Domhnall Gleeson: Harry Potter Prepared Me For Star Wars 7

Irish star Domhnall Gleeson’s career is about to go stratospheric thanks to a little movie called ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’. The actor who’ll next be seen in November’s ‘Brooklyn’ will appear as the villainous First Order commander General Hux in this December’s sci-fi sequel, but he actually got his big break playing Bill Weasley in last two ‘Harry Potter’ films.

He credits his experience playing the eldest Weasley brother for helping him keep his cool on his first day on the set of JJ Abrams’ ‘Star Wars’ sequel.

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“My first day on set on Harry Potter, I nearly had a heart attack at the size of it, at how many people were standing around behind the camera, about how many people could hear my talking,” Domhnall explained talking to Yahoo Movies about his upcoming film ‘Brooklyn’, in cinemas 6 November.

Above: Domhnall Gleeson in ‘Brooklyn’

“So, on my first day on Harry Potter I was very scared and it did stand me in good stead for the future. It did. I walked out on my first day on ‘Star Wars [The Force Awakens’], and sure there were nerves, you have those nerves on every job, but I didn’t freak out and say “holy s***!” because there were like 300 people standing behind the camera, and it’s because I had been in that situation before. That definitely did help.”

Above: Domhnall in ‘Harry Potter’

Gleeson’s role in ‘Star Wars 7’ was shrouded in secrecy until the veil was lifted at the film’s San Diego Comic Con panel back in July. It was revealed in Hall H that the ‘Frank’ star would play First Order commander General Hux, a bad guy with an Imperial-looking suit and an evil English accent. He told us using his native accent wasn’t discussed, with an English accent chosen simply for franchise continuity.

The actor also let slip the name of the First Order base – Starkiller Base – during the Comic Con Q&A in what looked like a brief secrecy lapse, but he told us it was all carefully stage managed.

“That was a conversation we’d had right before we went on stage about whether it was OK or not. Like, how to describe it. I’d heard that said and I think we’d agreed that it was fine [for me to say it] and then I went of stage and suddenly, when I opened my mouth, I was like [feigns a look of shock].

Above: Domhnall takes to the stage at Comic Con

“You have to realise I’ve spent a year not saying any of those words, so as soon as one comes out of your mouth, you’re like “Oh good god! What have I done?!” So I think it was OK, I don’t think it was anything too unexpected or anything like that, it was alright.”

It’s like telling someone what their Christmas present is by accident, we joke.

“Yeah, but it’s like when Disney bought them their Christmas present and have a multi-million dollar lawsuit hanging over their head in case anything goes wrong, more like that,” he fired back with a grin.

Finally he told us that walking on to the ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ set was “pretty epic”, and that trying on his uniform for the first time was no different to any other job he’s ever done.

Above: General Hux in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

“On every job, you try on a costume and it’s like you’re doing it to build and find out who your character is, you know what I mean? It helps and all that sort of stuff, so actually you’re just working when you do it. And you have that fervor about “well, is this who I am? And is this who I want it to be? Is there anything we want to change?” All that sort of stuff, so there were conversations like that.

“But then, when you feel you’ve found it, and it’s the same on every job actually, when you feel you’ve found it you go “alright, let’s do this”, there’s this excitement thing, because you know one part of you is ready to go to work.

Above: Domhnall and Saoirse Ronan in ‘Brooklyn’

“And that was brilliant. That was brilliant, but the whole process was like that. And the reality - which is probably not as exciting because people want to know about ‘Star Wars’ more than anything else - is that’s the process on most jobs.

“That’s your job as an actor, to go from job to job, and work as hard as you can on each individual project.”

We’ve got more from Domhnall Gleeson on ‘Brooklyn’ and his work on ‘The Revenant’ coming soon, so keep your eyes on Yahoo Movies UK.

‘Brooklyn’ is coming to cinemas on 6 November. Watch the trailer below.

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Image credits: Lionsgate/Disney/Warner Bros.