Aidan Gillen stars in the new TV series Project Blue Book.
Aidan Gillen stars in the new TV series Project Blue Book. Ed Araquel

GoT fave delves into real close encounters of the third kind

NORMALLY at this time of year Aidan Gillen would be in the middle of a press tour for Game of Thrones.

But after the death of his delightfully villainous character Littlefinger in season seven of the hit fantasy series, Gillen is now, for the first time, going to enjoy watching the highly anticipated final season as a fan.

"I have no idea how it's going to end. As long as Liam Cunningham dies I'll be happy," he tells The Guide, referring to his fellow Irishman who plays Ser Davos Seaworth.

Sophie Turner and Aidan Gillen in a scene from the season 7 finale of Game of Thrones. Supplied by Foxtel.
Aidan Gillen in one of his final scenes in Game of Thrones. HELEN SLOAN / HBO

"I'm going over to the premiere in New York next week to see episode one (of season eight). It's going to be fun watching it in a regular, punter fashion."

Littlefinger's demise has freed the Dublin native up to work on new projects, including the lavish sci-fi drama Project Blue Book.

Gillen stars as Dr J Allen Hynek, a brilliant yet under-appreciated college professor who is recruited by the US Air Force to spearhead a clandestine operation called Project Blue Book.

Aidan Gillen, second from left, leads the cast of Project Blue Book.
Aidan Gillen, second from left, leads the cast of Project Blue Book. Supplied

The 10-part series, which has been renewed for a second season, is based on de-classified US government investigations into UFOs and unexplained phenomena conducted between 1952 to 1969.

"Each episode is based on actual reports of UFO sightings, so it's pretty cool and unique," he says.

"Of course you've got to change the colour a little ... we're definitely edging toward the more sensational interpretations. You've got to keep that game up so people don't get bored."

Ian Tracey in a scene from the TV series Project Blue Book.
Ian Tracey is Project Blue Book's equivalent to the Cigarette Smoking Man from The X-Files. Supplied

Dr Hynek's sons Paul and Joel were on board as advisers and helped Gillen to shape his interpretation of the astronomer, who became a ufologist and developed the "Close Encounter" classification system.

"Having their approval and understanding that you aren't either trying to impersonate their father or assuming you can emulate everything about him was a relief and a boost in confidence," he says.

"One is an Oscar-winning special effects guy, so they understand the entertainment industry and they get dramatic licence, which was great for me."

The series follows Dr Hynek as he becomes more and more frustrated by the government's attempts to use him as a debunker to cover up baffling cases.

Aidan Gillen in a scene from Project Blue Book.
Aidan Gillen in a scene from Project Blue Book. Ed Araquel

 

"People have been talking a lot about Hynek and that he went from a sceptic to a believer, but I don't think that's an accurate description," Gillen says.

"He was a sceptic and believer always. He was rigorous and he never really found what he was looking for but he kept looking. That's what's more interesting than anything."

Project Blue Book premieres tonight at 8.30 on SBS-TV.