KIN’s Clare Dunne Talks Amanda’s Arc and Teases Season 2!

Irish actress Clare Dunne portrays Amanda Kinsella on the hit AMC+/RTE crime drama series KIN. 

She most recently accepted the Irish Film and Television Award for Best Actress In A Lead Role – Drama for KIN and the European Shooting Star honor at the Berlin International Film Festival. 

TV Fanatic caught up with Clare to chat about the journey she’s been on this past year, what it was like working on KIN, and what’s in store for Season 2! 

Congratulations on all your success! How has KIN changed your life?

It’s been a whirlwind. There has been a lot of accepting awards which is such a lovely thing — it’s also just a chance to say thank you to the people who just gave me the best opportunity ever. 

I’m currently learning French after being in Berlin because I met so many French casting directors, and I’m trying to get work in France!

All these weird things are happening as a result of KIN. I’d been living in Dublin since the pandemic kicked off, and I ended up staying here. 

People just stop me on the street, telling me how much they love the show and the character, and I’ve never experienced that level of being recognized before. But it’s in a positive way. It’s just brilliant. 

Amanda Kinsella - Kin Season 1 Episode 1

Were there any scenes in particular from KIN Season 1 that you loved filming? 

The scenes that I just loved filming were what we called “one-ers,” where the whole scene is just one big tracking shot, and we had the challenge of doing it all in one take.

Diarmuid [Goggins] did many of them in the first half of the season. I loved the scenes where we all got to be together — the funeral, the party. 

And some of the scenes were filmed near my niece and nephew’s school, so I got to pop out on breaks to say hi to them! That was great. 

The Inevitable - Kin Season 1 Episode 6

You’ve made the leap from theatre to film and television. How did your theatre training inform your process, particularly with doing those “one-ers”? 

It felt like the one moment where theatre acting skills were really useful [laughs]. 

With TV, you get a lot of coverage. You’re doing interesting shots, collaborating with everyone on what’s the best way to play something in terms of creating the big picture. 

In the end, it just ends up being an energy game. You’re managing your energy between shots. You’re doing very intense emotional scenes, just trying to keep everything for the takes. 

Amanda Drinks - Kin

In theatre, you’re building something over weeks and weeks, and then you repeat it on stage every night, and it becomes its own thing each night. So this is a bit of a different way of doing things. 

Both are ultimately trying to look people in the eye and tell them the truth. 

How did Diarmuid Goggins and Tessa Hoffe differ in their directing style? How did their approaches inform or alter your performance in the first and second halves of KIN Season 1? 

The first half felt like it had Diarmuid’s energy. He would do really interesting angles. He was very much with the actors at the start trying to create the atmosphere of what it felt like in the room first and then going in. 

Amanda at the Scene Tall - Kin Season 1 Episode 2

He was very emotive, very emotional, and he would try to get different things out of us for different takes and whisper something to us, which made the work feel gloriously focused. Like, you’re so in it when you’re in it. 

And then on the side, he’s drinking a latte, cracking jokes [laughs]! He’s so funny. He’s such an energy giver and energy generator. 

Then Tessa was a bit more earthy. She didn’t always say as much. She had a softer touch, but it was because she expressed to us that she felt like we already knew our characters very well, and we were halfway through the journey. 

She didn’t want to steer too closely or get too in our heads when we were already on the journey. We knew where we were going. Tessa was much more about fine-tuning things as we got closer in on the shots. 

Amanda at the pool - Kin Season 1 Episode 6

She was gentler because I think she trusted that we all knew what we were doing. 

So, they had different energy, but I think that was because the first half was us trying to give birth to this new thing, and then the second half felt more like Tessa was allowing us to grow in confidence and get us to be the grown-up babies of [Season] 1! 

Can you tell us anything about KIN Season 2? Have you started filming yet? 

We haven’t started filming yet, but I have had a bit of a sneak peek at some of the scripts for the first couple of episodes. It will hit you hard from the get-go! As usual, we’re off [laughs]! 

There are some really interesting new characters, new presence, and new energy. 

Leaving the Scene - Tall - Kin Season 1 Episode 6

Amanda is definitely on a path of upping the game for herself and searching for a new sense of meaning in her life because let’s face it, when you lose a child, you’re definitely always searching for that. 

Coming through the first year of grief is like shedding skin and trying to find a new way forward. She takes hits, but she keeps going. 

So that’ll be interesting to watch, especially what goes on between her and her husband and everything else. It all starts to deepen. 

I think it’ll be enjoyable for audiences because they know the characters now, so they’re hopefully as invested as we are. 

Amanda and Jimmy - Kin Season 1 Episode 7

KIN really hooked everyone and just snowballed in popularity. As viewers, we really do feel like we know the Kinsellas. I think that’s a testament to the acting and the relationships you’ve built with each other. 

I remember seeing The Last Duel and saying, “That’s Amanda!” when you showed up on the screen. 

[laughs] Oh, god, the costume they put me in for The Last Duel! That thing on my head! Period dress, ugh. [laughs] It was a good film, though. 

What are you up to these days? What’s next for you? What are you working on? 

I’m shooting a lovely short film soon, and I’ve shot another series with Diarmuid [Goggins] — Witness No. 3. I was on the other side of the fence, playing a detective, which was a really interesting experience. 

Drinks Up - Kin

I went traveling for a while, which was lovely.

I’m writing a TV bible and pilot that I’m hoping to get commissioned, so that’s exciting. 
 I’m halfway through writing a feature film, and I’ve directed a proof of concept for that — just trying to put the editing polish on it. 

Thanks so much for your time today. We’re looking forward to Season 2 of KIN, and we’ll be re-watching Season 1 on DVD in the meantime! 

Thanks a million! 

Season 1 of the drama series KIN will be available on DVD and Blu-ray on May 10, 2022. 

Mary Littlejohn is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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