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You Don't Know Jack
Still in his teens, he’s one of television’s hottest properties – but for Jack Gleeson, it seems there’s more to life than red carpets and critical acclaim.
Dave Hanratty, 04 May 2012
Seven years on, Gleeson’s screen presence is as commanding as any of those stars’, as he expertly inhabits the character of the cruel Joffrey Baratheon. So, how does it feel to be one of the most hated men on TV?
“It’s weird,” he says. “It’s not something that I really think about that much because it’s such a small part of my life now. 99% of the time I’m just Jack, whereas that 1% of the time I think about Game Of Thrones. I suppose it’s a compliment to my acting ability, but nobody is ever mean to me on the streets or anything (laughs). Everyone’s lovely. There’s no real downside to it.”
Ireland’s relative lack of a celebrity culture allows Gleeson to just get on with things, whether it’s immersing himself in his studies at Trinity College (he’s currently halfway through a four-year course in Philosophy, World Religions and Theology) or going to gigs with friends. In many respects, he’s just your average student, albeit one with something of a seasoned head on his shoulders.
“I’ve always, the past few years at least anyway, wanted to be a lecturer or professor,” he confesses, “but that’s because I feel like I’d be good at it. If I were to have a dream job, it would probably be a poet. Then again, I don’t think I’m a very good poet! I don’t write that often, not as much as I used to. I like a lot of Irish poetry because I think it’s easier to connect to in some ways, the intonation and the rhythm, but I don’t like writing it because I’m not good at it. I think it’s fascinating though. I keep trying to define poetry but it’s so difficult.”
Not for the first time, Gleeson shows something of a self-deprecating side. Is he really so convinced of his own shortcomings?
“Maybe,” he ponders. “Not necessarily. I suppose the acting business is so fickle. It’s not really to do with talent, you know? HBO are very good at casting the best actors though. They don’t really care if you’re good-looking or not, most of the time. Have I experienced much of the fickle side? A little bit, a little bit. It’s more the showbiz side that isn’t nice, the red carpet thing. I try to stay away from that.”