Monday, July 26 Update
It’s so hard to pick the parts of this far-ranging conversation to transcribe!
Here are three bits that I found enlightening, but you really must watch the video. And read the captions! Some of the transmission is a bit garbled and they do help.
Acting “In Conversation” With Gabriel Byrne and Kate O’Toole
Galway Film Fleadh July 24, 2021
Excerpts transcribed from the video
Kate O’Toole: I discovered you have another book which I didn’t know about: Pictures In My Head which was on audio, so I didn’t have time to read it or to order it so I decided I’d listen to it and I’m so glad that I did because you do fantastic impersonations of people! It’s so funny! Your Richard Burton is one of the highlights of my listening week. I mean, it’s just spot on! It’s so good and I laughed out. You first met him or ran into him at the Gritti Palace in Venice, where he was drinking Pernod on the basis that it was good for his brain cells!
Gabriel Byrne: Right! He was–I hesitate to use the world “mentor” because he wasn’t, really, but he was the first actor I’d had an honest conversation with who set the world of acting in a bigger context, in a much more realistic context. Because he was Richard Burton, he had a lifetime of experience and gigantic world fame at the time. What he said to me wasn’t in the way of “I’m passing down great wisdom.” It was an almost “by the way” conversation, but I never forgot it. Basically what it amounted to was this: that you have to live your life first, and that work should be secondary. That’s tremendous. Even though I didn’t understand the real depth of that remark, it’s something that I’ve noticed again and again in the business that we work in, and not just our business. People put the work first and themselves to a great extent [are] secondary to that. I think that’s a mistake, because work is work–it should be pleasurable, it should be fulfilling, and it should be something that helps you develop and grow as a person. But it should never be the end, in and of itself. And I also think that’s true for people starting in the business to realize that probably the most difficult thing I think about working as an actor is how you handle yourself when you’re not working. How you take care of yourself when you’re not “on call . . .”
Kate O’Toole: [Talking about Gabriel’s many jobs before he became an actor] So I’m wondering if there were any jobs that you think did serve you as an actor when you became an actor?
Gabriel Byrne: I hope this doesn’t sound too pedantic. All jobs require a certain amount of acting. I think it was Camus who talked about “the waiter,” the waiter playing the role of “the waiter” and in life, we all act, to a great extent. We all have our roles. When we come off of the stage of life, we go into the dressing room alone, of our own heads, our own lives–and that’s a very different reality. So the jobs that I had were jobs that I took on seriously, because I thought that, at that time there was no career guidance, there was nobody who said “What do you think you might be good at?” and “What would your ambition in life be?” Nobody ever said that. They said it to you when you were four or five, in a kind of a condescending adult way: “What are you going to be when you grow up?” and the answer was usually, you know, something like a fireman or a train driver. But nobody after that seriously engaged with you in the notion of what journey you might want to take in life . . . There was also a societal pressure in the sense that coming from a working-class background, the emphasis was getting the good job, getting security, getting the pension. My father was talking all his life about the pension . . .
Kate O’Toole: I think it was Jack Nicholson who said that cinema has replaced literature, that literature, before radio even, literature, the printed word was the way to influence people and to inspire conversations and he says that he really believes that cinema is the literary form of our day.
Gabriel Byrne: I would probably disagree with that. I would say that the thing about literature is that up to a certain point it was only a certain amount of people who had access to literature, and so therefore, because of that, it reinforced the status quo to a certain extent. The democratization of knowledge is actually a good thing. But of course the people who control the real power situations understand that and you’re getting the knowledge that they want you to have. For example: Why are we talking about players taking the knee? Why is that such a big deal? When actually it should be just that’s the way people express themselves, their support for a legitimate protest movement–big deal. But what Boris Johnson, for example, a devious clown who’s gotten to this position of power–what he’s brilliant at is diversion. Let’s talk about this, let’s talk about that, let’s talk about my moppy hair, let’s talk about something else rather than the things that really truly matter. We’re ten years away from the planet being obsolete. You look at the Channel 4 News last night which is somewhat independent and Germany floods, the west coast of America on fire! Why isn’t this the headlines every single day and in every newspaper? Because a scientist that I was listening to last week said “We don’t have ten years!” and yet this is not the news. The news is about some diversionary piece of bullshit that nobody– that doesn’t matter. And we’re constantly being diverted because the media is not living up to its responsibilities to tell the real truth about what’s really happening. And that’s as true for the arts as it is for politics . . .
Sunday, July 25
The Galway Film Fleadh has made the video of Gabriel and Kate O’Toole “In Conversation” about the craft of acting, writing, performing, and many other topics available on their YouTube Channel.
So I’m making it available to you HERE:
I am transcribing some excerpts now and will publish them in this posting later today.
You have the option to turn on Closed Captions (the CC button in the player controls at the bottom of the video) if you would like to read what they are saying, in English only, though.
This is one of the best of Gabriel’s recent interviews. He and Ms. O’Toole, who is the daughter of the legendary Peter O’Toole, make a great pair: engaging, thought-provoking, honest, funny. It is a delightful hour that will go by quickly!
Friday, July 23
Your chance to join in a conversation with our favorite Irishman, Gabriel Byrne, and Irish actor and writer Kate O’Toole is TOMORROW!
Be sure to register NOW for your date with Gabriel. He will “In Conversation” as part of the Galway Film Fleadh, talking about his new film, Death of a Ladies’ Man, and the craft of acting.
Hope to see you there, with Byrneholics from around the world! heart
Death of a Ladies’ Man premiered on July 21 and here are some enthusiasticTwitter responses to that event!
Gabriel Byrne’s new film, Death of a Ladies’ Man, is premiering at the Galway Film Fleadh July 21. As part of the festival’s programming, they are including a great chance to catch Gabriel talking about his role in this film, which won him the Best Actor Film award at this year’s IFTA’s, and the craft of acting that he employs to make characters like Samuel O’Shea come alive for us.
From blockbusters of the 1990s such as The Usual Suspects and Into the West, to recent hits Hereditary and Lost Girls, celebrated Irish actor Gabriel Byrne has enjoyed an illustrious career that spans cinema, television and the stage. His performance in his new film Death of a Ladies’ Man, which is featured in the 2021 Fleadh programme, recently won Byrne the IFTA for Actor in a Lead Role. Byrne plays Samuel O’Shea, a lifelong womaniser who begins experiencing strange visions that disrupt his world and begin to alarm him.
Byrne will discuss this role and his craft in an “in conversation” event hosted by prolific Irish actor and writer Kate O’Toole. O’Toole is a board member of the Fleadh and has starred in dramas such as The Dead, Dancing at Lughnasa, and Possession, as well as hit TV series The Tudors.
Register for this FREE event and then join Byrneholics Everywhere on Saturday, July 24 as Gabriel talks about his craft, his new film, and probably some other interesting stuff as well!