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Trick or treacle?
It’s the year’s unlikeliest buddy movie, throwing together an Irish eccentric and a homeless englishman who’s walked out on his family. Actor Aidan Gillen tells us about the real life inspiration behind his oddball character, and gives us the inside beef on the next season of fantasy sauce-fest Game of Thrones, which has just started shooting in Belfast.
Stuart Clark, 29 Aug 2011
“I see a lot of parallels between him and Daniel Johnston. Aidan hasn’t brought out any albums since the ‘80s, but they’re both outsider artists who’ve been embraced to lesser and greater extents by the mainstream. He also belongs to that line of great Dublin characters going back to Bang Bang and Matt Talbot even.”
If you’re not au fait with those gentlemen, the always-obliging Mr. Google will fill you in.
“Jamie and I want to make it clear though that Treacle Jr. is not Aidan Walsh’s story,” he stresses. “My character is based on him, but what happens in the film isn’t necessarily a reflection of what’s happened to Aidan in real life.”
Despite the declaimer, you doubt whether Thraves would have the Treacle Jr. Aidan tell Rian Steele’s tart with absolutely no heart Linda, “I’ve never really done this (have sex) before... well maybe at the school with one of the Christian Brothers” unless there was some factual basis for it.
“Like I say, none of it is based on anything that I know to have happened,” Gillen insists. “In films that directors and actors devise between them, the latter will nearly always pull these characters from people they’ve encountered. We told Aidan what was going to be in the film, and he was okay with it all.”
In what is likely to be the year’s unlikeliest buddy movie, Aidan befriends Tom Fisher’s Tom – Thraves isn’t mad gone on changing Christian names – who’s been sleeping rough since walking out on his seemingly perfect marriage.
“It’s actually supposed to be Tom’s story, not Aidan’s,” Gillen laughs. “How Jamie describes it is that, ‘Tom’s in this arty, moody film where he’s walking around in his black coat and not saying anything and then it’s hijacked by this fucker! And he’s thinking, ‘This is my film about my breakdown!’”
All I’ll say about Treacle Jr.’s big denouement is that it starts with Linda calling Aidan “a slow spasticated cunt” as he finally realises she’s bad news and chucks her out of his flat.