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The next thing was my first lead role in the film The Disappearance Of Finbar. ' When I was on the set of Michael Collins, in which I played the Irish rebel leader's assassin. I was on the set with the film's director, Neil Jordan, and it's leading men, Liam Neeson and Alan Rickman – and there was such a buzz about it.I got a big cheque for hanging out on a film set and acting. You don't have to be the best looking person; you don't even have to be the most talented, you just have to be interesting. Celebrity has lost its value – all you have to do is go on a reality TV show for six weeks and everybody knows your name.The fact that it was so unusual for them to have an inspiring portrait of a spirited, strong, young woman–that’s devastating to me.But young women, it seems, picked up on my efforts, and that is a massive complement.
For over an hour and half, we shared our love of Anne and her story, lamented how it had been misrepresented both in Anne’s time and our own, discussed Tudor history, and reflected on the struggle of Anne, women actors, and young women today to escape the limitations and expectations placed on them.
It was a constant struggle, because the original script had that tendency to polarize women into saint and whore. I tried to fight that wherever I could, and because Michael Hirst and I were friends, and he had respect for my knowledge of history, I did manage to accomplish a bit.
It was both inspiring and depressing when I got letters from young women, saying that it was so fascinating to watch me play a two-dimensional characterization of such a strong, powerful, clever and yet beautiful woman.
And says a lot about the intelligence of that audience.
Young girls struggling to find their identity, find their place, in this supposedly post-feminist era understood what I was doing”.“I didn’t even know if we’d be picked up for a second season at that point, and Anne was one of many people swimming in the ether.