Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Irish Heritage Helps Novice Actress Victoria Smurfit Identifries with Teen-Age Character She Plays in Movie Debut

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Irish Heritage Helps Novice Actress Victoria Smurfit Identifries with Teen-Age Character She Plays in Movie Debut

Article excerpt

Victoria Smurfit, who is thoroughly charming as an independent-minded colleen in her first movie, "The Run of the Country," speaks with what might be described as a mid-Irish Sea accent. You can tell she was educated in England, but the clear, well-enunciated syllables come mixed with the lilt of Ireland.

"I grew up in Dalkey, a little fishing village east of Dublin," she explained in an interview at the Toronto Film Festival. "When I was 14, my family moved to England because of my father's business. I went with them, kicking and screaming."

She was sent to boarding school, and when she was through with that, she told her father she wanted to be an actress.

"He was shocked at first," she said. "He had expected I would go in the family business."

And what was the family business, she was asked.

"Paper products," she replied.

"Paper" and "Smurfit" together seemed to have a familiar ring. A little probing confirmed that "the family business," founded in Dublin by her grandfather, was Smurfit International, which does business all over the world and is a major shareholder in Jefferson Smurfit, a large St. Louis company.

One suspects that her childhood hometown is a "little fishing village" in the way that Hyannis Port, Mass. is one. In any event, Smurfit's father finally agreed that she could study acting, and she went to the Old Vic Theater School in the English seaport town of Bristol.

She was in her second year at the performance-oriented school, on tour "in the middle of nowhere, hanging a lantern" as part of the stage crew for a production of "The Jungle Book," when she first heard about "The Run of the Country."

"Someone said, `there's a phone call for you, you're wanted for a screen test.' " she recalled. She was flabbergasted. It turned out she had been recommended for the ingenue part by a mutual friend of her and Albert Finney, who stars in the movie. …

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