Belfast Telegraph

Jamie Dornan's co-star in The Fall, Aisling Franciosi, lands leading role in top US spy drama

By Claire McNeilly

Her mesmerising star turn alongside Jamie Dornan in The Fall has landed Aisling Franciosi her first big break in the United States -and a prestigious Irish Film and Television Awards nomination to boot.

The actress, whose portrayal of a vulnerable Belfast teenager obsessed with Dornan's psychotic killer Paul Spector has earned her a Best Supporting Actress nomination, has joined the cast of top-rated American spy drama Legends.

Quadrilingual Franciosi, whose father is Italian, will play British student Kate Crawford in the second season of the Sean Bean-fronted TNT drama.

Like Holywood actor Dornan (32), Franciosi's transatlantic stock rose significantly after The Fall was broadcast globally on Netflix.

Although the babysitter character she plays in the Northern Ireland-based drama is only 16, Franciosi is actually 22 years old. And the strong Belfast accent she uses as Katie Benedetto in The Fall belies the fact that she has spent most of her life in Dublin.

Already fluent in Italian, she studied French and Spanish at Trinity College Dublin, leaving in her fourth year to take on a role in the BBC drama Quirke opposite Gabriel Byrne.

In a recent interview the actress - who is also a trained opera singer - admitted: "I would love to do American work, there's some great things happening in TV in the States."

Referring to the controversial role that has made her hot property across the Atlantic, Aisling said: "Even though she [Kate Benedetto] is damaged and vulnerable, she's also in her own twisted way very strong-willed. Because she doesn't give in, she doesn't buckle under pressure. She's completely devoted to Paul."

Although Aisling admitted she had never read the erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey, she believes that casting Jamie Dornan (right) - nominated himself for an IFTA Best Actor award for The Fall - as Christian Grey in the movie version was a smart move that has paid off.

"Jamie's a brilliant actor and I always get protective of him in interviews because it's like, 'Oh, he's so good-looking'. And I'm like, Yeah, but he's an amazing actor," she said.

"But it is interesting to have such a good-looking person play such a horrible, twisted man."

She added: "Jamie's so down to earth and has a really good sense of humour and he's so self-deprecating.

"It just made it so much easier to work with someone when you know they don't take themselves seriously.

"We had a few scenes that were kind of tough, so having someone that you get on well with, and is really caring and supportive, is really helpful in that situation."

Legends, which stars Bean as an undercover agent who has the ability to transform himself into a different person for each mission, secured a second series late last year, and episodes from season two will air on Sky One this autumn.

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