Friday 23 August 2019

WATCH: Brendan Gleeson talks Paddington 2, Mr Mercedes, the Coens and watching himself on the big screen

Chris Wasser

We sat down with Brendan Gleeson to talk Paddington 2 ahead of the film's release on Friday, his somewhat darker role in Mr Mercedes, being in everything this year, working with the Coens, watching himself on screen, and how he honed his craft coming to it later in life.

Of working on Paddington he says it was a "lot of fun" and while working towards a "wholesome" family movie might sound "dull it's actually quite uplifting". 

Working on Mr Mercedes he describes as a "little bit more of an ask", although he adds, "In terms of as an actor I'm having a lot of fun working with those people, there's a great team on that particular show and it really strives to maintain integrity and dramatic content and the character study at the heart of what's going on.  You could call it fun but it just feels like the proper way to work."

Although he strives to try to not repeat performances, he says it becomes more difficult as he gets older, although he's not averse to playing a similar character to one he has tackled before if the other elements are right.

"If Scorsese comes along and wants you to be this guy and you say, 'No I was that guy last week' then you're an idiot," he says.  "You follow the work."

Asked if he watches his performances on the big screen, he says he does because starting out late in the industry he felt he needed to learn from his work.  He says John Lynch and director John Boorman were great "mentors" to him and showed him how to "dance with the camera" when he started out and "knew nothing really about acting - the notions I had were only half baked".

When Braveheart comes on the TV and he arrives in half way through he's always compelled to watch it to the final credits.

"It's just the kind of film it is.  I learned a lot on that just about what has to go in the edit," he says.  "I always remember some of the battles and the amount of footage that was there and wasn't used.  Sometimes the most impactful scenes have to be dropped because they're getting in the way of the dynamic of the film."

He also watches The General when it's on because he is "very proud of that film.  I was beside myself with John Boorman on that.  It was kind of thrilling.  I find it interesting looking back."

Recently he finally got the chance to work with the Coen Brothers.

"My line is I don't have a bucket list but they're on it," he jokes.  "It was just one of those things where it almost happened before.  Domhnall got to work with them before and I was insanely jealous.  I wasn't really but I thought maybe the chance had come and gone. 

"I just have admired their work for years, I love their work, I love everything about the way they go about it.  I only had three or four days on the thing and Mary came over to me and said watching the actors going in was like watching a creche where all the young kids love the teacher.  We were all mad to get in to work.  It was ridiculous having coffee in the morning. There were five of us and it was just everything you hoped it would be.  They say don't meet your heroes but these guys were something else."

Check out the full interview above.  Paddington 2 is out on Friday.

Paddington 2 movie review: Paddington enchants in this thoroughly winning family comedy 

Online Editors

Editors Choice

Also in Entertainment

Back to top