- 12 Jul 17
“I think this is actually more of a love story than it is an abortion story. It’s kind of been sensationalised in the press as an abortion drama, but I don’t think that’s all there is to it. I think people are going to see it expecting one thing, and get another.”
Dublin actress Iseult Casey is talking about the new Irish indie movie Twice Shy, which is about to go on general release. Given that abortion is such a controversial and polarising topic on this island, it’s hardly surprising that the media have picked up on that angle, but there’s certainly more to the film. Written and directed by Tom Ryan, and starring Iseult and fellow newcomer Shane Murray-Corcoran, the film tells a teenage couple’s love story in flashback as they’re travelling to London for an abortion.
“I personally am pro-choice,” Iseult reflects. “And we had support from Repeal, which was just great. We’re glad that they like the film. We’re grateful for the support, especially because the film doesn’t actually take a side on the debate.”
One way of looking at the film is that it underlines the fact that abortion is an everyday reality: we should respect people right to choose and get on with it. In a sense, however, the abortion issue is just a framing device for what’s actually a beautiful, albeit lo-fi, snapshot of contemporary teenage Ireland. It’s all in there: the Leaving Cert, the Debs, parents, drinking, dating, jealousy, moving away from home to study in university… and, of course, dealing with an unwanted pregnancy.
WORKED HARD, PLAYED HARD
Above all else, though, Twice Shy is a love story that will resonate with anybody who can recall the sheer intensity of their first big romance.
“Yeah, we’ve had a lot of people say that,” Iseult says. “It’s really nice to hear. After the screening last Friday I was speaking to some people and they said it reminded them of their first love or one of their first relationships.”
Dublin-born Iseult is now aged 24, but she was barely 22 when the movie was shot.
“It’s kind of funny because I thought, going into a wholly independent production like this, there’s no guarantee that it will ever see the light of day.”
The movie – which also features turns from Pat Shortt and Ardal O’Hanlon – was filmed mostly in Tipperary and Dublin on a budget of just €50,000. “Tom made his first film, Trampoline, for about a grand so this was almost big budget in comparison,” she laughs. “We shot it in three weeks. I think we did two weeks in Tipperary, and three or four days in Dublin, and one day in London. It was pretty intense. The team worked really, really hard, but we also had really great fun. Because our crew was so small, and our cast, we got to really know each other and it was a good time. We worked hard, but we played hard as well.”
Iseult originally trained as a stage actress, and this is her very first screen role.
“I set out to do theatre in the beginning. That’s what I trained in, and what I set out to do. I did my training at the DIT conservatory in Rathmines. We really just barely touched-on screen acting. I mean, I didn’t really have any experience with it.
“And then when I left, I was working in theatre a bit, but I knew that financially it’s just better in film. Then I heard about Tom casting for Twice Shy, and I sent him my stuff and he asked for a chat. So I had a nice chat with him; they auditioned me – and I got the part.”
BACK AT MY FOLKS
Iseult enjoyed being in front of a camera.
“Yeah, I loved it,” she enthuses. “I like the little subtleties that you can throw in, whereas onstage that’s just not an option. I liked being able to do stuff without even having to talk.”
Although Twice Shy is only going on general release now, the film has been doing the rounds at film festivals for over a year.
“The edit was only finished last year so that’s when the film was actually completed. We premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh and had a really good response, and then we did the festival circuit up until now. We did festivals here, in Galway, Indie Cork, Dingle and the Irish Film Festival in London and in Australia. We showed it at Cannes, too. Oh, also San Francisco and the Irish Film Festival in New York and L.A. It ended up being received really well, and that helped in getting a distribution deal.”
Iseult is now heading to London herself.
“I’ve just signed with an agency over there,” she explains. “I’m moving next month. I’m just hoping to get a bit of a life going there. Because I’m living back at my folks’ at the moment. I’ve been here for a year now, so I’m looking forward to going away for a bit.
“I am sad to leave as well, but I’m more likely to get work over there. We’ll see what happens.”
Twice Shy is on general release now.