Eve Hewson gets film part as she knows being ‘trapped in Dublin’

Charlotte McLaughlin, PA Senior Entertainment Reporter

A director who is behind a new film with Eve Hewson has said he chose her for the main role as she is “somebody who knew what it felt like to be trapped in Dublin”.

Dubliner John Carney, known for musical movies 2007’s Once and 2016’s Sing Street, is returning with a new production called Flora And Son.

In the Apple TV+ feature length, Hewson plays single mother Flora who is encouraged by the police to get her teenage son Max (Oren Kinlan) to take up a hobby to curb his rebelliousness.

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt co-stars in the film. Photo: Matt Crossick/PA. Photo by Matt Crossick

They are helped by Los Angeles musician Jeff (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), as Max learns the guitar and the film “explores the bond between a mother and son on a journey toward a new harmony”.

Carney said he first met Hewson when she was 15 when she was with her parents, U2 singer Bono and Ali Hewson, and later heard she had become an actress.

He said: “I had thought she was very refined looking, and I’d seen her profile in a Victorian dress, so I wanted to meet her on Zoom.

“Both her and Joe (Gordon-Levitt) told me the movie I was making. They were telling me, ‘Can’t you see that I’m the right person for this? It’s so obvious’.

“And half an hour into the conversation with Eve, it was like, I can’t think of anybody else in Dublin that can do this. She’s a Dubliner. There’s a saltiness to this character.

“It needed to be somebody who knew what it felt like to be trapped in Dublin. It’s a small city. You love it and you hate it. Then, you go away, and you see it, and you’re like, I might go back.

“That was part of the character and she clearly got that very well. She told me she’d strangle the part, and by the end of the conversation, she was in.”

Carney also said that Bad Sisters star Hewson is a “rock star” but would not describe herself as a “singer or a guitar player”.

The 51-year-old director said: “She approaches acting like a pop singer in a really interesting way. She goes with her gut. She would often walk up to set in the vibe.

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Bono and daughter Eve Hewson. Photo: Tony DiMaio/PA. Photo by Tony DiMaio

“She’d try anything, like a rock star would jamming in a room. She had that attitude which was perfect for this.

“With a few of the lyrics, Eve would say, ‘Please don’t make me sing that line’. I’d be like, ‘Eve, I’ve given you five lines. What do you f***ing want to sing?’ And she’d be like, ‘I’ll sing this’.

“She’d give me a line. I’d be like, ‘OK, let’s put that in and I’ll give you the credit on the song’.

“I remember texting her dad (Bono) at the end of the shoot saying not only is she killing it with the comedy — because I didn’t know how funny she was — she looks great, she can act and she’s funny. And now, she’s co-writing lyrics.”

He said choosing Kinlan as Hewson’s son “was as sure a thing as you could imagine” and talked about his father, Love/Hate star Laurence Kinlan helping him as a “very successful Irish actor”.

Carney added: “You could tell his dad (Laurence) had given him a few tips and had directed him in his self tape a little bit.

“There was a stillness about the way he did it. He didn’t move his face too much.

“I rang Rob Walpole, one of the producers, and I was like, I think we can make this movie now.”

Flora And Son was released in select cinemas on September 22nd, ahead of its global premiere in cinemas and on Apple TV+ on Friday.