Since the first episode aired in September, crime drama Kin has given RTÉ a huge ratings hit.
The series follows the fortunes of a fictional Dublin crime family, the Kinsellas, which is waging a bloody gangland war with a local cartel, the Cunninghams.
The lead director of the eight-part series, Diarmuid Goggins, spoke to RTS Republic of Ireland Chair Agnes Cogan at a Society event in late October about his work on the US-Irish co-production.
Goggins revealed that it wasn’t the thrills and spills of the gangster genre that drew him to the series: “First and foremost, Kin is about family – so the gangster elements, to me, were always a kind of wallpaper... I was just about to become a father for the second time and I connected with the script in a very emotional way.”
In Kin, characters frequently address the camera directly, breaking the so-called “fourth wall”. The director explained: “When I read the script it felt to me, that at very key, emotional moments, the actors should engage directly with the lens, thus engaging directly with the audience.”
Goggins admitted to feeling nervous at working with actors of the status of Ciarán Hinds (Eamon Cunningham) and Aidan Gillen (Frank Kinsella), who play the heads of the two crime families.
He recalled one pre-shoot chat with Hinds: “I was a huge fan of Ciarán Hinds.... [He] has worked with some of the great directors and actors. We went on a Zoom and he was one of the nicest men ever, so accommodating and welcoming of our direction.”
Much of Kin was shot during a period of Covid-19 lockdown in Ireland. “We managed, with great difficulty and more expense than would have been imagined,” said Goggins.
“[But] it helped us... in terms of locations. Dublin became a little bit of a ghost town... so we got to use certain locations that maybe we wouldn’t have got, and [better] access... We [could] shoot without people on the street or passers-by and... certain buildings and hotels, which had been shut down, were very welcoming.”
With thorough protocols in place, the production didn’t record a single case of Covid-19. “We were very careful and felt very privileged to be working when so many people were not able to,” said the director.