You would think that the importance of playing the role of legendary director and actor Sir Kenneth Branagh as a child could be lost on an 11-year-old. But Jude Hill, who plays Buddy in Branagh’s latest film, Belfast, understand. Alongside Jamie Dornan, Caitriona Balfe, Ciarán Hinds and Judi Dench, Hill shines as a child who is forced to confront the violence that rocked the Northern Irish capital in the late 1960s. OIn the annual issue of Best Performances, Hill chats with Editor-in-Chief Lynn Hirschberg about the movies he loves, a highlight of his first trip to Los Angeles, and why to watch Belfast made her cry.
You play as the young Sir Kenneth Branagh in Belfast, a semi-autobiographical film about the beginnings of the actor and filmmaker. Did you know anything about him?
I was a big fan! I had to pinch myself every day just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.
How did they tell you you got the part?
One morning I woke up, and it was a normal school day, and nothing really special was happening. And my mom got an email, and I read the first two words, and I ran around my house screaming, because I couldn’t believe I got the part.
And you live near Belfast, don’t you?
I live about 40 minutes from Belfast. Almost every weekend we go there. But we shot in London in two different locations, and the set design was incredible: in two days, they had built a complete replica of 1969 Belfast.
Have you always wanted to act?
I remember when I was 5 or 6, watching Marvel movies, and just having a passion for acting all the time. I love Harry Potter as much as Marvel, and as soon as I saw Kenneth Branagh’s face, I thought to myself, he’s in Harry Potter!
This is your first trip to Los Angeles. What’s your favorite thing you’ve done?
The Jurassic World ride at Universal Studios! We got wet, but it was really, really fun.
Is there a movie that made you cry?
The first time I watched Belfast, I cried. I cried the first half hour. Even the uncut version made me cry, because it was my first time seeing my face on the giant screen, and it was just amazing to see that.
Produced by Wes Olson and Hannah Murphy at Connect the Dots; production manager: Zack Higginbottom of Connect the Dots; photo assistants: Antonio Perricone, Jeff Gros, Morgan Pierre; digital technician: Michael Preman; lighting designer: Keith Coleman; key take: Scott Froschauer; retouching: Graeme Bulcraig at Touch Digital; style editor: Allia Alliata di Montereale; fashion market editor: Jenna Wojciechowski; fashion assistants: Julia McClatchy, Antonio Soto, Nycole Sariol, Sage McKee, Josephine Chumley, Rosa Schorr; production assistants: Chad Cousins, Juan Diego Calvo, Gina York, Brandon Fried, Nico Robledo, Kein Milledge; hairdressing assistants: Tommy Stanton, Sol Rodriquez, Andi Ojeda; makeup assistants: Tami Elsombati, Bridgett O’Donnell; manicure assistant: Pilar Lafargue; set coordinator: Sarah Hein; set assistants: Olivia Giles, Seth Powsner, King Owusu; tailors: Suzi Bezik, Cardi Mooshool Alvaji; tailor’s assistant: Elma Click