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from Hindsite
Miscellaneous Interviews and Quotes

"I don't see myself following in the footsteps of Liam, Pierce and Gabriel. I'm not driven by ambition to be a star, I am just a spinner of other people's stories. I don't expect teenagers to swoon over Mr. Rochester. It's time for Mr. Hinds' make-up. He looks embarrassed at such star treatment. "See this thing," he says, pointing at his Winnebago, laughing at himself. "When we did Ivanhoe, we shared something smaller for 16 of us. Who am I? Nobby No Mates or something?"
Interviewed by Robin Eggar for The Express

"I can't imagine what women see in me. The only time I look in the mirror is when I wash my face in the morning, and all I see is this baggy-eyed, unshaven, pale-faced blob. I would have loved to look like Gary Cooper or Montgomery Clift, but instead I got this.
"I went into my local corner shop yesterday, and the couple who run it said 'When we see you on TV, you always look so nice and tidy and you dress up in those lovely clothes... but whenever you come in here you look so scruffy!' I had to plead guilty as charged, I'm afraid."
"I'm really into domesticity and trying to keep the place spotless, almost obsessively so. I'm a dab hand with the duster and a whizz with the vacuum cleaner, and I enjoy cooking. Acting can be such a frenetic lifestyle --Jane Eyre, for example, was filmed very quickly, and we had to be ready daily for however long it took and just go, go, go. So I find housework a wonderful de-stressing therapy after all that adrenalin-flowing buzz. Give me a dustpan and brush and I'm happy, lost in my Mrs. Mop role."
"I've never been ambitious or had any particular plans. I just touch wood that I'm working. When people say, 'Have you thought about Hollywood?' I think, Do they mean Hollywood, County Down? All that doesn't seem to have anything to do with me. As long as I'm earning enough money to get by on, enough to keep my family happy, that's all I need. The rest is a bonus."

Interviewed by Ian Woodward, Women's Weekly



Childhood, education, training, early career:


Ciaran began his acting career as a child retelling legends in Ulster "through mime, fiddle and piano. I was a terrible show off. I hope time has put manners on me".
Interviewed by Robin Eggar for The Express

He was brought up in Belfast, the fifth child and only son of a doctor. "My mum was an excellent amateur actress. At one stage she was very glamorous and, as she keeps reminding me, 'You might never have been here if I'd gone to the Abbey Theatre rather than marry your dad.' She must have loved him too much, I guess. A great heart, my mother. I suppose my ambition must have come from her....Dad (who is now dead) wanted me to follow him into medicine but I couldn't stand blood and was hopeless at science. I went to dancing classes on a Saturday afternoon where they told Irish myths and legends through dancing and mime. It was drama, all body and emotion, and I think that got me into it."
First, though, he spent a year at Queen's University, Belfast, studying law. "The sixties had happened in England and, as usual, everything hit Ireland three or four years later and we became old hippies kind of thing. I wasn't chasing anything in particular but found Belfast a bit stagnant. I was fortunate because my law tutor had been at my old school when I first arrived at 12 and saw me having a bash at Lady Macbeth. He knew my instinct was toward acting. I wasn't man enough to speak of it, or even perhaps to know it, but he suggested I transfer to English and drama. I still had the middle-class idea I should have a career to fall back on if acting didn't work, but in the end I went the whole hog and was accepted into RADA."
It took a while for the good Catholic boy to adapt to London, he recalls. "There was a modern, progressive sexual life and it was, like, Helllooo!' I hated it of course, he lied through his teeth. I didn't go wild, but I had a wonderful relationship at drama school, my first, which continued for two years." After the almost ritual unemployment - in his case for nine months - he was employed by the Glasgow Citizens Theatre. "I was very nervous. It was full of brilliant actors, but a bit like the SAS with make-up." His first professional job was as the back end of the horse in Cinderella. "From the back end of a horse to Mr. Rochester. You could say there's not much difference. The horse was probably a lot more interesting."
Interviewed by Andrew Duncan for Radio Times

He worked there and in Ireland for 10 years. It was a time of little money, all-night poker games and parties. "I didn't have any family or responsibilities, so I had a lot of fun"
Interviewed by Robin Eggar for The Express



The family man:


In 1987, he was asked by Peter Brook to join his international company based in Paris. While performing Brook's 10-hour adaptation of the Mahabharata all around the world, he met Helene, the French-Vietnamese actress who is now his wife and mother of their five-year-old daughter Aoife (Gaelic for Eve).
"I'm a late father, I was afraid of the responsibility. I was enjoying going out and getting drunk. Then I wanted a family and it suddenly happened. It is exhausting, but if I had done this earlier I could have had five."
Interviewed by Robin Eggar for The Express

"Having Aoife put manners on me, gave me a sense of discipline and responsibility. Along with Helene, she's a real plus to living. Some friends, remembering my irresponsible history of late nights and heavy drinking, were quite shocked when they heard I was going to be a father. But my roistering stopped as soon as my daughter came along. I rarely go to the pub now. Since I have become a family man, the devil-may-care attitude has gone. I worry just like the next man about having to support Helene and Aoife."
"I've always loved kids, but I was too afraid to take on the responsibility of fatherhood at an earlier age, which has been my loss. Now at 42 I'm trying to make up for the lost years. We spend a lot of time together, drawing, reading, dancing and going to the park. Meetings, shopping, job interviews, whatever I've got to do, are all based around the consideration of whether I will be able to pick Aoife up from school in time...
"We've never had, or wanted, a nanny to help. Either Helene or I has always taken time off to look after Aoife. In that respect, it's a totally sharing relationship."

Interviewed by Ian Woodward, Women's Weekly



Re his partner, Helene:


"She's a very kooky sort of person, and I thought she was barking mad when I first met her. But we were there at the right time for each other and, whatever it was that drew us together, it's lasted through thick and thin. It wasn't a crash, bang, wallop thing though -- our love developed slowly."
"We've heard so many stories of people who have lived together for a long time and then decided 'Let's get married', only to be filing for divorce a year later. We're not prepared to risk that...not for us, not for Aoife."

Interviewed by Ian Woodward, Women's Weekly

At 44, he is in a state of domestic contentment with Helene, who was born in Haiphong, Vietnam, and brought out to live in France when she was four. "We've been together nine years. She is my partner. What else can I call her? My mate? I quite like 'my future widow".
Interviewed by Andrew Duncan for Radio Times



Re his daughter, Aoife:

(pronounced "eefa " according to Ian Woodward, Women's Weekly ) :
"When she sees me on TV, she just says 'Oh, that's you again, Daddy!'"
Interviewed by Ian Woodward, Women's Weekly

"Because of filming schedules, I don't see Aoife much, so when I'm not working I want to be around her. She is delightful, but tiring. I might go to the pub for a drink occasionally, but being a family man I go to work for a rest. I worry about money more than I used to."
Interviewed by Robin Eggar for The Express

"I'm astonished, and sometimes horrified, at what five-year-olds come out with. At four my daughter sang, "Ooh, ah, Cantona. I left my knickers in my boyfriend's car.' Obviously she didn't know what it meant, but they are much more grown-up and aware than I was at that age. Then it's sex at a much younger age and you think, 'What's the hurry? Life is a longish road and where will you go from here?"
Interviewed by Andrew Duncan for Radio Times



On recent roles:


..."Freddy Wentworth is a gentler character than Rochester. One is well mannered, ordered in society, the other is an angry, arrogant, chauvinistic, hard, confused man. There is a passion in Jane Eyre that is missing from Austen ...I had to be careful not to go over the top because there is melodrama in Jane Eyre, huge things that you need to unlock while keeping a veneer of suave sophistication, of control. It's a fine line."
"Sam and I had only met the day before the read through. There was no time for pussy footing about. Readings can be nerve-wracking and quite dull. This came off the page with real commitment."

Interviewed by Robin Eggar for The Express

"At least half the facial make-up was there. They just chopped bits off the beard willy-nilly."
He was chosen for Rochester after the director, Robert Young, heard him play the part on radio. "He told me there was passion in my voice. I couldn't evaluate whether I was right or wrong. I haven't seen any film versions, or read the book. I don't want to because I worry about the impossiblity of translating it to the screen. I'd wonder why particular scenes are left out, and that would cause frustration as well as getting in the way of the screenwriter, who has worked very hard for a long time and knows more about it than me. Sam (his costar Samantha Morton) has read the book several times, so I developed the charactrer through her. She's only 19 and has an amazing talent. She treated me like her grandfather," he jokes. "the danger is that Rochester has been played so many times I risk being shot down by critics. But a good story is a good story, whatever, and this is still about two hearts. I hope I can communicate real emotions. I hope against hope sometimes, but there's an extraordinary feeling when you get it right."
"You could say he's a man of his time, a rich landowner, with power which he abuses. I wouldn't fancy him, and I wonder why women find him so attractive. It's the power, I think. My job is to try to make viewers have sympathy. I hope we show how his heart was hit badly by his first wife. She'd been a bit of a sex siren when younger. How was he to know she was barking mad. Jane is employed as a governess and responds to him like a genuine person. It's not, 'Yes sir, no sir.' She looks him in the eye and speaks her mind, which is a new experience for him. He finds her fascinating. In the end he says, 'We are one soul,' but he can't trust himself to open up completely and admit, 'I love you.' He is callous, too, in the way he flirts with Blanche (the wealthy Blanche Ingram, played by Abigail Cruttenden) in order to make Jane jealous."

It is alleged that some women find such behaviour attractive. "I can't speak for them, but in the end it's passion, I think, which makes them fall. Women may go for shits to see how bad they really are, but they can't live with them. In all relationships there comes a point when people try to change their partner. Then you wonder what's the point of trying to make someone into what they're not. Usually life ends up with domestic ennui of some kind. You try to break it up with excitement now and again - peaks and troughs."
He rolls his own cigarette, and discusses his two latest films - Some Mother's Son, with Helen Mirren, about the Irish hunger strikers who starved to death.("It didn't have the grandeur I hoped, but I started to choke during the last half-hour because of the memories"), and Mary Reilly with Julia Roberts. "I breezed in for a couple of days, did a scene with her and Glenn Close, and was then clubbed to death. The film bombed, which is very sad. Sometimes the work is worthwhile, sometimes not. The joy of doing something you believe has the possibility of being good with people you like is, I suppose, as good a way of passing the time. It doesn't happen much, though."
Interviewed by Andrew Duncan for Radio Times



Why are classic stories popular:


"Which cliche answer would you like trotted out? The received notion is they are an antidote to programmes which reflect real urban life - shootings, drugs, blah, blah, blah - but you have to ask whether the audience is really crying out for 'classic' drama or if that is all they're being offered. There's a difference."
...he doesn't want to become stuck with breeches and lust although, he adds, "At the moment it would appear I don't have any option because it's all I seem to do, or all that people think I do. At the same time it's very nice to be considered for these parts because an Irishman is not the obvious choice for dramatic, emotionally involved roles that are specifically stiff-upper-lip Englishmen. It's a far cry from the lie of the land where I come from, and it's quite interesting to see what sort of image comes with the breeches. The audience has misconceptions about you, as indeed you have about yourself."
Interviewed by Andrew Duncan for Radio Times



Re the Irish question - his political stance:


"I came to London with a bit of a chip on my shoulder. I blamed what was happening in Northern Ireland on British politics. Then I realised that many of us have screwed up the situation, and who can understand it? So long as there are hard rocks and stubborn people who refuse to bend, it will be impossible. I don't want anyone to die, or to be nationalistic just because we are Irish. Who gives us the right to say, 'This is our birthright?' It's just land, and I feel we should get on with living. The more people travel and see the world, the better they'll be. Politics is so degraded you can never believe anyone. Why is it that none of them admit, 'We were at fault?' There was a time when they resigned if they made a mistake. Now nobody does. I suppose that's the game of life."
Interviewed by Andrew Duncan for Radio Times