Domhnall Gleeson on ‘About Time’ and Rehearsing Sex Scenes with Rachel McAdams in Her Trailer

Audiences are probably familiar with Domhnall Gleeson — he was Bill Weasley in Harry Potter, after all — but playing the lead role in About Time is somewhat uncharted territory for the up and coming star. In the movie, which writer/director Richard Curtis says will be his last, Gleeson plays Tim, a timid man who learns he has the ability to time travel. I talked with Gleeson about filming the movie, time travel and rehearsing sex scenes with Rachel McAdams in her trailer.

On what drew him to About Time: “I read the script, and I thought it was hilarious and very touching, and made me excited to read on to the end which I think is always a good sign. And then I met with Richard and I’ve always been a fan of his work, and he was even more lovely than I heard he was, which was very lovely, and that made me want to be in it. The opportunity to be in a comedy that I enjoy and finally all of the actors who came on board who got me more and more excited.”

On the pressure of his first lead role: “I did feel the pressure. The first time I met [Richard Curtis] he told me this would be the last movie he would direct; that adds its own pressure. … This appreciation for life, it’s something that Richard takes very seriously, and he’s applied to his own life. And he wants to let people know that its okay to notice the small things. And it was really important for him to get that message across. You don’t want to mess up that message, because if you do, it’s his last film and you’ve messed up his last film. You know, it would be totally horrific, I’d feel totally guilty.”

Where he would go, given the ability to time travel: “In terms of reliving some moments, going back and maybe reliving things that I don’t remember so well, that I didn’t pay attention to so much. … You know, probably spending time with my grandparents who passed on and going back and being young enough to really believe that you could grow up to be Superman. All the wonders of the world. There are things that would be fun to experience again. … But apart from than that, I feel like I am excited about the things that are happening in my life now. And I feel that I didn’t mess up the past too much and perhaps I should be happy with what I’ve got at the moment. Or that’s the way I’m looking at it.”

What he learned shooting the movie: “Getting to spend time with all these these people, getting to be the lead in the movie, these are things I never thought would happen in a million years. So reminding yourself to say, ‘God this is a good day’ when it’s a good day. I have taken that. And every now and again I do find myself thinking it. Or noticing something on the street, and saying, ‘You know what, that’s pretty cool,’ just taking the time to soak it in, before moving on with your daily life I feel like I have taken a bit of a little something from the film. I now know really cool people, which is another great thing to take from the job.”

On rehearsing sex scenes with Rachel McAdams in her trailer: “After having the bed in rehearsal all the time and not using it, you end up in these conditions, trying out different positions. And that’s when you realize what a ridiculous thing you’re doing. Particularly with Richard in the corner, looking on, saying he felt like somebody who couldn’t have sex and had to hire people to have sex in front of him so that he could watch them do it. And we would never be more than five feet from the toilet, because we were in this caravan, like the trailer, doing it and the toilet was like three feet away. It was bizarre. And the assistant director comes in to remind him that you have to be on set in five minutes. And he was like, “What the hell’s going on in here.” It was a bizarre schedule.  And the only place you find it is when people are getting ready to make movies. I think. As far as I know. That’s my personal experience.”

About Time is in theaters today, nearly 10 years to the day after another Richard Curtis film — Love Actually, perhaps you’ve heard of it — was released. You can watch Celebuzz’s interview with Gleeson’s co-stars, Rachel McAdams and Bill Nighy, here.