The Prometheus and Star Wars actor on his unusual entrance to showbiz and why there’s no place like home – whether it’s sunny Portobello or the darker side of Edinburgh
I grew up in Portobello.
It’s Edinburgh’s seaside. I have so many fond memories of it. Evenings walking along the promenade, playing in my parents’ back garden and feeding ducks with my sister in Figgate Park. My parents still live there and my sister and family are nearby.
As a child I was obsessed with the darker side of Edinburgh.
I loved the stories of Jekyll and Hyde and Maggie Dickson. I still love the fact that the city is steeped in history and that an ancient castle and extinct volcano loom over it. It’s really magical.
I always wanted a Glaswegian accent.
I just prefer it to my own.
My first role was as the Caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland.
It was in my school play and I was seven years old. I really wanted the part because the costume looked amazing in the pre-production sketches. As it turned out I ended up being wrapped in a big green sheet.
I didn’t realise I wanted to be an actor until I went to Aberdeen University.
I was studying English and French when I decided that it wasn’t too late to change the course of my life and pursue the one thing that made me happiest. Luckily the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland was still holding auditions so I hastily got a few speeches together. I’m not sure what I would have done if I hadn’t got in.
My mum’s vegetarian lasagne is my all-time favourite comfort food.
That, or my dad’s Aash, which is a Persian soup.
I once ate raw liver.
It was for a scene in a film I was shooting. It was awful. Get it!
I can’t stand it when I’m wearing headphones
and my arm catches the wire and rips the buds out of my ears. For some reason it fills me with rage.
We are all a mixture of good and bad.
I like playing the characters that aren’t goodies or baddies but fall somewhere in the middle. The grey area is so much more interesting than the black and white.
I used to have a dog called John.
He’s gone now, but my neighbours’ cat comes to visit me sometimes. She is very old and her name is Mouse.
I’ve just finished reading Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse.
I enjoyed it very much. I’m also a big fan of The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov and The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. A friend of mine gave me a novel called Lanark by Alasdair Gray recently and I can’t wait to start it. I’ve heard exciting things about his writing. I have only one guilty pleasure. Red wine.
‘We are all a mixture of good and bad. The grey area is so much more interesting’