Podtalk: Aisling Franciosi Takes the Lead in ‘The Nightingale’

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CHICAGO – The “star is born” expression is not to be used lightly, yet it absolutely applies to the performance of Aisling Franciosi (Lyanna Stark in “Game of Thrones”) in the role of Clare for “The Nightingale.” As a late 19th Century woman with nothing to lose, she suffers an emotional death, a survival rebirth and humanist hope.

Aisling Franciosi at the 7th Chicago Critics Film Festival
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for HollywoodChicago.com

“The Nightingale” is a meditation on the consequences of violence and the price of seeking vengeance. Set during the colonization of Australia in 1825, the film focuses on 21-year-old Irish convict Clare (Franciosi). Having served her sentence, she is desperate to be free of her abusive master, Lieutenant Hawkins (Sam Clafin), who refuses to release her from his charge. Clare’s husband Aidan (Michael Sheasby) retaliates and she then becomes the victim of a unspeakable and graphically depicted crime at the hands of the lieutenant and his cronies. 

When British authorities fail to deliver justice, Clare decides to pursue Hawkins, who leaves his post suddenly to secure a promotion up north. Unable to find compatriots for her journey, she is forced to enlist the help of a young Aboriginal tracker Billy (Baykali Ganambarr) who grudgingly takes her through the rugged wilderness to track down Hawkins and seek vengence.

Aisling Franciosi as Clare with Angel in ‘The Nightingale’
Photo credit: IFC Films

Aisling Franciosi is stunning as Clare, projecting the range of emotions the character suffers with authentic and complete intuition. The 25-year-old actor makes her major film debut after a series of appearances in TV series like TNT’s “Legends” and BBC’s “The Fall,” as well as a role in HBO’s “Game of Thrones” as Lyanna Stark.

Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com spoke to Aisling Franciosi in the following two part Podtalk, in anticipation of the release of “The Nightingale.” Photographer Joe Arce took the Exclusive Photo in May at the Chicago Critics Film Festival.

What is it like to perform a difficult but essential attack and abuse scene on a film set? Aisling Franciosi answers this question in an introspective reveal in Part One of the Podtalk.

In Part Two, the role of love in survival is discussed, plus which of the multiple languages that Franciosi speaks is best for communication.

‘The Nightingale’ continues its nationwide release on April 16th in Chicago at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 North Southport. See local listings for other theaters and show times. Featuring Aisling Franciosi, Sam Clafin, Michael Sheasby and Baykali Ganambarr. Written and directed by Jennifer Kent. Rated “R”

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Writer

© 2019 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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