Interview with Irish actor Ciaran Hinds - star of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” with Scarlett Johansson
Cahir O'Doherty chats with Ciaran Hinds
“It was kind of scary but kind of exciting to be in a mad blizzard in Iceland. To go from the Mississippi Delta to north Iceland in the same week was magic. This is my life, weird as it may sound.”
Rayder’s part defines the Game of Thrones series, which Hinds only realized as he began to play the role.
“If I’d known that I would have practiced a bit more,” he laughs. “Maybe they’ll put me right. I’m waiting to catch up on what they have planned.
“I saw the first series and I found some of the sexuality and violence a little gratuitous and it annoyed me but then it calmed down a bit, but the storytelling and the juggling of the storylines are fantastic. It draws you in and takes you elsewhere.”
Hinds mentions the work of fellow Belfast actor Conleth Hill in the series, which fans of the show will be delighted to hear.
“I have seen his work in the third series and it is absolutely brilliant,” he says with admiration.
As for his role in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Hinds praises the show director, Tony Award winner and eight-time nominee Rob Ashford.
“It was more than just about making it sexy. He wanted to make it earthy and real. The play was based on real people. We want to get to their complexity rather than play them as icons,” says Hinds.
Burl Ives and Laurence Olivier have played, and some would argue defined, the role of Big Daddy. Hinds was determined to make the role work on his terms.
“When I read the script I found his treatment of his wife shocking. We learn that he has sat around quietly for the past few years in fear of his own mortality,” offers Hinds.
“When he hears he doesn’t have cancer, when he hears he’s going to survive, wrongly as it turns out, it sort of clears away any doubts he’s had about his life.
“He decides he wants to get through his birthday party and take the opportunity to talk to the only person that he really loves [his son Brick, played by Benjamin Walker].”
The trick with this play is to keep an eye on the real, he says.
“If you’re venturing into territory that is slightly operatic it all has to be done so carefully,” he says.
Another conspicuous aspect of this production is the strength of the women characters, who clearly surpass the men.
“The women in this play are driving the car, except they’re driving it from the passenger’s seat,” Hinds says.
“They’re having to keep the car on the road and the man is supposed to lead, but they’re having to lean over and correct him.”
The theatrics on stage can be a little draining when they reach such a fever pitch night after night.
“As soon as that second act is finished I feel a profound relief,” Hinds says. “You have to come right on, on the front foot, throughout the second act.
“Sometimes I have to ask myself, ‘Can my aging old bones stand up to this?’ I mean, just the amount of verbiage and the amount of commitment!”
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