Gleeson is a great, unexpected addition to the already stacked cast of ‘The Kitchen.’
Remember when it felt like Domhnall Gleeson was in every single movie out there? Particularly throughout 2014 and 2015, we saw him playing a variety of lead and supporting roles in every film under the sun. All of his 2015 releases were nominated for Academy Awards too. That kind of exposure, especially coupled with the fact that he got to feature in a gargantuan franchise film like Star Wars: The Force Awakens, put him on everyone’s radar in the best way.
The Hollywood Reporter has announced that Gleeson is now in final talks to join Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish, and Elisabeth Moss in The Kitchen, an adaptation of the Vertigo Comics series of the same name. To be directed by Andrea Berloff (co-writer of Straight Outta Compton), The Kitchen will focus on some especially formidable women; the wives of Irish mob bosses who take over their husbands’ shady businesses in 1970s Hell’s Kitchen, only to discover that they are fantastic at it, and ruthless to boot.
The world loves McCarthy, Haddish, and Moss individually, and those are the actors who will really sell The Kitchen. But what does a daunting match then look like when we’re already primed to root for these women? Before Gleeson’s casting, I probably wouldn’t have cared much about which men were even boarding this particular project, but it’s nice to be proven wrong sometimes.
According to THR, Gleeson will play Gabriel O’Malley, a Vietnam War veteran turned hitman for the mob who skipped town in order to escape the police. He eventually returns to Hell’s Kitchen to “settle scores” after the wives have taken over the joint. While that doesn’t necessarily confirm O’Malley to be an outright adversary, he did work for the gangsters — the husbands — in the past. He isn’t above self-preservation, though, and this could mean that his allegiances are flimsy at best; he could very well be a wildcard in the film.
In this regard, Gleeson is both a delightfully left-field choice to play O’Malley, yet still almost an obvious one when we consider the chameleonic nature of his filmography.
Perhaps Gleeson doesn’t immediately cut the most imposing silhouette, especially when it comes to playing hitmen, but his versatility is palpable in the way he shifts between different projects throughout his career. The actor doesn’t think we notice just how multifaceted his work is, having said in 2015 that “Whoever is going to see Star Wars is going to see Star Wars. Whoever is going to see The Revenant is going to see The Revenant. They’re not going to see how versatile I am as an actor.” But how could anyone not, when he transitions between such notable extremes from film to film?
When attempting to compare Gleeson’s existing filmography with what The Kitchen has in store for him, General Hux in Star Wars could be seen as a good precursor to a role like O’Malley. Overall, Gleeson’s appearances in Star Wars have been minimal. Nevertheless, he makes the most of what he’s given. For instance, Hux’s First Order speech in The Force Awakens isn’t the most original thing out there, but Gleeson’s delivers those lines with such conviction, ruthlessness and pent-up rage.
There is no clear-cut blueprint within Gleeson’s work that could easily compare otherwise. He has been known to play some very non-intimidating roles fantastically (About Time, Brooklyn), although some of his work has a bite to it. His part in Ex Machina is a great example of the kind of subtly calculating character Gleeson so proficiently portrays. Getting to depict such an openly lethal character in The Kitchen would be another great change for Gleeson. The film provides him with further opportunities to keep oscillating between different genres very effectively.
In the last year, Gleeson has done family-friendly fare such as Goodbye Christopher Robin and Peter Rabbit, and he appeared as the Oldest Son in Darren Aronofsky’s divisive mother!. He also recently starred alongside Will Forte in the biographical comedy about the rise and fall of the National Lampoon titled A Futile and Stupid Gesture. Up next, Gleeson will reunite with Frank director Lenny Abrahamson for a horror film that is due out this August.