“I’m not Tom Cruise”, says Gabriel Byrne at one point during this conversation to promote his new memoir, Walking With Ghosts.
Having reached the age of seventy earlier this year, an Irishman resident in Manhattan in a life largely out of the public gaze (he and wife number two, Hannah, have a three-year-old child), Byrne is refreshingly intelligent and forthright about both his childhood as a devout Catholic in Dublin and the game of fame in Hollywood.
He may not have reached the dizzying heights of fame of a Cruise, Pitt or Pacino (to pick a closer contemporary), but in forty plus years in the profession he describes as “shamanic”, he has made a mark in films such as Miller’s Crossing, Defence of the Realm, The Usual Suspects and more recently Louder Than Bombs.
On television he was the psychiatrist in need of therapy himself in In Treatment and in recent years he’s been back in the theatre: as Arthur in the musical Camelot (no singer, this was not a great success) and as James Tyrone on Broadway in Long Day’s Journey into Night.
The conversation between Byrne and Una Mullallay covers a variety of topics including religion “the only woman you could think about was the Virgin Mary”, Hollywood publicists and “playing the game”, and the symbolic significance of the world around us.
Reading from the memoir Byrne retains his Irish lilt and clearly has a great affinity with the land of his birth. Walking With Ghosts feels a more reflective and mature book than Pictures in My Head (1994), but would seem to be a worthy companion purchase.
An Evening With Gabriel Byrne is a Fane Productions event. I purchased via TakeYourSeats.ie but you can also buy direct. The event is available on demand until 23 November but my experience was that you can only watch once. Packages with or without the book are available.