Brendan Gleeson talks about Irish cynicism in ‘The Guard’

Don Cheadle and Brendan Gleeson in "The Guard"

“The Guard” has opened to rave reviews from critics and Irish actor Brendan Gleeson has taken center stage. The film is described as a “comedy thriller” on its website and features Don Cheadle as cynical Gleeson’s co-star.

Gleeson (56) has the lead role in of a troubled partnership between an uneasy African-American FBI agent and a sarcastic, often racially offensive, Irish country cop.

In the film Gleeson plays Sergeant Gerry Boyle, a seen-it-all Irish policeman whose quiet small town life gets disturbed when the FBI—lead by Don Cheadle’s character Wendell Everett —arrive to investigate an international cocaine-smuggling ring.

The duo is nothing alike and Gerry, a cop that has a thing for prostitution and confiscated narcotics, tries to teach the American FBI agent about an Irish man’s views.

In an interview with NJ.com, Gleeson explained that there is far more about his character’s personality than meets the eye.

“It’s a kind of country thing, particularly among the Irish police, where they want you to think they’re know-nothings — it’s a little bit of a “Columbo” trick, I think, so you’ll underestimate them,” he said.
Cheadle’s character even tells Gleeson’s in the film, “I can’t tell if you’re really dumb or really smart.”
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Throughout the film a contrast between the two characters is clearly seen and is distinguished by their difference in cultures—Boyle being a small town Irish man, and Everett, an educated African-American.

“Gerry also has—I don’t know that it’s cynicism—but there’s this Irish expectation that nothing good lasts, you know? “Don’t worry — things will get worse,” the inquisitor said to Gleeson.

Gleeson responded: “Unfortunately, they’re often proved right! But yes, that’s very Irish, too. “Look, don’t be getting your hopes up, you’ll only be disappointed.” I don’t know where we get that from, except brutal experience! But we do tend to take a dark view of things.”

Gleeson says that Don Cheadle’s character is always hoping for more and expecting other things like a woman in “shining armor” coming to rescue him, which cannot be said for Irish men who are into their own cynicism.

“There’s a joke Bono tells, you know—an American drives past a fine house on a hill and he says, “I swear, someday I’ll get that house!” And an Irishman drives past a fine house on a hill and he says, “I swear, someday I’ll get the bastard that lives there!”

“So, you know, that’s us. We don’t tend to see the long-term plan, we don’t believe in it, and that’s a failing. But we do live in the moment, and with a particular ferocity. Carpe diem, don’t you know? And that’s not such a bad thing,” he concluded.
 

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