Monday 19 February 2018

'I took it as a sign' - Aiden Gillen on why he opted to take on the 'Charlie' role

Aidan Gillen as Charles J Haughey in RTE's drama 'Charlie'.
Aidan Gillen as Charles J Haughey in RTE's drama 'Charlie'.
Aiden Gillen in Charlie
Actor Aiden Gillen as former Taoiseach Chariles Haughey in the RTE drama 'Charlie'
Charles Haughey

Sarah-Jane Murphy

Actor Aiden Gillen has revealed that an unusual coincidence convinced him to take on the title role of Charles J Haughey in RTE's mini-series 'Charlie'.

The Drumcondra man told how he was standing on a beach in Kerry, a county he used to live in, looking out at the Blasket Islands and at Inishvickillane, the island that the Haughey family owned.

At the time, he was trying to make a decision as to whether or not he should take the lead part in the soon-to-be-made TV series.

"Then I spotted Sean Haughey further up the beach, also looking out to the islands.

"I took that as a sign," he told RTE Radio One's Marian Finucane.

Gillen explained that he had first been made aware of the project when a director from Love/Hate gave him the script for 'Charlie' and told him that he could envisage him taking on the part of one of Ireland's most notorious politicians.

He said that he embarked on extensive research on the former Fianna Fail leader, gathering information on what made the Kinseally man tick.

"I became immediately fascinated with him.

"I grew up in Dublin in the last 1970's and early 1980's so I was well aware of who he was.

"But to me politicians were guys in brown suits who attacked each other all the time," he said.

Gillen acknowledged that Haughey was a controversial figure.


"I read the Hot Press interview that Haughey gave to John Waters.

"On the whole I am undecided in relation to Haughey.

"He was flawed and I am flawed so who am I to judge?" he said.

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