Kerry Condon is an Irish actress, She most notably played Octavia of the Julii in the HBO/BBC series Rome. You may also know her as Stacey Ehrmantraut in AMC’s Better Call Saul. She is also apart of the Avengers films as F.R.I.D.A.Y.
In Dreamland, Condon plays Olivia Evans mother to Eugene Evans the young boy who has to decide to turn in a fugitive for her bounty or to help her escape to Mexico. This film is set in the 1930’s During the Great Depression and Condon speaks on how the main goal of the film was to capture the true essence of this harsh and troubling time.
Hello, thank you so much for spending time with me and answering some of my questions. Congratulations on the film. It was very enjoyable, very beautiful film. First off I’d like to ask you what what about the writing and the story grabbed your attention and how is it different from any other projects that you’ve worked on?
Kerry Condon: Okay. So it grabbed my attention because it reminded me of one of my favorite movies Badlands. And so that was the first thing. It wasn’t a remake of Badlands. It’s very different, but the voiceover and the sort of loneliness of when they go on the road and, you know, that sort of reminds me of that. And there was that it was kind of rare that you get so few characters and they all kind of are very well-written individually with a backstory. So I was like, it could be a play. This movie would have been a play that sort of, I liked that it would, they all had a story there. Wasn’t just like characters, you know, who’s just a mother, who’s just a father. And that, to be honest, I wanted to do something with that accent and that time periods, because I hadn’t done that before and I had always wanted to do that accent. So, and then also playing old fashioned characters from the long time ago. Like it’s a thing that I don’t think a lot of, not everybody can do in terms of like, sometimes people can look a little modern. And so I knew that I could do own period pieces. Yeah. And that was another thing that drew me to it.
Now speaking on that, on that accent, did you draw any inspiration from anybody or how did you develop that accent to make it feel authentic?
Kerry Condon: Well, I had dialogue coach. And that’s their whole job is to teach you how to do the accent and then listening to snippets of people on the radio with that accent.
Yeah. Now Olivia has had a difficult situation. Were there any early drafts that expanded more on her relationship with Eugene’s father and to explain why he left?
Kerry Condon: No, there wasn’t, but I spoke about that with Miles and we kind of came to the conclusion that he was like the love of her life. He was her. And so when she remarries, it’s not really for love, it’s more to sort of help her. And I guess it was just classic alcoholism and that’s why he left that you kind of get a sense. So that was a bit of maybe domestic violence too. And I liked playing it that you can still be in love with somebody and still know of someone who has a kind of lays and, you know, it has despicable behavior. You can still love them and her heart could still be broken when he leaves. And that, I like that idea.
Now. Can you describe your experience working with Miles? Were you given a lot of freedom as far as how you wanted to play Olivia?
Kerry Condon: I suppose I was actually, now that I think about his, he was great. Cause I asked him for some references of pictures and books that I could read in the meantime, he gave me some great Timothy Egan, Worst Hard Time book. And then there was collected works of Billy, the kid. I can’t remember the name of the author of that, but that was like a load of poetry kind of in the same area, Billy the Kid that was beautiful and they were really helpful. And then I asked him for some music and he had composed himself, some music. I know, I couldn’t believe it. I mean, I was kind of marched by, cause I was like, I can only go to back then and, you know, taking care of animals, but like he can do everything. So he had composed this beautiful music cause I wanted to kind of feel the tone of what he was thinking. And was it the sad tone or was it, you know, I was I kind of off by playing it sad? Was it a bit more like faster pace so that the music really had kind of, kind of put me where I was at.
I mean, this was an interesting time in history. Did you have to go into a lot of research to understand where these characters were, you know, you know, in this time, cause it it’s unprecedented. I mean, I feel like it’s mirroring itself a little bit now in the modern day, but it’s not usually touched and, and modern movies and television.
Kerry Condon: I know that was another reason why I wanted to do it too, because I didn’t really know a lot about this time because I’m from Ireland and we just study history of Europe and a little American history, but really it’s European history. So I did have to read a lot about the just earlier, but I really enjoy doing it. It wasn’t like a boring process, but that book, The Worst Hard Time was really told you all about that, why they overplay with the land and sort of destroyed it and what happened. And then the great depression was happening at the same time as all this was happening. So it was kind of like a double disaster for all these people. And when they first arrived to the area, they’re given free land by the government, it was an incentive that was given out to people to like, here’s like a load of acres for free. So it drew a lot of people there, but like you see at the beginning of the movie, like it must’ve been really scary, just arriving and being like, okay, there’s nothing for miles. And like it’s kind of windy and we’re alone. And so I bet all those things that I read about it kind of helped me with the character again, like she came from somewhere at the beginning of the movie, she’s already been taken away from home to a new place. Yeah. So there was a backstory that’s rare too, that there’s a back story at the beginning of the story. And I really liked that.
Now the, the scenery that you guys had, the location was beautiful. It really helps the audience feel like they’re really there and can, and helps them connect to these characters. Were there any interesting things that you experienced, you know, condition wise while filming that you’ve never really experienced in any of the other projects that you’ve worked on?
Kerry Condon: Well, you know, it’s funny because I film Better Call Saul in New Mexico too being there, but this was, we would drive, we stayed in Albuquerque, but we would drive like an hour kind of thing, the middle of nowhere in the mornings to shoes where we were shooting. And I, everyone says it, but like until you see it, this sun sets and the sun rise in New Mexico, it’s kind of like seeing Heaven, it really is. It’s like seeing Heaven. And so I felt that those were the most beautiful moments because you can think that that didn’t change like that sunset and sunrise was what she or those characters would have seen in that era. Okay. It might’ve been honesty, so they wouldn’t have seen them as beautiful as they are now, but like nature and sunrises forever. And at nighttime when we would be there and the sun would be going down and like, it just looks like the world goes on forever. Yeah. I felt that those moments are really magical and there’s kind of a vibe.
It was just so beautiful watching it, just, just the scenes of like the, the dust and the wind coming through. It was like, wow, the way that it’s captured, it’s just like, it really brings you into the, into that world now going forward. Would you like to look at more time pieces on future projects you’d want to work on and if you could choose an era in history that you’d want to be a part of which would it be and why?
Kerry Condon: That’s a really hard one. I do know a course, like love to do period pieces because they’re so interesting with the costumes, like so many things with the whole character and everything. And then reading back on those times is always a little bit more interesting than a contemporary character, but obviously people are people, so emotions are the same now as they are like, you know, 60 years ago, never telling why he’s Jesus. I don’t know. Like what, what, I don’t know. Yeah. That’s hard. I touched her when those big ballgowns like Mary Antoinette or something. Like, that’d be amazing. That would fine just to wear them. I don’t know. But then at the same time, the 80’s story appeals to me because that was kind of a crazy time. So yeah, it’s hard to pin it down.
Now, did you guys have a lot of fun experiences as a cast, it seemed like you guys were very a close group, cause it’s only a few of you that are on screen together at a time. Did you guys have a lot of fun working together in, the short period that you’re you’re filming?
Kerry Condon: Yeah, we did have a lovely time together. It was sort of, I was very separate from Margot I’m. That was perfect because my character and her neighbor meet. So Finn did all that by himself, which was sort of perfect. So when he was with those, we were all just together and it kind of played out like it did in the movie at the time we were filming it too, Margot was doing promotion in LA. So when she days off, she was flying back to LA to do work on promoting another thing. So it was really me and Travis and we were staying in this beautiful hotel in, in Albuquerque that one of the rooms is supposed to be haunted. Oddly, one of the rooms is haunted it in this beautiful hotel and then Darby to, I spend time in her and her mother. And it’s funny because you know, at that age, like now she looks like a teenager and it was like overnight.
Especially like this, this project, you guys were filming this like what early 2017 or 2018. Okay. So you’ve been waiting to hold on to this film for a while. So when it gets it’s national release, you you know, she had aged. So so much, I mean, it must be, it must be amazing for you guys to finally have, you know, more people watch this film. It’s an amazing film and congratulations to you guys on that. Thank you so much for your time and sitting down and talk, talking with me. It’s really amazing. Thank you so much.
Kerry Condon: Thanks very much. Those are lovely compliments and I appreciate it. You have a nice day.
More: Dreamland Interview With Director and Stars
Key Release Dates
- Dreamland (2020)Release date: Nov 17, 2020
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