Fresh Air interview
In 1997, Pete ostlethwaite joined Terry Gross for a discussion about his early stage career and several of his films, including Distant Voices, Still Lives, in which he played an abusive father and husband; The Usual Suspects, in which he played Kobayashi, right-hand man of the mysterious crime lord Keyser Soze; and In The Name of the Father, Jim Sheridan’s 1994 biographical film about four men falsely convicted of the IRA bombing of a British pub. Postlethwaite played Giuseppe Conlon, the father of one of the accused men, who was jailed alongside his son on co-conspiracy charges.
Postlethwaite told Fresh Air that he based his movingly understated performance in In The Name of the Father partially on his own father, a working-class Catholic from the north of England who possessed an extraordinary inner strength.
“My dad and Giuseppe were very similar, except Giuseppe was Northern Irish, whereas my father was Northern English,” he said. “They appear to be spineless; they appear to be easy meat. But in fact when the pressure is on, they resort to their inner strength — this resilience that they have, which is based on their values and their beliefs and what they think.”