The Banshees Of Inisherin's Jenny The Miniature Donkey Had Her Own Donkey Pal On Set [Exclusive]

Martin McDonough's "The Banshees of Inisherin" is an intense, sad movie about the lengths one will go to to achieve peace during a depressed, turbulent time. Set on a remote Irish island in the 1920s, Brendan Gleeson plays a man named Colm who decides one day that he would really rather not be friends with his longtime drinking buddy Pádraic (Colin Farrell) anymore. Not that there's anything explicitly wrong with Pádraic. Colm just no longer likes him. Colm, it seems, has been more consistently pondering death in recent years, and seemingly would like to spend his remaining days on Earth free from warm idle chatter. Pádraic, being persistent, keeps on pressing Colm for a reason why he has been so brusquely and suddenly rejected. Eventually, Colm will threaten to cut off his own fingers, just to prove to Pádraic that he's serious. The film becomes darker and darker from there. 

Audiences know that Pádraic is a good man. Farrell gives the character a soulful and earnest simplicity that belies gentleness and emotional intelligence. When a local man (Barry Keoghan) is found beaten, Pádraic takes him in. He also has a wonderful relationship with his sister Siobhán (Kerry Condon) who cares for him, but who also seems quite tired of quiet island life and the minuscule gossip that dictates the place. She is poised to leave. 

Most importantly, Pádraic and Siobhán live with an adorable fuzzy roommate named Jenny, a miniature donkey. Jenny's well-being is of vital importance to the drama, and Pádraic cares deeply about her. /Film's own Danielle Ryan recently interviewed Condon, and she revealed that working with Jenny was a delight, as was working with an off-camera second donkey that was vital to Jenny's performance.

Jenny and Rosie

Condon revealed that Jenny, being young, was a very nervous animal on set. It's difficult to work with a donkey, it seems, unless it is totally relaxed. The "Banshees" filmmakers figured out early on that Jenny required a more confident companion nearby in order to better perform. Enter Rosie, a second donkey that was always kept just off-camera for Jenny's benefit. The two donkeys were close friends, and Condom found their relationship to be very cute. She said"

"[W]hat was really beautiful is that there was actually two donkey. Because Jenny was so young, she had to have a friend with her. Because she'd get nervous without her friend. And her friend was called Rosie, and Rosie was a few years older. And Rosie was a little bit more not-so-nervous. So anytime we had scenes with Jenny in the house, Rosie was in another room with her head sticking out or by the camera. Just as long as Jenny could see Rosie, she knew she was okay. But if Jenny came into the room and she couldn't see Rosie, she'd get nervous."

One of the plot points of "Banshees" is that Jenny is a gentle and affable animal, and Pádraic and Siobhán are constantly arguing as to whether or not she should be allowed in the house. Others may be annoyed by Pádraic's love of Jenny, but no one can really point to any of her faults. Rosie, it seemed, assured that Jenny would not be irascible or give a "wild" performance. Condon admitted that she became a little enamored of the donkey friendship, and of both donkeys. "I gave Rosie loads of love because of that," she said. 

"The Banshees of Inisherin" is now playing in theaters.