ONE of the leading actors in RTÉ's hit new crime drama Love/Hate has dismissed criticism that the cast are "too good-looking" to accurately portray gangland Ireland.
Bríain Gleeson, who plays gangster Hughie Power, said the suggestion was "rubbish and indicative of the particular mindset that people have that every one of those involved in criminality are uncaring about their appearance. A lot of these guys are gym buffs who really look after themselves, so that argument just does not wash."
Gleeson said he spent weeks in the gym and researching online to get into his role. His co-stars include The Wire's Aidan Gillen, as well as Robert Sheehan, Ruth Bradley and Ruth Negga. The series traces the chain of catastrophic events after a gangland shooting, and Gleeson said there were surprises in store for viewers.
"There are a lot of unexpected twists and turns and things are set to get a whole lot more interesting and a lot grittier. It will be well worth watching."
The first episode of Love/Hate pulled in 439,000 viewers last Sunday with an estimated 13,000 extra viewers watching the show on the RTÉ website. A repeat of the show last Thursday drew an audience of 119,000.
Gleeson (23) said despite the figures, he was trying to ignore reviews of the show.
"The figures are fantastic. I only just found out what they are and everyone is thrilled. People seem to be really enjoying it, but I am steering well away from reviews and have been trying to avoid them all week, I am terrified at what I might see."
Gleeson, son of well-known actor Brendan Gleeson , said he did not worry about comparisons between himself and his father as the show has given a "welcome platform and break".
"I don't really worry about the comparisons between me and my dad. I am setting myself up in my own right and that is what this show has done for us all. We are all hungry and determined and it is such a great opportunity."
Gleeson is now starring in the Seán O'Casey drama The Silver Tassie in which he performed at the Gaiety Theatre last week.