Domhnall Gleeson: It would have been ‘daffy’ to say no to Star Wars: The Force Awakens

AOL Build Speaker Series: 'Ex Machina', New York, America - 01 May 2015

Whatever you do, don’t mention Star Wars around Domhnall Gleeson. He’s petrified he’s going to blurt out something he shouldn’t have said.

The Irish actor will star in the incredibly anticipated The Force Awakens this December but as with most things Star Wars-related, we know nothing about him except his character’s name – General Hux.

‘The fact that I know I can’t say anything makes it much easier than if I could say three things because in a way even his name being General Hux, that being out there? That’s worse than it was before,’ he tells

‘Because now I hear General Hux and I’m like, “Oh God did I just… did I say that?” so being allowed to say one thing is much worse than being allowed to say nothing.’

We’re sitting with Domhnall just hours after he arrived in London from Ireland where he filmed his new film, Brooklyn, a stunning film based on Colm Tóibín’s novel of the same name.

(Picture: Lionsgate)
(Picture: Lionsgate)

Domhnall stars as Jim Farrell, a young man who is happy with his life in a small town and hopes that Saoirise Ronan’s Eilis will setlle down with him.

Eilis has a difficult decision to make though, with a whole other life waiting for her in Brooklyn, New York City, and Domhnall admits that considering another life for himself is tough.

‘For most actors it’s extremely difficult, it’s a life long struggle so I’ve often had to think of that and the worrying thing is that oftentimes you can’t think of an alternative, that’s the worry.’

His career has been varied so far though from fantasy (Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows) to sci-fi (Ex Machina) to romance (About Time and now Brooklyn) but he told us there is one genre he really really wants to do.

‘Playing like the private detective in a film noir would be a total life-long dream, because I love those’.

Someone get Domhnall in a remake of The Maltese Falcon now.

Domhnall Gleeson: It would have been 'daffy' to say no to Star Wars

But for now, he’s got three huge films on the horizon, Brooklyn, Star Wars, and The Revenant with Leonardo DiCaprio.

And he’s coming off critical success for Ex-Machina and working with Angelina Jolie on Unbroken.

What has he learnt working with some of the biggest names and franchises in the industry?

(Picture: Lionsgate)

‘What JJ, Angelina, and Leo all have in common is they do extraordinary work and I’ve been very lucky in the last few years to work with people who are great at what they do, like real heroes of mine so that feels good.

‘And it puts a pressure on you to be better. And they’re all really nice people,’ he laughs.

Okay, but let’s talk more Star Wars.

‘You have to trust your instincts,’ he tells us about signing the contact.

Something which he had to do in one evening if he was going to make the table read the next day.

Luckily though he reveals ‘my instinct was I’ll regret not doing this if I don’t do it and it’s always better to do something and take away an experience than not do it and regret not doing it so I made that decision.

‘And at the end of the day the things I was excited about working on, the characters, the story, working with JJ, the universe that was already created… that was too much to say no, that would have been daffy.’

Brooklyn is out on November 6. 

Originally posted at


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