Star pledges to help out charity at launch of her new film
Mental health: Inverness-born Karen Gillan supports Mikeysline
Hollywood actress Karen Gillan has made a public pledge to do what she can to support a Highland mental health charity after launching her latest film in Inverness on Thursday evening.
Mikeysline in Inverness was founded in 2015 in response to a number of suicides in the Highland area, and offers a text line service as well as an out-ofhours mental health crisis centre, named Hive, in Inverness city centre.
At a Q&A session for her new film, the former Doctor Who star, who hails from Inverness, said she was “concerned and worried” about the high suicide rate in the Highlands, pledging to get in touch with the organisation in the coming weeks to offer support and ways in which she could be of help.
Stephen Reid, operations manager of Mikeysline said: “We absolutely welcome it.
“When we heard the film was being made, we were keen to reach out to Karen and open the conversation and we now look forward to hearing from her.
“For her being such a high-profile person and touching on the topic is great. She is probably Inverness’ most famous export and serves as an inspiration to many.
“We are really looking forward to having her in.”
The actress was speaking following the screening of her production The Party’s Just Beginning at Eden Court which has been written, directed and starred in by Miss Gillan.
The film has been her brainchild for the best part of six years and explores a darker side to her Highland home-city, rather than the more usual picturesque, tourist-friendly view.
The film deals with the difficult topic of suicide, but also covers heavy drinking, occasional drug taking and contains a hefty serving of sex scenes and strong language, which at times make for a sharp contrast to the beautifully filmed scenes of Inverness and the surrounding area.
Within the film, Miss Gillan’s character possesses a home landline with a number similar to that of a helpline number often called in error.
Miss Gillan said: “When I was growing up in Kinmylies, our phone number was one digit removed from the Samaritans number so we often got calls by mistake.
“My mum would often end up chatting to the women who called, and I think organised to go to the bingo with one of them.”
The star looked relaxed at the Thursday screening but confessed: “This is the most nervous I’ve ever been in my life.” A cult book about a group of Oban schoolgirls who go on a boozy rampage in Edinburgh is being transformed for the big screen by Scots director Michael Caton-Jones.
The filmmaker has started shooting an adaptation of Scots author Alan Warner’s hit novel The Sopranos – although the film is to be given a different title to avoid confusion with the American mafia TV series.
Billed as “Pitch Perfect meets Trainspotting”, it is set in the 1990s over the course of a single day and follows six schoolgirls from Oban who come to Edinburgh for a singing competition.
“Growing up our phone number was one digit... from the Samaritans” “The wit and energy... is as fresh, and as raw, as ever”
But they are more interested in “going mental” – drinking, partying and hooking up with men – than in winning the competition.
The film stars actresses Eve Austin, Tallulah Greive, Abigail Lawrie, Sally Messham, Rona Morison and Marli Siu who will appear alongside Kate Dickie and David Hayman.
It is to be filmed entirely in Scotland and production began this week in Edinburgh.
A cult hit in Britain, Oban-born Warner’s 1998 novel has previously been turned into a successful stage play by Billy Elliot writer Lee Hall.
Jennifer Armitage, of Screen Scotland, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the film adaptation of Alan Warner’s iconic novel.
“While the world has transformed since the 1990s, the wit and energy of The Sopranos is as fresh, and as raw, as ever.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for bold performances by a cast of young women, challenging conventional perceptions... of women in film.”
CONVERSATION: Karen Gillan’s film broaches suicide alongside other issues