Sunday 21 January 2018

Gillen to bring Haughey to life in drama trilogy

Aidan Gillen will play former Taoiseach Charles Haughey
Aidan Gillen will play former Taoiseach Charles Haughey
Former Taoiseach Charles Haughey

Ken Sweeney Entertainment Editor

HE played slippery mayor Tommy Carcetti in the 'The Wire' and a gangster on the streets of Dublin in crime drama 'Love/Hate'.

But Irish actor Aidan Gillen is about to bring to life one of the country's most controversial politicians on the TV screen: Charles J Haughey.

The 44-year-old was being tipped to play the disgraced politician in RTE's forthcoming 'Citizen Charlie', a trilogy of 90-minute dramas charting the emergence of the mesmeric figure and his pursuit of power, wealth and glamour.

Best-known for playing John Boy in gangland drama, 'Love/Hate', Gillen will be virtually unrecognisable in the drama as Haughey – the leader of a group of hard young men in mohair suits who replaced De Valera's old guard during the 1960s.

One insider who witnessed Gillen screen test for the Haughey role described his performance as "chilling". Among the qualities much associated with the late politician, he was described by columnist Bruce Arnold as "Skilful, adroit, ambitious, but also fearful and feared, devious and dishonest".

"The hair and make-up was perfect to make Aidan look like Charlie Haughey in the 60s," said a film source.

The casting of Gillen in the title role of Haughey will be a major coup to RTE, which has given 'Citizen Charlie' a budget of €3.7m.

"RTE require an exceptional actor to play Haughey but also someone who would be known in both the UK and America."

Irish Independent

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