Interviews, 2017 – 2019

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Excerpts and links to text and video interviews available online, including podcasts


Gabriel’s international television series War of the Worlds dominated much of 2019, with several articles presenting interesting translation challenges–the series began showing in Europe first.

War of the Worlds: Interview with Elizabeth McGovern and Gabriel Byrne, by Hanna Huge for (Germany), November 6, 2019. An English language translation is available.

War of the Worlds is re-imagined and Gabriel Byrne and Elizabeth McGovern turn philosophical in this interview about the new sci-fi series. But Byrne also tells us how he could not get tickets for the new Downton Abbey movie and that he has no memories of the Maniac set anymore.

At the end of September, the European premiere of War of the Worlds took place in Paris. The new co-production of Canal+ and the FOX Channel is not to be confused with the BBC mini-series “The War of the Worlds,” which is set at the end of the 19th century. This adaptation of the cult novel by H. G. Wells, soon to be seen on television, is written by Howard Overman (Future Man, Misfits).

We talked to Gabriel Byrne (In Treatment) and Elizabeth McGovern (Downton Abbey), who portray a divorced couple in the series, and who now have to survive together after the aliens attack Earth.

Paris Match

Gabriel Byrne, the Survivor by Claire Stevens for Paris Match, November 4, 2019. This interview, which was originally published in French, is no longer available on the Internet. There is an English translation, however!

The Irish actor is one of the heroes of “War of the Worlds”, the Canal + series with Léa Drucker and Elizabeth McGovern.

He plays a neuroscientist confronted with the unimaginable, a Cartesian mind stunned by a world-wide extraterrestrial attack. Gabriel Byrne could have made Bill Ward, his character of “The War of the Worlds,” a monster of arrogance molded by convictions. He chose to make him unfathomable.

“I guess I brought that ambiguity to the role,” he admits. “So much the better if the public feels it. But it is also a terribly human component that each of us has in ourselves, to the point of never knowing each other completely. “

Like his creative partners, he keeps the story grounded in human experience.

War of the Worlds (Canal+) Gabriel Byrne: “The real threat does not come from space, but from ourselves”, by Frédérick Rapilly, for (France), November 4, 2019. This article is no longer available on the Internet, but we do have an English language translation in a posting here.

Time has passed since “The Usual Suspects,” the cult movie that made him famous in 1995 … Today, it is in the role of an ordinary man confronted with the extraordinary that Gabriel Byrne impresses, in this adaptation of the novel by H. G. Wells.

Elizabeth McGovern’s Tips for the Alien Apocalypse, by Liisa Mikkola, for Heute (Germany), November 4, 2019. An English language translation is also available.
The series adaptation of “War of the Worlds” will start on FOX on November 6th. We met the lead actors Elizabeth McGovern and Gabriel Byrne in Paris.

An anecdote about Elizabeth McGovern’s band:

Byrne: It’s really interesting to watch the band’s videos and see Elizabeth in her skin-tight pants with her band in the background singing their songs. It takes a few seconds and I’m thinking: ‘Wait … Who is this doppelganger?’ The album is fantastic. It’s a great band. I’ll stand in line and hold up my lighter.

Are you going to play concerts soon?
McGovern: Not at the moment. The wonderful thing about music is that we do not expect to make money from it. But of course we all have to make some money. This takes away from the time to perform. But we want to try again sometime.

And Gabriel, would you like to stand on stage and sing?

Byrne: (laughs)
McGovern: He sings really well.

Gabriel Byrne: “In our post-truth era, we must question everything, like the child we used to be”, by Marjolaine Jarry, for TeleObs, October 28, 2019. An English language translation is also available.
With seasoned skepticism and thoughtful elegance, the Irish actor portrays a scientist struggling with alien extraterrestrial intelligence in “War of the Worlds,” a series inspired by the novel by H. G. Wells.

“There is a permanent conflict between everyone’s determination to survive, and our immense capacity for denial–that’s where fiction comes in: it has the power to change our consciousness.”
–Gabriel Byrne

The War of the Worlds on Canal +: “an in-depth analysis of human behavior”, Meeting with the series’ performers Gabriel Byrne, Léa Drucker and Elizabeth McGovern, and director Gilles Coulier, by Julia Fernandez, news collected on September 30, 2019 – Nov. 5, 2019, for Allocine. An English language excerpt is also available.

Gabriel Byrne: “The series ‘War of the Worlds’ forces us to face our collective fears” by Julia Baudin for Ouest France/TV Magazine, October 28, 2019, in the original French. An English language excerpt is also available.

Gabriel Byrne & Elizabeth McGovern talk War of the Worlds Series with Serieasten.TV in Germany, October 15, 2019

Behind the Scenes With Gabriel Byrne, Elizabeth McGovern on ‘War of the Worlds’ by Ben Kroll for Variety, October 14, 2019

Early fan graphic for the series by Stella


IFTA Lifetime Achievement Award

Gabriel was interviewed several times while in Ireland to receive this award. The Irish press received him warmly and he responded with his unique combination of stories and gravitas.

Video: Award Ceremony and Acceptance Speech

Gabriel Byrne received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Irish Film and Television Academy awards show February 15, 2018. It was such a special evening and his acceptance speech was just as genuine as he always is.

The Late Late Show

Gabriel Byrne’s appearance on the Late Late Show moved the nation by Rebecca Keane for The Irish Post, February 17, 2018

Excerpts are available on YouTube:

Print Interviews

Gabriel Byrne on his alcoholism: ‘One day I woke up and I said, if I don’t stop this, I am going to die’ by Caitlin McBride for, February 17, 2018

Gabriel Byrne on Weinstein: ‘He was a violent bully. He had such power’ / The Dublin actor on sex harassment, and why fame is like being trapped in a drum, by Tanya Sweeney for The Irish Times, February 17, 2018

Emotional Gabriel Byrne says Lifetime Achievement award is ‘about the life I’ve led’ RTÉ Entertainment, February 16, 2018

Gabriel Byrne on why he’s ‘unapologetically’ pro-choice by Fionnuala Moran for, February 15, 2018

Gabriel Byrne: People coming in and making films in Ireland cheaply–that’s not an industry interview for The, February 16, 2018

Gabriel Byrne thanks ‘darling’ wife in emotional Lifetime Achievement speech by Eva Hall for, February 15, 2018

The Lannan Foundation Video and Podcast

Gabriel Byrne in conversation with Colum McCann, a Readings and Conversations event from Lannan Foundation, January 31, 2018, at the Lensic Theater in Santa Fe, New Mexico. “Lannan Foundation is a family foundation dedicated to cultural freedom, diversity and creativity through projects which support exceptional contemporary artists and writers, as well as inspired Native activists in rural indigenous communities.”

Click the image to begin the video.

Colum McCann, Conversation, 31 January 2018 from Lannan Foundation on Vimeo.


Reality Asserts Itself, December 2017

Paul Jay interviewed Gabriel for Reality Asserts Itself at The Real News during the holidays.

The four videos in this posting are each about 22 minutes long. Parts 1 – 3 focus on Gabriel’s experiences growing up in Ireland, becoming an actor, and developing his political views. Part 4 is about climate change, an increasingly important issue dear to his heart.

‘I applauded Daniel for quitting acting’, says his pal Gabriel Byrne by Lynn Kelleher for, December 6, 2017

An Irishman Abroad

An Irishman Abroad: Podcast with Jarlath Regan, March 5, 2017

“It’s a huge week for An Irishman Abroad as, Gabriel Byrne, one of Ireland’s most successful acting and directing exports joins Jarlath for a very rare and honest long-form interview. In this insightful and frank chat, Gabriel explains why he feels the Irish government never gave a crap about it’s emigrants or culture (44:00), how he learned that the Catholic education system failed to teach self-esteem (22:00) while also discussing the factory of Hollywood and how it uses stars as promotional brands rather than artists (27:00).”

“Gabriel also reveals to Jarlath why bloopers were not cut out of The Usual Suspects (37:00), how he doesn’t think he ever got it right as a father (53:00) and why he envies confident people (21:00). From the story of the time he was beaten up in London for simply being Irish (10:00) to the impact the right wing coup of the Donald Trump presidency is having on undocumented Irish in America (4:00) to his early memories of a risk-taking U2 (57:00), this episode is truly a highlight of the series to date.”

The Leonard Lopate Show on WNYC Radio

Life as an Aging Actor: Interview at WNYC Radio with Gabriel Byrne, Donna Murphy, and Lee Wilkof talking about their film No Pay, Nudity on the Leonard Lopate Show, February 14, 2017

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