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Jude Hill feels ‘lucky’ to make feature film debut in Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast

Jude Hill feels ‘lucky’ to have had feature film debut in Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast (Brian Lawless/ PA)
Jude Hill feels ‘lucky’ to have had feature film debut in Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast (Brian Lawless/ PA)

Child actor Jude Hill said he feels “lucky” to have had his feature film debut in Kenneth Branagh’s semi-autobiographical film Belfast.

The 10-year-old said he had “loved” the process of auditioning and working with the “fantastic” cast of older actors.

He plays nine-year-old Buddy, a role based on Branagh himself, in the film, which follows a working-class protestant family during The Troubles in Northern Ireland.

The film also stars Jamie Dornan, Ciaran Hinds, Caitriona Balfe and Judi Dench as members of Buddy’s family.

Belfast European premiere – BFI London Film Festival 2021
Belfast is a semi-autobiographical film written by veteran actor Kenneth Branagh, based in Ireland during The Troubles (Ian West/ PA)

“Me and Buddy can relate a lot and I saw myself in those pages of that first draft of the script and a couple of words in I immediately fell in love with it,” he said, speaking in a Variety Q&A session.

“To have my first project be this important with all of these fantastic people in the cast as well … I just felt so lucky to be here.

“Every single call I just loved every single call … every single Zoom call, every single video tape. I enjoyed every single one.

“When I found out I had gotten (the part) I was just so happy”.

The young actor said his first taping with veteran actor Branagh, who read the part of his father, had been “very emotional”.

He admitted the fatherly vibe given by Branagh and Dornan was “very similar”.

Irish premiere Belfast
The youngster stars alongside Lewis McAskie, Caitriona Balfe, Jamie Dornan and Ciaran Hinds (Brian Lawless/ PA)

New to meeting other famous faces, the youngster, who is an avid Marvel film fan, said he “broke” when meeting Spider-Man actor Tom Holland while on tour with the cast.

“We were sitting at the table and everyone was chatting away and I was just (speechless) … even now I’m still tearing up,” he said.

“The cool thing is Jude said that as soon as Tom sees Belfast he’s going to be a big fan of yours,” said Dornan.

The film has already enjoyed success, with nominations and wins, during the 2022 awards season which has been beset with delays and cancellations.

Hill has been nominated for best young actor/ actress at the 27th Critics Choice awards.

Both Dornan and Hinds have received nods for best supporting actor and Balfe is nominated for best supporting actress.

The film is nominated for best overall picture, best acting ensemble, best director and best original screenplay.

The film is due to be released in the UK and Ireland on January 21 2022.

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