Thank you to Disney and Lucasfilm for hosting me during the #TheLastJediEvent.
Domhnall Gleeson, who reprises his role as General Hus in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, hadn’t seen the film when we sat down to interview him. This was a bit of a running joke during the press conference earlier in the day since the rest of the cast couldn’t stop gushing about the film.
So why did he wait until the premiere to watch The Last Jedi?
They had a screening for the cast, and I think it was the right idea. I decided I would rather see it with two thousand people who don’t know what’s going to happen. Just the feeling in the room. Because at The Force Awakens, that premier was insane. I was there with my dad and my friend Lawrence. Like what the hell is going on? Whoops and cheering and big gasps and everything. I didn’t want to miss out on that being my first experience with the film, so I’m waiting until whatever day it is next week.
He makes an appearance in the revamped Star Tours, and he was already in Escape from Gringotts. What is it like being in multiple rides at multiple theme parks?
It’s cool. Being part of two different rides that literally millions of people will go on is kind of ridiculous. But, in a way, it’s no different than the films. So many people are going to see Star Wars that, yeah, it’s a bit nuts. The whole thing is a little bit nuts. It’s good though.
Did he take anything from past villains into his portrayal of General Hux?
You can’t steal, right, but obviously his place in things at the beginning of the film is like Peter Cushing’s kind of role, in terms of just the scheme of the way the villains are set up. He would be kind of fulfilling that role a little bit, so just that very clipped English accent I liked for that. But then you have to go to the real world to find you influences. ‘Cause you can’t take you character notes from other characters. I think you want to base it on something that’s real, that you can kind of look into, so I understood where he stood in things. But no, the influences would have come from elsewhere. And also just about how he’s got to fit into the story, you know? That was a real process with JJ of understanding the most interesting version of Hux, and the most interesting version of Hux, it turns out, which is not there from the very beginning, was the one that’s actually very disfuntaional with Kylo Ren and kind of battling for their place in things. And for favor from Snoke. They ended up finding that along the journey, as opposed to it being there from the very beginning.
What can he tell us about his character arc from the first film to the second?
The character arc in the first film, he goes from a very good place to a very bad place in terms of his standing in things and how Snoke… I think it’s pretty obvious, he wants his place on the throne. He wants to be in charge of Kylo Ren whenever Snoke goes, that’s what Hux wants. And so that’s what he would like. But he’s in a really much worse place at the end of the first movie than he was at the beginning in terms of achieving that goal. And that’s where we basically start the second movie, so, just in terms of an arc, you’re just starting the character in a much worse place. A much more desperate place, much more uncomfortable place, and I think that’s a good place to put somebody like Hux. Taking a step back from him and thinking objectively, you want Hux to suffer. That is what you want for somebody like that, who behaves like that, and who carries himself like that. And I liked creating somebody that that would end up being the feeling you would have for him. So we start with a place where we’re ready to see him suffer.
What emotions did he have to channel to play Hux?
I think, even more than rage, I think there’s a desperation about him, which is very unbecoming. There’s a need at all times to make sure that everybody knows that he’s important; that they should do what he says, that he deserves his position in things. But he knows that he’s not as powerful as Ren, really when it comes to it. If it came to a first fight, he’s dead within ten seconds. And Ren wouldn’t have to use his fist, he’d just force choke him or whatever. So that like, that’s where he is at all times, so you just try and put yourself in a desperate place, and then say, right I’m getting rid of that, and now I’m pretending that I’m powerful, even though something in there is worried that you’re not. I think insecurity is where he, those are not solid foundations, you know? And that’s where we tried to start him from.
Did he ever have any geek out moments on the set?
There are lots of moments like that because of the scale of things. Because of how much Star Wars means to people. Because- just the history of it… Harry Potter was a huge journey, and that was over, those films were over; twelve year, ten years, something like that, you know what I mean? This has been going on since… There are so many things which are part of growing up, which are part of people’s childhoods. Star Wars would have been the first movie that a lot of people [saw in a theater]… There’s just something that’s a position of privilege, so loads of moments like that. Any time, without giving anything away of who I worked with on this or didn’t work with, but when you’re on set, other people have to come on set to show Rian a costume in person, or, you know, to talk to him about something. So the days when you don’t know somebody’s gonna be in, and you’re kinda talking to Rian about something and then Mark Hamill just strolls up in his Luke Skywalker gear, you’re like what the f-? Those moments, when you’re not expecting them, and he’s there on a Star Wars set and you’re like, what are you doing in the evil place? Why are you hanging out here, and it’s like, oh he just here to see Rian. Those things are kind of amazing. Those [are] where you pinch yourself.
If he had a lightsaber in real life, what color would it be?
I do have a lightsaber in real life but it’s just one of the plastic ones, and it’s red. When I went to one of the premier things last time ’round, Harrison Ford was there and they were giving out these plastic ones to the fans, and I picked a green one ‘cause I’m Irish. And then, we were at the thing and just- Harrison Ford’s like the coolest man in the world. So I was talking to my agent and I was kind of waving the thing around, and I saw Harrison Ford was looking over at me, and I was like, oh…
So, yeah, I got my photo with him. That was super cool, but yeah, so I’ve got a red one and a green one. So, you know what I mean; mix and match, depending on my mood.
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In Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the Skywalker saga continues as the heroes of The Force Awakens join the galactic legends in an epic adventure that unlocks age-old mysteries of the Force and shocking revelations of the past. Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens in U.S. theaters on December 15, 2017