Irish actor Aidan Gillen, 50, stars in Project Blue Book (starts Thu., Mar. 28 at 8.30pm; SBS) as Dr J. Allen Hynek, who examined UFO sightings for the US Air Force from the late-1940s on. Watch the trailer below.
Were you familiar with this era of US history?
Familiar and not. I wouldn’t call myself an expert but it’s been so mined in pop culture and there’s been an enduring fascination with UFOs. I was well into Close Encounters of the Third Kind growing up and had read a few books. I’m not a total sci-fi geek, but I knew who Allen Hynek was and what he did. Not as much as I do now!
UFOs were a mainstream obsession for years, but not so much now. Why do you think that is?
I would argue people would be more likely to report seeing something now and not be afraid of being ridiculed. Because everyone has a camera phone, it’s harder to get away with a story or sighting nowadays, so it’s like, “If you saw something, why didn’t you take a picture of it?” I do think it’s still there in the culture, but in the 1950s, it was much more of a real thing and people were afraid of a lot of things, especially things coming out of the sky.
Which are you: sceptic or believer?
In terms of “are we alone in the universe?”, I’d say probably not. Have we been visited? I would be uncertain there. Probably not, but it’s possible. Will there ever be contact? Probably, but it might just be signals from light years away.
It wasn’t quite a blaze of glory, but did you enjoy your Game of Thrones demise?
Kind of a blaze of glory in terms of that show. I loved my time on there, for sure. That was a ride of a lifetime and I’m excited to see what they do. I hope it’s really surprising, thrilling and shocking.
It’s been 20 years since Queer As Folk launched. What did you love about your character, Stuart?
He was so bold and brash and unapologetic and dangerous. [The show] was something that hadn’t really been done before. There was something explosive about it.