The VICE Interview: Joe Gilgun

The star of 'This Is England', 'Misfits' and now 'Preacher' talks about scrapping, bald patches and playing 'Call of Duty' too much.

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Aug 15 2016, 10:50am

llustration by Sam Taylor

Phoning up Joe Gilgun is good, because it's exactly like phoning up Woody off of This Is England. Like: exactly like it. He starts the interview with a semi-weird description of what he is wearing, that I didn't ask for – "A vest, that I slept in... some shorts, that I borrowed off my friend, James" – before trying to rouse the aforementioned shorts-lender by yelling at him where he is clearly asleep on the sofa. James doesn't wake up. You half-expect someone called, like, 'Widget' to run in and really emotionally do something northern and racist at any moment, full Meadows-style.

Anyway, This Is England is over now, and Gilgun – previously of Emmerdale, as well as Misfits and Pride – is now appearing opposite Dominic Cooper in Preacher, playing jangly Irish vampire Cassidy. It's on Amazon Prime, go watch it.

What was your first email address?
I've never had one. [incredulous VICE interjection deleted from transcript] With God is my judge, I've never had an email address that I know of. I don't do any of that shit, man. Like I've got a fucking... I just draw pictures on my laptop thing... I was gonna say how much I hate it, but it's not that I hate it, it's just that I'm fucking honestly like a chimpanzee when it comes to computers, mate. You know like fucking Twitter and that? I don't understand, like, hashtags. My mate was telling me about hashtags because I've been saying that every time I fuck up and do something stupid I'll go "#gilgunlife". You know? I just stood in dog poo and I was like, "fucking #gilgunlife man" and he said "it doesn't work like that". I've been saying hashtags wrong. And I've been saying it to fucking everyone, man.

What was your worst phase as a human being?
Ooh, fuck. I was cocky, man, I liked scrapping – we all did, though, all of our mates. I think it's just the time we grew up in. At the time I think I felt like quite a cool dude, a bit of a hard man, but slowly I got into ganja and that really chilled me out, so I guess that was my worst phase. I think it was because like I'm shit with girls and I never leave my house. I think I'd be quite good with girls if I wasn't playing Call Of Duty all the time. When I do speak to them, girls and that, I do enjoy it, but it's dangerous because there's this thing called 'the friend zone' my friend was telling me about. But I wouldn't know about it, because... I'm a wanker. You know. A massive wanker. That's all I do.

Why did you break up with your first girlfriend?
Oh god! Right, so, my first girlfriend – and I'm not mentioning any names, because it's not fair – but... I have been a verging on bunny boiler. Listen to this shit. So I was just starting to get on the TV, and I think I had been getting bouts of like feeling down and depressed. Being young my mum used to tell me that I'd have a month of a catastrophic breakdown where there would have to be an intervention, you know, when they say, "Come on, sort your life out". So as I got onto the TV and it started getting real for me – I was Emmerdale – but I was getting super depressed man... and my hair fell out. I remember this make-up girl going, "You've got this bald patch", and I was like ha ha, fucking hilarious and she went, "No, you have, you've got a 50p-sized bald patch".

So I was 23 and my hair was falling out and I was deeply in love with this girl. We split up, and I feel like we've split up for noble reasons and I think... I dunno what. I think I was confused man and bald and fed up and my fucking head all of a sudden – even though it was going really fucking well and I had everything I wanted – my head went. And so it was my fault. I thought I was being a crusader and I wondered what it was like on the other side of the field a little bit. Maybe I was a shit here because of the way I handled it, you know. I was a twat.

What would your last meal be?
Fucking hell. Bollocks. That's a mental one innit? I don't think I'd be able to eat it, man. Err... all right, I'd have a strawberry daiquiri, I've got into them. Then I'd have fucking that prawn gambas stuff, then I'd have...what the fuck else... steak and chips. Makes it easy doesn't it?

Would you have sex with a robot?
Yeah, depends on the quality. Is it gonna be sharp? I'm not gonna shag a sharp thing. If it's not sharp, then yes! But what if it had a meltdown and killed you? Is it strong?

Do you want it to be strong? We can make it strong.
See, this is it. This is the problem you've got to start thinking, right: people are filthy bastards and they want different things. So some people want dominating, then you might sell the dominator one by accident, and someone gets really shagged.

What conspiracy theories do you believe?
Fucking careful on this one. It kinda freaks me out a bit to the point where I think if you don't believe in conspiracy theories you're probably a bit of a moron nowadays. It's so corrupt, innit? The whole thing. Just go on YouTube, type in 'conspiracy theory' and just watch the first thing that comes up. It's madness. Some things... without saying too much, I think 95 percent of stuff is just complete bollocks. But the five percent where you go, 'Hang on a minute, that's pretty fucking mindblowing', they're good. So, I do believe in conspiracy theories, although I don't want to get into it. I don't want anyone coming to my house... I don't want to get bombed by fucking VICE robots.

What's the latest you've ever stayed up?
I've just not gone to bed, you know? There's always that one – we've all done that, haven't we? The same story, the same reason you spent the night, up all night. Just being drunk and young.

If you were a wrestler, what song would you come into the ring to?
Ooh, shit the bed. God, that's a good one. Immediately, I would have thought "Photograph" [bursts into song, though this does not make which song it is any more clear]. But I don't know whether that makes any sense, you know what I mean?

In a way that would be intimidating, because it'd just be mad.
Oh hang on! I know who it'd be. I've got the fucking very one. I just need to look. It's a woman I was introduced by Dominic West when I did Pride. Namedropping here, are you feeling it? Let me find it. [Audible sound of really clumsy Googling] It's... fucking where is it? She's the worst singer of all time, they gave her a record deal because she was so bad. She sang a song about rats being in a room and that, it's just so terrible man, it's hilarious. Where is it? Fucking hell it literally goes like [Starts singing the words "rats in my room" really loudly]. And she can't eat cheese, they've eaten all the cheese. She'd rather have bats, in her room, at one stage. These lyrics. She might have been fucking a bit wayward, this bird.

[I found what he was talking about]

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