Game of Thrones’ Rory McCann on series 3

SOURCE: The Scotsman
AUTHOR: Andrea Mullaney
DATE: 28 March 2013
ORIGINAL: Click here
ARCHIVE: Click here


AT LAST month’s Glasgow Film Festival, the biggest queue for tickets – down the street from the Glasgow Film Theatre and back up again, with a few hundred turned away disappointed – was to see an episode from a TV show which most of the audience had already seen on a smaller screen, and an unspecified cast member.

But Game Of Thrones’ popularity goes even further than the usual cult audience: the series has become a mainstream phenomenon. It marries the big-budget, high-quality attention to detail and gritty realism that America’s HBO channel has become known for with the fascinations of an invented world, loosely based on Britain in the time of the Wars of the Roses, but with added magic.

Trailers for the upcoming third season (shown here on Sky Atlantic) have been avidly scrutinised: one had 16 million views in a week. The number of subscribers to HBO, which had previous hits with Sex And The City, The Sopranos and The Wire, has increased and George RR Martin, the source books’ author, has been signed up for a prequel series and perhaps other shows.

Since Lord Of The Rings, the fantasy blockbuster has been big at the cinema, but previous TV shows set in magical worlds have tended to be lighter, family-friendly fare. A funny viral video doing the rounds recently showed the difference by re-editing the Game Of Thrones credits in the style of 1990s knockabout Saturday morning fare Hercules: grinning heroes, comical sidekicks, a bit of swordplay or thrown punches, but everything ending happily.

That is really not Game Of Thrones’ style: from the frequent deaths (Ned Stark, played by Sean Bean, the biggest name when the show began, meets a grisly end in series one; they even broke the cardinal Hollywood rule that The Dog Always Survives) to the annoyingly gratuitous female nudity thrown in whenever an exposition scene might otherwise drag. But leave aside the dragons, smoke monster and warlocks, and the story’s probably a more realistic take on the Middle Ages than some: the show gets across the arbitrary dangers of war, the gulf between the wealthy and the poor, the constrained role of women and the general grubbiness of everything.

It’s a complex, dark tale, based on a sprawling, ongoing book series, which on screen conveys an ambitious scope, switching from the icy landscapes of the far north of its land, Westeros, to the warmer climes of the south and east. With a large cast of characters – though Peter Dinklage, who won Emmy and Golden Globe awards as the clever and vulnerable Tyrion, has perhaps proved to be the main breakout star – and separate storylines filmed in different countries, there’s a mammoth production behind the show, with a reported budget of $6 million (£4m) per episode.

The cast representative at the Film Festival, to the delight of fans, turned out to be Rory McCann, who plays the scarred and bitter killer known as The Hound. He’s just one of the many Scots involved – others include Richard Madden, James Cosmo, Iain Glen and, in wardrobe and props, McCann’s own sister and brother-in-law. It’s partly a remnant of some series one filming here and subsequently in Northern Ireland, partly the story’s rough concordance with the British mainland where “beyond the Wall” represents the untamed Highlands.

McCann – a slightly shy, intense man often cast for his imposing two-metre (6ft 6in) height, whose previous roles include Scott’s Porage Oats adverts and The Book Group – entertains the audience with anecdotes and a contest to win his battered copy of one of the novels. But afterwards, he’s clearly still trying to get his head around making public appearances – it’s only his second fan event – and the popularity of the show itself.

“I feel I’m not very articulate sometimes,” he says, “but some of the answers are starting to come quicker. I am not that comfortable but kind of feel that I have to do it, not for a fee but it’s very humbling to be asked. Especially when I think of all the times of trying to get a bit part in Taggart and not getting it.

“I’m part of an amazing show and would quite happily have been a spear carrier at the back – which I thought in a way I was at the beginning, until I started to read on. I’ve played many a bouncer or a spear carrier. At least I’ve got a character name and don’t die on page 20.”

In fact, the episode just shown on the GFT’s screen is the first one he’s watched all the way through. “I don’t have Sky,” he says flatly. “The people I hang around with don’t have Sky either.” And no, he couldn’t just get the DVDs, as it transpires that McCann’s life – when he’s not filming – is almost as spartan as his character’s. He lives alone “on a boat” most of the time, which he sails around Scotland, stopping off in remote places like Knoydart. And his approach to playing The Hound – a character of few words – is as serious as a method actor’s.

“It’s all about this job. I know it’s coming up every year and I’ll not take another job before I’m shooting, because there’s a right good chance I’m gonna have a stomach upset or something. Anything that could affect this is out, I want to be on form. So much so that at least two months before filming, I literally phone up all my friends and say, ‘Don’t phone me at all till the leaves fall off the trees.’”

“I have no contact at all with anyone. I’m on my boat, training, rehearsing, I spend all my energy on the job that’s coming up and I found that’s the way that works for me. The more energy you have on set the better you’ll be, it’s all about being alive in that moment and listening. So most of the time I’m just curled up trying not to talk and conserving that energy. Or hanging off a mast on my boat in a stormy sea trying to shorten my sail and thinking, ‘Maybe this is irresponsible…’”

All this, in an age when many actors are tweeting their upcoming screen appearances or being seen at a string of red carpet events, makes McCann something of a throwback. He frequently references the time a few years back when, fed up with the only acting offers coming in, he took off for Iceland and spent a year working as a carpenter. “I don’t have a mortgage, I don’t have a wife and I don’t have kids, so I’m quite happy bumbling along. I try not to do any crap. The last thing I was asked was to play Samson in a Biblical film – well, I’m not getting down to my pants and doing religion,” he shudders. “I’d rather go and chop trees.”

Yet, as part of a successful TV show that everyone wants a piece of, that’s probably not going to happen. For all McCann’s ambivalence about the showbiz life, he’s agreed to meet with “people who maybe want to employ me” in Los Angeles. “It’s not my place at all, but I think it’s the right thing to do. It would be wrong to say no,” he says, uncertainly. “I don’t know if I’d want to move there and I can’t be working down in London, it kills me – it’s the noise.”

McCann and the rest have already finished filming the ten episodes of series three, which is set to ratchet the excitement up even higher as the plot thickens. “You’re gonna love it,” he teases. And, going by the show’s success so far, he’s probably right.

Starfury Throne Con [Excerpt]

SOURCE: JacMac’s Blog
AUTHOR: Jackie MacPherson
DATE: 20 March 2012
ORIGINAL: Click here
ARCHIVE: Click here
NOTE: Only part of this article is about Rory and I’m not feeling a need to reproduce the whole thing. If you want to read the whole thing it’ll be at the original-article or archive links above. Also, for an accompanying photo album with lots of good Rory shots, click here. Same guy, same event.


Rory started the weekend wearing the Hound helmet t-shirt which got a cheer. I nearly dropped my camera during his first talk when he shouted “look at me!” Another common request was “Yarp!” 😉 He says he’s always recognised in Scotland as the porage man and apparently judged a porage cooking competition in my home town where he had to try porage with herring in it. Bleurgh. He also talked about his sister and her work on Game of Thrones (I didn’t know she did!). She works in the costume department and occasionally they’ll bump into each other and have a mini giddy moment. She also helped out on the Beowulf film that was shot in Iceland with Gerrard Butler.

Rory loves living on his boat and wants to sail it to Belfast instead of staying in the hotel. He’s not sure DnD will let him though. His dream is to get the boat kitted out enough to go sailing around the world. Rory also makes his own Sloe Gin with a little help from the fairies. I had no idea that there’s such secrecy on the whereabouts of sloe bushes!

He seems to be a man of opposites. He loves his isolation and shuns the lime light but also seems to have a desire to perform. He and Miltos sat with Louise and I on Sunday night blethering away. Great chat and lovely guys. Most memorable fact to find out about the big man, he used to be in a band with Carol Smilie which included fire extinguishers and capes! That’s probably more amusing for UKers who know who Carol Smilie is 😉

I asked Rory what it was like working with Jack Gleeson. He says he’s really a lovely young man who’s studying philosophy at Uni at the moment. On the Saturday he admitted to being a bit of a joker on set. He’s been known to be on all fours in front of the Iron Throne woofing away, rolling over and getting his tummy scratched. He also likes to steal people swords just before a shot.

//Spoilerish question
He’d expressed regret his audition scene wasn’t in season 1 and how maybe one day he’d get to do something like it. I asked how the SanSan relationship was going in Season 2. He said there had been 3 options that they tried out and have gone for one that well the fans will just have to be happy with. He seemed to hope they would be.

He also stated he’s really looking forward to working with Maisie.
// End of spoilerish questions

Rory McCann – What I know about women

SOURCE: The Scotsman
AUTHOR: Rory? Unsure of provenance of this piece (did Rory write it? Dictate it? If the latter, to whom?)
DATE: 12 January 2009
ORIGINAL: Click here
ARCHIVE: Click here


Actor Rory McCann is 39. He is based in Scotland, but spends most of his time travelling for work.

WHAT do I know about women? I don’t know anything. Basically you’re asking the wrong person. I remember mentioning this interview to my male mates, and they laughed their heads off. Their joke is that I couldn’t find a bird in a pet shop. It’s true. I do live in a remote area, and I don’t socialise much, so that maybe that doesn’t help.

I’m single because I move about so much that I can’t really get attached. I spent the new year in Ullapool and all I was getting was “Oh my God, you’re the Porage Oats man!” That doesn’t really help the situation. I did better in Iceland. I lived there for a year and I’m not known there, so it was just regular. The women there are fantastic. They wear the trousers. They’re the ones that point and go “Hey you. Over here!” and the men are the meek, quiet ones who are sitting there going “Who, me?” I liked that approach.

I’d like someone quiet and not too much trouble. Someone very cuddly. Chatty, but not outspoken; I don’t like loud women at all. In the business I meet some beautiful women, but to be honest, 80 per cent of them, are raving lunatics, and are to be avoided. It’s just insecurity, actors are generally quite insecure. I wouldn’t date, or I’ve never had a fling with an actress, and I’d quite like to keep it that way. But we’ll see. I have the will of a flip-flop.

If I had a long-term partner, I don’t think I’d be an actor. It’d be too much of a strain; you have to work too hard to balance that life with a family and a mortgage and all that stuff, it would be too much. I don’t think it would be fair.

I’ve got to say my mother is the most important woman in my life and not just because she is a Scotsman reader. She’s my one true believer, my No 1 fan. I’ve always been close to her. She’s been very encouraging through the ups and downs of being an actor. It’s not easy because there’s long periods of no work and she’s always been the one trying to keep me positive. I’ve managed to bring her to a few premieres – she met Angelina Jolie and that made her day.

My sister is also a very important person in my life. She’s three years younger than me and works in the business as well, she does costumes. She did a job on Alexander with me, which was great. It’s good to have a confidante. On set, we speak a secret language from childhood, so none of the other actors or directors know what we’re talking about. It’s very useful when you don’t want others to know what you’re saying.

I’m a man’s man. I go out climbing and live outdoors. I can’t get on girls’ wavelengths at all. I think we are completely different. I don’t know, maybe that’s the way it should be. If we could all get along occasionally though, that would be nice.

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.”