If you have seen even only a few of the acclaimed films of 2015, the chances are that you have seen him. A hint: he is a ginger. Yes, we are talking about none other than the Irish actor Domhnall Gleeson.
It was a very productive year for him. For starters, Gleeson starred in a brilliant sci- fi thriller Ex Machina. And to add a little bit of romantic flair, he also featured in the period drama Brooklyn as Jim, a love interest for a young immigrant Eilis (Saoirse Ronan). We also found him in Revenant, Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s gritty man against nature survival story, as Captain Andrew Henry. And last but not least, Gleeson took up a supporting role in the newest installment of the most anticipated film of 2015 and the all-consuming cultural phenomenon that was Star Wars: The Force Awakens as General Hux, a young and ambitious general of the First Order.
Given that all these mentioned films were nominated for the 88th Academy awards, one might say 2015 treated him rather kindly and he had a chance to show his versatility as an actor. Then, at this point in Gleeson’s career, it might be a good time to ask few questions. Is he on his way to the coveted Hollywood stardom? Maybe. Is he the talk of the town? Very likely. Yet, regardless of all the speculations, his filmography tells an interesting story on its own. His first acting role, at 19, was in Martin McDonagh’s play The Lieutenant of Inishmore, which made him consider acting career more seriously. Soon he moved on to screen acting, showing up in smaller films and TV series. Then he got a break for big feature films in 2010 when he took up supporting roles in True Grit and the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. You also might remember him as Levin, a Russian aristocrat with a sensitive soul, from 2012’s Anna Karenina starring Kiera Knightly. Or as Tim, his first romantic lead role, in 2013’s About Time with Rachel McAdams.
Even though a shade paler when compared to 2015, 2014 was also a promising year for the actor, too. He appeared in a very weird and highly enjoyable black comedy Frank, as a well-meaning manager of simply unmanageable band leader Frank (Michael Fassbender) who wears a papier- maché head at all times. Besides Frank, Gleeson featured in Calvary (with Brendan Gleeson) and Unbroken (directed by Angelina jolly). It’s also a delight to go back in time to see his less-serious, comedic performance, such as in 2010‘s TV series Your Bad Self or 2012’s TV Movie Immaturity for Charity. So Gleeson’s big break in 2015 was surprising, but it ultimately was a deserving one.
The actor, through various interviews, had already expressed the sentiment that he is not in it for the stardom, yet the spotlight seems to be inevitably crouching upon him. Perhaps it was only a matter of time before his unique capacities as an actor saw a bigger audience. And it is nothing less than satisfying to see him bring his unique sensibility to the characters. (It also goes without saying that he has a high likeability factor and in many of his roles, instantly relatable.) We would love to see more of him in different roles, playing the type of characters he didn’t get to depict before. His performance as General Hux, is a good example of going against typecasting. Based on his recent trajectory, we are pretty sure we will get to see more of him in near future. And we could say with certainty that it is a pleasing prospect.
Written by Avery Jung