Jack Reynor talks 'Glassland' and 2017's 'Jungle Book: Origins'

Photo Credit: Photo by Andrew Cooper - © 2013 Paramount Pictures
February 18th, 2016

Jack Reynor is about to have the biggest year of his career with upcoming films including: Sing Street, HHhH with Rosamund Pike, Free Fire with Brie Larson and in 2017 will star as Brother Wolf in Jungle Book: Origins starring Christian Bale and directed by the brilliant Andy Serkis. Kicking his 2016 year off though is a wonderful film called Glassland where Jack stars as a young Irish man dealing with his alcoholic mother and the underworld of human trafficking. Jack was gracious enough to sit down with us here at TheMovieNetwork.com and tell us all about this new film which was just released in theaters and On Demand on February 12th.

Nick Leyland from TMN: You're from Ireland, aren't you? 

Jack Reynor: Yeah, that's right. I'm from County Wicklow in Ireland.

TMN: Oh, it must have been cool filming this movie there, huh? 

Jack Reynor: Absolutely, man. It was great to be able to sleep in my own bed every night. That was kind of fantastic. And yeah, I mean I was saying in an interview a couple of minutes ago that this film that we made, Glassland, it's a really inherently Irish film. And although its got very broad, very universal themes, it says a lot about Irish society, and it says a lot about how we relate to addiction and how... The impact that that has on our families. And I was kind of more concerned than anything about how the Irish audience is gonna respond to this film. And the movie was released here about a year ago, and people really responded to it very positively, which was great, man. It was really fantastic and it helped me assuage my fears.

Jack Reynor: So, now that the film has been released in the States, and we're getting all these really nice reviews and really flattering remarks from critics over there. It's just a really nice added bonus, man. I'm glad that the film is being so well received in the States as well, albeit that it's a small film.

TMN: You played John and you can't help and have your heart break for this guy. You know what I mean? He's bearing so much weight on his shoulders.

Jack Reynor: Yeah, man. Of course, yeah. I think he's kind of one of those unsung, kind of silent heroes, in a way, for want of a better word. He's not in a sense like a saint himself. He's got his own thing going on, but at the end of the day, he's that person who's just relentlessly just trying to be solid and trying to be a support for his mother, and for his family. And there's so many people like that, man. In this country and everywhere, really. So I think that this film is just kind of a tip of the hat to those people, really.

© Courtesy of Sundance Institute

(Jack Reynor in Glassland)

TMN: And John has so much pressure, including dealing with his alcoholic mother played by Toni Collette. How did you two play off each other for these scenes because they had to be so emotionally draining? 

Jack Reynor: Yeah, that was incredibly intense, and we only had Toni on set for five days. The entire shoot was 16 days. So, as you can imagine, that was pretty hard core, man. And Toni was amazing. She turned up on set, and I've never experienced an actor commit and dedicate themselves to a role as much as she did with this film. She really was just astonishing in her approach. And yeah, it was kind of like, just to witness, just to see how she did it was amazing. I got so much admiration for her and really she absolutely boggles my mind.

TMN: Now, were there any scenes in particular that stood out for you as some of the best in the movie you feel? 

Jack Reynor: Well, I think that on the whole there was no real easy scene to film. It was all quite difficult and all quite intense. I think my favorite scenes in the film... I like the scene where John takes his younger brother out for a spin in the car. That's a really beautiful scene I think. And also the scene where he said goodbye to his best mate, and the guy who is also was really his brother at the airport. And then I think also the scene where John and his mother are in the rehabilitation center and they're sitting on the couch together and he's holding her hand. I think that that's very tender, very intimate moments in the film and it provides a lot of hope moment.

Jack Reynor: So, those are kind of the stand-out scenes in the film for me. Those are the scenes that motivated me to do that film, if you know what I mean. That's like, yes, okay. It's great that we have all the intensity of screaming in the car and smashing the place up, or when she flips out at me in the kitchen. You have to have all those things to show the rawness and the bitterness, and the reality of the situation. But it's the moments where there's hope and the moments where there's tenderness and love between these people that really make it a special film in my opinion.

Photo by Andrew Cooper - © 2013 Paramount Pictures.

(Jack Reynor in Transformers: Age of Extinction)

TMN: How much different is it to work on this film compared to some of the other stuff you've done, like Transformers and Macbeth, those huge big films, you know? 

Jack Reynor: For me, man it's about as far away from Transformers as you can possibly get.


Jack Reynor: And that's actually why I did it, to be honest with you. I wanted it to be something that was a polar opposite to Transformers after I finished that. Because my belief is that diversity in your choices is what keeps you alive as an actor. So it's about constantly reinventing yourself and doing something to kind of surprise your audience. So yeah, I mean, this for me was the perfect film to do after a big, you know, 150-200 million dollar movie. This was something that we shot for 400 grand and we shot it in 16 days. I mean it was like... It was just incredible, man. The speed in which we made the film, and just the amount of content that was on top in terms of, you know... An opportunity to really perform and really demonstrate what you do as an actor. It was just a dream come true, man.

Jack Reynor: And the people that we worked on the film with are all phenomenal people. We had obviously Gerard Barrett, who is a really unique and interesting voice, in terms of directing coming from Ireland at the moment. Piers McGrail was the DP. He's like 27 years of age and he's just got an incredible eye for cinematography. It was produced by my very good friends Ed and Andrew Lowe over at Element. You know, they're up for their Oscar nomination for Room, which is great. And obviously, now Will and Toni were incredible to work with. Not to mention Harry, who played my brother with Down Syndrome in the film. I mean, his approach to the film was incredibly brave and he put in such a strong performance. So yeah, just what a pleasure to work on something like that.

TMN: I wanna talk a little bit about you for a second. What films did you grow up watching that got you into film? 

Jack Reynor: Die Hard was the first one.


Jack Reynor: That's for sure. I was like six years of age, man and I used to watch it... I used to watch it all the way to the end, and then I would rewind it all the way back to the beginning, and just start watching it again. And I watched it three or four times in a day. Like I'd do other stuff, I'd be sitting there playing around with toys and doing other things, but the film would always be on in the background. So, that kind of started me off. And even before that I looked at Jungle Book from the age of like three, I think. I think that's the first time I can remember sitting down to watch a film, and knowing that I was gonna have an experience. You know what I mean? Anticipating the experience of watching a film. It was the Jungle Book which, ironically I'm actually in the new one now, which is fantastic. But there was that, there was obviously Star Wars, was huge for me. I remember the first time I saw Darth Vader, I s%$# my pants. Not really but figuratively speaking.


Jack Reynor: Yeah man, that was the kind of, some of the ones that got me into it. Then as I got older, I mean, my dad used to put on The Marx Brothers for me and he'd put on Norman Wisdom, and he'd put on all these, kind of like, classic comedies and you know, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, those kinds of things. So, even from a very young age I had a broad interest in cinema. So that was great.

TMN: You mentioned the new Jungle Book, which I'm excited about. I want to ask your opinion, how is it different than the Jungle Book that's coming out this year? 

Jack Reynor: Man, I have no idea, because I haven’t seen that film and I imagine that that film is gonna be based more so on the animated Jungle Book from the 1960s that we all know and love, whereas our Jungle Book at Warner Brothers is based more so on Kipling's Jungle Book as in, you know, the original source material. So, I mean from working with Andy on that film, what I've gathered about it was, that he wanted to create something that was completely new and something really special. As to have these animals be almost mystical in their presentation and in their appearance. And I think it's gonna be probably a bit darker than the Disney one.

Jack Reynor: But I mean, look dude, it's got an incredible strong cast. There's Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Benedict Cumberbatch, Peter Mullan. Not to mention, you know, Naomie Harris, Eddie Marsan, Tom Hollander and there's this great kid, Rohan Chand, who plays Mowgli in it. And I've never made a film like that before in my life, obviously. It's kind of a very unique thing to work with Andy Serkis. And it's a wonderful experience, I mean, kind of one of the most profound experiences I've ever had in my life. Regardless of film making even, just as an experience that was phenomenal and I would love to work with Andy anytime on anything. So yeah, I'm really anticipating that movie, man. I think it's gonna be very good. I've got a small part in it. I mean, I'm not by any stretch kind of one of the lead roles, but it was just, just to be there and just to see how it was put together and to have an opportunity to muck in and try and do something with the character that I had was, it was brilliant man, brilliant.

TMN: I was reading about you. You have some major films coming out over the next year. What are you looking forward to the most? 

Jack Reynor: I think, Sing Street is really good, man. I saw it for the first time two weeks ago and I was blown away by it. When we shot film, I was kind of primarily focused on my own character obviously and most of his scenes take place in his bedroom with his brother. Just on their own. So, that was where my head was at when I made the film but to watch everything else that happened and to watch what John kind of created and whittled down in the edit is just beautiful, man. It's really an incredibly heart-felt film. I don't think I've ever done a film that was such a 'feel good' film. It has moments of serious darkness in it where it's quite striking in that way. But at the heart of it, it's a film that is completely about hope, man. It's beautiful and it says so much about John as a person as well as a director, but as a person, I'm very proud of that film.

Jack Reynor: So, I think that can be a really good one. Also, Free Fire which is the movie I did with Ben Wheatley. I absolutely love that film, dude. It's so f%$^&#@ cool. It's insane. It's set in the late 1970s in Boston. It's got an ensemble cast. It's basically the ultimate gun fight movie man. Like really f#[email protected]%^& awesome, awesome film which I'm also very proud to be a part of. Everybody who was in that was just so cool, man. It was Cillian Murphy, Michael Smiley, Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Sharlto Copley, Noah Taylor, Babou Ceesay. All these guys, man. It was just a total pleasure to work with them all. It was maybe the most fun I have ever had making a movie, making that one. It was just brilliant. Ben Wheatley, again, there's another incredibly unique and exciting voice in British film right now. Man, if the opportunity presents itself for me to work with Ben again, I'm all over it, man, all over it.