Homage to Byrne

Gabriel Byrne is inspiring, as you will see:

1. Music: Mix inspired by In Treatment [this link no longer exists]:

“Gabriel Byrne is the only actor who could play Paul. His magnificent acting in this stellar drama inspired this mix called “I wear this crown of thorns upon my liars chair full of broken thoughts I cannot repair.”

2. Art: His Eyes Were Blue :

“I saw a full page ad for the HBO series In Treatment, which was a full page image of Gabriel staring into the lens, his blue eyes looking as honest, as open, as genuine and real as eyes can look; and I had to stop and just stare…”

3. Furniture: Chairs, Chairs, Chairs [the Seating Zone website is no longer available] :

“If you want to emulate this great character and actor, you might try the Fasttrack leather club chair — stylish and comfortable enough for a TV star, priced for the rest of us.”

4. Politics: The Daily Kos : Maureen Dowd calls him “brooding.” Oh, no! [this article no longer exists on the Daily Kos website]

5. Food: The LA Times : Regarding the 2007 Kurt Angerer Grüner Veltliner Kies (a white wine):

“And at less than $20, you can afford to have some on hand to take to a dinner party or maybe uncork one night to enjoy while watching Gabriel Byrne parse a new set of patients’ problems on HBO’s In Treatment.”

6. Marketing: Digital Strategy :

“I’m glad HBO’s In Treatment is back. It was my favorite show last year although it was painful to watch sometimes. I love stories that feel real, as opposed to, say, reality TV. I’ve never been in treatment (yet) but this show felt spot on. And Gabriel Byrne is amazing. So what does this have to do with marketing? Everything. Gabriel Byrne’s character is a perfect metaphor for good marketers. People always come to you with a perceived problem but our challenge is to dig deeper to find deeper meanings, reasons and measures of success.”

7. Dating: Tribe of :

“The boundary-challenged therapist in the HBO series, In Treatment, is now a single man…Is he ready for a dating relationship? Would you be willing to date him so soon after divorce?”

Um, I’m afraid the answer to that would be YES.



Meet In The Lobby for “In Treatment”

Meet in the is a great place to view clips from In Treatment, Season 2, get a blow-by-blow analysis of the filming techniques, great background information on the actors and stagecraft of the show, and some plot analysis.

“Before diving in with plot summaries and reviews, it’s worth saying that Gabriel Byrne’s portrayal of Paul is as well-developed and controlled as ever, and the series’ writing is the reason In Treatment is completely habit-forming.”

I think they offer us everything we need, except the Milk Duds!


Milk Duds, Paul. That’s all I really want.


Coming to a Couch Near You–From a Brooklyn Blog

Perhaps the most fun blog posting about In Treatment yet:

In Treatment, far and away the best TV series of all time, began its analytic life in Israel.  The therapist was an Israeli Jew and so were his patients.  As a result–unlike the situation in Jewish families in the US and Europe–fathers, living and dead, dominated  every single character.

Closely translated into English, the series moved to suburban Maryland, with fathers still posing serious psychic problems for their children.

Now HBO is sequelizing In Treatment.  The therapist has moved his home and his practice to–where else?–Park Slope.

Maybe because Brooklyn’s now the off-center of the universe; maybe because two of the main performers, Gabriel Byrne (Brooklyn Heights) and Hope Davis (Carroll Gardens) live here.

Thirty-five half-hour session-episodes begin tomorrow.  Now it’s the turn for Mom to burn.

gbbrooklyn-20090410postingDoes Hope live here, too? Wow.


The Venice Magazine Interview, April 2009

Lots about In Treatment. And getting his career started. And working with the early directors–Boorman, Russell, and the Coen Brothers–and the later ones, too. Oh, and lots about In Treatment…

This is a lengthy, illuminating, and wonderful interview!

Excerpt (about the David Cronenberg film, Spider):

There was one point where I had some questions about my character, and I spoke with David about it. The first A.D. came up and said “We’re ready to go, Mr. Cronenberg,” to which David replied “Hold on, this is more important.” The A.D. gave him a rather quizzical look and David said “You’re fighting for the light, he’s fighting for his character.” He made the decision for my character, rather than the light. I’ll always remember that moment. Not every director will wait for the actor to be ready to go.

Thanks to Kris for the heads up on this interview!


gbvenicemagazine-20090410postingYou can’t tell here but my scarf is purple…


The In Treatment Season Two Buzz!–Updated

This list will be updated as various news outposts provide their reviews of the second season of In Treatment. I must say that the initial buzz is overwhelmingly and gratifyingly POSITIVE. Hooray! Everyone seems to have finally figured out what WE have known all along!

Posted April 18:

The National Post (this article is no longer available at The National Post website)

Robert Cushman admits–

“I was very sniffy about the first season of In Treatment. I said that this show about a psychologist and his patients was just another medical soap, more highfalutin than most, but still focusing on the practitioner rather than on those practised upon. I have to eat crow. The second season strikes me as being a quantum leap on its predecessor, but this isn’t because it’s abandoned the things that, first time around, I felt were flaws. It’s kept them, pushed them even further into the centre and proved them to be assets.”

Crow never tasted so good, eh? Good for you, Mr. Cushman!


Posted April 10:

The Los Angeles Times : Mary McNamara offers a video review and a print interview (at the link provided), as well as a formal review of the show. Watch the video for a great overview of the new season and some comparisons to last year. Read the interview to learn more about Gabriel’s effect on his colleagues and why he might want a vacation right now. And read the review for more of this:

With his crookedly handsome face and sad, sad eyes, Byrne’s Paul is obviously a man who has too long been giving what he has not gotten. ‘I hate my life,” he says to Gina in one early episode. ‘It’s broken. Every day, it hurts . . .’ “

The Boston Globe :

“… In Treatment belongs to Byrne, who won a Golden Globe and an Emmy nomination for best actor last year. It’s almost incongruous that Byrne spends most of his screen time sitting down and watching, since his performance is so rich and dimensional…[he] makes the huge task of appearing in almost every scene of this series seem effortless.”

The New York Times : Michelle Orange analyzes the show’s move to Brooklyn and takes a closer look at the writers.

“The show is sort of designed for theater writers,” said Marsha Norman (“ ’night, Mother”), who wrote the new season’s Paul-Gina episodes. “Who doesn’t want to write a two-character play where people sit in chairs?”

“And I just think Gabriel is heaven,” Ms. Norman added, laughing. “I would watch him sit and think about being a therapist, much less actually do it.”

Entertainment Weekly :

In Treatment is simply the most addictive TV show on the air (in the cable wires?). As I settled in for a new round of advice and repressed memories, I was reminded of the therapist’s famous last line in the Philip Roth novel Portnoy’s Complaint: “Now, vee may perhaps to begin, yes?” Yes. Grade: A”

PopMatters : an overview of the second season, with tons of spoilers, but insightful writing makes being spoiled fun. Read at your own risk.



Posted April 2:

Star-Ledger (New Jersey) : Alan Sepinwall is a big IT fan. He offers three articles: the review, a blog posting with info about how he plans to post after each week’s episodes and provide a venue for conversation about the show, and a behind-the-scenes article with lots of juicy inside info from showrunner/head writer Warren Leight and director Paris Barclay. From his review:

“One of the demons Paul is fighting with Gina is his need to be a savior to all his patients… But if that hero complex is bad for his psyche, it makes him both the kind of doctor any patient would be lucky to have and a very appealing, albeit flawed, main character on this incredible, underappreciated drama.”

Newsday (this article is no longer available at the Newsday website) :

“In Treatment fans will fall into this new season like a chocoholic falling into a vat of sundae sauce…Byrne is brilliant and – for the most part – so is this fine and absorbing show.”

The New York Times :

“If it is possible to find pleasure in other people’s psychic pain — and obviously it is — there is no better place for it than in the therapy sessions that begin on Sunday night.”

Be careful! This review is teeming with spoilers for Season Two.

Chicago Tribune “The Watcher” Blog :

“Weston is a caring — possibly too caring man — whose professional demeanor doesn’t quite mask his conflicting impulses. He’s clearly intelligent, yet he sometimes makes poor decisions; he has a temper, yet he can demonstrate great patience, especially with Oliver (Aaron Shaw) and Walter, who thinks therapy is a joke. It’s hard to picture any other actor making the contradictory aspects of this passionate, self-doubting man come alive in such a realistic way. Yet even when Weston is silent, the resourceful Byrne makes the therapist the compelling center of most sessions.”

The review includes an interview with Gabriel Byrne.

Time Magazine :

“Byrne is terrific in what may be the toughest role on TV today, and not just in terms of sheer verbiage. Paul is both sounding board and active agent, constantly thinking and teasing out his patients’ agendas and issues while betraying, in his slightest inflections, the personal feelings that come pouring out in his sessions with Gina…” And the review continues: “But like a successful patient, the show has learned and grown, becoming more reliably compelling.”

The Wall Street Journal :

“It’s not surprising that the HBO drama series “In Treatment” returns for a second season (Sunday, 9 to 10 p.m. EDT) with its radiant intelligence intact, its merciless revelatory eye again trained on everyone in view…” And the review continues: “The distinctive power of this character Gabriel Byrne inhabits with such unfailing mastery has all along been built on hints, then proofs, of vulnerability, a haunting sense of failures in his personal life and chances missed.”

The San Francisco Chronicle : Tim Goodman recants:

“While I stand by my [first] review, based on the earlier episodes of Season 1, I’m willing to confide that Season 2 hooked me a lot quicker and I like the series a lot more now. Call it what you will – personal growth or Season 2 being less cloyingly self-conscious… It’s a strong cast, and Byrne and Wiest continue to deliver incredibly mannered and minutely shaded performances. It’s quite a breakthrough.” :

“Byrne, Davis, Pill, Mahoney, and Wiest should all be considered for Emmys. The writing should be a slam dunk to take home awards. TV simply doesn’t get much more genuine or dramatically rewarding as In Treatment, this year or any other.”

Genuine and dramatically rewarding. Well, if you say so…


Salon Interview: Gabriel Byrne Feels Your Pain

Sarah Hepola interviews Gabriel Byrne about his role in In Treatment:

About the character of Paul Weston and the actor who portrays him:

“…he has always seemed darkly mysterious and inaccessible, which of course made him all the more dashing. He may be stuck in a chair for 30 minutes on the show, but he still comes off as a romantic hero, even if the character — deeply flawed as he is — is somewhat antihero….”


“You mentioned listening. For the audience, part of the drama of each show is watching Paul as he listens, trying to decode what’s going on in your mind as you hear these people’s stories. And I always wonder, how do you calibrate how much to show about what you’re thinking?”


“That’s one of the big acting challenges, to convince people that you’re thinking something and also to give them the illusion that you’re not letting the patient know what you’re thinking. It’s a delicate thing to do.”

Read the entire interview.





“Variety” Offers High Praise for “In Treatment”, Season Two

Brian Lowry’s review is enthusiastic, to say the least:

“After what I considered a rocky start — an interesting format, inconsistently and often heavy-handedly executed — the second season of HBO’s “In Treatment” is by every measure more satisfying than the first: less self-conscious and stagy, more convincing, with an upgraded talent roster and a storyline that deftly builds upon what’s gone before. Even the scheduling — pairing two half-hour episodes each Sunday, with the remaining three grouped Mondays — should enrich the viewing experience. Although never likely to enjoy widespread appeal, this adaptation of an Israeli show has burnished its credentials as an elite drama, as opposed to a novelty for the Prozac-popping set.”

He adds:

“Byrne remains the show’s sturdy anchor, and the story bores deeper into Paul’s troubled history — including his relationship with his parents, which bleeds into how he processes these latest cases. And while some of the exchanges occasionally feel overly mannered and cliched, the series has found a stronger, more cohesive rhythm…”

Read the rest here. High praise indeed! We can’t wait.


gbintreatmentseason2screencap-20090331postingBut I don’t really feel like a sturdy anchor, you know…


An Actor With A Lot On His Mind: Interview at IrishTimes.Com

In an extended and illuminating interview with Belinda McKeon, Gabriel Byrne talks about how he views America, how Americans view Ireland, and why he didn’t own a television until recently.

Ms. McKeon gives us a glimpse of Gabriel’s home and his heart; she also brings us up-to-date on what he has been doing while filming the latest episodes of In Treatment.

A sample, describing his life and his home in Brooklyn:

In fact, there’s a chance that the new season of In Treatment might move almost unnervingly close to home for Byrne, in that it will see his character settle into a base which sounds like a replica of Byrne’s own; a big old Brooklyn brownstone. But no matter how booming the trade in neurotic New Yorkers (and there’s a market that will never collapse), Dr Weston’s gaff is still very unlikely ever to be a patch on Byrne’s. The place is not just envy-inducing; it’s envy-inventing. Who knew that ceilings could be so high? Who knew that you could fit so many paintings on so many walls? (Drawings and etchings by Picasso and Rembrandt, Soviet art, illustrations from 1920s childrens books, photographs by Doisneau, Cartier Bresson, and the late young Irish photographer Ian Thullier, as well as a lot of newspaper photography.)

Whoever saw Sunday morning light filling a whole ground floor like this; who lit that huge fire in that enormous hearth? (Actually, that’s one question I didn’t ask; Byrne was busy making the tea, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt.) The sitting-room is full of books; upstairs, out of the way of the flood waters which have caused him trouble before, are the rare editions he collects, mainly in the Irish language: Máirtín Ó Direáin, Tomás de Bhaldraithe, Seán O Riordain, Tomás Ó Criomhthain. And over the bookcases here, three old piano accordions, one of which belonged to Byrne’s grandmother.

This is home; Byrne has lived here for over 10 years. At the moment, with the production schedule for In Treatment requiring him on set for up to 14 hours a day, five days a week, it’s also his refuge. He loves living in Brooklyn; loves the distance from “the noise, the constant toing and froing” of Manhattan, where he lived when he first came to New York. For a long time, like many Manhattanites, he resisted the trip across the bridge into Brooklyn. Now he loves the experience of leaving the city to come home, and of traveling across the Brooklyn Bridge to start another day – or night – in Manhattan. It’s “something psychological”, he says. He loves the quietness of his street, the low skyline, the fact that the buildings are old – his house dates from the 1860s – and that the neighbourhood “has dogs, it has children, it has a lot of writers and actors and artists”. It reminds him of London or of Dublin, he says. “And I have neighbours here, and I’m recognised as a local.”

Wonderful interview! Read it here.

Additional perk: check out this blog posting to see some wonderful photos of  Brooklyn and Mr. Byrnes’s neighborhood, Brooklyn Heights. Stalking is, of course, discouraged!


gbredprofile-20090208postingIt’s a great profile.