Over the last few days with the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival coming to an end Scannain was out and about taking to the actors and directors on the red carpet. Last Friday was the Dublin premiere of Gerard Barrett’s Irish feature film Glassland. The director, actor Michael Smiley, and lead Jack Reynor were in town for the premiere.
The reaction to Glassland has been incredible. You must be quite proud to be a part of it and for it to be shown here at the Founded in 2003, the Dublin International Film Festival sets the agenda of the year with its programme of outstanding Irish and international film.?
Yeah, it’s lovely. I think it’s a great film, these are the sort of films I love. Proper stories told well, written beautifully and when I read the script I wanted to be a part of it for those reasons. That’s why I’m an actor, I want to tell a story and I want to tell it well and if you get the chance to tell a good story and tell it well, it’s a win win.
Gerard is an up and coming director, having gotten a lot of attention for Glassland, what was it like working with him?
Great, he’s enthusiastic, he’s got great vision. Works the way I like to work, he’s quick and doesn’t mess around and likes to keep it fresh, because I don’t like doing ten, fifteen takes and he moves at a great pace.
What’s it like playing Jim, is that one of the reasons why you wanted to get involved with Glassland?
Yeah you know what, I think the Jim character is quite pivotal isn’t he? His humanity, he’s got hope, he’s giving a sense of hope. He tries to show that the world isn’t as dark or as bleak that it’s made out to be. I think if there wasn’t a Jim in this film it would be quite a bleak one. There’d be a singular tone throughout the film and it’s nice to play the good guy. Normally I play the bad guys and you know it’s just nice to play someone nice.
What was it like working with Jack (Reynor) and Toni (Colette) and Will (Poulter)?
Unfortunately I never got to work with Will, I think he’s an amazing actor. Jack and Toni are really lovely and focused. Toni had to do the Dublin mother and she’s not the Dublin mother. Jack had to keep that level of intensity, I think I would have given myself an aneurysm if I had to be that intense all the time and it was done beautifully. He’s a great lad. He’s a great actor, he’s got a wonderful humility about him as well and he’s not up his own arse. Like I said before Gerard has got a lovely vision, Ireland needs directors like him. A director that’s going to put Ireland on the map in the right way.
You’ve been a part of so many great series over the years, Spaced, Luther. Has there been any more rumblings about the Luther prequel movie?
It’s still rumbling around but we’re actually filming the new series of Luther at the moment, so there’s going to be another series of that. If there’s going to be a prequel it’ll be after that, but there will be another Luther before the end of the year.
So Gerard where did the story of Glassland begin?
I moved to Dublin four years ago and finished college and I found myself seeing things that I wouldn’t normally see in rural Ireland. I saw more addiction and the impact it was having on the friends I was making and their families. I just felt there was something to say there. That’s where the story came from and the script also.
Did you have any actors in mind?
No, I was in the film festival circuit with Pilgrim Hill and Jack was there and we met and we signed together the same day and we just kind of hit it off. I said I have this script and he wanted to look at it and then he signed on and that was it. It was weird because I got everybody I wanted. We all came together and made the best thing we could. I was very excited because you know if the script is good then you know you can only try your best.
It’s been praised around the world, how does that feel?
Thankfully it’s been very positive thus far, Jack was his award at Sundance. It’s really just about the next project for me. I shot this film last January, I had it finished the first of April and then I moved on to my next project in America. It’s like you can’t live with something, you’ve done it, it’s there, move on. I had a year to wait for Sundance which was lovely because I got to shut down for a year and work on other projects and it was lovely to get that response from Sundance.
So you’ve started your project with Dakota Fanning?
Yes, we’re in pre-production and the plan is to shoot in early summer. The cast is Dakota Fanning, Charlize Theron, Will Poulter and other cast members yet to be announced.
Where will you be filming that?
New York. It’s about a young woman, it’s a New York bestseller, who gets this mystery illness and no one can diagnose it and it’s a true story. It’s human piece which I really like.
Do you think that movie will put you on the map Stateside?
There’s no map, I don’t want to be put on any map. I do my own thing and if people like it, they like it, if they don’t they don’t. I write my own projects and if someone sends me something I like I’ll consider it.
Do you write scripts as well?
Yes, of course. It’s more personal and I’m more invested in it and hopefully it’ll all go well and it’ll be fine .
Are there any Irish actors you’d love to work with?
Yes, there’s a whole host of new crop coming up. Working with Jack was great. There’s always people out there, it all depends on who’s suited for what. Yes there are plenty of people I’d love to work with. Here’s an interesting thing, Michael Smiley is an Irish actor who’s never been in an Irish film. That just baffled me. I love finding people and seeing what happens, it’s great fun. If all goes wrong I’ll just go home to Kerry farm.
What was it like working with Gerard on Glassland?
Working with Ger was a brilliant experience, a real profound Irish talent and I think we’re going to see that more and more over the coming years. His trajectory is going to be an exponential one. We had a lot of fun putting this movie together and I think Ger and I are going to work on something again in the not too distant future hopefully. It was a really enjoyable experience, very short but very intense. The kind of thing you want to do as an actor. To be able to do it at home in Ireland as well, that’s the best part. Doing the thing you do and on your own terms.
What was it like working with Toni?
Toni’s amazing and I’ve grown up watching her films and I respond to a maternal element of the characters that she plays and when I read the script I was like, “This has to be Toni Colette”. She was the only person for this. When we went out to her it was a total shot in the dark and fortunately she responded to us positively and she wanted to do this movie and so she came over and we had five days on set with her and she would say herself it was a particularly intense experience for her. At the end we were fulfilled and gratified about it, I love Toni to bits and I can’t wait to work with her again, can’t wait to see her again, hang out with her again, she’s just the best person.
What was it like working with Will because you two are coming up in film in the same way?
I was a big fan of Will’s work, Wild Bill is an excellent film. Will is a great dude and like I said I was a massive fan of his prior work so when we got out there we became really good friends very quickly and we really clicked and I loved working with him. There again is another person I can’t wait to work with again.
The story of John and his mother, was that one of the things that interested you in the film?
Absolutely, I think every son has certain conflicts and issues with his mother from time to time. We all experience a certain parental role reversal and I think that in a way that’s what is at the heart of Glassland. It’s about a son taking care of his mother and is dealing in the shift of dynamic.
A Royal Night Out is also premiering soon, that looks like an incredible production.
Yeah, that’s a completely different thing all together but that’s going to be another real fun movie as well. Very different film tonally but I think it’s going to be really nice.
Also, enjoy yourself on Jungle Book.
I certainly will, it’s a funny one, very irregular. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever done before. It’s going to be really good.