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Source: The Birmingham Post (England)
Date: 3/3/1998

A hot bedtime story from Ciaran; Ciaran Hinds has littledifficulty pinpointing the motivation of his la test TV character:'Primal lust' is how he describes it. Graham Keal hears moreabout the passions unleashed in the BBC2 movie Getting Hurt.

Author: Keal, Graham
Adark, brooding tale of erotic obsession is set to bring a new dimension to the career of the charismatic Ciaran Hinds. The Belfast-born actor has played plenty of buttoned-up men who have to keep their dangerous passions in check - his glowering Mr Rochester in ITV's Jane Eyre last year may be the best-known example.

But in BBC2's new Andrew Davies movie Getting Hurt, an adaptation of the Warwickshire writer's first novel, Ciaran moves from repressed passion to expressed passion, and as "respectable" married solicitor Charlie Cross, is soon unbuttoned and undone, in every sense.

His erotic encounters with co-star Amanda Ooms leave little to the imagination and the two of them go at it with a feral intensity. No wonder the series it launches is called Obsessions.

After starring in so many costume dramas where the costumes stayed on, Ciaran admits these scenes are his most explicit yet, by a mile: "I'd say by a marathon... By a couple of marathons, yeah.

"I've never been involved in any sex scenes before. I've managed to avoid it, so this was another first."

Fortunately for him, Amanda Ooms is more experienced in such matters. Were their passionate encounters hard to choreograph? "No, because Amanda is fantastically professional and understanding," he says.

She stripped off repeatedly to turn into a werewolf in bizarre thriller Wilderness in 1996 - which Andrew Davies co-scripted - and as Viola in Getting Hurt, she delivers an unsettling erotic charge.

Ciaran acclimatised quickly: "There's a physical side to the story and something in your head tells you to commit to it. It's like playing an emotion, feeling pain or grief whatever. It's part of the job.

"And once the embarrassment is over you find, well, it's not that unpleasant," laughs Ciaran.

This makes a refreshing change from actors who earnestly explain why they'd rather be hung by the ankles from an airliner at 20,000 feet than simulate sex with a beautiful actress.

The screenplay is loosely based on Andrew Davies's own novel, with the added element of an investigation into the murders of five prostitutes. Viola's weird photographer husband is prime suspect.

He may or may not be guilty but what is clear is that, whether she realises it or not, the waiike Viola exerts a powerful hold over men.

"It's a primal urge of lust and the result is havoc," says Ciaran. "It's easy to see how a middle-aged man could lose himself in such a passion."

Charlie Cross loses his wife, his family, his career and his reputation in short order. Ciaran's life looks more firmly rooted.

He and his Vietnamese-born partner Helene have been together for ten years and have a six-year-old daughter, Aoife (pronounced Eefa).

And since starring as Captain Wentworth in a TV version of Jane Austen's Persuasion three years ago, his career has flourished. He was stunning as Rochester in Jane Eyre, was a brilliant baddie in post-war drama serial Seaforth and was the knight we loved to hate, black-bearded Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert in Ivanhoe.

Films including Oscar and Lucinda and the yet-to-be-released The Life of Stuff, opposite Ewen Bremner and Gina McKee, have kept him busy too. Playing repressed but dangerously attractive baddies has become a speciality but Ciaran is engagingly selffacing.

He shrugs off notions of being a sex symbol or a star. "I mean, there are a lot of actors that can do the roles," he says.

But are there? I suggest that when directors need a mature man who combines a commanding presence with a whiff of danger, there's really only him and Alan Rickman - that's it.

"Oh... I must say I'm honoured to be mentioned in his company in the same breath," murmurs Ciaran.

False modesty? Perhaps, but talking to the man you get the feeling of someone with both feet planted on the ground.

Having spent ten years struggling in theatre in Ireland and Scotland may have something to do with this.

Or maybe it's down to his mum, once a talented amateur actress who might have turned professional if five children hadn't intervened. She sometimes travelled to see his early theatre performances.

And was she impressed? "She was very gracious. But when I was about 13, I played Lady Macbeth at school and I'm still trying to reach those heights."