Domnhall Gleeson recently explained why he almost turned down the role of General Hux in the new Star Wars trilogy. The Irish actor reprises his role as the fiery First Order commander for Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi this December capping off what has been a big year for Gleeson, who also portrays legendary Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne in Goodbye Christopher Robin, made an appeared in Darren Aronofsky's controversial thriller mother!, and had a big role in Doug Liman's Tom Cruise-starring actioner American Made.
Gleeson has emerged as one of Hollywood's finest supporting actors since portraying Bill Weasley in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, sinking his teeth into acclaimed prestige films like Alejandro G. Iñarritu's The Revenant and John Crowley's Brooklyn. But of course, it's his role as General Hux in Star Wars: The Force Awakens that has launched him to new levels of fame and recognizability - and it's why he actually considered turning down the role.
The actor explained why he wasn't so quick to say yes to Star Wars in a new interview with RadioTimes in the U.K. Much of the interview focuses on Goodbye Christopher Robin, but he was also asked about his hesitancy to do Star Wars due to the compromises he ultimately had to make with his newfound fame - which wasn't his goal as an actor in the first place. Despite having to deal with increased notoriety for a while after the success of The Force Awakens, Gleeson acknowledged that the attention dropped off after a brief groundswell:
"Why would I have thought of saying no? Fame is the end goal for a lot of people but it is not mine. I worried that the accompanying fame would get in the way of how I live my life. It got a little crazy for a couple of months – for a while, going out and having a drink with my friends was difficult, and then it died down."
Gleeson hasn't been a big part of The Last Jedi's promotional campaign, but he understands why - he's not one of the sequel's "bigger characters". Speaking on Star Wars' marketing campaign in a recent interview with Screen Rant, he quipped that "I think they know how to market Star Wars, so I’ll leave them to it.” It's likely that Hux doesn't get much more screen time in The Last Jedi than he did in The Force Awakens, but there will surely be meetings with Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) in the flesh - and he will almost certainly continue to butt heads with main villain Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) in the wake of the destruction of Starkiller Base.
Although he has a famous father in veteran actor Brendan Gleeson and has worked with some of Hollywood's biggest stars like Cruise and Leonardo DiCaprio, it's clear that fame is not high on Domnhall Gleeson's list of priorities. He's fine being pushed more into the background in a blockbuster like Star Wars while letting his more complex performances speak for themselves. He has not shied away from unique, challenging films like The Revenant and mother!, proving to the world what is more important to him: that he can flat-out act.
Even with a minor role that doesn't rank him among the biggest names in The Last Jedi, Gleeson can likely expect another uptick in public attention upon the sequel's release. Perhaps he would rather be recognized as "The Guy From Goodbye Christopher Robin" than General Hux, but the fame is nonetheless well-deserved for the actor. With his recent run of fine performances, Gleeson continues to step out of his father's shadow and become a star in his own right.
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019