‘Banshees of Inisherin’ Kerry Condon on Colin Farrell, Oscars, Ireland

Kerry Condon earned her first Oscar nomination for Martin McDonagh’s “The Banshees of Inisherin,” in which she plays Siobhán, the complex sister of Colin Farrell’s simple Pádraic. Condon has worked with McDonagh for two decades; her first major role was in his play “The Lieutenant of Inishmore,” and in 2009, she starred in his drama “The Cripple of Inishmaan.” She also appeared in his film “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” which won Academy Awards for Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell. The actor, who hails from Thurles, Tipperary, Ireland, also shared that she shaved her head twice for McDonagh — once for “The Lieutenant of Inishmore” in London and four years later for the play’s New York premiere.

What was your reaction when you heard about your Oscar nomination?

Well, I was kind of trying to make a plan about what I wanted to do because I knew it was a possibility, given all the lead-up to it, and so I was kind of planning on just having my manager call my landline. I was going to turn off my cellphone and just hear it from her directly, because then if the outcome wasn’t what I had hoped for, I would have time to deal with it privately and just get myself together before everybody started texting me.

So did that plan work?

But then Colin texted me and said, oh, did I want to watch it together? And then I kind of had to think about that for a good few hours because I wasn’t sure I wanted to find out with other people or not with other people. Because it was such a heightened thing. But eventually I went to watch it with him and a group of us together, and I was really glad I did because it was so lovely to get a hug from everybody at that moment and to celebrate it. Then also, of course, there was a fun element too ’cause every time we got a nomination, or every time Ireland got a nomination, we all did a big cheer. It’s a really beautiful moment that I’ll remember forever.

Like when “The Quiet Girl” got a nomination.

I had done a few Q&As with them and I also loved the movie, so of course I really, really wanted them to get the nomination.

What was it about Siobhán that drew you to her?

Basing it on my previous work with Martin, it was much different than the other characters that I had done, because the other characters were much younger and therefore had that kind of arrogance of youth. And this was much more subtle, and she’s a lot more private. There was a hopefulness to her, but there was also a kind of a sadness to her. I was kind of playing both — somebody who’s really sick of life and sick of her situation, yet really positive that it could change and her life could change.

She actually got to wear colors, unlike the rest of the people on the island.

Initially, I’ll be honest, when I saw the variety of colors, I was a little bit like whoa, hang on a minute. Siobhán is definitely not a happy person, and we’re running around the place with colorful clothes. But then, as we discussed it more, it became kind of clear that it was easy for me to make a backstory with clothes. There were certain clothes that we imagined that she would have made herself — so that’s her kind of thinking beyond the island. And that separated her from other people.

She is told that nobody likes her.

Yes, exactly!

Was it easy to construct the sibling relationship with Colin?

Well, I’m lucky because I have a brother that I am very close to, so I kind of just leaned into what I’m like when I’m with my own brother. And it also helps that I have known Colin for quite a long time, and he’s a very sweet, kind person. He’s very approachable and warm to be around. 

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