Domhnall Gleeson on Acting: “I think the key is not to be comfortable”

Actor Domnhall Gleeson

“As an actor, you should feel like you’re wrestling the material, like it’s using up your energy and your resources.” – Domnhall Gleeson

The Winnie-the-Pooh stories have entertained children for nearly a century, but what many people don’t know is that author A.A. Milne and his son Christopher — the namesake for Pooh’s friend Christopher Robin — had a difficult relationship, and the success of the Winnie-the-Pooh books only developed a bigger rift between father and son. In Goodbye Christopher Robin, Domhnall Gleeson plays A.A. Milne. In an interview with Time, Gleeson talks about how he got into character — and why for him acting is a totally encompassing process.

Gleeson explains that he feels that acting should be a draining process. He says, “As an actor, you should feel like you’re wrestling the material, like it’s using up your energy and your resources. You should be drained by the process. I think the key is not to be comfortable.”

As an Irish actor, Gleeson had to work on his natural accent to ensure it didn’t creep into his portrayal of the character. His main technique was to use poetry to practice Milne’s voice. He explains, “I would recite poems with my dialogue coach to help practice my voice.” Gleeson used Milne’s accent from waking up to going to bed, believing this would help him portray Milne’s PTSD. He explains, “Portraying PTSD onscreen terrified me. I didn’t want it to come across as a melodramatic thing. I wanted it to feel contained and real.”

Leave a Reply
Linnea Berthelse on Her ‘Stranger Things’ Audition and Keeping Her Role a Secret for a Year
“Sometimes when actors don’t get the part, it’s not always about an actor being a bad actor; it’s about connecting to the material.” – ...
Jonathan Groff on Playing King George III in ‘Hamilton’: “I rehearsed for about a day, and then went into the show”
Can you even imagine stepping into a role in one of the biggest Broadway hits of all time with barely any time to prepare?
Lina Esco on Playing the Only Female Officer on ‘S.W.AT.’: “I have to portray her as someone equal to all of the guys on her team”
"The important thing for me when I read scripts is how much respect I have for the character and how far I can take her" - Lina Esco
Sam Rockwell on Typecasting and One of His Worst Auditions
"I’m kind of a workhorse. It takes a toll" - Sam Rockwell
Rachel Bloom: “The way that I learned comedy was not rigid, but this very specific technique taught by the Upright Citizens Brigade”
"I went from being a person who was doing moderately successful videos online and working as a moderately successful TV writer and aspiring to do this to having a Golden Globe." - Rachel Bloom