Whether or not you’ve heard of him yet, actor Domhnall Gleeson has been on the rise in Hollywood for several years now, and is fast becoming one of the most popular men in the industry. With two more major films hitting theaters this year and a number of other projects in the works, here are nine facts you’ll want to know about your new favorite actor, Domhnall.
1. The “m” is silent
While Domhnall’s name has been butchered in just about every way imaginable, you don’t want to be the the fool that calls him Dome-nail or Dom-hu-naal when you’re trying to have a sophisticated discussion about cinema with your colleagues. Domhnall is a Gaelic name which means “ruler of the world”, and it is actually the name from which “Donald” is derived. Domhnall is pronounced Doe-nahl, “like tonal, but with a ‘d’ instead of a ‘t’ ’’, as Gleeson describes in this video.
2. You’ve probably seen one of his films before
Gleeson recently starred in the hit sci-fi flick Ex Machina, in which he plays a computer programmer involved in an A.I. experiment. He has appeared in several other recent films, including About Time, Unbroken, Anna Karenina, Never Let Me Go, True Grit and Sensation. However, you’ve most likely seen him in the Harry Potter films, where he portrays the eldest Weasley brother and dragon enthusiast, Bill.
3. He is also the star of a ride at Universal Studios (Spoiler alert!)
When Universal Studios Orlando began work on their latest attraction, Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts, they sought to create an original, interactive adventure for guests, rooted in the Harry Potter film canon. What they came up with was a groundbreaking 3-D/roller coaster hybrid starring Domhnall Gleeson! As Bill Weasley, Domhnall guides you on a tour of the Gringotts vaults, which just so happens to take place on the day when Harry and his friends decide to break into the vault of Bellatrix Lestrange. With the new Star Wars film arriving later this year, and a likely expansion of the Star Wars area Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Gleeson may be the first actor to appear in major attractions at both of Orlando’s premier parks.
4. He’s from Ireland, and he’s not just an actor
As you might be able to guess by his Gaelic name, Domhnall Gleeson is Irish, born in Dublin on May 12, 1983. Prior to pursuing a full-time acting career, Gleeson preferred writing and directing and he studied Media Arts at the Dublin Institute of Technology.
5. Talent runs in the family
Gleeson’s father and brother are actors too. His father, Brenden Gleeson actually plays Mad-Eye Moody in the Potter films. Originally, Domhnall was reluctant to take part in the films because he did not want his family to seem nepotistic. Since Potter, Domhnall, his father, and his brother, Brian, have collaborated on several occasions, most notably in the stage play, The Walworth Farce, in which the trio performed together.
6. He loves football
European football, that is. He supports the Aston Villa Football Club. He’s willing to discuss the most recent game in nearly any interview and has described their victories as some of the best days of his life.
7. He’s not married, though he MIGHT have a girlfriend
Though extremely private and unwilling to confirm any rumors, some believe that Gleeson might be dating Irish film producer, Juliette Bonass. The two are longtime friends, and have collaborated on projects including the fundraiser, Immaturity for Charity in 2012.
8. He was nominated for a Tony Award
In addition to his film acting, Gleeson has had a successful stage career. In 2006, he earned a nomination for a Tony Award for his role as Davey in the black comedy, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, which ran on Broadway in 2006.
9. He’s got two great new films coming out this Christmas
At the San Diego Comic Con, it was finally revealed that Gleeson will be playing a character called General Hux in the new Star Wars film, The Force Awakens, which premieres this December. Hux is a general in the First Order (aka the new Empire). Although little is known about the film, the First Order appears to control storm troopers, TIE Fighters, and other remnants of the former Empire, 30 years after the deaths of Vader and Palpatine. In addition to The Star Wars films, Gleeson is also set to star in The Revenant, alongside Tom Hardy and Leonardo Di Caprio. With two guaranteed Christmas blockbusters, Domhnall Gleeson may become one of the most talked-about men in Hollywood by the end of this year.