The Honeymooner: Gerard Kearns
Gerard Kearns talks about the change of pace from the complex love-life of Ian Gallagher in Shameless to downbeat Fran in Col Spector's Honeymooner.
Kearns admits this is what drew him to the script in the first place: "It more mature than roles I’ve played before. The subject that wasn’t as intense as other subjects I’ve played. I thought it would test me and allow me to see myself in a different light."
Playing a more mature role didn’t come as too much of a challenge to Kearns, he admits, "I can be immature but my family and friends say that I’m old before my time. Although I look young, I have an old head on young shoulders. I wanted to show that to myself and to other people."
Kearns did little preparation for his role but he did watch Spector’s earlier film, Someone Else, starring Stephen Mangan, "it was so subtle, as Col says, ‘dry and wry’, and I really liked that aspect of it. It’s got that reality and subtlety that I’ve been drawn to more and more, subtle films that aren’t always about a big subject."
Kearns shares Spector’s desire to present a less laddish male lead and to scrutinise male relationships: "it’s not the stereotypical male banter you usually see. These lads are very sensitive and that says a lot about men. They do talk about relationships and the same things that male TV audiences roll their eyes at when women want to talk about them. I think it’s fifty-fifty. Women are financially independent. As a result, some don’t want to get into serious relationships while men do. I’ve seen that with men I know. They want to settle down, they want structure and stability while women don’t, they want to have a good time."
That said, Kearns does recognise Fran’s less appealing qualities, "he’s a moan. If I was in a bar and he was talking to me I would probably push him onto a friend. I just want banter and I’d feel I couldn’t with him." This doesn’t make Fran any less realistic, "I’ve met a few characters like that which is where I got his tense walk and hunched shoulders."
Despite his flaws, Kearns enjoyed playing Fran who acts as the moral compass in the film, ‘it was nice that Col gave me the opportunity to play the lead, I’ve never done that before and with such a subtle subject. In some films there are extremes of desperate unhappiness and then euphoria when it all comes together. Col didn’t want that and I loved that he didn’t, some days are good and some days are bad. That’s life.’
Col’s meticulous attention to comic timing was challenging to Kearns at first, ‘Col loves his Jewish humour and I think he wanted to incorporate that. I just tried to do what he wanted. That’s all you can do as an actor, you’ve got to try and fit that vision in way that you’re comfortable with.’