Friars Club honors Gleeson, Cheadle

By KAREN BUTLER  |  July 26, 2011 at 7:24 PM
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NEW YORK, July 26 (UPI) -- The Friars Club has honored "The Guard" co-stars Don Cheadle and Brendan Gleeson with its Best New Buddy Comedy Duo Award at a ceremony in New York.

The comedy institution said Monday it presented the actors with the prize for their work in John Michael McDonagh's dark comedy, which is set for release in U.S. theaters Friday after a triumphant run on the film festival circuit.

Cheadle and Gleeson, who in the movie play unlikely partners in law enforcement working a case together in the western part of Ireland, were also made lifetime members of the Friars Club.

"That was fun," Gleeson told United Press International by phone Tuesday.

"It was great and signed by Jerry Lewis, no less," the Irish actor laughed.

Octogenarian comedian Lewis -- the abbot of The Friars Club, who has been in poor health lately -- sent a message of congratulations to the pair, which was read aloud by Friars Club head Freddie Roman.

"I know a thing or two about buddy movies ... . Only one can be the pretty one, only one can be the smart one, and only one can get the girl," Lewis said of his frequent collaboration with late entertainer Dean Martin. "But when it's done right, both get to be the funny one, which is why Don and Brendan have emerged as the Best New Comedy Duo ... and well-deserved. Congratulations from one half of a great buddy team to the new buddy team!"

Gleeson, who recently won a slew of awards, including an Emmy, for his portrayal of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in HBO's "Into the Storm," said it's important to him to keep mixing things up professionally by moving between comedy and drama, film and television, independent movies and blockbusters, and Irish and Hollywood projects.

"I get very bored doing the same thing over and over or even twice," Gleeson told UPI. "I do like to keep it as varied as possible and it's great to get the opportunity to do [that.]"

So, what must a project have in order to entice the actor?

"It has to have a certain integrity and a certain quality, I think," he said. "It has to be real and have a certain ambition. I have to believe in it. I'm not too bad at reading scripts. I can kind of figure out if it's something I can't see working at all or if I don't believe it, I won't go there, really. But, generally, if I can hear myself in my head speaking the character's lines, then we're kind of getting somewhere. ... That's usually the way it works for me."

Gleeson, 56, has starred in the films "Braveheart," "The General," "I Went Down," "Troy," "Michael Collins," "Lake Placid," "Gangs of New York" and "In Bruges." He played Mad-Eye Moody in several Harry Potter movies.

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