This trip was sponsored by Disney. This does not affect my opinions and they are 100% my own. I hope many of you will be seeing Star Wars: The Last Jedi tonight. I am so excited to see it with my family. While I was in LA for the Star Wars press junket we were able to participate in the STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press event experience as well as visit Disneyland during the Holidays + ride on the updated Star Tours – The Adventure Continues. If you haven’t read those yet – be sure to check them out and see all of the fun pictures!
We also have shared our interviews with Laura Dern interview about her role as “Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo” and Gwendoline Christie as “Captain Phasma”. And yesterday, we shared our experience at the STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI press conference. There is so much great information and background on the movies and the characters, so be sure to read through them all. Today we are sharing our interview with Domhnall Gleeson about his role as “General Hux”.
He was really funny when he can into the room we started clapping. He paused and said “You know I’m not Cate Blanchett, right? I know, I know, I was just talking about that. I used to get called Cate all the time when I was nineteen. ‘Cause I look like her…”
I couldn’t stop laughing, then I had to look it up…what do you think? They actually do look like they could be related!
So a little birdy said you watched the film. What were your first impressions?
Domhnall : That little birdy was a flippin’ liar. [LAUGHTER] No, they had a screening for the cast, and I think it was the right idea. I decided I would rather see it with like two thousand people who don’t know what’s going to happen. Just the feeling in the room…cause at the Force Awakens, that premier was insane. I was there with my dad and my friend Lawrence. Like what the hell is going on. Like, whoops and cheering and big gasps and everything. I didn’t want to miss out on that being my first experience with the film, so I’m waiting till next week.
We rode Star Tours last night; all of us. And we got to see you in that, and I realized, that’s not your first rodeo. Being on a theme park ride. What is that- I can’t even imagine what’s that like being in multiple in multiple theme park rides.
Domhnall : Where is Star Tours at though?
Domhnall : Where is Disneyland?
It’s down the road. And there’s also one in Orlando too.
Domhnall : Ah, ‘cause I always think of Orlando. Ah, okay. Oh, I’ll have to go, [LAUGHTER]. I will have to go. Oh, cool. And so, it’s cool. It’s cool being part of two different rides that, like, literally millions of people will go on is kind of ridiculous. But, in a way it’s no different than the films. So many people are going to see Star Wars. That is a bit nuts. The whole thing is a little bit nuts. It’s good though, I think.
If you had a lightsaber in real life, what color would it be?
Domhnall : I do have a lightsaber in real life but it’s just one of the plastic ones, [LAUGHTER], and it’s red. When I went to one of the premier things last time round, Harrison Ford was there and they were giving out these plastic ones to the fans, and I picked a green one ‘cause I’m Irish. And then, we were at the thing and just Harrison Ford’s like the coolest man in the world. So I was, like, talking to my agent and I was kind of waving the thing around, and I saw Harrison Ford was looking over at me, and I was like, oh, [LAUGHTER]. I got my photo with him. That was super cool, and so I’ve got a red one and a green one. So, you know what I mean; mix and match, [LAUGHTER], depending on my mood.
Is Han Solo your ultimate, favorite character in Star Wars?
Domhnall : When I was a kid, I was like an Indiana Jones kid. More than Star Wars even. So my childhood was Harrison Ford in a different movie. By the time I kinda came up then, the prequels were coming out, and I saw them in the cinema, but I’d never seen the original trilogy, any of them in the cinema. I just missed it. And then my big experience was when I was deciding whether I could be in the Force Awakens, JJ gave me a file of the original Star Wars, and I watched it on a big screen. And that was amazing. And then they all became my favorites. How diplomatic is that? They’re all my favorites. But I do love Han Solo.
Being Irish, what do you feel about Star Wars going to Ireland and filming there?
Domhnall : I love it. And I love that the people who went there had an amazing time. I love that they got good weather. I love that they were all the way up and down the west coast, and Ireland is my home, I think it’s the best place in the world, and I’m just happy for people to see it. It’s an intensely beautiful place, and they got to see it in intensely beautiful weather, which is ridiculous. That never happens, [LAUGHTER]. So when they came back and they were all talking about what a good time they had in Ireland, even though I had nothing to do with that, I have to say I was pretty proud.
You said you watched all the films. Did you take anything from past villains and bring it into General Hux?
Domhnall : You can’t steal, right, but like obviously his place in things at the beginning of the film is like Peter Cushing’s kind of role. That’s kind of, like, in terms of just the scheme of the way the villains are set up. He would be kind of fulfilling that role a little bit, just that very clipped English accent. But then you have to go to the real world to find your influences. ‘Cause you can’t your- you can’t take you character notes from other characters. I think you want to base it on something that’s real, that you can kind of look into.
So I understood where he stood in things, but no, the influences would have come from elsewhere. And also just about how he’s got to fit into the story, you know, like that was a real process with JJ of understanding the most interesting version of Hux, and the most interesting version of Hux, it turns out, which is not there from the very beginning, was the one that’s actually very dysfunctional with Kylo Ren and kind of battling for their place in things. And for favor from Snoke. That ended up, finding that along the journey, as opposed to it being there from the very beginning.
Can you tell us a little bit about your character arc in the first film in the first film verses the character arc in this film?
Domhnall : No, [LAUGHTER]. The character arc in the first film, he goes from a very good place to a very bad place in terms of his standing in things. I think it’s pretty obvious, he wants his place on the throne. He wants to be in charge of Kylo Ren as a opposed to, whenever Snoke goes, that’s what Hux wants. And so that’s what he would like. But he’s in a really much worse place at the end of the first movie than he was at the beginning in terms of achieving that goal.
And that’s where we basically start the second movie, so, just in terms of an arc, you’re just starting the character in a much worse place. A much more desperate place, much more uncomfortable place, and I think that’s a good place to put somebody like Hux. Taking a step back from him and thinking objectively, you want Hux to suffer. That is what you want for somebody like that, who behaves like that, and who carries himself like that. And I liked creating somebody that that would end up being the feeling you would have for him. So we start with a place where we’re ready to see him suffer.
Now, in the first film, we saw that you channeled a lot of inner rage, and how did you channel this for yourself and for your character and ultimately find the character that you wanted to portray?
Domhnall : I think, even less than, or more than rage, I think there’s a desperation about him, which is very unbecoming. There’s a need at all times to make sure that everybody knows that he’s important; that they should do what he says, that he deserves his position in things. And that’s where… But he knows that he’s now as powerful as Ren, really when it comes to it. If it came to a first fight, he’s dead within ten seconds. And Ren wouldn’t have to use his fist, he’d just like force choke him or whatever.
So that like, that’s where he is at all times, so you just try and think about des- just put yourself in a desperate place, and then say, right I’m getting rid of that, and now I’m pretending that I’m powerful, even though something in there is worried that you’re not. I think insecurity is where he, those are not solid foundations, you know? And that’s where we tried to start him from.
Was there ever a moment on set where you had a geek out moment, like, oh my gosh, I’m in this.
Domhnall : Oh my gosh? That’s so polite, [LAUGHTER]. I use different words. Yes, there are. There are lots of moments like that because the scale of things. Because of how much Star Wars means to people. Because just the history of it. Harry Potter was a huge journey, and that was over, those films were over; twelve year, ten years, something like that, you know what I mean? This has been going on since, yeah.
There are so many things which are part of growing up, which are part of people’s childhoods. Star Wars would have been the first movie that a lot of people, you know what I mean? Like all those things. There’s just something that’s a position of privilege, so loads of moments like that. Any time, without giving anything away of who I worked with on this or didn’t work with, but when you’re on set, other people have to come on set to show Ryan a costume in person, or, you know, to talk to him about something.
So the days when you don’t know somebody’s gonna be in, and you’re kinda talking to Ryan about something and then Mark Hamill just stoles up in his Luke Skywalker gear, you’re like what the f- [LAUGHTER]. You’re like, oh my gosh… [LAUGHTER]. Those moments, when you’re not expecting them, and he’s there on a Star Wars set and you’re like, what are you doing in the evil place? Why are you hanging out here, and it’s like, oh he just here to see Ryan. Like, those things are kind of amazing. Those where you pinch yourself.
In Harry Potter, you were Gryffindor, on the good side, and now you’re playing a villain. Which do you tend to side with more, like, personally? Are you light or are you dark?
Domhnall : We all have our dark moments, you know, everybody has those, and those moments when you remind yourself that you should be a person than what your instinct to do is or whatever, that there are other people. I think generally, hopefully I’m not that bad about remembering that the good of the people is more important than the good of your own thing, which obviously these days is getting trampled all over all over the place, I’ve never killed anyone, [LAUGHTER]. You just start there and work backwards.
When you were describing Hux, it does sound very similar to the current climate that we’re in. So how much does Star Wars, and not even just this movie, but how much does Star Wars really kind of reflect our times that we’re living in?
Domhnall : This will sound like I’m hedging my bet right, but like, most pieces of great art reflect something about the times you live in, no matter when you live. And I’ve heard that this film is particularly, you can really, really do whatever you want with it in terms of it being contemporary and relatable to people and all the rest of it. I think that, there’s never a lack of evil in- or not evil. Never a lack of bad intention in the world. And people only out for their own interest and the interest of the few. That’s been around forever and will always be around. That’s not gonna disappear. So I think you can just compare it to any time, but obviously what brilliance of Star Wars is that when you watch it you can be entertained by the dark side, whereas in real life, that isn’t entertaining, that’s terrifying. Different.
So what’s next for you?
Domhnall : I have this movie in Sundance called A Futile Stupid Gesture, which is about the setting up of National Lampoon, which is a very different film to Star Wars, [LAUGHTER]. And then there’s Peter Rabbit, which is also a very different film to Star Wars, but I’m playing Mr. McGregor, so I’m kind of like the enemy in that again, so… [OVERLAPPING[. You gotta like them a little bit, they can be fun. And then a bit of time off, you know, I’ve done a lot of work in the last couple years. And I’ll go back to Dublin and chill out and just try to be around my family for Christmas. Yeah, that’s the notion. That sounds like the dark side, right? [LAUGHTER]
He is very funny and genuine.
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