Eddie Marsan is Brendan
Eddie Marsan plays Brendan, the Christian priest who arrives in Hrothgar’s kingdom roughly the same time as Beowulf. Brendan’s appearance is a matter of ‘right time and right place’ and he becomes a catalyst in a moment of crisis. “He is based roughly on a real life saint called Brendan the Navigator who historians believe sailed to America. He is also an amalgamation of all the different Celtic priests of this period who traveled across northern Europe converting people with much more success than the Roman Catholic Church. I researched all the types of martyrdoms they believed in. Brendan would have been called a ‘white martyr’ because he traveled into the unknown.”
When Brendan appears, he thinks he is facing death in the iceberg lagoon. But he finds land and attributes this to God rescuing him for a purpose. Upon discovering the devastation of the troll, he believes his purpose is a matter of saving Hrothgar through faith. “Because Brendan was so extreme and very brave, I suspected he was a reformed character who is as rough and ready as the rest of the Vikings, but he’s now a Christian and those two personas are a paradox inside of him (his persona before and now after converting) and that is always fascinating to play,” says Marsan.
Eddie MARSAN was born and raised in Bethnal Green, East London. He served an apprenticeship as a printer before beginning his career as an actor fourteen years ago. During this time he has had a exceptionally wide and varied body of work. His film work includes the role of Reg in Mike Leigh’s Vera Drake, Edward in Terence Malick’s The New World, Reverend John in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s 21 Grams, Killoran in Martin Scorsese’s Gangs Of New York, Reeves in the forthcoming Woody Allen film, Match Point, Eddie Miller in Paul McGuigan’s Gangster Number One, Francis Butterworth in Steven Poliakoff’s unnamed forthcoming project,Fabio in The Headsmen, Josef Fischer in The Illusionist, and Frank in Guns, Money and Homecooking.