Exclusive Interview: Rory McCann (‘Shameless’, Beowulf & Grendel’, “Alexander’)

SOURCE: Monsters & Critics
AUTHOR: Scott Rosenberg
DATE: 15 September 2006
ORIGINAL: No longer available
ARCHIVE: Click here (I Love Rory McCann on Tumblr) or click here (Internet Archive)
NOTE: I have no idea why M&C deleted this. Boo!


Tall (6’ 6”), dark (brown hair and brown eyes) and handsome with a “voice that will make your knees go weak”, certainly describes Scottish actor Rory McCann.

Thirty seven year old McCann, number 19 on “The Eligibles 2005 – top 50 men”, looks surprisingly like another famous Scottish actor, a youngish Sean Connery.

Presently starring as Father Crichton in the third season of ‘Shameless’ on British TV, McCann is hot off of starring in Sturla Gunnarsson’s feature ‘Beowulf & Grendel’ (Breka 2005) and prior to that Oliver Stone’s ‘Alexander’ (Crateros 2004).

Rory McCann was kind enough to spend some time with M&C talking about his experiences as an actor and upcoming projects. Following is the interview:

M&C: Where are you from in Scotland? You know the editor of Monsters and Critics, James Wray lives in Glasgow.

RM: I’m from Glasgow too. No I don’t know him but being from Glasgow, I’m sure he’s a nice chap.

M&C: What made you want to get involved with the movie ‘Alexander’ and ‘Beowulf & Grendel’?

RM: The name “Oliver Stone” was enough for me to want to get involved with ‘Alexander,’ I did not see the script until I got to Morocco and had not much knowledge of the cast save Val Kilmer who I worked with as an extra in ‘Willow’ years ago.

‘Beowulf and Grendel’ – well Iceland for a few months, a place I always wanted to go (I have a place there now), horse riding and sword fighting for a couple weeks in advance and, oh yeah, the script was great.

M&C: What was it like working with Oliver and Sturla? Were their directing styles very different? Is it difficult as an actor to adapt to a director’s working style?

RM: Both Oliver and Sturla were great to work with.

Both in the beginning were very open to questions and suggestions of how the role would be played. When shooting began on both films, those guys were wearing fifty hats and working very hard, trying to coordinate large casts in hard conditions and tight budgets, I would say that their styles were pretty similar.

I find it is sometimes difficult to adapt to a director’s style if you’ve come in on something that has been shooting for a while. The only thing I won’t tolerate is a bully director. I tend to nip it in the bud quickly, God help them!

M&C: Do you prefer working in TV or features? Not counting for the financial difference, why do you prefer working in one and not the other?

RM: Well to be honest from what I’ve experienced, I prefer film work. I love cinema, watching great films at the cinema inspired me to become an actor but at the end of the day, it’s about the quality of the script and the cast and crew involved.

M&C: You play roles in both small indie pics and major motion pictures – again, besides the pay, which is more rewarding to you as an artist?

RM: I think indie stuff cause there’s more involvement, it’s more raw and chances are for me, at this early stage of my career, I’ll get a juicier part to play.

M&C: Would you like to do more Hollywood work? Do you anticipate relocating to the States?

RM: Yes I would love to do more Hollywood work. Would I move and live there permanently? I don’t know, maybe have a place there, that would be nice.

M&C: You have a great voice – do you want to do more voice acting?

RM: Thank you. I blame my late father for that. I recently found an old Dictaphone of his and his voice was identical. I would love to do more voice acting particularly an animated feature, that would be fun.

M&C: Have you had special voice training?

RM: I’ve had dialect coaches for a few accents: it’s great to learn a nice accent: it gives another string to your bow.

M&C: Can you tell us about new projects you are working on?

RM: I’ve just come off ‘Hot Fuzz’ a hilariously action-packed film that’s been made by (Simon Pegg & Edgar Wright) the makers of ‘Shaun of the Dead,’ it comes out March of next year.

M&C: What advice would you have for young people that want to become actors?

RM: I would say don’t get your hopes up, it’s such a hard business to survive in, never mind get into. Whatever you do make sure you have a backup career, one that can pay the bills.

Sorry to say that but I had to say that because I’ve been there. After that, learn as much as you can. Study, read, learn skills, meet like-minded people, get a camcorder and, oh yeah, pray!

M&C: What advice would you give young actors trying to break into the business?

RM: Well you need representation so it’s a case of contacting every agent until one bites. You need to have a thick skin and deal with rejection. A good photo is needed and write to casting directors.

M&C: An esoteric question, if you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead (no relatives or religious figures), who would it be and why?

RM: Alexander because what an amazing man he was, what he accomplished in such a small period of time was incredible.

M&C: Anything else you would like to add and tell our readers (over one million unique readers every month)?

RM: Well I would just like to thank you for your interest in my goings on. I’m still amazed that I’m still part of this mad industry and hope to be forever. To think that only seven or eight years ago, I used to paint for the Forth Rail Bridge in Scotland for a living. Now that was a never ending job!

All the best.