Genevieve O’Reilly Interview

The wonderful stage and screen actress Genevieve O’Reilly is my Woman of Substance for December.
Genevieve was born in Dublin and raised in Adelaide, Australia. She is the eldest of four siblings. At the age of 20, she moved to Sydney to attend the National Institute of Dramatic Art, graduating in 2000 and in 2005 she moved to the UK. She was recently seen in the critically acclaimed The Ferryman at the Gielgud Theatre and The Royal Court. She also starred in Sky Atlantic’s new ten-part epic revenge thriller drama Tin Star opposite Tim Roth and Christina Hendricks, which has been recommissioned for a second season; and has just returned as ‘Elisha McKellar’ in Glitch, currently streaming on Netflix.
Star Wars fans will recognise her for playing ‘Mon Mothma’. Since moving to the UK, Genevieve has taken the lead role in the mini-series The Secret, played Frances Pirsig in the award-winning drama The Honourable Woman and starred opposite Stephen Mangan, Tamsin Greig and Matt Le Blanc in the comedy Episodes. Genevieve lives in London with her family.

Genevieve, what a wonderful acting career you have had to date. What attracted you to acting originally and how did you start out?

Oh, thank you. I feel fortunate to have had such a varied career. I always had longevity as the goal and I'm thrilled to be working on some great projects now.
I think I knew as a child that I wanted to be a performer. I was always singing and dancing, at home and at family gatherings. I loved dance classes and all the concerts and dressing up that involved. But I'm not sure I ever thought it was an option as a career. But when I was about 14 or 15 I started to go to the theatre regularly. The theatre at the time had a scheme where schoolchildren could go to the theatre for $5. So I was allowed to go with my friends. It opened up a new world for me. And I hoped that maybe I could be a part of it one day.
I went to drama school in Sydney and cut my teeth as an actor on stage and small screen roles there before I moved to London in 2005.

Which has been your favourite role and why?

I have loved the opportunities I have had on stage and television and film. I feel lucky to work in each medium.
It's difficult to separate my roles because they're all a part of me. And they each live in me a little. I've just finished a long stint in "The Ferryman" on the West End, so I feel like my character Mary is still in my veins.
Early next year I'm going back to Canada to do a second series of Tin Star. I'm really looking forward to revisiting Angela, her family, her relationship and their world. I'm fascinated to see what the writers create for them after the heart wrenching finale of Series 1. I CAN’T WAIT.

At what age did you move from Dublin to Adelaide and how did it change your life?

When I was young we emigrated to Australia. So my formative years were in Adelaide before I moved to Sydney. I feel like a proper mix up: of cultures and accents and stories. I think my parents were really brave to leave their home and risk all for a better opportunity for us kids and our family. And we were lucky. They are a wonderful couple - so full of life and energy. I have carried that drive with me.
I started this year in Melbourne, filming Glitch which starts this month on Netflix. It was so special to go back and work in an Australian accent on an exciting original project with Australian writers, directors cast and crew. I'm really looking forward to seeing it.

You have lived in London for 12 years now – what are your favourite things about our capital city?

I love London. I love its vibrancy and diversity. I love the open mixture of cultures. I love London's electric theatre scene, wonderful galleries, great pubs and its wide fashion palate. And every time I'm away for work I miss Londoners terribly. Their sense of humour and silent solidarity. Last year I was away filming for six months and I even missed a crowded tube. I'm committed.

Which pour Winter collection are your favourites and do you have your eye on anything special for Christmas?

I wore Winser on one of my photo shoots and I loved the classic simplicity. I now have your go-to, understated stylish staples in my closet. This season I'm most excited about the knitwear; the classic drama of the colour block V Neck, the graceful simplicity and comfort of the blue Boyfriend Jumper and the Aran Jumper. My nana used to knit Arans for all of us when I was young, so it's lovely to see it in The Winser Collection. I will be pairing them all with the new Miracle Trousers in navy.