Compiled by: Jack Foley (from an interview with Martyn Palmer
Q. Why this role?
A. Lehiff just jumped out at me. I seemed to have done
a lot of characters that are involved in a moral dilemma of sorts,
you know, they go through a transformation, learn something about
the hard facts of life and something about the hard facts of what
it means to be a man I suppose, and they come out the other side.
The ones Ive played - whether its in The
Recruit, Tigerland, Phone
Booth - they come out on the right side of things. They go
on a journey, which is great. You try to get that as an actor
and then you get to make whatever changes are necessary and hopefully
make them subtly. But this character, Lehiff, I just saw him as
black and white. Just a ****.
Q. So a bit of a contrast, playing a bad guy?
A Yeah, hes a scumbag, he really is. A petty criminal
who thinks his mind is a lot faster and more toned than it actually
is. Hes not the sharpest tool in the shed, thats for
sure, hes the bluntest. But he thinks hes *******
great and he has this scam that hes organised in his head.
But just a total scumbag.
Q. Did you base him on anybody or was it all there on the
A Oh, Ive met fellas like him. Hed step over his
mother to get the next fix or to get the next tenner but really
he was all there in the script It was like the same reason I did
Daredevil, he was a baddie. I mean that was ridiculous baddie,
he was over the top and the growling, and stuff, but good fun
to play. Lehiff is the kind of character you could meet in a pub,
get drunk with, have a few pints and make one poxy joke and the
next thing you know there is a bottle sticking out of the side
of your neck. Im not comparing my performance to it at all,
but hes a bit like the Begbie character in Transpotting.
Just a loose canon, off his head and always looking for a scrap.
And he will take a beating as well. Cut his ear off and hed
still come at you.
Q. And worryingly, there are probably Lehiffs out there...
A Thats right. This fella is based on reality. And you
know, it was nice to use my own accent again I hadnt played
Irish in the three or four years that all this mad shit has been
happening. And I knew all the cast and crew, all the drivers had
driven me on Ballykissangel and it was great to be back in Dublin,
shooting a movie, it was fucking brilliant. Very special. Getting
picked up from me cottage in Irish Town to go to work, a few pints
after work, it was ******* great. They did me a favour and condensed
it all into one week so I could **** off, and I was starting work
on At Home At the End of the World, but I wish I had been there
for the whole thing, it was a great buzz.
Q. What about the rest of the cast? How were they?
A. Kelly Macdonald, what a sweetheart and what an actor. She
is a ****** cracker. Shirley Henderson, what a sweetheart and
what an actor, just beautiful the pair of them.. And Cilllian,
Id wanted to work with Cillian for a couple of years and
unfortunately the only scenes I did with him is where we are wearing
****** masks on our heads, you know (laughs).
Q. So I take it you all got along together?
A. Oh yeah. It was just great to be part of it, the whole
cast, you know. (David) Wilmot (Brian) OByrne, ******* dynamite.
I got to work with (Colm) Meaney, the ******* old cantankerous
**** that he is. Just great. Meaneys so funny. He has some
great lines in this. Absolute crackers. And Dierdre OKane
(Noleen) is brilliant, shes a stand up comedian and dead
Q. It's quite an ensemble?
A. It is. As you know Ireland is rich with talented actors,
writers, directors, whatever but the movie industry hasnt
really taken off there. Its struggled for years and I know
there was a time when a lot of stuff was being made in Ireland
and then the government got too cosy with it and they pulled back
the tax incentives. And its a business, they are business
people who make these movies and they decided not to take the
movies to Ireland any more, or at least not so many. Even Waking
Ned was shot on the Isle of Man so hopefully this will inject
a bit of life into it now.
Q. What was John Crowley like to work with? It's his first
time with a feature I believe?
A. Johns as smart as a ******* whip. A great, great
director and a great man. I knew he had been very successful in
the theatre but I hadnt seen any of his stuff but I had
heard amazing things about him. And the best thing you can get
from a director is someone who is specific, someone who knows
what they want. Nobody should know your character as well as you
do, but he knew that piece, that film, upside down inside out.
Q. And we even get to hear you sing, don't we?
A. Did you hear that bastardisation of The Clash I do at the
end? (laughs). ******* terrible! All these **** in Dublin thinking
I was doing it to have a music career and Im like no,
you stupid *******, its in character. I Fought The Law.
Q. Do you look for opportunities to take you back to work
A. Yeah, but I have to be selfish. But Jesus, do I want to
work in Ireland? Sure man, at some stage. Do I want to produce
in Ireland down the road? Sure. Maybe one day would I like to
direct something small? Something personal, in Ireland? Absolutely.
Right now being on the inside of what Im going through and
not being on the outside looking in, I still feel very much like
Im in my infancy.
You know, I dont feel like a big name, I really dont,
I dont feel like a big ******* star. I feel neither the
pressure nor the grandeur of my situation, you know. Im
still trying to find my feet as a film actor, Im still trying
to figure out what it is and I know it aint ****** brain
surgery and I know its never going to change the *******
world but it confuses me and it keeps me awake at night, acting
does, it comes between me and my sleep a lot.