Have you heard of Domhnall Gleeson? If you haven’t, you still might recognize his face.
In addition to playing Bill Weasley in the last two Harry Potter films, he was the memorable General Hux in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Lucky for us, he’s continuing his role in Star Wars: The Last Jedi!
Domhnall Gleeson had a lot to say about General Hux, but I had to do some reading on the character of General Hux to make sure I knew the full story. General Hux is a complicated character, so it’s best to understand him before asking more questions!
About General Hux
General Hux is a military officer serving in the high command of the First Order. He’s a leading advocate for the harsh training methods used to gain absolute obedience amongst the members of the military.
An obsessive character who gets little sleep, General Hux served alongside Kylo Ren in the First Order. After failing to destroy the Resistance, Hux was ordered to leave the planet and take Ren with him.
My interview with Domhnall Gleeson
Q: A little birdy said you watched Star Wars: The Last Jedi. What was your first impression?
Domhnall Gleeson (DG): That little birdy was a flippin’ liar! They had a screening for the cast, and I decided I would rather see it with two thousand people who didn’t know what was going to happen.
At The Force Awakens, that premiere was insane. I was there with my dad and my friend, like “what the hell is going on.” With 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 till the premiere.
.Q: We all rode Star Tours last night. We got to see you in that and I realized this isn’t your first time being on a theme park ride. What is that like?
DG: Where is Star Tours?
Q: At Disneyland
DG: Where is Disneyland?
Q: It’s down the road. There’s also one in Orlando.
DG: Ah. Ok. I’ll have to go. [laughs].
It’s cool, being part of two different rides that literally millions of people will go on is kind of rediculous. But in a way it’s no differerent than the films. So many people are going to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi that it’s a bit nuts. It’s good, though.
Q: Can we say that Han Solo is your ultimate, favorite character in Star Wars?
DG: Can you say that? I don’t know if I’m allowed to say that! When I was a kid, I was an Indiana Jones kid, more than Star Wars, even. So my childhood was Harrison Ford in a different movie.
By the time I was growing up, the prequels were coming out, and I saw them in the cinema, but I’d never seen the original trilogy. I just missed it.
Then my big experience was when I was deciding whether I could be in The Force Awakens, JJ Abrams gave me a file of the original Star Wars, and I watched it on a big screen. That was amazing, and all became my favorites. How diplomatic is that? But I do love Han Solo.
Q: Being Irish, how do you feel about Star Wars going to Ireland and filming Star Wars: The Last Jedi there?
DG: I love it. I love that the people who went there had an amazing time. I love that they got good weather. I love that they went all the way up and down the west coast.
Ireland is my home. I think it’s the best place in the world, and I’m just happy for people to see it. It’s an intensely beautiful place, and they got to see it in intensely beautiful weather, which is ridiculous. That never happens!
When they came back and they were all talking about what a good time they had in Ireland, even though I had nothing to do with that, I have have to say I was pretty proud.
Q: You watched all the Star Wars films. Did you take anything from past villains and bring it to General Hux?
That’s kind of just the way the villains are set up. He would be fulfilling that role a little bit, so that clipped English accent — I liked that. But then you have to go to the real world to find your influences, because you can’t take your character notes from other characters. I think you want to base it on something real, that you can look into.
It was a real process with JJ Abrams to learn how General Hux fits into the story.
The most interesting version of Hux is one that isn’t there from the very beginning. It’s the version of General Hux that’s very dysfunctional with Kylo Ren and battling for their place in things and for favor from Snoke, the Supreme Leader.
We ended up finding that along the journey, as opposed to it being there from the very beginning.
Q: Can you tell us about General Hux’s character arc in the first film versus the arc in Star Wars: The Last Jedi?
DG: No. [laughs]. The character arc in the first film goes from a very good place to a very bad place in terms of General Hux’s standing. It’s pretty obvious that Hux wants his place on the throne. He wants to be in charge of Kylo Ren.
But he’s in a much worse place at the end of the first movie than he was at the beginning in terms of achieving that goal.
That’s where we start Star Wars: The Last Jedi. In terms of an arc, you’re just starting the character in a much worse place. A much more desperate place, a much more uncomfortable place, and I think that’s a good place to put somebody like General Hux.
Taking a step back from him and thinking objectively, you want General Hux to suffer. That’s what you want from somebody like that, who behaves like that and who carries himself like that. I liked creating somebody that would end up being the feeling you have for him.
So we start with a place where we’re ready to see him suffer.
Q: in the first film we saw that you channeled a lot of inner rage. How did you channel this for yourself and ultimately find the character you wanted to portray?
DG: I think even less than–or more than–rage, I think there’s a desperation about General Hux, which is very unbecoming.
There’s a need at all times to make sure 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 Kylo Ren. If it came to a fight, he’d be dead within ten seconds.
So that’s where he is at all times, so you just try and put yourself in a desperate place. Then you say, “I’m getting rid of that, and I’m pretending that I’m powerful” Even though something in there is worried that you’re not. I think insecurity is there. Those aren’t solid foundations, and that’s where we tried to start him from.
Q: What’s it like to be sitting in a room full of people who haven’t seen the movie? I can’t imagine how difficult that must be.
It’s weird. This is another reason it was good for me not to watch the movie, because I definitely would have spoiled it for all of you already. My mother is the worst person to give away the endings of movies, so I try and make sure I don’t put myself in that position.
It’s odd. It’s really easy to say nothing. it’s really difficult to say a little, but not too much, and that’s where we’re existing in this week.
All the way up until now, we’ve been allowed to say nothing. Now we’re expected to say a little. That’s much harder.
Q: In Harry Potter you were on the good side, and now you’re playing a villain. Which do you tend to side with more? Are you light or are you dark?
DG: We all have our dark moments. Everybody has those. Hopefully I’m not that bad about remembering that the good of the people is more important than the good of your own thing, which obviously these days is getting trampled all over the place. You just start there and work backwards.
Q: When you were describing Hux, it sounds similar to the current political climate that we’re in. How much does Star Wars really reflect our times that we’re living in?
DG: This will sound like I’m hedging my bet, but…Most pieces of great art reflect something about the times you live in, no matter when you live. I’ve heard that Star Wars: The Last Jedi in particular, you can really do whatever you want with it in terms of being contemporary and relatable to people.
I think that, there’s never a lack of bad intention in the world, and people who are only out for their own interest and the interest of the few. That’s been around forever and will always be around. That’s not going to disappear.
I think you can compare Star Wars to any time, but the brilliance of Star Wars is that when you watch it you can be entertained by the dark side. In real life, that isn’t entertaining, that’s terrifying.
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