Eve Hewson: ‘I moved to the US to be a star – but now I’m back home in Killiney with the family’

Actress Eve Hewson said getting a standing ovation at the Sundance Festival after her new movie had its world debut made her feel “like we’d won the World Cup”.

irected and written by John Carney, Flora and Son got a rapturous reception when it aired at the prestigious Utah event.

Apple TV has now snapped up the worldwide rights in a deal worth a reported $20m.

“It was so fun. It was fabulous, we were floating out of the screening. It was just beyond our wildest possible hopes and dreams,” she said.

The musical drama set in Dublin co-stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Jack Reynor, and tells the story of a single mother (Hewson) trying to use music to reconnect with her son, played by actor Laurence Kinlan’s son Orén.

Bono’s 31-year-old daughter has been in more than a dozen movies but has moved closer to stardom after getting huge plaudits for her role in Sharon Horgan’s Bad Sisters.

She said it was “so much fun” that she was now getting to use her accent more and had even moved back into the family home in Killiney, south Dublin, with her mother Ali thrilled to have her home.

“She makes fun of me all the time because I was like, ‘I’m moving to America to become a star.’ But it’s just been so special working on Irish characters and Irish writers and Irish directors and just getting to be at home is just such a different feeling than when you’re in the middle of nowhere,” she said.

Carney, whose 2013 movie Once won an Oscar for Best Original Song, said the film was “strange” because they hadn’t screened it for anyone.

“I hadn’t even shown it to my family so we really did go in blind, with no expectations,” he said.

“So it was definitely nerve-wrecking. A film is very different from a play as there’s nothing you can do with it.

“You press play and you know what you’ve sort of done. I knew Eve was terrific in this film and I knew that this kid, Orén, you’re going to be hearing a lot of and obviously I knew Jack Reynor for years. So I knew that at least. And Gary Clarke, who co-wrote the music with me, so I knew there were definitely ingredients in it.

“But as a film director, you’re always thinking it will die and it’s going to be awful.”

On the movie being picked up for the monster deal, he said it was “fun, I felt like a gangster”.

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“We were sitting in backs of cars, trying to do deals down laneways,” he said. “But they gave us a bunch of money, which was the most bizarre thing as I consider myself obviously as a great artist. So to turn anything that I do into money is nuts.”

He was speaking at the launch of Fís Éireann (Screen Ireland) of its slate of upcoming film, TV and animation productions. There are 44 new projects due for release this year and spending is expected to rival last year’s figure of €361m.

Coming on the back of a record 14 nominations for Irish projects in the 2023 Academy Awards, Screen Ireland’s chief executive Désirée Finnegan hailed it as a “ground-breaking moment for Irish talent”.

Oscar-nominated Colm Bairéad said being nominated for An Cailín Ciúin had been an “incredible journey” for him and his producer wife, Cleona Ní Chrualaoí.

There’s just the small matter of who will mind their two young children, aged four and six, when he and Cleona hit the red carpet in Hollywood on March 13. “Sometimes Cleona will stay at home and I’ll have to go. But in the bigger moments, we like to be together because it’s been an incredible journey for us as a married couple.”

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