Check­ing in with AI­DAN GILLEN

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In play­ing 1950s as­tro­physi­cist J. Allen Hynek in His­tory’s UFO drama “Project Blue Book,” Ai­dan Gillen re­al­ized that he shared at least one be­lief with his char­ac­ter – that, yes, there’s prob­a­bly some­thing out there.

“My line would prob­a­bly be along the same as Hynek’s or Carl Sa­gan’s,” the 50-year-old Ir­ish ac­tor says, “that the dis­tances are so vast the chances of a sim­i­lar kind of life form or even any­thing vaguely sim­i­lar to our own, whose tech­nol­ogy is go­ing to evolve in any way sim­i­lar to our own within even a small num­ber of light years, it makes it al­most im­pos­si­ble that we’re go­ing to en­counter each other. But it’ll prob­a­bly hap­pen, though. It’ll hap­pen at some point, maybe not with us. We may not be here any­more.”

In the Tues­day se­ries, Gillen (“Game of Thrones”) stars as Hynek, a bril­liant col­lege pro­fes­sor re­cruited by the U.S. Air Force to lead a clan­des­tine op­er­a­tion re­search­ing thou­sands of cases of UFO en­coun­ters in the 1950s and ‘60s. That op­er­a­tion, dubbed Project Blue Book, ended in 1969 with about 700 cases still un­solved.

Gillen ad­mits he had his own UFO en­counter as a 13-year-old, lights in the sky that moved like no con­ven­tional air­craft he or his friends knew of. But he’s quick to add that what he saw over Ire­land that night could have been any­thing, and that his and his pals’ imag­i­na­tions were in over­drive af­ter hav­ing just seen “Close En­coun­ters of the Third Kind.”

“It sets fires in the minds of kids,” he says. “But then the more you’re look­ing, then you re­ally might see some­thing.” Full name: Ai­dan Gillen (born Ai­dan Mur­phy)

Birth date: April 24, 1968

Birth­place: Dublin Famiy ties: Has a son and daugh­ter with wife Olivia

TV cred­its in­clude: “Queer as Folk,” “Dice,” “Poirot,”

“Law & Or­der: Trial by Jury,” “The Last De­tec­tive,” “The Wire,” “Iden­tity,” “May­day,” “Love/Hate,” “Quan­tum Break,” “Ur­ban Myths,” “Game of Thrones,” “Peaky Blin­ders” Movie cred­its in­clude: “Cir­cle of Friends” (1995), “Buddy Boy” (1999), “The Low Down” (2000), “Shang­hai Knights” (2003), “Trou­ble With Sex” (2005), “Shadow Dancer” (2012), “The Dark Knight Rises” (2012), “Be­neath the Har­vest Sky” (2013), “Maze Run­ner: The Scorch Tri­als” (2015), “Sing Street” (2016), “King Arthur: Le­gend of the Sword” (2017), “Maze Run­ner: The Death Cure” (2018), “Bo­hemian Rhap­sody” (2018), “Rose Plays Julie” (forth­com­ing)

Fa­vorite book: “I’ll just reel off a few off the top of my head, ones that were im­por­tant to me when I read them first. ’Blood Merid­ian’ by Cor­mac McCarthy, ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ by Ernest Hem­ing­way, ‘Book of Daniel’ by E.L. Doc­torow.”

Fa­vorite movie: “Prob­a­bly ‘Days of Heaven,’ Ter­rence Mal­ick’s film from 1978. A lot of my fa­vorite movies are from the ‘70s.”

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