Wickedly good

Whether play­ing a gen­tle man or an evil per­son, Domh­nall Glee­son does it with equal glee.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MOVIES - By AMY KAUF­MAN

DOMH­NALL Glee­son took the phrase “work­ing ac­tor” to new heights in 2015. He was in four very dif­fer­ent movies: the sci- fi thriller Ex Machina, the ro­man­tic im­mi­gra­tion tale Brook­lyn, the wilder­ness sur­vival pic­ture The Revenant and the block­buster se­quel Star Wars: The Force Awak­ens. Which, by the way, were all nom­i­nated for Academy Awards.

His char­ac­ters in those films var­ied from a gen­tle Ir­ish soul in Brook­lyn to the evil Gen Hux in Force Awak­ens. So what about 2016? Well, it’s start­ing off busy enough as he shoots the new Star Wars in­stal­ment in Lon­don.

Call­ing from his home in Dublin, he spoke about grow­ing up in an act­ing fam­ily, play­ing char­ac­ters both sen­si­tive and wicked, and what ex­actly it was like shoot­ing The Revenant in the frozen wilder­ness.

Your dad, Brendan Glee­son, is also a well- known ac­tor. Did you try to hide that fact as a kid?

No, I was very proud that he was my dad. I mean, I didn’t go around shout­ing it from the rooftops. Brave­heart came out when I was in sec­ondary school, and peo­ple my age hadn’t seen that. So peo­ple didn’t re­ally know him. And I wasn’t, like, “Hey, you know who my dad is? Maybe we should hang.”

What did you think of his job? Did you think it was cool he was in movies with big stars like Mel Gib­son?

Well, he wasn’t like su­per fa­mous or liv­ing in Amer­ica. I prob­a­bly saw a few pic­tures of him in Hol­ly­wood on red car­pets, but he mostly did Ir­ish films at that time. So I didn’t dream about Hol­ly­wood so much, but Broad­way al­ways ex­cited me. When I did a play on Broad­way, the no­tion of that and liv­ing in New York seemed quite cool.

So how did you re­alise you were in­ter­ested in act­ing?

At first, it didn’t re­ally seem like a need in­side me. Maybe I was afraid of it. I mean, I had done plays in sc hool. I did Grease in fourth yea ar. I was Doody.

Wait, who o?

Doody. OneO of the friends of Danny.

My bad.

I was als so in a school play called The Cab­bages. I think we all played cab­bages, and I had to eat cab­bages on stage e while dressed as a mas­sive cab­bage. I hated my greens, so I was half gag­ging. That was my first ex­per ri­ence suf­fer­ing for my art. I have long been a com­mit­ted ac­tor. And d that’s a joke, you know.

Since this piv­otal role as a leafy green, you u’ve gone on to play the quin­tes­sen­tial nice guy nu­mer­ous times . Does that have some­thing to d o with your off- screen per­sona?

I guess I can un­der­stand it. It’s hap­pened enough now that I re­alise it has to o come from some­where. I don’t findd it to be in­sult­ing or emas­cu­lat­ing at all. The best men have to ha ave some sen­si­tiv­ity.

So was tur rn­ing to the dark side as Gen­era al Hux in The Force

Awak­ens a chal­lenge?

I liked himh be­cause he al­lowed me to expl lore the no­tion of au­thor­ity – he’s some­one who en­joys auth hor­ity and holds onto it at a all costs. The cos­tume w was bril­liant and added d a whole other layer r for me. We talked about the idea that he’sh an ob­ses­sive a and prob­a­bly doesn’td sleep much h.

So he wa as pale with dark eyes. We wanted d him to look k like some­body who was dead set on one thing.

Did you film with the cast in Abu Dhabi?

No, and if I’d been in Abu Dhabi, I can prom­ise you I’d be a night­mare to be around.

Why?

I’m good in the cold. I’m not deliri­ous, skip­ping around or any­thing, but I like it.

So the re­port­edly bru­tal con­di­tions on The

Revenant set didn’t both

er you?

Well, cold and wet is a dif­fer­ent thing. As long as I was work­ing, I was fine, be­cause you know this is on cam­era and the pos­si­bil­ity of it be­ing re­ally good keeps you warm.

But on a day when you’re out there, in and out of the river, stand­ing around and not know­ing if you’re go­ing to get to your bit that day – those days suck. Be­cause you’re just hang­ing around, try­ing to keep warm with heat pads in your gloves.

You still live in your na­tive Ire­land. Have you felt pres­sure to move to the United States to pur­sue your ca­reer?

I think it’s im­por­tant to keep a place here. There’s an im­por­tance to not liv­ing out of a suit­case – at least in my head, there’s al­ways a home some­where. I think it’s good not to have boxes of stuff in your par­ents’ house ... . My agents would never put any pres­sure on me to move. They want me to be happy as well as get­ting jobs. I’m com­fort­able in Dublin. I like it be­ing my home.

You’ve filmed in some pretty ex­otic spots re­cently – Ex Machina in re­mote Nor­way, The

Revenant in the wilds of Canada. Does liv­ing off the grid en­tice you?

I’m not sure. I start to miss other peo­ple. With work, I spend enough time in ho­tel rooms that when it comes to my own life, I want to be around peo­ple. If I went camp­ing with stuff from the 1820s, then I’d be like, “Ev­ery­one step back!” But with mod­ern gear? I’d have to say, “Do th­ese poles go with this par­tic­u­lar tent?” I’m not a big camper. – Los An­ge­les Times/ Tribune News Ser­vice

— AP

Glee­son feels it’s im­por­tant to have a place in his na­tive Ire­land.

Work­ing on The Revenant meant Glee­son had to en­dure the cold and wet weather. — Hand­out

Glee­son is un­recog­nis­able in Star Wars: The Force Awak­ens, play­ing the vil­lain­ous Gen­eral Hux. — Walt Dis­ney Stu­dios

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