Dog Soldier

AUTHOR: Will Salmon
DATE: January 2013, see Note below
ORIGINAL: Print-only, no online original.
ARCHIVE: Nothing on Internet Archive since no online original.
NOTE: I had seen this around as a screenshot or a scan in various places on Pinterest. As of July ’23, I no longer remember where I finally found the entire article. It might have been a very clear screenshot, or perhaps I found the magazine this hails from. Whatever the case, there seems to be no online version of the article. Except possibly here and in a couple other places where fans put it up so it would be readable.


He ain’t nuthin’ but the Hound. Will Salmon meets Rory McCann to talk Thrones, werewolves and being “Yarp”…

Rory McCann sounds a bit gruff today. You might not be surprised to hear that about Sandor Clegane aka the Hound — one of the toughest men in Westeros — but there is a practical reason.

“There was a fight scene that I was involved in — a sword fight. We were training with the stuntmen for over three weeks to do this thing. I was training really hard. There’s a lot of screaming and shouting.” That explains the two days of ADR (additional dialogue recording) he’s just completed. “It’s been the longest session I’ve ever done. Normally you’re done in half a day with my character, but this time… I think it’s a reflection of the fact that I’ve got a bigger part this year, I dunno.”

So, more to do for the Hound, a big impressive sword fight… It sounds like circumstances have drastically changed for the man who we last saw leaving King’s Landing under a cloud. “It’s expanding, and I’m coming into my own, character-wise,” he says. “I’ve moved away from this big staffed castle, with hundreds of people, and it’s turning into almost a road trip — with a few skirmishes along the way!” I’m now imagining Dude, Where’s My Car? with decapitations.

“It’s great fun. I reveal my character a little bit more now. I mean there’s even a chance of humour for the Hound this year. You wouldn’t believe it, but it’s true! I only saw that in playbacks last week. There were some people laughing, but it was okay to laugh. It’s all good.”

Rory McCann had an unconventional introduction to acting. The 6ft 6in Scotsman left school and joined the Forestry Commission. After working as a tree surgeon, he moved into rope access jobs, one of which was painting the Forth Rail Bridge [sic: Forth Bridge], west of Edinburgh. A documentary was made on the men who abseil off the bridge every day, and Rory was there, singing away. Someone spotted him, and offered him an ad for Scott’s Porage Oats. That, in turn, led to a number of small roles (you can spot him in the second episode of the rebooted Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) playing a bouncer, and he was an extra in Willow [sic: you will never see him in Willow, as he was fired from set for laughing during takes]), before his breakthrough performance as wheelchair-bound Kenny McLeod in The Book Group — a role that earned him a Scottish Bafta. Hollywood beckoned, and he has since carved out a bit of a niche for himself as a sword-wielding warrior, appearing in Alexander, Solomon Kane, Clash of the Titans, and, er, Season Of The Witch.

But perhaps his most memorable movie role, at least for SFX readers, was 2007’s Hot Fuzz, where he played Michael “Yarp” Armstrong. “That was a pleasure,” he smiles. “I remember them going, ‘He really is Yarp!’ because I was the custodian of a castle.” Wait… what?

“For a while, I was living in a mock castle in front of a real castle. There was a giant wheel in the lounge. All I had was a chair, a grand piano, a giant German Shepherd and a fully dressed Highland dummy called Rab. He was my only friend. My job was to see who was calling before I opened those two giant oak doors. I was the guy that would open a smaller door within the big door and say, ‘YOU RANG?'”

Er… okay. “So I got the call. I didn’t really understand how big the part was. I thought, ‘Well, you never know, John Mills won an Oscar playing a village idiot.’ I went along and I heard who was in the cast and it was fantastic. And I knew that I wouldn’t be up worrying about my lines, because it would just be ‘yarp’. Simon and Nick were really good fun, and all the old characters… Edward Woodward! And lovely Jim Broadbent. That was an easy job. It was great.” So he’d work with Edgar Wright again? “The last time I saw him was in Iceland and he was dancing with Björk — I’d jump through any hoop for him.”


But back to the Hound. Sandor was last seen departing the battle of the Blackwater, having made everyone cheer with his declaration, “Fuck the Kingsguard, fuck the city, fuck the king!” So how is he going to cope away from King’s Landing? “He might hit the bottle hard after leaving,” Rory says. “That [the episode ‘Blackwater’] was incredible. It was a night shoot for a start, and it went on for at least a couple of weeks. Night shoots are hard enough for a few days, but when it lasts for weeks… The weather was atrocious, but the DOPs loved that. Armour and rain really work, apparently. They like the glow and the sparkle and the water, but it led to problems. There were rivers that weren’t there before, and extras lying in pools of mud and blood and water… People were half hypothermic. It was wild.”

That episode was directed by Neil Marshall, best known for his horror movies The Descent and Dog Soldiers. “I’m terrified of werewolves,” Rory says with a chuckle. “I understand some people find it very funny, but I can’t watch it! Neil’s known for very good blood and gore and I think that’s why he was brought in. He was great to work with.”

It’s becoming ever clearer as the series progresses that there’s a streak of nobility in the Hound. “Well, it’s a thought that he’s more of a true knight than any of the others. Even though he’d never want to be a knight — he can’t bear them — he believes in their values. But listen, he’s not all good. He’s done some terrible things. Mostly under orders, though…”

Ah yes, orders from Westeros’s demented boy king. “He doesn’t like Joffrey, but he does what he’s told. But maybe that’s changed now… the Hound at the moment is an outlaw.” But while Sandor may hate Joffrey, Rory is full of praise for the man who plays him, Jack Gleeson. “He’s a very clever, witty, fun guy. He’s a good magician, y’know? He likes slight [sic] of hand and stuff like that. Quite old-fashioned in some ways. The first time I met him he was smoking a pipe! He’s such a great actor, a nice guy and he plays, so convincingly, a little shit!” So convincing, I’ve heard rumours that he occasionally gets grief from angry viewers. “If I knew someone was giving him hassle, I’d rip their bloody head off,” Rory growls. Yikes.

But what about Sansa, the young Stark who Joffrey has specialised in tormenting. It’s fair to say that the Hound has a soft spot for her. But why? Is it paternal? “He’s seeing the similarity to his own upbringing,” Rory says, referring to Sandor’s troubled backstory. “There are memories being brought back of being bullied by his brother, and he hates that. And she’s everything that he isn’t — there’s a purity there.”

Some fans have speculated that he might have a romantic interest in her. “A fondness and stuff… I don’t think there’s any of that, really. He’s protective and frustrated at seeing her living in airy-fairy land.”


In reality, Rory is a genial, funny and charming man, very different to his taciturn character. Today he’s wearing a natty red scarf and navy beret that you can’t imagine the Hound ever going near. Getting into character is a long process of physical exercise, hours in the make-up chair and concentration. “It still takes about an hour and three quarters to put on all my stuff, so I’m usually the first in actor-wise.” Not that he’s complaining. “We haven’t got the longest shifts. People like make-up and wardrobe, anyone like that… they’re the first in and the last out. They’re the hard workers really. We’re still pampered.”

In terms of exercise, Rory foregoes a personal trainer, preferring to run five or six miles a day and hit the gym in the evenings. “And I don’t smoke, and don’t drink for at least three months before a job. I’ll phone up my friends and tell them not to speak to me until I’ve finished, because they drink too much! I’m quite reclusive at the best of times but when I’m working, you never see me. I feel like a soldier training, or something — it’s all about the job. I had to bulk up this year because I knew it would be particularly physical. That fight was the hardest thing I’ve done so far. We did it in intense heat and I’m carrying so much armour with this costume. But it paid off.”

Ah yes, back to the fight. It must be tough wearing that much clobber. “Yeah, yeah… I can’t pick it up. The wardrobe department needs a wheelbarrow to carry my costume around! There’s so many layers and ropes and stuff, and a big cloak. It’s all good fun!”

And being on the road brings its own set of problems for the Hound. “The main thing is that I’ve got very rusty armour, so everybody can hear me coming! I think there was some page oiling and cleaning his armour every night, before. There ain’t no page in the countryside. You can hear him before you see him now: squeak, squeak, squeak! I think that’s why I’ve been in the sound studio for so long.”

Can he tell us who he meets along the way? “That’s a total spoiler. I’d have my bollocks cut off if I told you,” he grins, and says no more.

Access Countdown To ‘Game Of Thrones’ Season 2: Q&A Rory McCann Talks Sandor Clegane (The Hound)

SOURCE: Access
AUTHOR: Jolie Lash
DATE: 23 February 2012
ORIGINAL: Click here
ARCHIVE: Click here
NOTE: Rory didn’t quite have it correct about the meaning of his surname. Look here. Also, he’s 6’6″, not 6’7″.


As Sandor Clegane, aka “The Hound,” on HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” Rory McCann plays one of the brawniest – and at 6’ 7”, one of the tallest — men in all of the kingdom of Westeros, but on a wintry day in late February, the actor himself is feeling a little shorter and a little less sturdy.

“I was feeding birds outside and I was wearing inappropriate footwear, shall we say,” the Scotsman recounts to, via phone from across the Atlantic. “It was pouring down with rain and I ended up slipping and falling down a hill. I should have gone with it instead of fighting, and now I’m limping.”

It’s by chance he shares this soggy story of injury with Access, but it’s a rather telling tale. His own dedication to braving the elements to look after hungry, wild birds during a cold European winter lightly reflects the journey of Rory’s character, who has his own little bird to look after in dark times – Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner).

As Season 1 closed out, after prince-turned-king Joffrey Baratheon ordered one of his henchman to strike his betrothed while they were perched atop a perilously placed bridge in King’s Landing, a wild idea flashed across Sansa’s crystalline blue eyes. She clocked the steep drop and Joffrey’s place on the bridge without any sides, but The Hound read her expressions. Despite being Joffrey’s protector, he quickly stepped in, saving the in-mourning redhead from doing something quite impulsive and dangerously regrettable.

Sandor says very little, but Rory, who calls the role “the greatest part I’ve ever been given,” knows for his character, actions speak louder than words.

Lucky for Access, Rory himself has plenty of stories to share, and as we continue our countdown to Season 2, he hints at how things will take shape for Sansa and The Hound as King Joffrey settles into power. Joffrey is the king as we begin Season 2. How is that going to change things for The Hound this time around?

Rory McCann: Well, I don’t think The Hound likes Joffrey, but he’s doing his job looking after him. The power, as you can imagine, will be going to [Joffrey’s] head and the real bully will be coming out, and it will be raising all sorts of memories for The Hound — the way that he was bullied. And you’ll be seeing the relationship between Sansa and Joffrey deteriorate — seeing the bullying that’s going on and again, The Hound will be able to link that to his childhood as well.

Access: Did you try and read the books or did you rely on the lovely people on set who are researchers for learning more about your character’s back story?

Rory: I tried reading the book, and I read the book and then I read the next one, and I’ve read three now. I’m staying just ahead of the game… And as for the research thing, on set? [It’s] fantastic… A lot of the time, either [executive producers] David [Benioff] or Dan [Weiss] would be on set and [could offer] just a confirmation of what my character was thinking and why he’s doing this and that was fantastic. There’s no guessing. The information was always there. I even went into some forums with the fans. They know the characters so well and I picked up a few tips, a few pointers from them, as well.

Access: That’s amazing. All right, so The Hound has an interesting relationship with Sansa. How is that going to work, going forward, as he sees Joffrey grow in power?

Rory: He’s going to be in conflict, I think. I think he wants to look after Sansa and totally understands her position, but he’s also in a position [of] — if he steps in, he is risking his life… I think in the first season you can see with Sandor and Sansa, that there’s a frustration with Sandor trying to get through to Sansa that it’s not all fairytale and true knights and there’s so much badness in the world. But, by the end of the first season, obviously she’s seen… her father having his head cut off. So she’s maybe seen the light now, but I think there’s still a frustration of trying to [get her to] see the reality of the whole situation. It’s giving advice to Sansa for survival, basically.

Access: How long does it takes to put on the hair and makeup? Hours?

Rory: Always. Every single time I’m given the sheets of the pickup times for the next day, it’s a running joke, I always go back to the office and go, ‘There must be some mistake’ (laughs). I’m at least a couple hours before everyone else. When it first started, it was three-and-a-half-hours, but we’ve cut that in half now. It’s all one piece now instead of separate pieces.

Access: It’s so intricate.

Rory: And the heat is unreal because I’ve got prosthetic all around my eyebrow and all [up] the side of my face and after a couple of hours, even if I’m not active, the whole thing starts to build up a sweat… until it starts to leak — usually from my eyebrow. Usually [we] have to burst it and reset it. It’s quite uncomfortable.

Access: And itchy too?

Rory: Very itchy! But, you know, it makes me angry and I just use it. Any time I see any other actors complaining about anything, I usually shout at them and go ‘Use it!’

Access: You were involved in one of the most memorable fight scenes last season – Sandor vs. his brother Gregor after a joust. Will you get to wield the sword a little bit more in Season 2?

Rory: Yeah. Twice as much. I’m in another joust with a gold helmet on. It’s quite hard to see who you’re trying to kill wearing that dog’s helmet, I can assure you.

Access: Now you’re a practical joker — is that right?

Rory: Uh, (pauses) yes. It’s one of my pleasures in life. I must admit. Nice practical jokes though.

Access: I read you played a joke on Oliver Stone [your director in 2004’s ‘Alexander’]…

Rory: What’s reported that I did to Oliver Stone?

Access: Something to do with a snake.

Rory: Oh, a snake under the hat, yes… It was a fake snake. I’ve done quite a lot of swashbuckling kind of films where all the actors ‘round me have their swords out… and my favorite [thing to do] is to tie all their swords up with fishing line, so when they take out the swords, it’s all over the place. It’s funny the first time…

Access: Is there anyone you play practical jokes on, on the ‘GOT’ set? Are the kids and younger actors cool with that kind of stuff?

Rory: They’re all cool with it. I get on great with all the kids. Was I doing any practical jokes? I wasn’t really, I don’t think… Because [of] the way I look — and I do know the way I look — I surprise people sometimes. So when I come ‘round a corner and they don’t notice… I give people a scare, just being my size and stuff. But I’ll go up to people behind and bark like a dog, and nip the back of their leg and watch them jump.

Access: What a hoot. Do you do that to Dan and David, because I imagine they could probably use it every once in a while?

Rory: Yeah, I know. They work so hard. It’s things like during the night shoots, you’ve gotta try and keep your spirits up. The night shoots this season — the weather was brutal and so anything to cheer up anyone. But it’s was usually just telling stories… I have a guitar on set, as well. I play little ditties and stuff. There’s usually someone else with a guitar as well. There’s usually a jam going on.

Access: Are there particular pop classics you guys like to break out?

Rory: I tell you what, the kids love that classic ‘Glee’ song. You know, the ‘Glee’ song. The one that goes (starts singing) ‘just do it, I’m just a na-na-na…’ You know that one?

Access: I’m not sure I do. They do so many.

Rory: Honestly, I’ve never watched it and that’s another thing, I don’t watch really watch telly. I haven’t managed to watch all of the first season [of ‘GOT’]… David and Dan invited me to sit in a screening room and watch all the episodes, which sounded good, but 10 hours by yourself watching ‘Game of Thrones’? I don’t think I could do that… I live out in the wild, so I think I’ll just have to wait for the box set myself.

Access: Does the isolation of where you live mean you don’t get ‘GOT’ fan reactions others in major cities probably do?

Rory: I wouldn’t say I’m that social… I’m either sailing my boat by myself or living in some small place. I’m just about to move to a place that you can only get there by rowing a boat across a loch, which I’m thoroughly looking forward to it. It’s not got electricity or anything.

Access: Have you had a chance to sort of enjoy the glory of a fan reaction to this at all, because people really love the show, myself included.

Rory: I’m getting that this thing is massive and the fan base is massive and they’re loving – I think they’re loving the show. Occasionally, I’ve dipped into the show website and then the other fan things and then it gets all too much and I switch the computer off.

Access: So nobody’s been able to come up to you yet, that you don’t know and say, ‘Rory! I love you as The Hound!’?

Rory: Not that much to be honest. To be honest, I was in a bookshop yesterday…

Access: Did you get a ‘Book Group’ recognition?

Rory: I sometimes get that, but I was in a book shop the other day and I was looking particularly Hound-like and a guy turned around that was in front of me in the queue — I was waiting for a coffee — and he just looked at me with a face of fear and went, ‘My good lord’ (laughs). And I just got the impression that he was seeing The Hound, rather than any of the other characters that I’ve played.

Access: That’s kind of cool. Probably has to be a little bit of fun…

Rory: The thing that I just discovered, which fascinates me really – my name, McCann, the translation isn’t ‘Son of Ann.’ … It comes from ‘Canis’ – as in ‘canine’ – as in ‘dog’! My name — Rory McCann — means Rory Hound, Rory Wolfhound. Can you believe that?

Access: Are you being serious?

Rory: I’m totally serious… as in ‘canine.’ It comes from that word. It doesn’t come from ‘Son of Ann,’ so that’s intriguing.

Scots film star Rory McCann returns for gangster flick

SOURCE: Daily Record
AUTHOR: Steve Hendry
DATE: 11 January 2009
ORIGINAL: Click here
ARCHIVE: Click here


MOVIE star Rory McCann has played gangsters, warriors and demon slayers.

But he has played it for laughs on every one of his films – by stocking up on pranks.

Even Hollywood film-maker Oliver Stone has fallen victim to one of his practical jokes, after Rory put snakes under his hat.

The 6ft 7in lumberjack-turned-actor crossed swords with the movie mogul for epic Alexander.

The prolific prankster said: “Every time I go on a job I spend £100 at Tam Shepherd’s joke shop in Glasgow, although Oliver Stone didn’t like the snakes.

“Tying people’s swords together with fishing line before a take is a favourite and I superglued an actor’s flip flops together as he slept on a plane. The trick is not to get caught.”

The jokes served him well while filming the sex scenes in his latest movie, Brit gangster flick The Crew.

Rory, 39, said: “I do awful things in a brothel. It’s shocking.

“I relieved the stress by hiding a remote control fart machine on set. If it got tense I pressed the button.”

Rory needs a sense of humour to pursue his dream. Since he gave up painting the Forth Bridge after getting his big break as the Scott’s Porage Oats man 10 years ago he has amassed a string of credits.

He picked up a Scottish Bafta for his role as a wheelchair-bound ex-climber in Channel 4’s The Book Group. He was in Rockface, State of Play, Shameless and played Attila The Hun on TV. His films include Young Adam with Ewan McGregor and Hot Fuzz with Simon Pegg.

But his most important job is his next one and he is back working as a lumberjack to pay the bills.

He said: “Workwise it’s been a horrendous couple of years. But this is my path. I’ll do whatever it takes.”

Rory has streamlined his life to allow him to take what jobs come up.

He said: “Scotland is home now, it was Iceland last year. I have two caravans, a boat and a few dosses. I don’t want a base, I want the work.”

Rory has cause for optimism. One of his films awaiting release – comic adaptation Solomon Kane – could be part of a trilogy. In the meantime, he is delighted with The Crew.

He said: “It’s like Goodfellas or The Sopranos set in Liverpool.”

The Crew is out on DVD tomorrow.


SOURCE: The Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
AUTHOR: John Millar
DATE: 29 October 2006
ORIGINAL: Probably no longer available
ARCHIVE: Click here (Free Library) or click here (Internet Archive)



SCOTS Porage Oats hunk Rory McCann is quitting Scotland for Iceland.

The actor is moving there from Glencoe after falling in love with it during filming of medieval epic Beowulf And Grendel.

He said: “I came out to Iceland to make this movie and when we finished I decided to stay.

“Of course I miss Scotland and my friends there but I love Iceland.

“It is Scotland on steroids – bigger mountains and bigger weather. The people are gems. They never complain about the weather.”

Rory, 37, is learning Icelandic and claims living there will improve his health.

He said: “I have never been fitter.”

Rory is best known as the kilted hunk in the Scott’s Porage Oats ads.

The actor – who won a Scottish Bafta in 2002 for his role of wheelchair-bound Kenny in comedy-drama The Book Group – will next be seen in comedy Sixty Six.

The movie – out on Friday – follows young Jewish boy Bernie, played by 13-year-old Gregg Sulkin, who is preparing for his bar mitzvah.

But his big day clashes with the 1966 World Cup Final and if England triumph people won’t care about his long-awaited party.

Rory – who also appeared in Oliver Stone’s epic Alexander – plays a policeman who stops Bernie and his dad as they speed to Wembley to catch the match.

They hope the cop will be sympathetic – but soon find the Scots traffic enforcer is far from happy at all the World Cup hysteria.

Rory said: “It’s a good joke and when I read the script I knew that scene would get a laugh.”

At the end of filming, Rory was given a memento – a replica red English football shirt that had the name of the movie on the back.

But he soon discovered the joke was not appreciated north of the border.

He said: “I wore it when I was back in Glasgow and some guys were not amused. They said I should burn it.

“I think if I wore it again I might get lynched.”

19 Rory McCann

SOURCE: The Scotsman
AUTHOR: Unknown
DATE: 27 November 2005
ORIGINAL: The Scotsman broke the link, the bastards. Can’t find it now.
ARCHIVE: Click here


Actor, 36

Lives Glencoe and London.

Who is he? As the face – and torso – of Scott’s Porage Oats, Rory was making the heart of many a Scotswoman flutter when he landed the part of wheelchair-user Kenny McLeod in the cult television drama The Book Group. His performance won him a Scottish Bafta for Best TV Performance in 2002. He has since popped up in Young Adam, Rockface II and Oliver Stone’s epic Alexander. This year he filmed Beowulf and Grendel with Gerard Butler, and is currently shooting the third series of Shameless, in which he plays a priest.

Pluses Tall (6ft 6in), dark (brown hair, brown eyes) and handsome (remember that grin from the TV ads?), with a voice that’ll make your knees go weak.

Minuses He has a fierce temper.

Best date “My birthday – April 24, 1969.”

Worst date “My next birthday.”

Best chat-up line “Lift your kilt.”

Nothing is sexier than… “A brown-eyed girl.”

What would you put in Room 101? “Porridge.”

Where will you be in ten years? Lairding it up in his very own castle in Glencoe.