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Hugh role Kin star Aidan Gillen signs up for lead role in new epic Gaelic drama series

Gillen will star in the four eight-hour seasons that follows Ireland’s O’Neill dynasty


Aiden Gillen

Aiden Gillen

Aiden Gillen

Aidan Gillen, who is currently starring in the new RTÉ crime drama Kin, has been signed up for a lead role in the The O’Neill, an epic drama series about one of the most powerful Gaelic lordships in the Elizabethan era.

Gillen who appears as criminal kingpin Frank Kinsella in Kin, will star in the four eight-hour seasons that follows Ireland’s O’Neill dynasty as it poses the greatest threat to England sovereignty until World War Two.

Following his break through in Queer as Folk and famed for his performance as Tommy Carcetti in “The Wire,” and Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish in Game of Thrones, Gillen will play Sir Henry Bagnal, Marshall of Elizabeth I’s Royal Irish Army and O’Neill’s bitter arch enemy

The series' concept has been curated by Jack Armstrong and will be showrun by Tim Loan, who is also a lead writer on Hulu’s Das Boot

The series is being directed by Stephen Saint Leger, famously known for helming Vikings, Vikings: Valhalla, and The Battle episode of Barbarians.

Loane, Armstrong and historian James Sheridan have spent months researching the period.

“This is big, ambitious epic, but also based on real characters and events, and also contemporary, resonating with many of the values emerging in Europe today,” Armstrong told Variety.

“Hugh O’Neill managed to unite the clans, which had never happened before, and engaged in what was called the Nine Years War but was really the climax of a 400 years war with England, the last gasp of great Gaelic Ireland.

“For much of Europe at the time, he was like a rock star,” Armstrong added.

A pilot has been written and the storyline of the subsequent three episodes, he added.

“In Gaelic Ireland, women had equal standing to men and so it was not uncommon for women to be clan leaders. So there are many female leaders depicted in ‘The O’Neill, like Ineen Dubh, de facto leader of the O’Donnells and Grace O’Malley, the Pirate Queen, The O’Malley,” Armstrong added

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“This is an incredibly important story for the Irish and there are so many great roles, not just for men but also women,” he said.

Gillen who was gang leader John Boy in Love/Hate and a gypsy gangster in Peaky Blinders and will soon appear as another criminal as plays the leader of a Russian mob in the ten-episode TV series Mayor of Kingstown.

The plot follows the McLusky family, power brokers in Kingstown, Michigan, where the business of incarceration is the only thriving industry.

Tackling themes of systemic racism, corruption and inequality, the series provides a stark look at their attempt to bring order and justice to a town that has neither, according to Deadline.

Hollywood star Jeremy Renner will play the mayor of the town, Mike McLusky.

Gillen (53) will appear regularly as Milo Sunter, a leader of the Russian mafia currently serving a life sentence in Kingstown’s supermax prison.

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