Cast & Crew: Adian Gillen


Blue-eyed, dark-haired Adian Gillen was made known throughout England for his part in Queer as Folk, but it wasn't until he portrayed the deeply twisted and yet almost likable Carver Doone that he became known in the United States. Carver is a complex character, and Adian plays him with a sensuous intensity.

The thoughtful and private young Dubliner did not have formal training as an actor but started doing plays as a teenager around his home city where his sister is also an actress. Aidan came to London when he was 19 years-old. His first paid job -- four lines -  was alongside Maggie Smith and Bob Hoskins in the feature film “The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne.” His first important break came in a production of “Handful of Stars” at the Bush Theatre in West London. From there, it was just a short walk to BBC Television Centre where he found roles in several BBC dramas.

 Aidan can play a loving dad for real, but admirers of his professional work delight in his ability to chill, play the baddie and  generally spook audiences. The actor raised the hairs on the back of producer Deirdre Keir’s neck within two lines of starting his first read-through for “Lorna Doone.” 

I like playing bad people,” says Aidan. “I suppose it feels glamorous sometimes to do the baddie. It’s the glamour of evil.  Like many of the best villains, Carver Doone is talked about a lot more than he is seen. His brooding, murderous presence casts a shadow over the whole story.

 “Carver Doone is evil, but I have some sympathy for him. What really attracted me to this character is this obsession he has for Lorna. I found that idea quite interesting. He’s 14 years older than her. Carver and Lorna have been destined to eventually marry. He has been waiting for her. But when she grows up she is reluctant to have anything to do with him, pushing him away. Carver does not take to that too well. The more she pushes him away, the more he wants her. He has to have her because he gets everything he wants. She is the key to his accession and regaining the Doones’ power. I believe he thinks he loves her. But he also really loves himself, he’s quite self-obsessed. He just wants to possess her.”

gillen1.jpg (23879 bytes) He did have a few problems with his role as Carver. “There are a certain few minutes when you first put on your gear. You worry about being taken seriously. I had a problem with that - the long boots and so on. I’ve had that ever since I saw Jack and the Beanstalk. I try not to think about the pantomime thing too much.”

And the trouble with being an actor is that there is always an audience. As director Mike Barker shouted ‘Cut!’ after the scene in the church where Carver attacks Lorna, the cast and crew packed into church, in true pantomime style, suddenly booed the villain. Aidan, however, was pleased: “I quite like the idea of playing the baddie in a Christmas production. I don’t think I’d like to play the good guy anyway.

Back home, it’s a different story with his partner Olivia, two year old daughter Berry and new baby Joe. His idea of a day off from acting is “taking babies for walks in the park.”