putdowns. As Imelda Quirke, Angeline Ball uttered immortal lines such as: "I'll bite your bleedin' b***** off and make earrings out of them".

Three decades later, now it's newcomers Shauna Higgins and Ericka Roe who are taking on the same irreverent Dublin wit.

"When me and Erika found out that Angeline was cast, we were like, 'Oh my God'," beams Shauna. "We couldn't believe it because we grew up watching The Commitments. So getting to be in a film with her was a big deal, then when she came on set she was just the best. She's so lovely."

Like Angeline, Shauna grew up in the working-class suburb of Cabra on Dublin's northside. She says she's proud to be in a comedy where hard-working women are front and centre.

"When you're working class, a lot of what's on telly is viewed as negative, it's viewed in relation to drugs and crime and everything like that," she says.

"So to have four working-class women in a comedy, I think it's so important. It was an honour to do the role. This is centred around women. You probably wouldn't have even seen that before, a film about working-class women and empowerment."

Most of the movie's fart jokes come courtesy of Shauna's character, Chantelle, who has an irritable bowel which shows her up at embarrassing moments when she gets anxious. "I love any time she suffers with her bowels and she lets out a little fart," laughs the rising star.

"Filming that was hilarious because we didn't have a machine or anything so it was kind of just like, OK, pause, that's where the fart comes in. I love that about Chantelle, that her nerves get the better of her."

Deadly Cuts is written and directed by Rachel Carey, who was inspired by her own brief experience as receptionist at a Dublin hair salon. As well as established stars like Ball and Victoria Smurfit, she has brought the best out of her young cast.

Shauna and Ericka have been friends since they met at the National Performing Arts School. When they first read the script, they were determined to nab the roles.

"Myself and Ericka did a read through before it even got picked up by producers," she explains. "We've known each other since we were kids and I just turned to her and I was like, 'We need to get these roles'. As I was reading the script I was laughing out loud. The writing is spot-on."

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Although it's her first leading film role, Shauna has also starred in high-profile TV series such as Red Rock and Taken Down.

And she says she's thrilled to be fulfilling her dream. "My mam would tell you that when I was a kid, she said she didn't know where she got me from - I was a bit mad. She said she had to put me in something so she put me in drama, and I just fell in love.

"Guidance counsellors in school would be saying, 'Oh would you not get into business? It's a bit of a tricky career'. And I'd be like, 'No this is what I want. I'm going to stick at it'."

Deadly Cuts is in cinemas now

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