Interview: Claire Fox
One of your most renowned roles was as Private Lester Hashey in the cult mini-series Band of Brothers in 2001, how did this role come about?
Somebody saw me in a play in Trinity, an agent came and signed me up. It was a crazy process, I’d auditions 8 times in London.
It was one of the best jobs I’ll ever do. It was a complete one off – the veteran I was playing was still alive; I got to speak with him. They were trying to capture the actual sense of what the soldiers must have felt, that awe. We were all completely overwhelmed by it. The generation who watched it in 2000/01 are now passing it on to their kids which means the audience is still huge.
You recently played the role of Creon in Wayne Jordan’s Abbey Theatre production of Sophocles’ Oedipus, do you enjoy theatre acting as much as TV or film?
I’ve only done about four plays professionally, so I don’t do it that often but I do love it. I didn’t go to drama school, my introduction into acting was Players [Society] in Trinity College. So, in a way my education was theatre but I ended up doing more camera work afterwards. It’s very different, there’s something unbelievably exposing about theatre. It can be just you, wearing clothes that you’d wear on the street, speaking to the room. It’s mad in that way, the simplicity of it all. Then the Abbey, is our National theatre. It’s like a footballer going to play Lansdowne road. It’s the spiritual home of what you do.
So did you just fall into acting in university or was it something that you had always pursued?
Myself and my sister (Amy Huberman) went to acting classes together as kids but my folks were quick to say that secondary school was important and didn’t involve acting. Even at college, it’s funny, you know, to create a career out of it but that’s what people do. I was doing Science in Trinity but I absolutely fell in love with acting. I was studying Science but all the people in Players were studying Drama. I was like Jekyll and Hyde. A scientist by day and putting on plays at night!
I was hooked, I really was. It was impossible not to get hooked, there were great people in Trinity at the time. The modern theatre puts on what they think people will go and see, there’s that compromise between putting on plays that you’ve to get money from, whereas students can do anything they want.
You’re a very diverse actor and regularly work in comedy as well as drama, do you feel Ireland is a hub for comedy actors?
We’ve such an appetite for comedy. It’s huge but more money seems to be put into drama, which is great too. We are perceived as being funny people but I still think we are conditioned for writing incredible drama. I used to find after a serious play, I’d love to do comedy like The Mario Rosenstock Show because the heavy stuff takes its toll. It would be great to marry the two together because sometimes you’re just so calm and relaxed doing the comedy stuff. In this country there’s only so much of any work you can do. If you said all you want to do is comedy acting, you’d struggle.
Your sister is actress and author, Amy Huberman, would you ever like to co-star alongside her in the future?
I would, actually. There was a few scenes in The Clinic where we’d just walk past each other but that was it. I’d love to. It’s easy to say it would be great but it’s not that easy to make it happen. I’d love if we could play brother and sister; it would be brilliant. Hopefully someday.