Tallaght's Jordanne is one to watch in the Irish film industry

By Mary Dennehy

IN BETWEEN studying for her Leaving Certificate, 16-year-old Tallaght teenager Jordanne Jones is landing a string of high profile acting jobs, and quickly becoming ‘one to watch’ in the Irish film industry.

Down-to-earth, modest and relatable, Jordanne came to the public’s attention when she landed the lead role in I Used to Live Here in 2015.

Jordanne Jones 02022017

Directed by Frank Berry on the streets of Killinarden, I Used to Live Here explored the issue of cluster suicides among young people living in local communities – and the knock-on effect that these tragedies have on other young people in the area.

After a role in RTE’s Rebellion, and an IFTA Best Actress nomination, the Killinarden Community School student starred in Springfield writer Emmet Kirwan’s acclaimed, viral, short film Heartbreak – which was released online in January.

Despite a busy schedule that involves grinds and CAO decisions, Jordanne, who is the daughter of Independent Tallaght Senator Lynn Ruane, took five to speak with her local paper.

Did you always want to act?

Yes, as far back as I can remember. My grandad would be stuck out the back for hours watching me put on shows for him. That was when I was much younger and would perform a show on my own.

As I got older I would spend all day in my nanny’s putting plays on with my cousins. Kind of directing my own little plays. Giving them different parts.

How did you land your first professional part in I Used to Live Here?

My mam knew how much I like to act when she watched me in a theatre piece with my school. I fell in the play and hurt myself.

The scene of the play was on a boat so I pretended the fall was part of the show and we hit some waves. The audience bought it and my mam said she knew I had something special then.

She later saw that there were auditions for Frank Berry’s ‘I Used to Live Here’ in the community centre so I went down and was surprised and excited to get the part.

You starred in Emmet Kirwan’s recently released Heartbreak, which has been receiving a lot of attention and positive reviews. What do you think is important about this short film?

It is important to me for many reasons. It captures so many of things I care about such as education, women’s rights and bodily autonomy. My favourite line is ‘Stand in Awe of all Mna’.

I love this line because it’s a real call to all people. Man, women and child no matter where you are from or gender you identify. Especially to men, to stand up and be a feminist.

You have starred in several productions like Heartbreak and I Used to Live Here that deal with topical social issues, do you believe that film has the power to raise awareness and change attitudes?

I have played a few important roles now. Not only do I feel they are important messages but I have learned so much too. My role in Rebellion was a young girl forced into prostitution due to poverty.

My role in My Father, My Blood, which is a short I did last year with Barry Ward, I play a child being reared in the wilderness by her father.

He his raising her as boy and she soon begins to question this and his mental health. You will just have to wait until it‘s released to see what happens.

Are you attracted to this sort of work?

I am attracted to this type of work. I remember going to protests and demonstrations with my mam as far back as 9 years old.

I remember taking the microphone from a community worker and chanting at the 1000s of people in the street. I had adapted Nightmare on Elm Street theme tune to a chant about Brian Cowen and Child-Benefit.

It is great to use my art and acting with my activism.

What was the most challenging role you’ve played to date?

My Father, my Blood. I had to connect with my emotions to play the role. I felt every part of it. It was intense.

Is it tough trying to juggle school, acting and being with your friends etc.?

Yes it is very hard. Especially this year with the Leaving Cert.

Any advice for other young people trying to get a break into acting?

Just explore who you are what you want to do. Go to shows and audition where you can. Do not be afraid to get involved.

If you could act alongside any actor, living or dead, who would you chose and why?

Jared Leto is a method actor and goes to many extremes for his pieces. I love method actors and would love to work alongside him. I think I would learn loads, in fact I know I would. I have so many questions for him. I have been inspired so much by his acting in Requiem for Dream.

Do you have a favourite film?

Romeo and Juliet by my favourite director Baz Lurman, who I was lucky enough to meet in Trinity and got to chat to about his work.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Where you are now in life, as in, your grades, how you feel or your physical location and lifestyle are just moment in time and do not have to determine your future.

Have you a wardrobe favourite that you couldn’t live without?

Most of my favourites are baggy jumpers from charity shops. I love charity shop clothes because they have a history and someone else used to love them too.

Who or what makes you laugh?

Comedian Lee Evans.

What’s next?

I just finished Rebellion 2. At the minute I am preparing for my Leaving Cert. My time is spent in Grinds so work is on hold until I get my exams out of the way.

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