When did it begin to sink in that Brendan Gleeson wasn’t just a bearish, flourishy Irish fellow who would always supply a little something extra but a grander lead-actor sort with a fine blend of sadness, compassion and mirth? One of those guys who doesn’t “act” as much as command the room without apparent effort. His voice settles in like a warm whiskey on a chilly autumn day. I’ve been enjoying Gleeson since the early ’90s but the uptick began with his BAFTA- and Golden Globe-nominated performance in ’08’s In Bruges. Most people will tell you Gleeson’s biggest score so far was playing the charmingly corrupt Sergeant Gerry Boyle in John Michael McDonagh‘s The Guard (’11). But then came Calvary, a new McDonagh-Gleeson collaboration that premiered at Sundance ’14. Gleeson won some of the best reviews of his career as a burly Irish priest whose life has been threatened by a man who was victimized by a Catholic priest as a child. The film struck me as being about several social ills affecting Ireland but no one’s obliged to agree, much less listen.
Brendan Gleeson — Thursday, 10.9, 11:55 am.
I spoke to Gleeson yesterday morning in Culina, a quietly swanky restaurant inside the Four Seasons hotel. We covered a lot including music (he plays fiddle, I used to play drums), Irish culture and…oh, God knows what. We just went on and on. He said he’s about to do a little ADR on Sarah Gavron‘s Suffragette, in which he costars with Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Ben Whishaw and Meryl Streep. He’s also about to begin rehearsals for a limited-run play in Dublin in which he’ll costar with sons Domhnall and Brían. Again, the mp3.