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powerful Emily Taaffe reveals her own pain pours out on screen for her latest role in The Rising

Dublin-born Emily plays grieving mother Maria Kelly, who is coming to terms with the murder of her only daughter Neve, but this story comes with a twist.

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Emily Taaffe as Maria in The Rising. Picture by Simon Webb/Sky UK

Emily Taaffe as Maria in The Rising. Picture by Simon Webb/Sky UK

Emily Taaffe as Maria in The Rising. Picture by Simon Webb/Sky UK

IRISH actress Emily Taaffe admitted she leaned on the pain of losing her own mother for her latest role for the gripping Sky Max drama, The Rising.

Dublin-born Emily plays grieving mother Maria Kelly, who is coming to terms with the murder of her only daughter Neve, but this story comes with a twist.

Taking advantage of her new supernatural abilities to go where the police can’t and investigate her own death from beyond the grave, Neve (played by Clara Rugaard) uncovers deeply buried secrets and is forced to re-examine everything about her life and the people she cared about.

It’s a backdrop that demands a powerful performance from Taaffe, who admits it is a role she could not resist.

“I got a chance to play a young mother and when they are portrayed on screen, it is often in a negative light,” began Emily, who has enjoyed a strong career in theatre and TV since moving from Ireland to the UK to train at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.

“I liked the fact with Maria, the negativity was never mentioned. She’s a good mother. She has worked really hard to create a good life for her daughter.

“So that was partly what attracted me to it. Also in terms of the playing her over the course of the series I was really interested in exploring grief and how that manifests itself.

“Often you don’t see the ugly side of grief. I liked the idea of exploring that with Maria. When people are grieving, they can be horrible and they can be flawed. It’s not just sitting in the corner quietly weeping.

“So that was interesting to me. And also the idea of going on a journey with a character who has to learn to let go of her child, which I think is basically parenting, right? But Maria has to learn it in a very extreme circumstance.”

When asked to explain how she related to her heartbroken character, Emily admitted she has her own very personal experience of grief at the forefront of her mind.

“I lost my mother a couple of years ago so that’s there,” she said. “As an actor you draw on all sorts of things. I am the mother of a two-and-a-half-year-old so being a mother has certainly removed a layer of thick skin.

“Once you have a part of your heart walking around in the world you become a little bit more attuned to the fragility of things and it’s just sort of empathising and putting myself in those shoes or at least trying to.”

The Rising has been well-received by audiences and Emily, who admits the atmosphere around the show adds to its appeal.

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“Having seen the first couple of episodes the look of it is unique,“ she adds. “It feels really different and international. It’s also the story itself. One of the things that did attract me was we have a lot of ‘dead girl’ stories. It’s a tricky thing, right?

“What I think is really good about this story is that Neve is the subject. She is not the object of the story. She has ownership. And there is no gratuitous showing of violence against her. I think that’s really well dealt with in this story.

“Violence against women is a pandemic all of its own. It’s a huge problem so it is right that we tell these stories but how we tell these stories is important and I think The Rising deals with that in a way that gives ownership of the story back to Neve. That is something that we can be proud of.“

The Rising is available on Sky Max and NOW.

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