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Exclusive: Aidan Gillen Webchat Transcript
Your questions answered by the Queer As Folk, Game Of Thrones, Wire and Blitz star

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Stuart Jones in Queer as Folk,Tommy Carcetti in The Wire, Petyr Baelish in Game of Thrones... Aidan Gillen has played some amazing characters in some amazing shows. His film career of late has included the Hammer Horror Wake Wood, actioner 12 Rounds and, ahem, Shanghai Knights. His latest is a Jason Statham-starring thiller called Blitz, where he plays a psychotic cop-killer preying on Her Majesty's finest. As he was in town promoting the movie, we thought we'd ask him round for a webchat, and here is the result below...

Exclusive: Aidan Gillen Webchat Transcript

Big_Pants says: I've heard that Jason and Paddy have great chemistry in Blitz. Was this all in the script or was it a consequence of them just getting on well?
It's probably a bit of both, and the fact that they are very different, an odd couple to put together. It just proves that that works, or it can work. I didn't know who was cast in the film when I signed up. I think maybe I knew Jason was in it, but not until I went in to read for it, and I was pleasantly surprised when I saw who the rest of the cast was. Actors like Paddy, David Morrissey and Mark Rylance. I don't really differentiate between different genres: if there's a good part going I'll go after it and it's preferable to me if it's something I haven't done before. And obviously actors like Paddy and David feel the same - I think that's been a good thing all around in this film. People want to be in films that are going to be seen - you do arty films that get no distribution and are seen by 400 people, but something with Jason in it is going to be seen, and that's not a bad thing, is it?

userfriendly says: Hi Aiden, always good to see a fellow Dubliner onscreen. Do you think any of the Game of Thrones shooting will move across Ireland? Most of the filming for the Showtime hit 'The Tudors' was done in Wicklow, which is such a beautiful county, I could really see it fitting in with the show's backdrop.
That's more of a question for the Northern Ireland film commission. I can't see that the production's going to move to the Republic as it's all tied in with tax incentives blah blah blah. I agree with you that Wicklow or even Kerry, where I spend a lot of time myself, would be perfect locations for Game of Thrones, but what they've got in Belfast is pretty much the same thing, and it's more easily accessible from the city of Belfast. It's a pretty good thing for Belfast that productions of this scale, like Game of Thrones or Your Highness, are filming there. There's an infrastructure being created that will attract other productions, which is good for the local economy, for Belfast, and for Northern Ireland, which deserves it.

Lindor says: Hello Mr. Gillen! You always do such a fabulous job with accents. Which did you find was the most difficult to master and why? Cheers! - Lindsay, Canada
Well that's debatable! I do what I can but I'll always give it a shot. You're not going to see me playing a Welsh character any time soon, not because I wouldn't love to. I went up to Wales once and read for a film with Rhys Ifans, and haven't been asked back since. We did have a nice time on the train on the way back. To be serious, I reckon probably the closest to an Irish accent is probably an American accent.

_tmfc_ says: How did Aiden get involved with holding the signs for RTE's 'Other Voices' programme? Also, Littlefinger in Game Of Thrones is an amazing role to get (read the books if you haven't already people!). When you decided to take the role, had you read the books or was it solely based on you be pitched a general concept of the programme/overview of the script etc? All the best, John.
Other Voices first: I've been spending a lot of time in Dingle, Kerry, where Other Voices is filmed. I know Phillip King, the producer, I'm really into music, so he asked me to do something on the latest series. Initially it was going to be something more in a presenting capacity, as I was working on Game of Thrones in Belfast the time wasn't really there to do it, because Other Voices is shot over a 5-day period. So the next plan was I was going to drive around the countryside with Annie Mac in the front seat, and Richard Hawley in the back seat with his guitar, and my dog and he was going to play us a number. There was a snowstorm, the airport was closed, the schedule got changed around a bit, Philip had the bright idea to get me to fling a few placards, Bob Dylan-style (Subterranean Homesick Blues). The entire thing took five minutes.

On Littlefinger, I hadn't read the books before I read the scripts. I'm on the books at the moment, which I'm enjoying very much. I went in and read some scenes from later episodes, liked the character a lot, wanted to get it, got it and there's still a lot to come from Littlefinger.

Galena says: Hi Aidan, I saw the film the other day, and honestly thought it was brilliant. Having done so many big American shows recently, was it nice to stalk the streets of grimy London for a change? Hope you didn't keep that 'interesting' item in a jar from the window sill in your flat...
I know that part of London pretty well (Camberwell, Peckham). Ken Bruen, who wrote the novel, really knows that side of town, loves it, but doesn't feel obliged to paint a particularly pretty picture of it. What we get is more interesting than postcard pictures of the Gherkin. It's just vibrant and brash down that neck of the woods. As far as the item goes, originally that belonged to somebody else, NOT Michael Jackson, an English actress and no, I don't have it. I've kept a few things from things I've been in, but I didn't want that on my mantlepiece. Glad you liked Blitz.

billybrown says: Hi Aidan. You're always being spotted at interesting gigs around Dublin, so you're clearly someone who's into their music. What current bands are you into?
Of things I've seen recently that are new to me, I liked Steve Mason, Wild Beasts, The Unthanks. Best gig I was at recently was Wilco in Belfast, a band which are even better live than on record. I'm sure there's more, but just off the top of my head that's it.

Eduardo25 says: How do you find working with different directors with your own way of acting? Do you fight your corner sometimes when you have different ideas or just tend to go along with what is being said?
OK, on episodic TV for example The Wire or Game of Thrones, you'll have a different director almost every episode, and they'll trust that you know what you're doing with the character. Schedules are quite tight these days, so there's not really time for big long discussions about motivation etc. That'll have been taken care of in the casting. Film-wise, it's different and I will always fight my corner if there's something I think is going to work in everyone's favour, not just mine. In the last few years, it definitely seems to me that schedules are getting tighter and there's pressure to get to the end of the day, but it's important to try not to feel that and to keep your eye on not just what you're doing but the bigger picture. Which sounds a bit control-freakish for an actor, but that's the way I think. As far as Blitz goes, I came with a lot of ideas in terms of look, clothes, blah blah blah. I showed up pretty much in the outfit I wear in the film. This particular director, Elliott Lester, went with most of these ideas. It's good to be directed sometimes as well, because I'm not always right, obviously!

jendaville says: Hello Aidan, the lovely David Morrissey has said in recent weeks that more Thorne is almost certain. Would you like to reprise your role as Hendricks?
I'm not really sure where I stand with Thorne. I'm tied to contracts with HBO and other stuff until the end of this year at least. Let's see.

cowhead says: Hi Aiden. I blimmin' loved Queer As Folk and thought it was one of the best dramas ever on British TV. Do you still keep in touch with any of the cast and crew? And what are the chances of a third series?
Slim to none. None. No, I haven't really been in touch with the cast and crew. This is how much I've been in touch with them: I've maybe seen Charlie Hunnam two or three times and the last of those times was accidentally meeting in a back street in Scotland. I thought it was a brilliant series myself. All credit to Russell T. Davies. I don't generally feel obliged to keep in touch after. Even when we're filming I keep myself to myself, so this is not me trying to distance myself or anything; that's just the way it is. Interesting to see Charlie Hunnam as that biker in Sons of Anarchy, as it was to see him in Cold Mountain etc. and Children of Men. He's had a pretty good career. That was a risky thing for him to take on at 18 or whatever he was. Good to see he's done well since.

Galena says: How do you go about researching a role of a killer (as in Blitz)? Did you meet any convicted killers, or just used what was in the script to help with the performance?
I didn't meet any convicted killers. The first time I played a killer in the 1997 film Mojo, I went to my local video shop and got out a video of real executions and a history of the Third Reich. The guy in the shop was giving me a look. I thought this would help, but I don't think it made any difference and I don't want to see any more executions. I've looked at homicide detectives' photo books that make-up departments tend to have, and whatever people say about violence being exaggerated in movies or TV, when you see these pics it looks far more horrific than you'll ever see onscreen. I use instinct more than technique; I'll research something as much as I need to, but we've all had killers blasted in our faces all the time from fiction, newspapers, the news, history. As far as the character in Blitz goes, it all seemed to be totally on the page for me.

Exclusive: Aidan Gillen Webchat Transcript
Aiden Gillen in Game Of Thrones

SarahLouise81 says: Oh, and what's your favourite sandwich? I thought I may as well ask ;)
Lettuce and tomato, don't let the lettuce touch the tomato, put a bit of salt on it but only on the tomato, no butter, I'm not sure what kind of bread I want today, and some crisps on the side.

Colour says: Any more Hammer Films Aiden? Really enjoyed Wake Wood! What was it like shooting it?
I'm not planning on being in any more Hammers in the near future, but I did buy a box set the other day and I watched The Devil Rides Out and Dracula Prince of Darkness. Wake Wood seems to have gone down pretty well, so everyone's happy about that.

xof1013 says: Have you ever randomly Googled yourself, or watched any of the videos fans have created for you on YouTube?
I have Googled myself, yeah, I think everybody has. I try not to make a habit of it - in fact I made a rule once never to Google myself, which made me happy. I have seen some of the stuff that's up there. Some of it's pretty good, especially if they're put together to a good soundtrack. Put Barry Weiss in there and see what you get.

Lostnameapologies: You haven't been in theatre much of late, would you like to back soon?
Yep. Because of where I've been living and working I haven't been able to do theatre in the last two and a half years. I spent most of the year previous to that acting in theatre, two David Mamet plays (American Buffalo and Glengarry Glen Ross) so I'm not shy of it. I was meant to do a play earlier this year directed by Ian Rickson, who I've worked with before, and want to again, so hopefully we'll get to do that one.

sparklytan says: What's the funniest rumour you've ever heard about yourself?
It's a bit boring but I haven't really heard any rumours about myself. John Simms' wife told me in the schoolyard where our kids went to school that she heard I was going to be Doctor Who, but she also heard he was going to be Doctor Who, even though he was The Master.

Exclusive: Aidan Gillen Webchat Transcript

pamela86 says: Can you tell us anything about the second series of Love/Hate which you've just finished filming?
It's six episodes, all again written by Stuart Carolan, directed this time by two directors, David Caffrey and Anthony Byrne. I'm very excited about it, as all the set-up was done last year and that's when we only had four episodes. So we've got six this time, the story is lean, we have more time to tell it. When Stuart wrote this series he knew who he was writing for, so let's see.

Stevepan says: Did you have to audition for your role on Game of Thrones or did the creators come directly to you? I ask because you were already a fan favourite before casting even began.
Yes, I did audition for it, as I do for probably about 50% or maybe less of the things I end up doing. I'm not very good at auditions, but if there's something I really want like Game of Thrones or Blitz, that I may not necessarily be top of the list for, I'll do what I can to convince them to cast me. I wasn't really aware of the fan favourite thing, although someone did point it out to me after I'd been cast. So if that had any influence, and I know producers now actually, particularly on a project like that, do listen to the fans, thanks for that.

JototheR says: Hi there Aiden. Which do you prefer playing, characters in a series that you can spend more time with, movie roles or theatre? Or does it all just depend?
Actually, all of the above, and it's nice to move from one to the other. The thrill you get from a theatre show is one kind of thing, and I love it, but you can't be doing that all the time. At least, I can't anyway. So it's good to move on to another kind of thing. I've enjoyed working on the TV series that I've worked on, in particular something like The Wire where there was so much time to tell the story and develop a character, I learned from that that it's best not to lay all your cards on the table straight away. And sometimes it's nice to just get involved in a sharp, shock of immersing yourself in the world of a film for six weeks or whatever, like we did on Blitz.

Shiiiiiiiiiit! says: How did you see the character of Tommy Carcetti? As a good man bent out of shape by the political system or someone who always put his ambition first? Or both?
His character, and I don't mean character as in figure in a drama but his character, his personality, his political conscience, was only forming along the way. So who Carcetti was in Series 3 of The Wire is different to who he was in Series 4 In the beginning, ambitious, but not quite sure who he was or what he was really doing. Coming into Series 4 we saw a different, more mature, even humane side. Fact is, when I met the late Bob Colesberry initially about the character, he said, 'We've got this bloke, he's kind of based on a real guy, we're not really sure where it's going to go.' I found that prospect really enticing. I think Carcetti was essentially good, and probably pretty typical of a politician.

Colour says: Could you tell us something we might not already know about Jason Statham? Is he ticklish? Can he... juggle? Or something?
I know what manufacture of clippers he uses for that perfect Statham stubble.

Lindor says: Do you find it difficult to be away from home when you're shooting elsewhere?
Sometimes, yeah. But I always get back for every day I have off within reason and when I am home, I generally spend my time with my kids so I don't get up to anything much else. With things like The Wire or Game of Thrones, there's actually been plenty of time off because there's so many characters, so that all works fine. And the kids know that's how they get to go snowboarding at the end of the year.

extravillain says: Hello Aiden, glad tidings from Detroit, Michigan. Your range as an actor is great. Who are some of your influences?
Actors-wise? Donal McCann and Tony Doyle, two Irish, predominantly stage actors that you may or may not know. Donal McCann played Gabriel in John Huston's last film The Dead so you might know him from that. John Cazale is a favourite, as are all the other obvious ones as in Pacino, Christopher Walken, Robert de Niro blah blah blah. When I was a teenager, the actors I was really into were Mickey Rourke and Sean Penn. I saw Rumble Fish on my 16th birthday, and around the same time it was Falcon and the Snowman and Bad Boys from Sean Penn. On stage, the best I've seen has been Malkovich in a play called Burn This, Donal McCann again in The Steward of Christendom. Recently Mark Rylance was brilliant in Jerusalem (and still is on Broadway).

xof1013 says: Congratulations on your Best Actor win in Milan for "Treacle Jr" - where are you going to keep your new trophy?
Well, at the moment it's on a sideboard. I'm not sure if I really want to display that kind of thing. I'll probably put it somewhere out of the way. I'm glad to have it though. It's a horse.

Galena says: Your performance (although I don't know the character's age) comes across as very youthful in Blitz. Both in speech and physically. Compared to Game of Thrones where you seem so much more older and wiser, like a 1000 year old wizard or something (no, I don't know what I mean by that). How on earth did you do that?
I don't know about the 1000 year wizard, but I was trying to play the character in Blitz like a kid. A reckless, wild kid who's just eaten way too many sweets.

Dregel says: What question would you like to be asked for once?
What's your favourite colour? Like in the old '50s movie magazines. That was the height of the interrogation.

I've heard that some actors don't like to watch their projects, that once they act in it their part is finished... Are you the same, or do you like to watch your projects? If so, do you find you critique yourself, or are you able to sit back and enjoy the film/show?
I will watch them, but not while we're shooting it unless I feel like I needed to. I will watch them once or twice maybe, but I am pretty harsh on myself so I'm probably better off not doing that, and I generally like to forget about them as soon as they're finished, try to put something decent into it and then just forget about it.

Thanks for the questions, folks, goodbye!

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