Domhnall Gleeson–a name I will never intuitively spell correctly–was cast perfectly as General Hux in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. He’s got a look and a voice that can portray anger and badness. It’s a major testament to his talent since we also know him for other far friendlier roles. Huge thanks to Louise Bishop of MomStart for taking all the photos during our interviews. This experience was part of an all-expenses-paid press junket. All thoughts and opinions shared on this blog are my own.
Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux
Again, not having seen the movie yet, we had to keep our interview questions rather broad. But it was still a great conversation!
So a little birdy said you watched the film. What were your first impressions?
Domhnall Gleeson: “That little birdy was a flippin’ liar. 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, because 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. 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 whatever day it is next week.”
— Jennifer & Shelley (@MagicalSiblings) December 3, 2017
If you had a lightsaber in real life, what color would it be?
Domhnall Gleeson: “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 because 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 talking to my agent and I was waving the thing around, and I saw Harrison Ford was looking over at me. So I got my photo with him. That was super cool, but yeah, so I’ve got a red one and a green one. So, mix and match, [LAUGHTER], depending on my mood.”
Can we say that Han Solo is your ultimate, favorite character in Star Wars?
Domhnall Gleeson: “Can you say that? Eh, I don’t know if I’m allowed to say that. When I was a kid, I was 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. That was, like, amazing. Then they all became my favorites. How diplomatic is that? They’re all my favorites. But I do love Han Solo, yeah.”
So, being Irish, what do you feel about Star Wars going to Ireland and filming there?
Domhnall Gleeson: “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. 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, pretty proud.”
You said you watched all the films. Did you take anything from past villains and bring it into General Hux?
Domhnall Gleeson: “You can’t steal, right, but obviously his place in things at the beginning of the film is like Peter Cushing’s kind of role. In terms of 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, I liked for that. But then you have to go to the real world to find your influences. Because you can’t take your 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. Also, just about how he’s got to fit into the story. 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 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 verses the character arc in this film?
Domhnall Gleeson: “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 opposed to whenever Snoke goes, that’s what Hux wants. 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, 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.”
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 Gleeson: “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. But he knows that he’s not 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’s where he is at all times. So you 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.”
Is there ever a moment on set where you had a geek out moment, like, oh my gosh, I’m in this.
Domhnall Gleeson: “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. I mean, Harry Potter was a huge journey, and that was over, those films were over; twelve years, ten years, something like that, you know what I mean? This has been going on since. 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 Rian a costume in person, or 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 Rian about something and then Mark Hamill just strolls 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 Rian. Those things are kind of amazing. Those are where you pinch yourself.”
What’s next for you?
Domhnall Gleeson: “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]. 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 the enemy in that again. You gotta like them a little bit; they can be fun. Then a bit of time off. I’ve done a lot of work in the last couple years. I’ll go back to Dublin and chill out and just try to be around my family for Christmas. That’s the notion. That sounds like the dark side, right? [LAUGHTER]”
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Gift Ideas
The Nerf Rival Apollo XV-700 – Star Wars Mandalorian Edition Blaster and Face Mask is an out-of-this-world gift idea. It comes in a beautiful box with artwork throughout the inside and is super high quality. Find it exclusively at GameStop.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
In theaters December 15th! Do you have your tickets yet?
Check out this new video of the worlds in The Last Jedi:
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