Brendan Gleeson On Trip To ‘Calvary’ & Acting Process

Now playing in select theaters, Calvary features Brendan Gleeson as Father James, a man of the cloth who is the target of one of the members of his parish. Father James has one week to get his life in order and find the person who wants him dead, and during his journey his resolve and faith strengthens his spirit.

Whether he’s playing Winston Churchill (Into the Storm) or a rueful hitman (In Bruges), Gleeson brings a hard earned sense of realism to his characters. “I can empathize with characters when I’m reading a script to the extent where I can feel impact, or I can feel the lack of it,” says Gleeson, who previously worked with McDonagh in The Guard. “It’s been an important thing in my arsenal. I’ve been able to distinguish pretty well on what’s a good script and what isn’t.”

Brendan Gleeson as “Father James” in CALVARY. Photo by Jonathon Hession.
Brendan Gleeson as “Father James” in CALVARY. Photo by Jonathon Hession.

Once Gleeson reads the script, an important element of building a character has already started. “You’ve already read the thing, in possibly kind of a voice in your head,” he adds. “That’s really the beginning of whatever the character is, and then you do what you need to.”

Click on the audio link below to hear Brendan Gleeson talk about his acting process and why mastering accents, as fellow actor John Hurt believes has to be part of one’s DNA (Gleeson also references his work as Winston Churchill in Into The Storm in the cilp).

Greg Srisavasdi

Greg Srisavasdi worked for over 17 years at Westwood One as a radio producer/interviewer. He is also a member of the BFCA (Broadcast Film Critics Association) and a proud UCLA Bruin (Class of '93). The creator of, he can be reached at for further inquiries.

Greg Srisavasdi has 259 posts and counting. See all posts by Greg Srisavasdi

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