"The Irish like nothing more than complaining about depictions of themselves" - Jon Hamm on Wild Mountain Thyme controversy
When Jon Hamm says doze tings.
There's no such thing as bad publicity, and there's plenty of interest in the release of Wild Mountain Thyme that happened yesterday.
It's one of the most talked-about movies of the year (in Ireland, at least), thanks mostly to its hilariously twee trailer which brought out the best in Irish social media.
Jon Hamm, star of Wild Mountain Thyme, has been having his say about what he generously describes as a 'bit of blowback'.
Speaking to Bill Simmons on his podcast, the Hammster discussed the reception the movie has received after the trailer was released on social media in November;
"It's getting kind of a bit of blowback, mostly from the Irish because they like nothing more than complaining about depictions of themselves. Kind of like the people from Boston.
"But then they begrudgingly love it so it comes full circle, it wouldn't be good unless they complained about it, that's my take."
Hamm went on to offer his insight on why that depiction might have touched a nerve. It is, of course, the identity struggle that has divided this island for generations - farmers vs. tech workers.
"But the Irish are like, "you're telling this weird fairytale, not all of us are farmers, some of us work for Google" and you're like, "fine, we're not telling the story about the Irish tech boom of the 90s, this is not what we're doing. We're telling a fable, it's a fable and it's a beautifully told, snark-free... it's just earnest, it's a love story."
With an added donkey proposal thrown in for good measure, too.
To be fair, Hamm is very warm about Ireland, the time he spent here whilst filming and, of course, Wild Mountain Thyme has entertained us all thoroughly. With that in mind, Jon Hamm, we'll give you a pass.
Here's a transcript of the chat in full below.
(Watch/listen out for a truly spectacular pronunciation of Ballina.)
Simmons: When you did this new movie, did you just want to go to Ireland for four months or did you like the script? What was it? 50/50?
Hamm: It wasn't 50/50. The Ireland stuff was a complete bonus. For me, it was working with John Patrick Shanley, who did Moonstruck and Joe Vs. The Volcano and all this other stuff. He's a hero of mine. And I had met him a couple of times. He's a quintessential New York guy, Irish Catholic, like the whole thing, wears his heart on his sleeve, he's an amazing writer, an amazing creative force and I loved his work and I'd seen the play that this movie was based on.
And in the play my character's just spoken about, he doesn't have any lines, he doesn't have any words. Essentially, I got to originate this character, which was kind of cool. And it was a straight offer, he was like, 'I really want you to play this part, I want you to come do this.'
And I was like, 'oh, and it's in Ireland? Ok, that sounds amazing!' And it was, it was amazing. I'd never been to Ireland. It definitely made me wanna go back. Nine of out ten people who watch the movie is like, 'I want to go to Ireland immediately', cos it really does represent, he represents... and it's getting kind of a bit of blowback, mostly from the Irish because they like nothing more than complaining about depictions of themselves. Kind of like the people from Boston.
Simmons: I was gonna say, Bostoners comes from Ireland.
Hamm: There's a lot of shared DNA in there. But then they begrudgingly love it so it comes full circle, it wouldn't be good unless they complained about it, that's my take.
But the Irish are like, 'you're telling this weird fairytale, not all of us are farmers, some of us work for Google' and you're like, 'fine, we're not telling the story about the Irish tech boom of the 90s, this is not what we're doing. We're telling a fable, it's a fable and it's a beautifully told, snark-free, it's just earnest, it's a love story.'
Like I said, that sensibility and that emotion and that tone is the perfect antidote for all of 2020 and everybody's angry and people want to burn statehouses, or you could watch a love story and chill for an hour and a half.
Simmons: The Irish people are like, 'you think you're better than me?' 'You're not better than me, who are you Jon Hamm?'
Simmons: What was your most fun night in Ireland?
Hamm: It really is, it sounds like a cliché or a stereotype, it's just, people are friendly, and especially in pubs when the music is playing.
That's what they're there for. They are there for the community experience. They're there for the thing. And again, it feels like it was 100 years ago because you're looking around or I'm remembering being in a place where there are 65 people singing, drinking, breathing in each others' faces. I hope we get to do that again soon.
It was so lovely. (John) Krasinski came over because Emily is his wife, brought the kids and the whole thing. And the producers would hang out and John would come and everyone was so nice, there was no Hollywood nonsense.
First of all, we were in a town of I dunno, a thousand people, Ball-in-awww (Ballina). It was this eensy little town. There was one pub and the owner was there bartending and his wife would come in. It was so friendly and family and lovely and welcoming and Irish.
Listen to the podcast in full here, the chat happens around 26mins.