‘I don’t believe age is just a number. That’s b*ll*cks’

Publication Date28 Aug 2021
AuthorRóisín Ingle
"Ten months? It can't be that long," she gasps. "It feels like a few months ago." And for a moment we marvel at the mind-boggling sorcery this pandemic has wrought on the normal passage of time.

Back then, just when Herself was due to hit screens, cinemas closed. The interview I did with her was shelved, to be dusted down from the Zoom archive another time. Now is the time.

Ten months have passed and because she is Sharon Horgan, one of the busiest, most productive people in film and television, we have quite a bit to catch up on. There was the fantastic third series of delicious parenting comedy Motherland, then Frank of Ireland starring two Gleeson brothers, the release of Together, a pandemic drama she starred in with James McAvoy, and the acclaimed second series of This Way Up with Aisling Bea.

Next year there's the not insignificant matter of a turn in a meta-sounding movie with Nicolas Cage. She stars in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent as the ex-wife of Cage's character, who plays a fictional version of himself.

So there's lots to discuss, but the first thing I have to ask her is what she was doing recently with a camera crew at the Forty Foot in south Co Dublin. "We're not allowed to talk about it at the moment," Horgan says, sounding apologetic. "It's a tricky situation because we are waiting for it to be announced by the people we are making it for… so it's a bit hush-hush which is ridiculous considering we were in plain sight."

Horgan was spotted "in plain sight" wrapped in a swim robe at the popular Dublin swimming spot last month. A security guard told an Irish Times reporter that it was for a television series starring Eve Hewson and Brendan Gleeson. While Horgan can't confirm anything, she does say that she was really keen to film there "because of the history of the place… we knew it couldn't be closed down because it belongs to the public so we thought let's take our chances. But you forget that your footprint is rather wide and it's very difficult to hide."

She brought her two daughters over for the filming which is not yet complete. "It's a long shoot," she says. While in Dublin she was staying in Ranelagh, a place the London-born, Co Meath-raised Horgan lived as a teenager. She hung out with family and, while filming other parts of the series in the North, was reminded of the "stunning beauty" of the country she was raised in. Apart from that, she can't say much more.

What she can talk about is Everybody's Talking About Jamie, the movie version of the West End musical about a young boy in Sheffield who wants to be a drag queen. When she was asked to star in it her first response was, "You want me to be in a musical? That's insane."

But Jonathan Butterell the director convinced her "and I am just really glad he did. It's one of those life-affirming stories… it's about the struggle to find yourself. Sheffield is not the kind of place where it's that easy to make your dreams happen."

Her daughters went from being thrilled she was doing it "to being completely mortified". She is rapping and singing in the movie which is out in September. "When I looked at the trailer it did make me feel a little bit giddy."

Since we spoke the last time, she also starred in Together with James McAvoy written by her former Pulling co-writer and longtime collaborator Dennis Kelly. The drama was critically acclaimed but the project went even deeper for Horgan. She says the story of a couple in lockdown, fighting, grieving and co-parenting, showed up some of the "stupid, negligence" of the British government's response to the...

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