A CAP­I­TAL LIFE

Scottish Field - - CONTENTS - WORDS LOUISE LIN­TON IM­AGES IAN RUTHER­FORD

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.

‘I’m quite

con­ser­va­tive in some ways and I

feel that’s dis­tin­guish­ing in LA, so I hold tightly on to my roots’

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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.

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