QUESTION: Is Race To Witch Mountain your first film for Disney?
CIARAN HINDS: I think it is. I had never worked in a Hollywood studio before. Other films that I did were shot in Canada, Europe or a studio like Pinewood in England. So I walked down Dopey Drive and turned round Pluto Corner
QUESTION: You haven’t made too many family films, so what was it about Race To Witch Mountain that appealed to you?
CIARAN HINDS: I met Andy [Fickman, director] for lunch one day. He’d seen a play I was doing in New York, where I was playing the devil, and he needed something pretty dark for his film. So, we had lunch, he paid and I said “yes” and had a fantastic time on the shoot.
QUESTION: You are Irish but you have a great American accent in Race To Witch Mountain. You must have a good ear?
CIARAN HINDS: I always say I can make a mess of any accent. (jokes) There are some very gifted dialect coaches around, especially people like Joan Washington, and they know exactly where you come from as soon as they hear you speak. But for this film I did not have an American voice coach. But to do an American accent then coming from the North of Ireland is as close as anywhere in the British Isles to get that sound.
QUESTION: Is comedy something you would like to do more of?
CIARAN HINDS: Yes I never get offered that. Maybe I would not be very good at it but I would like to have a go. It is true that the most difficult of the arts is comedy. The trick is to make it real.
QUESTION: What is your belief on the idea of UFOs?
CIARAN HINDS: I am not really into the science fiction film genre, so before this I had not really given UFOs much of a thought. But then you realize that there are different levels and strata of people all over the place who believe. That was what I loved about the story of Race To Witch Mountain; it was trying to combine the possibility of it being real with the humour of what an alien might be really like.
QUESTION: What jobs, unusual or otherwise, have you had to do in the past to make ends meet?
CIARAN HINDS: One of the weirdest jobs I had was after I’d left drama school and was looking for my kick-off, I got a job working in Harrods packing department, which paid about £20 for a 40-hour week. We were packing this stuff like really fine saucers and cups that was going at that stage, in about 1975, to Iran. It was golden leaf. But I remember packing these things, because you had to cost them, and a saucer was, say, £58… for a saucer! I was earning £20 a week and the things you wanted to do to that saucer! It was unfair! There was about £1,000 worth of saucers in that box. It was quite a lesson and I had this nasty Radio 1 music blaring out all day.
QUESTION: Do you have any memories of working with Michael Mann on Miami Vice?
CIARAN HINDS: I have very quick memories of doing three night shoots in Miami. I had been flown in to do one night, flown out, flown in again to do two nights while working on Munich at the same time. So, all I can remember is flying in, trying to get through the night and then flying out again to go back to the other job. But he was shooting with these Viper High Definition cameras that seemed never to switch off. Usually the camera runs out of film, but these things seemed to go on forever. So, I also remember that, for me, it was a three-night scramble.
QUESTION: Who were your acting heroes who encouraged you to follow your career and did you ever get a chance to work with any of them?
CIARAN HINDS: Well, when I started acting I wasn’t that much aware of the film world. It was more a theatrical tradition that we had in Ireland. I went to a drama school that liked to play stories on the stage, really. I have a memory of going back and seeing Midnight Cowboy with a friend of mine for the first of mine. That seemed, to me, to take film into a strange, dark territory that I’d never been in before and I remember thinking what a remarkable film it was. But there’s so many you go to… all those geniuses such as Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant and Frederick March. There were so many of them and they were just fantastic. I’d watch them on television.
QUESTION: When you were a young actor starting out at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow, did you imagine this was how your career was going to pan out?
CIARAN HINDS: No, I did not have the imagination for that. I never ever looked forward and I am still a day to day guy. I never think about what I want or what I might aspire to. The work is the moment. If you say you are doing a role so that you might get from Point A to Point B, then you are not doing Point A properly. You just try to do each role as best you can and commit to it. There are no guarantees.