In 1988 The Irish Times claimed that an Irish rock magazine was "noted for its probing interviews conducted by" author, journalist and broadcaster, Joe Jackson. That same year, Jackson interviewed Gabriel Byrne for the first time. After reading that interview Byrne told the interviewer, I loved it. At first I was nervous about the controversial aspects but now I am excited about it all. Those really were provocative questions and you set them in such a way that I came up with answers I mightn’t otherwise have expressed, in some cases even articulated to myself! It’s the first totally honest, soul-searching interview I’ve done.”
Ellen Barkin, Byrne's new girlfriend at the time, meanwhile, said “People just don’t ask those kind of questions here (in Hollywood). What was so good was the balance, the blend of psychological and socio-political questions was such that it wasn’t just actor-based. It was a guy expressing his opinion on an unbelievable, wide range of subjects. You ask powerful, different questions.”
In Gabriel Byrne:The Joe Jackson Interviews Plus, the author presents for the first time what he describes as "the original, unexpurgated nearly 9.000 word typescript of that interview, one third of which has never been published." He also includes the original, uncut version of a similarly soul-searching, nearly 9,000 word 1992 interview plus the nearly 9,000 word long Back Story of each interview - parts of the booklet which are based on diary entries and notes Jackson made at the time but which have never previously been published.
Please note that The Joe Jackson Interviews Plus is a series of booklets which are described by their author as "similar to the Amazon concept of 'Singles' in that they are texts that range in length from 5,000 words to 30,000 and are not full length books." The Gabriel Byrne booklet is 27, 000 words.
Finally, if you know nothing about Joe Jackson's interviews, here is another quote from The Irish Times: ‘Jackson is a tenacious interviewer. Just as his subjects start to relax, he throws them that question from hell you wouldn’t have the nerve to ask, “Tell us abut the wife-beating, Richard” - this, more or less to Richard Harris whose self-deprecating halo was starting to glint. “Is killing children in Warrington part of your peace strategy?’ - that, paraphrased, to Gerry Adams...Match him against someone he believes is a hypocrite and he enters the fray like a latter-day Danton. Ben Briscoe, then Lord Mayor of Dublin, storms off in a huff when Jackson queries his remarks on homosexuality and Charles J. Haughey. But men like musician Christy Moore, writers Tom Murphy and Paul Durcan, open their hearts because they sense they can trust him – and you never doubt it. Jackson’s research is impeccable, his commitment is everywhere.”
(Medb Ruane, The Irish Times.)