Brendan Gleeson has made quite a name for himself with his dramatic performances in films like Braveheart, Gangs of New York, In Bruges, and the Harry Potter franchise. But for his next role, the Irish actor is going in a slightly different direction. Hollywood.com caught up with Gleeson on the set of his latest movie, Smurfs 2.
"Basically, I read the script, loved the character, loved the part, and I guess I thought, 'This will be fun, actually,'" Gleeson said when asked why he wanted to do a Smurfs film. In the movie, Gleeson plays Victor Doyle, the new stepfather to Neil Patrick Harris' character Patrick Winslow. Victor is a kind stepfather, eager to jump to Pat's aid when the Smurfs return to New York and seek his help to rescue Smurfette, who has been kidnapped by the evil Gargamel. In his quest to assist the Smurfs, however, Victor ends up transformed into a duck.
When asked if he has had the opportunity to work with his duck counterpart, Gleeson responded, "We're very well acquainted. He's my alter ego. Of course we're acquainted." The actor added, "We shared a set at one point. I think we were in tune with one another." But the extent of Gleeson's duck interactions is not limited to his time in the studio. "The day before I left to come over for the first rehearsal, three mallards landed in my front garden and flew away. Two males and a female, so I took that as a sign."
The Emmy winning actor relayed another recent duck-related incident in his life. "This morning I woke up, and I heard this noise outside. I thought there were crows. And then I realized they weren't crows at all. It was a duck. Then I forgot that I had actually set my alarm to a duck noise. Obviously something very weird is happening in the atmosphere with myself and ducks."
Smurfs 2 is a combination of animation and live action, so Brendan Gleeson had to act with imaginary Smurfs. But the Irishman is no stranger to working under strange circumstances. In his stage work for Beowulf, he had to use his imagination as well. But Gleeson was quick to point out the differences between the two projects: "Beowulf is a different kind of experience because the interaction was with the other actors and it was very clear. The only thing you had to get used to were the props and stuff like that, which were all sort of chicken wire, but you had objects. Obviously you weren't out on the sea, so the environment was virtual. But the people were real, so that you weren't really speaking to anybody who couldn't speak back."
Still, Gleeson didn't find it terribly difficult to run lines with nonexistent Smurfs. "It's always an imaginary experience. Trusting your eyes is what's most important, I think. That when you address something and the focus has to be on something that isn't there, that you don't get freaked out by virtue of the fact that it isn't there," he noted, adding, "It's all about suspension of disbelief I guess." Suspension of disbelief is certainly necessary for everyone when dealing with little blue creatures who are inexplicably cheerful all the time. We'll see if audiences can handle it as well as Gleeson.
Smurfs 2 hits theaters on July 31. We have high hopes for the sequel, sure that Gleeson's involvement will make ittotally Smurftastic.