Belfast Telegraph

Londonderry-born actress penning screenplay about James Joyce's troubled daughter

By Joanne Sweeney

She was criticised for losing too much weight to play a kidnap victim after she appeared on the red carpet looking emaciated in 2012.

Now Londonderry-born actress Antonia Campbell-Hughes is taking on another enormous artistic challenge along with a daughter of Irish rock royalty.

She and Alexandra McGuinness, daughter of former U2 manager Paul McGuinness, are to direct and co-write Lucia, a screenplay about James Joyce's only daughter.

Both actresses have reportedly long held an interest in the Ulysses author's daughter - a talented young dancer who spent long periods in mental asylums.

It will not be the first time that the actresses have worked together.

Campbell-Hughes played the lead role in McGuinness's 2011 feature debut, Lotus Eaters.

While it is not known which of the women will play Lucia Joyce, Campbell-Hughes played her in the RTE documentary Imagining Joyce in 2004.

While she is mainly known for her comedy role in Jack Dee's TV show Lead Balloon, the star was accused of taking her acting much too seriously after she appeared shockingly thin in her portrayal of Natascha Kampusch in the film 3096 Days.

Kampusch is an Austrian woman who was kidnapped aged 10 and spent eight years in captivity.

Conor Barry, who directed the recent hit Irish film You're Ugly Too, will be producing the project.

Lucia will look at the time the author's daughter spent in Paris before and after she went into a mental hospital.

Lucia Joyce was a patient of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, and also briefly dated the playwright Samuel Beckett, author of Waiting for Godot.

Lucia Joyce was the writer's second child with the love of his life, Nora Barnacle, after his son Giorgio.

Campbell-Hughes and McGuinness are reported to be still working on the screenplay, but they have already got an £8,700 development grant from the Irish Film Board.

Campbell-Hughes left Londonderry at the age of two because of her father's position with US chemical company Dupont. She also spent some of her early years in Donegal before the family travelled between the United States, Switzerland and Germany.

While the 32-year-old rarely visits her birthplace, she told this newspaper recently that she enjoys visiting Belfast with a cousin.

However, she spends most of her spare time in Dublin, where her mother lives and where she lived for a while as a teenager.

Campbell-Hughes started a successful fashion line when she was younger but decided to concentrate exclusively on acting from the age of 25.

Belfast Telegraph


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