Interview with Irish actor Ciaran Hinds - star of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” with Scarlett Johansson
Cahir O'Doherty chats with Ciaran Hinds
Ciaran Hinds was amazed to be offered the iconic role of Big Daddy in the latest Broadway production of Tennessee Williams’s masterpiece, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, starring Scarlett Johansson. Cahir O'Doherty talks to the Belfast-born actor about acting alongside Johansson, and co-star Benjamin Walker’s startling resemblance to his oldest friend Liam Neeson.
Like a lot of successful actors Ciaran Hinds, currently electrifying Broadway audiences in the iconic role of multimillion Southern plantation owner Big Daddy in Tennessee Williams’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, can live a pretty weird life.
Finding himself in London, New York or even Reykjavik at a moment’s notice, the challenge Hinds, 59, faces with each new role never changes -- sink or swim.
Belfast-born and raised Hinds confesses to the Irish Voice that he had to skip out of rehearsals for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof for an entire week last year to film his new starring role in the forthcoming third season of worldwide Belfast-made HBO hit Game of Thrones.
Playing Mance Rayder, the legendary King Beyond the Wall, was a role Hinds knew little about, but his agent insisted he take a look at it.
“I was aware of the popularity of the show but I’ve got to catch up on the whole series,” he says.
“My English agent told me that it was based in Belfast and that they then go off for a couple of weeks to do location work. He knew a lot of people in it. He knew it was really good.”
Fans of the international hit know that Rayder is a pivotal role in the sword and sorcery epic, but Hinds initially thought it would be a small commitment.
“They said it would literally be three or four days work in Belfast. I thought, ‘That’s great I can spend time with my sisters and return to work.’ He told me I wouldn’t have to do a follow up until November.”
But the follow up turned out to be in the middle of a blizzard in northeast Iceland. As commitments go, it was starting to mushroom.
“They only give you the script you’re in. They don’t give you the full storyline. So I did it but I had no idea how it went,” he says.
“Then I put it out of my mind. I saw my mum for the rest of the week.”
Meanwhile, Hinds had been surprised to be offered the iconic role of Big Daddy Pollitt, the rough around the edges Southern millionaire in Tennessee Williams’s greatest play. He couldn’t think why they had thought of him.
“’That’s mad,’ I said, when my agent mentioned the offer. He agreed with me but said it would be interesting,” Hinds recalls.
“The dates conflicted with Game of Thrones though. So I flew into New York, started work for eight days, then flew over to north east Iceland for six days in a blizzard.
“I had just been working in a Mississippi accent, then I had to go over there and work in a Yorkshire one. Mississippi kept sneaking in,” he laughs.
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