Irish star Jamie Dornan hit our screens in 2016 in a new film that tells the lesser known story of The Siege of Jadotville.
It is a story of Irish bravery that took place in 1961, in the heart of the Cold War.
Dornan’s career has been on a steep upward trajectory over the last couple of years after he took on the starring role of Christian Grey in the 50 shades, franchise.
He also stars in Irish/British TV series The Fall opposite Gillian Anderson.
His latest project – which will be available via Netflix – sees him take on the role of Commandant Pat Quinlan.
During the Cold War, Commandant Quinlan led an Irish company serving with the UN in the Congo where several nations were battling for control of the country’s natural resources.
His men came under attack from local Congolese separatists who had the backing of French and Belgian mercenaries.
Commandant Quinlan led a heroic fightback. He had 150 men in his battalion and managed to fight off over 3,000 during a six day siege.
Dornan has said that he feels a great responsibility to honour Commandant Quinlan with respect and honesty as he brings the forgotten story back to life.
He told the Irish Examiner: “You do feel a certain amount of pressure to honour and respect the man you’re playing. And to give a portrayal that’s worthy of the man, because he’s quite a man.
“You’re playing people who have really existed and they still have family who are around — it’s recent history, it’s ’61, it wasn’t that long ago. Conor Quinlan who’s Pat Quinlan’s grandson [and an actor who’s part of the film’s ensemble cast] is in the movie with us. He was there every day, which had its own pressure at the start. But then I loved having him there, we didn’t fall out so I think he must be happy enough!
“Also, you can’t let that burden you. You’ve got to leave that behind once you get on set because you’ve so many things to worry about as that is, and you can’t let that overburden you in terms of what you’re trying to do with the role.”
Dornan, who is from Co Down, also said that he had to work hard to master the accent of Commandant Quinlan, who was from Kerry but stationed in Athlone, Co Westmeath and had a hybrid Kerry/Midlands accent.
Dornan said: “Accents are funny — as you start prepping the job you’re thinking: ‘This is not going to happen, I don’t know how I’m going to get my head around this’. And then, it’s like anything in life, you practise a bit, you work hard at it, and everything falls into place.
“I love doing it — it’s a very lyrical and enjoyable action to do. And I’m glad we made a choice not to have it too hardcore Kerry. We didn’t want to do subtitles — the Americans like to do subtitles for Irish people when they’re speaking English, which I find pretty shameful, and we were trying to avoid that.”
Take a look at the trailer below.
Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling