He’s happy to chat about his fa­mous fa­ther – but just you try get­ting upand-com­ing ac­tor Domh­nall Glee­son to open up about his love life... Pa­tri­cia Danaher meets a re­luc­tant ro­man­tic

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - CONTENTS -

I’ll talk about my dad but not dat­ing

The quick­est way to end a con­ver­sa­tion with Domh­nall Glee­son is to ask him a per­sonal ques­tion, par­tic­u­larly any­thing that’s con­nected to his pri­vate life. The 29-year old Dubliner is more than will­ing to talk about his work and his fa­mous fa­ther, but try to get be­neath the pub­lic face to dis­cover any­thing about his in­ti­mate life, and you’ll see him head for the hills.

Given that one of his most re­cent roles was the lead in About Time, a ro­man­tic com­edy by Richard Cur­tis — who wrote and di­rected Four Wed­dings And A Fu­neral and Not­ting Hill — it’s a ques­tion he’s been try­ing to avoid for quite some time. ‘That’s the one area you will not get me to talk about. I refuse to de­fine any­body by some­body they know. I think that’s re­ally bad,’ he says. ‘If I was dat­ing any­body, I wouldn’t want to be de­fined by it, and if I wasn’t dat­ing any­body, I wouldn’t want to be de­fined as a sin­gle loner who just buys tow­els for him­self and sits at home cry­ing in the evenings.’

Grow­ing up in an artis­tic house­hold in Malahide as his fa­ther’s very suc­cess­ful ca­reer took off, the Gleesons have al­ways been very close. Domh­nall is the el­dest of four boys and the sec­ond son to fol­low his fa­ther in his pro­fes­sion. Bren­dan con­tin­ues to be a mas­sive in­flu­ence on Domh­nall and his brothers, and it’s clear that his mam­moth body of work is both en­cour­ag­ing and in­tim­i­dat­ing. It is to Bren­dan and his fam­ily that Domh­nall goes again and again when he needs ad­vice or help.

‘My dad has a par­tic­u­lar in­flu­ence on me,’ he ac­knowl­edges. ‘He’s a very suc­cess­ful ac­tor. He’s done amaz­ing work over many years. He’s very well re­spected. Peo­ple know who he is and like him. I ob­vi­ously look to him for guid­ance in that way. He’s pretty good in know­ing when to give ad­vice. He asks ques­tions and talks about prob­lems you might be hav­ing in a dif­fer­ent way. He never tells you what to do. As an ac­tor, he’ll talk things through with you. It’s al­ways about find­ing out what you want to do and then find­ing the best way to do it. He’s re­ally ex­cep­tional in that way and so is my brother Brian. He’s pretty fan­tas­tic that way too.

‘My dad will ask very in­sight­ful ques­tions that help you find the an­swer. He’ll ask all of us and my mam our opin­ion on stuff. Every­body in the fam­ily re­ally re­spects and val­ues ev­ery­one’s opin­ions. I turn to every­body in my fam­ily for dif­fer­ent things at dif­fer­ent points and I al­ways come out of it in a bet­ter state of mind.’

They have col­lab­o­rated on sev­eral movie projects in the past decade, in­clud­ing Martin McDon­agh’s Six Shooter and more re­cently in di­rec­tor John Michael McDon­agh’s up­com­ing Cal­vary. It’s clear that he rel­ishes any chance he gets to work along­side his fa­ther. ‘Cal­vary is re­ally my dad and John McDon­agh’s gig. I was only on it for a day, but I was as ex­cited about do­ing that movie as I was about do­ing the Richard Cur­tis film. The op­por­tu­nity of go­ing toe to toe with my Dad and John was ex­cep­tional. You just grab an op­por­tu­nity like this with both hands and hope you don’t mess it up. I feel like I did a good job. I haven’t seen it yet but I’m ex­pect­ing it to be a suc­cess on its own terms which is the best you can hope. I think what John has done with this film is ex­tremely in­ter­est­ing. It’s got ev­ery­thing that peo­ple loved about The Guard, but he’s found another level of film mak­ing here.’

Domh­nall, along with Gabriel Byrne, Michael Fas sben­der, Colin Far­rell and Cil­lian Mur­phy — the cream of the Ir ish male act ing fra­ter­nity — have all been at­tached to Bren­dan’s di­rec­to­rial de­but o f At SwimTwo- Birds. But al­though the script has been writ­ten and some fund­ing of­fered by the Ir­ish Film Board in a co­pro­duc­tion with Lux­em­bourg, they have not suc­ceeded in rais­ing all the money nec­es­sary to be­gin mak­ing the movie. ‘That’s one of those ones, where I feel like I’m cheat­ing in talk­ing about it. Dad and the peo­ple who are mak­ing the film are all op­er­at­ing goodo try­ing to get it made, but I’ve just started to look the other way,’ he says. ‘I re­alised I was cran­ing my neck look­ing that way all the time, ig­nor­ing other op­por­tu­ni­ties com­ing along. It’s an amaz­ing script — and I say that with­out any sense of false pride be­cause my fa­ther wrote it — but it is an amaz­ing script and a big un­der­tak­ing. They’ve got some great ac­tors.

‘All I’m hop­ing is that they can get it to­gether while I’m still young enough to play some­body im­por­tant in it! ‘ Hav­ing every­body avail­able and hav­ing all the money at the same time is the tough­est nut to crack — the cal­i­bre of those peo­ple com­mit­ted to it is so high that they are book­ing work all the time. As far as I know, the main thing hold­ing it back is get­ting the money to­gether.”

Mean­while his own stock is firmly in the as­cen­dant, with of­fers of big­ger parts com­ing all the time. He has just fin­ished film­ing a star­ring turn in the Lenny Abra­ham­son-di­rected Frank, op­po­site Fass­ben­der and Mag­gie Gyl­len­haal, and is shortly about to be­gin film­ing Un­bro­ken, a movie none other than An­gelina Jolie is di­rect­ing in Aus­tralia. He has also signed up for the film Brook­lyn, writ­ten by Nick Hornby based on Colm Tóibín’s book, and co-star­ring Saoirse Ronan.

De­spite quite a short CV for some­one just nudg­ing 30, the ac­co­lades and in­ter­na­tional recog­ni­tion keep com­ing. Last year, Va­ri­ety mag­a­zine named him as one of Ten Ac­tors to Watch. ( That list has in the past in­cluded Jen­nifer Lawrence, Jeremy Ren­ner and Emma Stone.) He won a Tony for his role in

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