"He was both formidable and kind-hearted"

Michael Mayer remembers Brian Dennehy

by Anne-Katrin Titze

Michael Mayer on Brian Dennehy who played Sorin in The Seagull: “He was both formidable and kind-hearted; a bear of a man with astonishing sensitivity.”
Michael Mayer on Brian Dennehy who played Sorin in The Seagull: “He was both formidable and kind-hearted; a bear of a man with astonishing sensitivity.”

When I met with Michael Mayer in 2018 for a conversation on his film adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull (with screenwriter Stephen Karam), starring Annette Bening, Saoirse Ronan, Elisabeth Moss, and Brian Dennehy, the director sang the praises of the late great actor who died on April 15 at the age of 81. At that time, Michael called Brian Dennehy “a theatre god” and said that “he was the one I was most intimidated by - in theory. But he was so great and charming and game and just lovely. He was always watching the other actors work and remarking on how terrific they were.”

When I contacted Michael Mayer this afternoon for a remembrance in honour of Brian Dennehy, he sent the following:

“Brian was a theatrical giant in my eyes, having delivered so many iconic performances of remarkable force and depth. Working with him (on The Seagull) was not only a great privilege but also a great pleasure. He was both formidable and kind-hearted; a bear of a man with astonishing sensitivity. These dualities made him a rare gem. He will be missed.” - Michael Mayer

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