Star Wars is the most secrecy I’ve ever had to work with, says Domnhall Gleeson

"Once I got to set, the way JJ was working and the love, the genuine love for Star Wars that was everywhere on set – it made me want to protect those secrets”

Being a part of the next Star Wars films might look pretty cool – you get to work with JJ Abrams, hang out with Harrison Ford, be part of a beloved franchise and maybe even hold a lightsaber for a bit – but it’s not all fun and games for the cast.


“I would say it’s the most secrecy I’ve had to work with, just because you have to sign so many things,” About Time actor Domnhall Gleeson told

“I don’t even talk about it – I’m not even afraid I’ll let anything slip anymore, I’m just aware that it’s actually boring, because I know the answer is I can’t talk about it.”

While one trailer has been released most of the details of the space opera sequel are unknown (including the identity of Gleeson’s character), although we have picked up a few extra snippets about character names and possible plotlines over the last few months.

Still, the erstwhile Bill Weasley said he was more than happy to work under the restrictions to keep the fans in the dark – because it’s all part of the finished product.

“Once I got to set, the way JJ was working and the love, the genuine love for Star Wars that was everywhere on set – it made me want to protect those secrets,” he said. “It wasn’t like I was contractually obliged to keep them.”

He added: “I trust them with it – it’s not one of those moneymaking schemes, though I’m sure it will make money. The love for those movies, what those movies meant to them, to everybody on that film – you could really feel it.

“I’m really proud of it– I hope it’s good! We’re in trouble if it’s not…”

Gleeson will next be seen in 28 Days Later scribe Alex Garland’s directorial debut Ex Machina, which follows the story of a young coder (Gleeson) who meets an enigmatic tech billionaire (Oscar Isaac) to help him test the Artificial Intelligence of his latest robot creation (Alicia Vikander). But as time goes on, he begins to wonder which one he should really be trusting…

“This is the sort of film I’ve always wanted to be in,” Gleeson said. “Personal sci-fi fascinates me – there’s three people for most of it and it’s so claustrophobic, but not in a way that’s punishing. I could not stop reading the script.”

“I kept thinking I knew what would happen next, and I was wrong! Normally in a film with lots of twists and turns half of them don’t make sense, they’re just there for their own sakes. This one, everything makes sense.”

And of course Gleeson could draw on a bit of previous experience for the film, having previously played a sexy robot himself in Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror episode Be Right Back, co-starring with Hayley Atwell in 2013.

“Black Mirror, I read that and I had another offer for a movie at the same time that was a bigger movie, an actual film as opposed to TV,” Gleeson told us, “but I was said no, it has to be Black Mirror. And it hadn’t been sold to Netflix, hadn’t gone abroad at that point – but it’s just good work, that’s all there is to it.”

Since Gleeson’s appearance in the series Black Mirror has become available in America – is he pleased with the reaction?

“It’s brilliant man – I’ve heard from really cool people about it too, it’s really making a name for itself, but rightly so – it’s quality work. [Charlie Brooker]’s a very good writer, they got in very good directors, they got good actors! I’m delighted to be a part of it.”

Though Gleeson says despite his Black Mirror experience he refrained on giving “robot tips” to Alicia Vikander, he later makes clear how close the actors became on the “claustrophobic” set of Ex Machina – including Inside Llewyn Davis star Oscar Isaac, with whom Gleeson is starring with in a certain little-known JJ Abrams sci-fi picture (which he still can’t talk about).

“The table read for Star Wars was exciting – and very fun to see Oscar there! A friendly face, it’s fantastic. I understood how lucky I was to be in the room. And really tried to drink it in while I was there, the madness of it.” 

Although of course, that’s about all we’ll hear from him on Oscar’s role in the Star Wars world either…

“I’m not allowed to talk about whether I’ve worked with him or not, I’m not allowed to talk about anything. All I’m allowed to say is that I was at a table read with him and that we’re both in the movie – we hope!” 

Well, glad that’s cleared everything up then.


Ex Machina is released in UK cinemas on the 21st of January