Brendan Gleeson interview: ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’

“I have to say, I’m chuffed. I really am! I’m chuffed,” admits Brendan Gleeson about his Oscar nomination for “The Banshees of Inisherin,” which is surprisingly the first of his decades-long career. For our recent webchat he adds, “This is absolutely amazing. Yeah, there’s no downside I’m afraid,” he smiles. Watch our exclusive video interview above.

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In “The Banshees of Inisherin,” jaded folk musician Colm (Gleeson) abruptly ends his life-long friendship with his drinking buddy Pádraic (Colin Farrell) on the fictional island of Inisherin, a small remote community off the coast of Ireland during the Irish Civil War. Pádraic’s caring and forthright sister Siobhán (Kerry Condon) and troubled local simpleton Dominic (Barry Keoghan) attempt to repair the damaged relationship by helping to defuse the escalating stand-off between the men, but their collective efforts prove fruitless as Colm’s resolve intensifies, leading to inevitably shocking consequences.

The Searchlight black tragicomedy was written and directed by Oscar winner Martin McDonagh, reuniting Farrell and Gleeson, who previously worked together on McDonagh’s Oscar-nominated directorial debut “In Bruges” (2008). all four of the film’s principle cast received Oscar nominations last month, as well as individual and a collective nomination for Best Film Ensemble at the SAG Awards.

When Colm abruptly ends his friendship with his life-long buddy, the audience naturally sympathizes with a devastated and bewildered Pádraic. But in typical McDonagh style, the film attempts to redeem Colm by slowly revealing his inner turmoil, throwing some light on why he decides to resort to such drastic measures. “I feel very defensive towards him, because I really do feel he was in the pits of despair,” Gleeson says. “I have a theory about it. I think it’s just because people have had enough of cynicism and the world is in enough trouble where we need optimism to get out of it rather than cynicism,” he explains about why the audience is initially drawn to Pádraic. “But the brilliant thing about Martin is that he has allowed both sides. I think he understands both sides. I think he gives full play to both sides of the situation; the ‘dump-er’ and the ‘dump-ee,’ and both go into a kind of hell. The ‘dump-ee’ has no agency, so you will always feel greater sympathy. They’re not active, you know, active in making it happen. But the guy or the person who is dumping their relationship is never going to get the same. But everybody knows what it is. It’s another kind of hell.”

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UPLOADED Feb 16, 2023 8:11 am