I haven’t been able to travel as much as I’d like over my lifetime, but never fear. My mind does plenty of wandering around for me. So it should be no surprise that when there are too many gaps in my knowledge about an interesting topic (or person), Wandering Brain will go to interesting places trying to fill in those gaps.
As such, Wandering Brain has gone a few interesting places about writer/director/actress Annie Griffin.
If you are now asking “…Who?”, get off my site, ya fuckin’ poser. How do you even fangirl(/boy) about Rory McCann and you’ve never heard of Annie Griffin?
I’m half kidding. You can stay. Like I could stop you. ANYWAY. Point is, I am calling this piece “rank speculation” for a reason. Please take absolutely none of this as personal expertise nor as divine writ from On High. Thanks.
First up, if you have heard of Annie, you’ve heard the story about how she wrote and directed The Book Group, Rory’s breakout work, and that she got the idea for his character after hearing about his accident in Yorkshire. But there are details you may have missed depending on which version of the story you heard:
1. Annie used to go climbing with Rory, and it sounds like he used to tell her all sorts of stories about his life, including but not just his climbing accident. He as much as admits to this and seems to heavily imply that other aspects of his life turned up in the Kenny McLeod character. I’ve heard rumors that, as with Kenny, Rory’s dad really did die of cancer. There is also a certain level of authenticity with Kenny’s relationship mishaps that makes me think Rory and Annie were friends and that she would sometimes serve as a sounding board for Rory’s dating woes. Rory has gone on record saying he is uncomfortable with loud women and implied heavily that he doesn’t do well with weird relationship drama, just to add weight to this notion. I can just SEE it, y’all. That Annie is about nine years older than Rory makes the idea of her being his relationship mentor even more credible.
2. The news stories talking about the origins of TBG never mention (as far as I’ve seen) that this was not Rory’s first role in one of Annie’s works. That honor goes to a character named Angus in a 1999 UK miniseries called Coming Soon* who appears for maybe fifteen seconds, at most, at the end of the final episode. It is just the sort of role one might ask a buddy to fill in. Hypothetically.
3. So it’s not difficult to figure out how Rory knew Annie to take her climbing and tell her his life story. They had history!
My personal hypothesis on how Rory and Annie met is that it was during the one acting seminar he took in Glasgow which apparently comprised the sum total of Rory McCann’s formal acting training. It was just the sort of class she’d have taken… and we know she spent some significant amount of time in Glasgow. I’ll be surprised if I’m wrong.
There’s one more thing I wonder about, too: Did Rory and Annie also date?
I know she’s nine years older than he is, but that doesn’t seem to stop some couples. I have two female former high-school classmates, for instance, who each married a man ten years younger. It’s not really my cuppa, but if no minors are involved (they weren’t) then have fun, y’all.
The other element that has me wondering about this is something you’d probably never pick up on if you hadn’t seen Coming Soon; seeing it occur only in TBG would seem more like a random fluke. To wit, Annie seemed inordinately fond of describing Rory’s characters as well-endowed, or mentioning that particular body part at all. That coupled with her generally affectionate portrayals of Kenny and Angus and the goings-ons in their lives really got my gossip radar pinging.
It wouldn’t have had to have been a serious relationship. Could have just been a sexual friendship. (I’ve done those too.) Either way, she seemed WAY too familiar with him for their relationship to have been strictly casual or professional.
It’s not a big deal by now and I’m aware that I’ll probably never find out if I’m right. But it’s funny to realize that this is at least a strong possibility. Chalk it up to yet another potentially fascinating tale about Rory’s life, like his life wouldn’t be a great story in the first place. I mean, haven’t we seen that demonstrated already?
(Thanks so much, Annie! We appreciate you. Mwah.)
*Not to be confused with a U.S. film of the same name that came out the same year. Be careful searching for the UK one: it was never released on DVD, to my knowledge.