Domhnall Gleeson’s been in quite a few flicks – including “Dredd”, the “Harry Potter” series, and “True Grit” – but “About Time” marks his debut as a romantic leading man. Clint Morris talks to the ‘Ginger Can Time Travel’ about the sweet new laffer.
This is a big movie for you, sir. The pressure’s on for you.
Yeah, I guess so. But I mean, the pressure’s off for me really ’cause the pressure was on while we were shooting. Now, there’s absolutely nothing I can do apart from talk to people about it. So, I feel like the pressure’s kind of lifted from me and has moved on to other people. So, I feel pretty good about the whole thing at the moment.
So, have you had some good feedback?
Yeah. No, we’ve had great feedback. It’s kind of gone down really well in England. It was number one over in England, and that’s the only place it’s been released so far and held up pretty well in the second week. Word of mouth seems to be great. And people coming up to me on the street, and they say last week I’ve seen the film three times in a week, which made me worry for her slightly. Of course, I kind of tested them through this. A lot of people seem to get a lot out of the film, lot of laughs and a lot of tears and all that, sort of stuff. So, it’s a nice film to be a part of.
That’s great. I mean… And you’re the new Marty McFly basically? So…
Oh, thank you, man. I’ve been getting I’m the new Hugh Grant a lot but…
Oh really? Well, yeah, I… No, you know what?
I’ll take that. With Marty McFly, there’s something pretty cool… And actually you know Marty McFly originally, that part was played by Eric Stoltz?
Yeah, exactly, I know.
So, I kind of feel bad for him. I feel like that would’ve gingered it. You know what I mean?
But now we have a time-travel movie starring a ‘ginger’!
They call it “Ginger Can Time Travel,” and now, because we live in a more accepting world and a more forgiving world, I feel like I’m able to make it up a little bit. I feel good about myself now.
So, you really… You’re just doing it for Eric Stoltz basically? What he missed out on…
For him, but also just as kind of a public service announcement, just to get the word out there and you know “Ginger Can Time Travel.” And I think it’s important that people know that, straight off.
Yeah, it is, it is. But having said this, I mean this movie’s pretty different than from “Back To The Future?”
It’s an anti-time travel movie, I think Richard Curtis told me.
He did. Yeah, yeah. And I’ve heard him say that. I mean, I think it… I mean, what he’d done if he kind of has all the fun that he can with time travel. And he kind of gets all the jokes that he can out a bit and kind of all those fantastic set pieces that he’s so good at writing. And then, he kind of moves on to a more reflective period towards the end of the film that… What it actually means for the characters. And I think it remains funny all the way through. But it still does get to a place which is slightly more about love and life and real romance and real family and all those sort of things. And then, as a result, it seems to have really affected people. So, Richard seemed to have mixed it up pretty well. I think he should be proud of himself.
Yeah, for sure. Now, were you onboard first? Or was Rachel?
I was onboard before Rachel. I would imagine I was the real reason he wanted to do it. I mean, that’s what I tell myself as I go to sleep at night time, I think, yeah. I think I was the first person cast ’cause I guess I was kind of an ongoing concern. I met Richard a few times in auditions, play cards with and I had lots of beer. So, he didn’t want to cast me ’cause he thought that I looked like I was 45-years-old.
Yeah. So, he got me back a bunch of times and then the decided that perhaps I was the right person. And then, the day that he told me Rachel was doing it, was a pretty special day. I kind of thought, always thought she had… She was absolutely fabulous as an actress and as a person herself; I’ve seen her interviews. And then, yeah, Jamie then met up with her, and then working with her was even better than I had expected. So, every day on set, it was kind of very full of joy and laughter and all that boring stuff, I think it really pays.
And so, it wasn’t like, you were… Pretty much girls were in and out of the room. You know you’re doing chemistry tests and so forth. So, it wasn’t like that. It was pretty much you were told, “Rachel’s got the part.”
Yeah in fairness, I… Rachel’s never had bad chemistry with anybody in the world. She only took one look at me and said, “We need somebody who knows what they’re doing.”
And so, they got Rachel on board and she did… I have to say like she really… She kind of absolutely breaks my heart at how kind of beautiful and real and lovely she is in the film, you know? I kind of thought, “Well, so yeah she’s… Improvement.”
The scene where you two meet in the restaurant… I mean, that restaurant alone, that’s stuck with me. That’s brilliant.
It’s great, isn’t it? I mean, we went out there. We went… That dark restaurant, the down and worn out restaurant, which is a completely dark restaurant. You can’t see anything as you go in. And the waiters are blind, all the waiters are blind, and the food they bring… They don’t tell you what food they’re bringing you. It’s just like you can just say you’re vegetarian or you… And all that sort of stuff. Then that was at the real place. The moment we went there, I prepped myself and Richard and Rachel and a couple of others. And man, it’s a weird place to be. It’s amazing but it’s very, very strange. And someone did push Rachel’s elbow and I think she still does think it was me.
I pushed her elbow. And it totally wasn’t me.
I was, see, really taking off my shirt. ‘Cause I knew that nobody could see me.
Exactly. There you go!
Yeah exactly. So, that wasn’t me, but that was ..
That wasn’t you.
Ended up and then somebody… It was great fun to go there, crap, and then filming the scene was really a lot of fun. I got to stab her in the eye with [05:36] ____.
I think it’s a nice thing too because it… You obviously fall for each other’s personalities. And…
Well exactly, how else was I gonna stand a chance, you know what I mean? If you took one look at the two of us, hear what talked, “crap, they better meet at the back.”
Not gonna buy this. And thankfully it’s paid off. Yeah.
But they… They do describe you as the UK’s Ryan Gosling, don’t they?
Yup. When you say ‘they’, if you mean my mother and then my friends, and they’re drunk and really, really, really, kinda making fun of me then yes, they do describe me as, gosh, Ryan Gosling, that’s correct.
Yeah. Speaking of really hot guys, Bill Nighy, how was he to work with?
Oh man, well, he’s the English Ryan Gosling as you know.
Yeah. No, he was just so much fun. It was one of those things, you worry… Same with Rachel, same with everybody else. You worry before you meet people, you over think things and you think, “Is this going to work? How are we going to make this work?” And then, sometimes, you just get really lucky and when you meet them, you kind of feel that this is going to be alright. And actually the less stressing we do about it, it’s more, “It’s going to work ’cause it already does work.” And you just don’t want to take away the things.
Bill is just one of those really generous people who make the room a nicer place to be because of his energy, and because how he’s able to [06:58] ____ himself. As soon as I met him, I knew that kind of pretending, he was my dad, wasn’t gonna be a problem because he had got all of the requirements. He’s low-maintenance, and funny, and he does look after people. So, he’s got all of that. And then, the fact that he’s just ridiculously cool, incredibly debonair and handsome, along with the great Rachel made the whole thing a lot easier, too. So, it was brilliant spending time with him. And he’s over here in Melbourne… I mean, Germany.
So, we all went for a dinner last night, and Bill was there as well. So, I got to listen to him for an evening, which is a great way to spend time.
Do you enjoy the PR part of it?
You know PR can be a nightmare when you have to go out and have talk about a film which you aren’t all of fond off, or you don’t think it relates that well. But the reaction to the film… And the fact that I really enjoyed it when I saw it, means that actually I kind of enjoyed it. And I get to meet back up with the guys again, and then, go out in Berlin or whatever the hell else we’re going to be and then… Yeah, I really enjoyed the film, I have to say.
I think you can definitely tell too, when an interviewee is not enjoying the movie they’re talking about or hasn’t enjoyed the experience. I remember talking to Harrison Ford a few years ago for Firewall, and I could just tell Harrison just wasn’t into talking about the movie.
Yeah. What was he talking about? What did he default to?
He defaulted to talking…
He’s grumpy. He’s just grumpy, he just… He’s Harrison Ford.
Yeah. I think he started talking about aviation, actually.
Oh, well, you see. Well, there you go. Aviation. no way, I love the fact that he just turns up and… Because he’s coolest man in the world. Bill Nighy is probably running possibly a close second. He can kind of talk about whatever the hell he wants, you know?
If he’s not in good humour, he’s not going to pretend. I think there’s something kind of fabulous about that.
Exactly. Now, the new Star Wars is filming in the UK, I believe. Are you saddling up for that?
: I’m not saddling up for that, no. They don’t give you the script for those films, as far as I know.
No. There is one, apparently.
They don’t give you the script. That’s something very strange about signing up for a film where you don’t get to read what you’re doing first. I just find it a little bit upsetting.
Yeah, exactly. Read the cue card while swinging this thing.
Yeah, exactly. I mean, yeah, especially, when you turn up on set, you’d like to know what the hell you’re looking at. No, I think they’re gonna use technical effects and stuff. And JJ Abrams is directing obviously, so. It’s a really cool idea.
You’re coming to Australia, right, to make a movie?
Very soon, yeah. I’m heading out there about October 5th. So, I don’t know what date it is today. I think in a couple of weeks, basically.
Yeah. It is, yeah.
Yeah. How or where, I’ve never been. I’ve got aunts and uncles who lived there before quite awhile ago. And I must still got some kind of fairly distant relatives there. So, I can’t wait to go.
Great. And how long are you here for?
Well, I’m there for three weeks initially, and I’ve got to lose all this weight before I go out. So, I’m in the process of doing that at the moment. That’s not much fun. Well I’d be very well-behaved for three weeks and kind of just try and survive, I think. But then, my friend, it’s my job to regain weight. So, I’m afraid you will turn into being my friend very quickly, I think. I’m looking forward to having beers, and burgers, and getting ready, and being paid to gain some weight. And then, I got to go back in January for the second half of the film, where we have more weight on Liam, and I just cannot wait. And I’ve heard some brilliant things about some brilliant places though. I think I might travel around a little bit and maybe get to know the place.
Yeah, yeah. Why not? Why not? So, finally, if you had the device to travel back in time, what would you go and check out?
I think, if anything… Do I have to follow the rules of the movie? Does it have to be my own life, or can I go any time?
No, any time, I think.
Oh, any time, alright. Well, going backwards, there’s was Irish politician called Michael Collins. I’d like to go back and listen to one of his speeches, ’cause he’s very impressive. And see what he’s talking about, and to hear him kind of do one of the things live kind of in the crowd, I think I’ll see that. But then, maybe also I’d love to go back and see the [11:21] ____ band play early on. I think that… Yeah, seems though everybody else were very confused knowing that what they were doing already while incredibly special, I think that may have… Traditionally in that atmosphere would probably make for a pretty enjoyable evening, so I think that would be the first on my list. Totally.
Totally. It sounds like a fun trip back.
Yeah, exactly. And also, because I wouldn’t have to be losing weight, I’d also be allowed to have a couple of beers.
As I said, it would be an underground gig. So, I think that’s my choice on what to do.
It sounds great. Man, thank you so much for chatting to us, and great little movie you got there.
Thank you very much, man. I’m really glad you enjoyed it.