P.B. Was I passionate? I guess I was passionate; it took six years to get the film done. My partner Beau St. Clair and I have this company Irish Dream Time and the first film was called The Nephew and this story came to us six years ago and we just worked on it and worked on it because it was a well-written piece. It had heart, and humor and it was a story that I could identify with as an actor but also more importantly as a father because I have five children. It was about the love of the family and a man who goes against the church and the state to get his kids back. I was born in 1953 so I know a bit about that time period having grown up in a very small community in Ireland and coming from a broken family myself so there was a lot of sympatico there.
B.L. It’s a very special story.
P.B. The good thing about the text was that it was funny. It had humor in it and a light touch so it wasn’t just a heavy kind of Irish maudlin piece and then when we got someone like [director] Bruce Beresford involved.
B.L. Yes, he directed Breaker Morant, one of my all time favorite films.
P.B. Yes Breaker Morant, great film. I did another one of his films, Mister Johnson. That was an amazing film and one that he considers his finest work, but about 12 people saw it!
B.L. Casting is everything, and I have to tell you that little Sophie Vavasseur who plays Evelyn is a heartbreaker! What was it about her that made you decide she was Evelyn?
P.B. I couldn’t be there for the casting, but they sent me the tapes. I remember sitting down to dinner one night with my wife and the children and I said, "Okay, we are going to watch Evelyn tapes." So I put it in, but I couldn’t get the bloody sound to work on this fancy TV, so we just sat there with dinner on our laps watching all these Evelyns with no sound. Then we came to number nine or eight, and there was just this girl with such a face, an incredible old soul, beautiful faced nine-year-old girl and she had great concentration. Better than some of the grown up actors, she had a wonderful presence and that’s what we needed. She’s the centerpiece.
B.L. Very romantic!
P.B. Yeah! (Does the Dublin accent) Try driving a tractor with a Dublin accent!
B.L. I particularly liked when you say "s**t." Very Irish!
P.B. S**t! When you’re learning accents they sometimes give you catch phrases and the Dublin accent, if I’d lose it I’d say, "Try driving a tractor," and that’s very bad and thick. So I’d go around with my son saying, "Try driving a tractor," and he’d say, "Shut up, Dad!" So there you go, I was worried about the accent but I think it’s okay.
B.L. I must add that you have a lovely voice too!
P.B. The old singing wasn’t bad. I must say I was fairly pleased with myself.
B.L. I think this movie will garner a lot of attention, perhaps even an Oscar® nod. Would that be something important for you?
P.B. Well, I’m glad you think this is so good. I don’t know about Oscar®, it’s a long way off in many respects. I’m just happy that the movie touches people and hopefully people will go see it, that’s my main concern. I hope the film is seen and enjoyed and appreciated.