Gleeson proud to join different boys in blue for new role
He's played a corrupt garda, a conscientious hitman and a larger-than-life Michael Collins. But this summer Ireland's leading character actor, Brendan Gleeson, will be going where other movie stars might fear to tread, with a leading part in the new Smurfs film.
Though it is likely to be one of the most high-profile roles in his career – the first Smurfs picture was a global hit – Gleeson admits to having goosebumps over how his turn as a kindly stepfather is received. "It is coming out in the summer and honestly I'm dreading it," he told an actors' symposium at the Gate Theatre, Dublin.
However, he insists he isn't in the least embarrassed about appearing in a kids movie. In fact, he is proud to put his talents to what he regards as a noble purpose: delighting very young children.
"It is completely pantomime. But what about the five-year-olds? Everyone knows the five-year-olds get more out of cinema than everyone . . . The five-year-olds need a bit of craic going on too."
At the same event, Gleeson expressed queasiness over the perception that he was a campaigning actor because of his famous outburst about the health service on The Late Late Show in 2006.
"I was appaled by the conditions my mam and dad faced in hospital and I threw a wobbly on The Late Late Show," he said at the World Actors Forum. "I felt completely justified in doing so. However, there was a plethora of things for about five years afterwards where I was asked 'when you are going to fix the health service, how should it be done?'
"My answer was 'I don't really know . . . I just know it's not working'."
Aside from the Smurfs, his next big role is in the follow-up to The Guard. Calvary stars Gleeson as a 'good priest' in rural Sligo.