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Fionnula Flanagan / Actor

November 22, 1998|STEVE HOCHMAN

Fionnula Flanagan bared it all in her one-woman stage show "James Joyce's Women," but there's some of her she feels hasn't gotten enough exposure--her comedic side. The Irish actress, 56, takes care of that in "Waking Ned Devine," the comedy set in an Emerald Isle village. She's also co-starring in the new CBS-TV series "To Have and to Hold" and appears in a key episode of cable's "Poltergeist" series.

YOUTH AIN'T EVERYTHING: "There's a problem with making movies with older people. But look how successful 'Cocoon' was. What do they know about love uptown? I don't really have an answer about the demographics 'Ned' will attract."

ROLE PLAYER: "I'm sure I have been typed, but one of the great mysteries of life is finding out exactly what type you've been typed as. That you find out by trial and error, though I'm not so foolish that I would put myself forward as the young American cheerleader."

DREAM ROLE: "Some day I want to play 'the old man who lies by the door' in anything. Can be in a western--he just lies by the door but proves essential to the plot. Could be a samurai movie, or in a Leslie Nielsen-type movie."

BARRIER BUSTING: "People have that hair-splitting thing that something's either drama or comedy, and this is singular to Hollywood. Independent films are kicking that in the ass."

EIRE IRE: "I like 'Ned' because it's a dark message that I hope will make people question the stereotype of the Irish [man] who runs to the pub and drinks away his children's legacy. I've spent my whole life struggling with that--people saying, 'Have a drink, you're Irish.' It's a message many Irish won't like, but it has a ring of truth."

COMING ATTRACTIONS: "I'm in a film coming out later by Michael Winterbottom, who did 'Welcome to Sarajevo' and 'Jude.' He's a wonderful young English director. The film's called 'Something Old, New Borrowed . . .'At least that's the working title. I've got a tiny but delicious part in it. He loves his actresses to improvise. It was hilarious. I love to work that way."

NEXT GENERATION: "Susan Lynch, who played my daughter in a recent Australian TV series, is a fine young Irish actor. She's doing a film called 'Nora' about Nora Barnacle, James Joyce's wife, who in the film of my show I was the first to put on the screen."

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