A CAPITAL LIFE
Actress and producer Louise Linton on LA life and her Edinburgh upbringing
Actor and producer Louise Linton may have swapped Edinburgh for the bright lights of Los Angeles, but growing up in the capital and at Melville Castle has shaped her attitude to life, work and making it in Hollywood
Ireflect on my childhood the way one reflects on their favourite book. I grew up in Edinburgh’s Murrayfield area and it felt a bit like
The Secret Garden; I had so many animals at the house, and such an idyllic, peaceful childhood with lots of friends always round. I have a brother and sister – I’m the baby of the family. I live in Los Angeles now, but I will always come back to Edinburgh. If I have children one day, I would like them to go to school here.
I enjoyed school. I went to Fettes and am now on one of its boards – a great privilege because I wasn’t the best student; I don’t think I applied myself the way I could have. I was much more interested in exploring the city and growing up as fast as I possibly could, so I didn’t spend enough time really appreciating school. But I suppose a lot of us feel that way in retrospect.
Edinburgh is so easy to navigate because it’s not a sprawling metropolis. It’s the perfect size, the crime rate is low and the people are so nice. I used to love going to the Botanic Gardens. I always thought the glasshouses were like Shangri-La – heavenly. As a kid I had a big imagination, and I would walk through them and fantasise I was in some tropical adventure.
My father bought Melville Castle, on the outskirts of the city, and I spent a lot of time there when I was growing up. It’s a lovely place and I’m very proud he spent so much time returning it to its former glory. The restoration took ten years and it was a labour of love for him. The process was exhausting, but the building is of such cultural and historical importance – it’s where Mary, Queen of Scots and Rizzio had their romance, so it was sad that it had fallen into disrepair.
I spent most of my time outside school in acting classes. I got into acting at a very young age. When I was six I had the lead role in a school play called Hiawatha, which we performed for the Queen. The Queen gave me a nice little encouraging nod when I was on the stage – I felt that was an endorsement of my work.
I just fell in love with theatre. I went to the Edinburgh Drama Academy and then I studied with a private acting coach from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA) on Heriot Row. I went there every weekend for three years, and at the end of it I took a LAMDA exam for acting and gained honours for portraying Anne Frank.
conservative in some ways and I
feel that’s distinguishing in LA, so I hold tightly on to my roots’
Above: Louise’s father spent ten years restoring Melville Castle when she was growing up. Left: In the garden of her family home in Murrayfield, where she spent an idyllic childhood.