Clare Dunne learns what she married into in ‘Kin’ season 1

Clare Dunne as Amanda Kinsella in KIN. Photo Credit: Patrick Redmond/AMC+

Clare Dunne stars as the strong-willed Amanda in the Irish television crime drama series, Kin. The series premiered on AMC+ on September 9, 2021.

In the debut season of Kin, a boy is killed and his family embark on a gangland war with an international cartel – a war that is impossible to win. But the Kinsellas have something the cartel does not: the unbreakable bonds of blood and family. 

Kin Season 1 stars Charlie Cox (Daredevil, Boardwalk Empire), Clare Dunne (Herself), Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones), Emmett J. Scanlan (Peaky Blinders), Maria Doyle Kennedy (Orphan Black, Outlander) and Ciarán Hinds (Game of Thrones, The Terror). Peter McKenna (The Last Kingdom, Red Rock) serves as showrunner/executive producer, writer, and co-creator, alongside Ciarán Donnelly (Altered Carbon, Vikings) who also serves as co-creator.

Check out my interview with Clare!

Provided by AMC+
How does it feel having the whole season out now?

Clare: It just feels nice. It’s like completion, “the arches and the completion,” that’s a great quote that I heard once and it feels like it’s just real, like now it’s done, this is the last step. It’s very satisfying and we’re all very proud of this series. So it’s lovely to have it out there. 

And for viewers that are new to the series, how would you describe the series, like what are they in for?

Clare: They’re in for gangland Dublin. It’s not the usual.

And you play the very strong willed Amanda. What’s it like playing her?

Clare: It’s so incredible. I feel like actually, as Amanda, I can slightly be like a tiny bit of the audience on a level because I’m kind of working from the outside in. I am not kin, I am not blood, but I’m married into the family. And I’m not quite involved, but then I end up sort of walking step by step closer into the heat, into the thick of it and getting deeply involved with the family and the work. And I would say that’s the most enjoyable thing about her because she doesn’t really know the rules. She learns the rules and questions some immediately because she’s coming from the outside and she doesn’t have the same respect for this kind of the coded honor that they seem to have. She’s kind of like, ‘well, why don’t you just do this?’ That’s my favorite thing about her: she doesn’t know everything. So her naivety or her ignorance on the old rules gives birth to her courage and kind of, I don’t know, f**k it attitude of like, ‘well, why don’t we just break down the rules?’ 

How did you prepare to play Amanda?

Clare: I looked into the things that I had to look into, like I don’t know how to launder money, do you? I had to look into some practical stuff. But really it was more about building up her history on how she married into this family and how she met Jimmy because Peter (McKenna) told me not to learn too much about the ins and outs of the actual gang world and the drugs because she keeps her hands clean of that and she only gets involved as the series progresses. So I wanted to keep that as authentic as possible, so I followed Peter’s lead on that. Otherwise, it was kind of just trying to learn how to be this really confident, almost businesswoman like, which I am not, so I was just learning to be in those very formal clothes and a bit more dressed up all the time. So for me, it was quite a physical journey as well. 

What was your favorite part of playing her? 

Clare: I think my favorite aspect of Amanda is the fact that she’s not hysterical. She sort of has this strange, kind of keeping everything slightly under a lid because of the family that she’s in. She cannot show everything all the time. And so that’s my favorite aspect of her and therefore, one of my favorite scenes is when she just lets everything down in front of Charlie’s character and just sort of goes off.

What was it like working with the cast?

Clare: Charlie’s just an absolute gentleman and a good teacher and a good friend. He really helped me because I haven’t done TV acting before and hadn’t worked on a TV set for like four months on the go. He certainly has and he just helped me understand pacing myself, how to work the shots and stuff. I just found him very technically informative as well as supportive. And then yeah, working with everyone was great. Emmett is the best one and he’s such a supportive actor. Aiden Gillen is hilarious off camera. And Maria is just, she’s my idol, so she just has a lot to deal with because I’m constantly going around going, ‘how did you do that? You’re amazing, can I be you?’ So yeah, it was amazing. Working with everyone involved was an honor.

What has been the most challenging part of filming this series?

Clare: Yeah, the challenge with filming was that we couldn’t see anyone else in our lives that much outside of the set, you were allowed just the person you lived with and then it was everyone in Kin. But then everyone at that time wasn’t allowed to see anyone so Kin ended up being our social life anyway. But yeah, the difficult thing was actually really just the lockdown and the constant testing and the masks ruining the makeup. The poor makeup girls had to do twice as much work sometimes, which was tough. Also, we were filming in winter and because of COVID we had to leave windows open all the time so we were just freezing. And that just got really annoying after a while. 

Clare Dunne as Amanda Kinsella in KIN. Photo Credit: Patrick Redmond/AMC+
Where was it filmed?

Clare: It was all in Dublin. And then the last few days we got to break the county borders and go down to Shannon airport and that was just a couple hours drive away. But other than that, I don’t think there’s anything filmed anywhere else unless there was a couple of days in Spain but I wasn’t part of it. Maybe. But that was it.

And you’re a Dublin native, right?

Clare: Yeah… And we all really stick to the accent so apologies if you don’t get some things, but you get the hang of it.

Is there anything else you want viewers to know about Kin season 1?

Clare: It’s hard on the outside, soft on the inside. It looks like guns and drugs but it’s also about family and hearts and huge journeys, like love and grief. So don’t be don’t be fooled by the surface or the glamor.

Season 1 of the drama series, KIN is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.