Gabriel Byrne: 'There’s no such thing as an ordinary life'

Virgin Radio

16 Nov 2020, 13:48

There's nothing better than a good yarn and finding out what makes someone who they are, and acting legend Gabriel Byrne has written a touching memoir about just that, called Walking With Ghosts.

It's out now, and the award-winning stage and screen actor joined The Chris Evans Breakfast Show With Sky to talk about the book and recalling some of the anecdotes of his live, and those of his loved ones.

Nobody knows better than Gabriel that life can take you to some weird and wonderful places, some not so wonderful. He stresses the importance of talking to loved ones and finding out their tale, too.

"On a daily basis we take people who are very close to us for granted, we especially take older people for granted, we forget that they’ve had these amazing lives" he says. "It repays a thousand-fold, to sit with a father or a mother and say “tell me the story of your life”. Maybe not as baldly as that, but just to ask them about their lives."

He insists: "My own feeling is that there’s no such thing as an ordinary life. Every life is extraordinary."

Gabriel was born in Dublin and has starred in over 80 films for some of the cinema’s leading directors. He won a Golden Globe for his performance on HBO’s 'In Treatment', but growing up wasn't straight forward for him.

The book encompasses a sometimes troubled childhood, and Chris Evans summarised it as: "Trauma, tragedy, addiction, recovery, success, introversion, experiencing love, compassion, have I got it all?"

Gabriel laughs: "Well you didn't mention the cat, but that's it."

We all know that smoking is bad for you in 2020, but a tale involving cigarettes led to Gabriel's parents meeting. He recalls a story his mother told him: "She told me that she met my father on the way to a dance. It wasn’t done for women to smoke in public, so she got off the bus early, it was raining and she stepped into a doorway to smoke."

He says fondly: "She didn’t have any matches, and this man appeared and offered her a light. So if it hadn’t been raining and she’d had matches I wouldn’t be talking to you today!"

Walking With Ghosts is out now.