You probably know him best as Othell Yarwyck in Game Of Thrones. I met him three years ago at The Inside Premiere in London, which funny enough came up in the interview. He’s an amazing actor and a wonderful person.
Brian only as a little cameo as John Maguire in LEOPARD, but that didn’t stop me from contacting him for an interview. And he said yes!
You became an actor at a later age. Why did you wait so long and what made you decide to still get into the industry?
It was never a concious decision to delay the step into acting, it was just the way things turned out. Acting was something I always wanted to try my hand at but never got around to! In my late 30’s I said to myself, “If you don’t try this acting lark soon it’ll be too late and you might regret it”
Who inspired you whilst growing up & made you want to become an actor?
I grew up watching Paul Newman and Steve McQueen, two of the most iconic actors of all time. On screen you could not take their eyes off them, to me they were the coolest motherf#ckers on the planet. There were plenty of other actors too, Richard Burton, Robert Duvall, Jack Nicholson, Sean Connery, they just seemed to smoulder their way through movies!! Tremendous gravitas.
Are you a method actor? How do you prepare for a part?
No, I’m not a method actor. Having read a script, I then try to find and build the character. For me this is a lot of questions, “Who is he? Where is he from? Why does he wear these clothes? What’s his relationship to these other characters? Is there an inner conflict? How was his childhood? Why does he wear his watch on his right hand? Why does he say these things?
A lot of the time the is little information about the character or his back story. There are pages and pages of questions to ask myself to ultimately find the truth of the character.
I’ve seen you play in a few violent films (The Inside, Once Upon a Time in Dublin, Derelict, drama’s A Nightingale Falling and Leopard, the comedy How To Be Happy and of course Game Of Thrones. Which character was the most challenging to play and which gave you the best memories?
You know, I think Eamo in Eoin Macken’s THE INSIDE was probably the most challenging character I have played. He was such a vile individual with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. The memories of the shoot will remain with me, it was so full on, hectic, manic, chaotic. I asked myself serious questions during and at the end of that shoot… principley, “are you doing the right thing here, like acting, is it really for you”? Yeah, THE INSIDE nearly made me throw the towel in!
Do you have a dream role you would love to play, either on stage or screen?
A cowboy! I’d love to play a cowboy!
You’ve been working with Eoin on several occasions and got to experience him as an actor and director. How did you meet and what’s it like working with him?
I met Eoin a number of years ago at acting workshops when we were both starting out really. It’s great working with Eoin, he’s always very relaxed even when the pressure is on. Obviously a very talented man on both sides of the camera.
I gather you weren’t on set for a long time, but is/are there any (fun) anecdote(s) you can share with us?
You’re right there, I wasn’t on set for a long time but you expect that with a cameo. For me working on film sets are almost always great fun, great banter with the other actors and crew, LEOPARD was no different.
You attended the Galway screening, which was the first public screening of Leopard. The main hall was packed. Was it that the first time you saw it? What were your thoughts and how did people/friends around you respond to the film?
Yes, Galway was the first time I saw the screening. LEOPARD is one of those thought provoking films, the relationship between the brothers and their journey was much talked about post screening.
What is your favourite scene in Leopard? (leaving a bit out here due to spoiler alert, will add after release)
Leaving a bit out here due to spoiler alert, will add after release but here’s a piece of Brian’s answer: “I was squirming in my seat.”
As we probably won’t be getting to ask the director himself, have to ask, any idea on why the change of name and ending?
Nope, I have no idea why either were changed but when you try to get distribution for a movie inevitably the investors bring in these PR and marketing gurus to shake everything up to their liking and the axe will come down on certain things. (Was so hoping for an answer like this! A lot of people don’t know much about what happens behind the scenes of (Indie) film and this shares a bit of light)
The process of getting this film out there seems to have hit many walls. Surely it won’t be the only one. Is it frustrating as an actor getting your work shown after that amount of time or maybe even not at all?
It can be extremely difficult to get a distributor to pick up a movie and that stuff can drag on for years before the movie is out there…..and sometimes it’s not picked up at all and is consigned to the festival circuit for a whirlwind of screenings and that’s it! Sometimes it can be frustrating, but hey, it’s very much part of the business I signed up for!
How would you describe Leopard to someone who hasn’t seen it yet?
A bizarre love story!
A while ago you tweeted “To paraphrase my great friend Emmett Scanlan ‘If you believe it strongly enough you can make it happen’ Today it happened for me! #Believe” Any chance you can tell us a bit more about that?
Ha! I’m sure I was paraphrasing something that Emmet had previously paraphrased on Twitter. No comment! (I had to try … ;-))
Conventions are very popular these days. Would you consider attending one as a guest?
Yes they are, aren’t they. I probably would attend if asked… but I don’t think I’d too busy there! (Brian, you’d be surprised!)
And finally, what’s number one on your bucket list?
Bucket list … got to be that cowboy in a big Hollywood production!
Thank you Brian! And my number one on my bucket list? Remember what I missed out on last year? There you go 😉
Thank you Helen and Suzan for the teamwork!