Before he was leading the First Order in their quest for galactic domination as General Hux Domhnall Gleeson had a much, much smaller role in yet another major franchise – the Harry Potter movies. The actor played Bill Weasley in the final two movies, and though he didn’t get to have any heart-to-hearts with Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), he still got the opportunity to step into the Wizarding World, which he revealed in a new interview prepared him for his bigger role in STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS.
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The actor was speaking with EW to promote his new movie THE LITTLE STRANGER from ROOM director Lenny Abrahamson, and it was then he said that doing with on HP taught him you can’t control over how the fans will respond to your work. You can only step onto the set in your costume and do your best work while shouting at Stormtroopers in a funny hat.
Harry Potter was the best possible training for that [FORCE AWAKENS]. I felt a little worried about fan reaction, but you can’t control that; all you can do is your job. General Hux is ridiculous in lots of ways, but not in a hilarious way. But just anything to do with that level of…what’s the word? Pomp and all the rest of it, the higher reigns of military, all the badges and the medals. At a certain point you say, “Why is that man wearing that hat? That doesn’t make him more powerful.”
He even spoke about how he got the part, saying his pop and fellow HP alum Brenden Gleeson (Mad-Eye Moody) was able to snag him an audition, and upon getting the part the floodgates opened for more auditions.
I was a massive fan. When they asked my dad to play Mad-Eye I was so incredibly excited. I said, “Listen, if one of the other brothers’ parts comes up, you need to get me in for an audition.” I met some amazing people on that set. I loved how they all handled themselves; they were all good, generous people—that thing about art requiring suffering was just kind of dispelled. Then there was about a year between shooting and the movie’s release where I was going into meetings and people didn’t know I only had two lines in [Harry Potter], so I probably got auditions for things that I may not have otherwise.
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Ever since that small HP role Gleeson has become a recognized name, and is now working non-stop on everything from blockbusters to indies. The lessons he pulled from that small stint in the Wizarding World is a good one indeed, because the fan expectation can surely tear you apart if you let it. But Gleeson figured that out quickly, and as a result he embraces the ridiculouness of Hux with a touch of menace and madness. And, seriously, what was up with that hat?
THE LITTLE STRANGER is in theaters today.
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