You’re currently filming the next season of Vikings, in which you play King Horik. Is it good to be the king?
It’s so funny, I’m really not a regal human being, so it is good to be the king, I think. Although I have to say the extent of that authority is pretty nebulous. You know, you have a few kings in Ireland, a few kings in England. I’m not sure the extent of King Horik’s domain. I know historically he was a really powerful king, but I’m not sure how powerful he is within the show. But yeah, it is good to be the king – he’s a shifty guy, he’s really fun.
You’re appearing in a lot of shows right now – Sons Of Anarchy, Vikings, Copper - is there a show out there that you’re a huge fan of that you’d like to appear on?
There are so many of them right now! I think Breaking Bad, Justified, Walking Dead, there’s just so many really great worlds that look incredibly fun to be a part of. There’s maybe too many to list.
How did you get involved with Sons Of Anarchy?
[SOA creator] Kurt Sutter had asked me for the last couple of years if I could get involved somehow, but it would always be five seconds after I had accepted a pilot for something, so they couldn’t take the risk. This year I think they were more willing to roll the dice on me, but then it just got complicated because I was working other shows and I had to bounce back and forth, but it worked out.
What can you tell us about your role?
I play this guy who’s an ex-federal marshal with a long history of being really effective but maybe overly violent. Now he’s retired, and that’s what I think makes him such an antagonist to the club, because he’s just like a weird guy with an Outlaw Josey Wales-style revenge driving him. So on one hand his anger is kind of righteous, on the other hand he has all these tools at his disposal and he knows how to play dirty pool. So I think he makes a pretty compelling enemy for the club.
How has the experience of filming Copper been so far?
That was an amazing experience for a number of reasons. As an Irish-American, it was kind of an unbelievable honor to play one of these guys who made that transition from being off the boat, to being the first wave of Irish Immigrants to become very powerful in the U.S. It was pretty remarkable to follow the journey of this guy who got off the boat as a teenager and then rose to some political and social prominence in New York, but always carried that fear that at any point, someone’s going to pull your covers and say, “You’re just a dirty Irishman.” You always have that deep insecurity.
Who do you think would win in a fight between the cast of Sons of Anarchy and the cast of Vikings?
Oh wow. I think with Travis [Fimmel, Vikings] and Charlie [Hunnam, Sons of Anarchy], it would be like one of those bare-knuckle boxing brawls that someone had to call an end to in the 110th round. It’s hard to say, there’s some pretty tough guys on Vikings. Copper wouldn’t be that bad, either. I think it would be close, but I think Sons would take it.
As well as being an actor, you started a trucking company last year. What prompted that decision?
I used to drive a truck for my dad and I always liked road trips - I’m a driving fanatic and I will always drive across the country in two days if I’m doing a job, just because I like having a vehicle with me and I like that sensation of getting somewhere. I had gone through a period where I hadn’t worked in a while and I decided to go to a truck driving college up in Oregon, and it was just a really cool experience. I got my commercial drivers license to drive big rigs - the test was hard, it felt like a big deal! [The trucking business is] kind of complicated, but we got into it - we got three trucks, and then we got a dump truck and then we got some smaller trucks...so yeah, we just started this company. It’s fun - it’s pretty new, but it’s great.
AND NOW: DONAL LOGUE ANSWERS THE SAME 10 QUESTIONS WE ALWAYS ASK EVERYONE!
What was the last thing you had to apologize for?
I hurt someone’s feelings at work. I had to seek this person out and say, I’m so sorry. It was fairly innocent, but I should have been more aware, so I made sure I made amends pretty quickly.
What’s your favorite curse word?
The good old fashioned f-word. I just can’t stop myself, as much as I swear I’ll try.
What’s the worst hangover you’ve ever had?
Well, I quit drinking a long time ago, because I was such a bad drinker. But on the night of the San Francisco earthquake, in 1989, I met Greg Dooley, from the Afghan Wigs. He got me drunker than I’ve ever been in my entire life and I was hungover for four days.
What was your first car?
’64 Mustang. It’s in a twisted heap in the desert now, out in California.
Do you have a scar that tells a story?
Yeah! I went running when I was 18. It was the summer, really hot out in the desert, but I went for a run and this guy dressed up as a woman was kind of trying to run me over. He pulled up alongside me and that’s when I got shocked, because the guy was cross-dressing and stuff. And he threatened me, he said he had a gun, so I ran into a field in the dark and I hit some barbed wire fence and just tore the shit out of my leg. I hid face down in the dirt - this person just wouldn’t leave, they were just driving up and down. And then when they finally left I hauled back home and I woke my dad up and told him this crazy story about what had happened to me and he said, “Just pour some rubbing alcohol on it!”
Do you have a party trick?
I’ve got no party tricks. I would have said it was playing guitar and singing songs, but I got so much shit for it from my college roommates because it was such an obvious ploy to try and get chicks.
What’s the biggest thing you’ve ever put in your mouth?
That is bizarre. I broke my jaw a long time ago, so I have that weird thing - on two occasions, my jaw kind of opened and I dislocated it. So I’m really careful about yawning. I was working as a janitor at this drug and alcohol center, and I started really early and my jaw dislocated open and I was like, “Haaalllp meeee, mphhaakkaaggkh” and they’re like, “What drugs are you on?!”
What’s the one thing to remember in a fist fight?
Get the first shot in. And then if the guy is big, if he’s super big and you think he has a heavy punch, just make him chase you for 30 seconds so he’ll gasp. He might knock you out if he gets his mitts on you, but it’s amazing how many people gas in 30 seconds in a fight.
Who was the last person to see you naked?
Without giving up too many spoilers, I would probably say the entire crew of one of the shows I just did. An entire crew and entire stage full of people and it was not long ago - it’s pretty humiliating. I mean, I’m not the kind of guy they’re hiring to do Speedo commercials. I’m not coming out of the gym going, “I can’t wait to unleash this bod to the world!” No, God bless them, they had to endure it, but there it was.
Finish this sentence: If I ruled the world for a day, I would…
I would ban plastic water bottles. Someone told me today - I’m sure it’s bullshit, but they said it took some 100 liters of water to go into producing one plastic water bottle.
Copperairs on BBC America on Sundays at 10PM.