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Interview: ‘Frank’ European Premiere – Michael Fassbender, Domhnall Gleeson, Lenny Abrahamson


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We sent So Sue Me writer Sam along to last nights European premiere of FRANK – The new film from Director Lenny Abrahamson (of ‘The Garage’ and ‘Adam & Paul’) starring Michael Fassbender, Domhnall Gleeson and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

The premiere was held in the Lighthouse Cinema in Smithfield and was packed to the rafters with Irish celebs and fans alike, all waiting to catch a glimpse of Mr Fassbender.

Frank is an offbeat comedy about a young wannabe musician Jon (played by Gleeson), who finds himself out of his depth when he joins an avant-garde pop band led by the mysterious and enigmatic  Frank (Fassbender) , a musical genius who hides himself in a large fake head, alongside his terrifying band mate Clara (Gyllenhaal).

We were lucky enough to get chatting to Lenny, Domhnall and Michael on the red carpet. Check out how our interview went below, including how Sam managed to make her one question with Fassbender cause him to laugh.


Director Lenny Abrahamson

Q: The film is loosely based on the character Frank Sidebottom, What is it that drew you too this character?

A: It’s more a story of what started it, John started it, John who wrote the screenplay alongside Peter Straughan was in the Frank Sidebottom band in the eighties and he wrote a newspaper article talking about the madness going around with this guy, who quite often didn’t take off that head. Then when he started working on it with Peter they decided they didn’t want to make it a biopic and instead went with a whole creative adventure and they ended up with this fictional Frank who has lots in common with the real Frank but also lots in common with a whole bunch of outsider musicians and crazy band people and and so he’s a sort of mash-up of all these different characters

Q: Was it challenging to direct an actor who had to convey all of his emotions through script and body language only?

A: Its amazing what we are as observers, at finding meaning and understanding things, like if you look at animation and you see a few lines to draw a character that’s well animated it can make you laugh and can make you cry. In the same way Frank is an amazingly expressive character, You cant take your eyes off him in his scenes. A lot of that is down to how brilliantly Michael uses all the other parts of his arsenal, you know? His voice, his movements, How he teases you … You can tease the audience by not knowing what his characters thinking. So its a whole language you have to relearn when you’re making a film with a character that looks like that.

Q: How important is the soundtrack to a film like this?

A: Massive Massive credit goes to Stephen Rennicks who is the composer and he also wrote the soundtrack to the film , the score of the film and all the songs. You have to believe them, You have to believe it’s a band, You have to believe they could be successful. You almost never have that experience and i think in this case we managed to do it.


Domhnall Gleeson

Q: Your character Jon is by far the most normal of the group. What was it like trying to remain focused amongst all the madness and paper mache heads?

A: It was fun because you got to observe the craziness around you, It was great, I really enjoyed it, I got to watch the guys do their thing, It was brilliant.

Q: Do you think with such an Irish influence in the cast that some of our Irish sense of humor made it’s way into the film?

A: I think there was a bit of Irish madness in there maybe. Like you say, no-one in the film is actually Irish, none of the characters are Irish, We had to keep an eye on that too. It’s not a distinctly Irish film necessarily but i think Lenny at the helm is an Irish man so i think some of that comes through.

Q: You were fantastic in Calvary. What was it like working with your Dad, playing the character that you played?

A: Thank you.  It was interesting. It was a fight to the death, I think it was a draw but I’m afraid I’m wrong. More likely that my Dad won that battle.


Michael Fassbender

At this point, Michael was being rushed through to the screening so we were grouped together with two fellow bloggers and given one question each.

Q: Was it liberating as an actor to be hidden behind a mask for an entire film, Did you feel you could be a bit more flamboyant with your body language? ( I also gestured wildly as i said the word flamboyant, this may have caused the laughing)

A: Yes *cracks himself laughing* … Then everybody else laughed.

Well look, I mightn’t have got a lot of info out of him, but i managed to make an Oscar-nominated actor burst out laughing. That’s good enough for me. 😀

Q: In terms of the projects you worked on previous to this, was it a big departure to do something like this? 

A: No to be honest I’m always looking for different things and hopefully each project is different. It was such an unusual script I was laughing out loud when i was reading it. I’m a big fan of Lenny, what he did with ‘The Garage’.

Q: Obviously you’ve been involved with as lot of big American projects, Is it nice to be home and be involved in a few Irish projects?

A: Sure, Whenever the stories are good, wherever they come from, It’s nice that they’re home-grown. I think there’s such a wealth of talent here – Behind the camera, as well as in front, so i think it’s always nice that there are more films being made and coming from Ireland

(Interview conducted by Samantha Gibbons, Last 2 questions from Her.ie and Biffo.ie who were sharing interview with SoSueMe.ie)




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