Movie Glaswegians: Rory McCann

Rory McCannBorn in Glasgow on 24th April 1969, online accounts of Rory McCann’s background indicate that his initial line of work before turning to acting was a green fingered one. He was reportedly a landscape gardener and studied at the Scottish School of Forestry.

But he has since moved on to grace our screens – big and small – in a wide variety of productions. At a height of 6’6″, the actor’s stature has perhaps influenced a number of his castings – from poster boy for a porridge firm, to Timothy Dalton’s lumbering henchman, to formidable warrior in a leading international television series.

The porridge job – appearing in a television advert for Scott’s Porage Oats – was McCann’s first acting role and the leading international television series is a reference to his role as Sandor Clegane in HBO’s Game of Thrones.

His first film role was in 2000’s Pasty Faces, partly set in Glasgow, and another city-set feature – Young Adam – also had his name on the credits. He has had particular success with films of a historic and fantasy nature, such as AlexanderBeowulf & GrendelSolomon Kane and Clash of the Titans, but has found himself equally at home in comedies. The aforementioned henchman role was his monosyllabic performance in Hot Fuzz, and in Sixty Six he was on the other side of the law playing a policeman.

Glasgow’s Global Visitors: Nick Offerman

Name: Nick Offerman

Born: 26th June 1970 in Joliet, Illinois, USA

Credits include: We’re The Millers21 Jump StreetSin City

Reason for visiting Glasgow:

Actor Nick Offerman appears to be one of Hollywood’s more unique characters (how many actors also run their own woodshop?) and has earned roles in a number of successful movies, ranging from dark and gritty Sin City to the “Everything is Awesome” world of The Lego Movie.

In The Lego Movie he provides voice talent alongside the film’s lead Chris Pratt, who happens to be his co-star in the highly rated NBC comedy series Parks and Recreation. It was in fact this series that brought Offerman to Glasgow in 2013 – without wishing to give away too much of a plot spoiler for an episode that hasn’t yet aired in the UK, his character Ron Swanson is seen briefly walking across the main concourse of Glasgow Central Station. If this is news to you, you have two options: Google it to find out why; or until the episode is broadcast in the UK enjoy speculating over “how the hell did Ron Swanson end up in Central Station!?”

That Nick Offerman’s appearance in the busy transport hub – and in particular in character as Swanson – didn’t appear to generate media coverage or a local social media meltdown at the time is a bit of a miracle. The complicated director of the parks and recreation department has become a cult figure, and this is certainly notable in Glasgow – in recent months alone I’ve seen his image on a gig poster in the Flat 0/1 bar and nightclub on Bath Street, while at The Shop of Interest in Finnieston two brooches designed by Kate Rowland are displayed in the window: one features man of the moment Walter “Heisenberg” White, the other Ron Swanson. When the episode featuring Glasgow aired in the USA and news reached these shores, plenty of Glaswegians took to Twitter to lament the fact that they hadn’t taken the train that day…

Cameo Appearance: Rob Roy

1995’s Rob Roy cast Liam Neeson as the 18th century Scottish folk hero Rob Roy MacGregor. Set in the Highlands, the film’s storyline sees MacGregor borrow money from the somewhat unpleasant Marquis of Montrose in order to invest in cattle to help his community. However the Marquis’ even nastier nephew Archibald Cunningham steals the money and frames Rob Roy’s closest friend for the theft, setting in motion a series of bloody encounters as the Marquis sets out to recover the debt and McGregor seeks justice and the vengeance of his persecuted family and community.

A glance at the history books indicates that the movie is not entirely faithful to the documented history of McGregor – rather than presenting a cradle to grave biography of the man it focuses on a specific episode in his life and in doing so employs a significant amount of artistic licence in its retelling of that time.

Historical accuracy aside however, Rob Roy is a fine film. Historical epics cannot always keep my attention, but the cast, scenery and grand scale of this production managed to satisfy me. Neeson is on good form and ably accompanied by Jessica Lange as McGregor’s wife Mary, while Eric Stoltz, Brian Cox and Brian McCardie are among the names in a strong supporting cast. Special mention must go to John Hurt as the Marquis and Tim Roth as Cunningham though. Hurt, as always, delivers a commanding performance as one of the bad guys; and Roth’s character is so obnoxious, so diabolical, that it is little wonder he received a nomination for Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

None of Rob Roy is set in Glasgow, nor was it filmed there, however there is a brief mention of the city. Pulling Cunningham up for some of his more wayward behaviour, the Marquis of Montrose raises the matter of “This tailor in Glasgow to whom you owe 87 pounds”.

Movie Glaswegians: David Hayman

In the early 1990s David Hayman was awarded the City of Glasgow’s Gold Medal for outstanding services to the performing arts – it is entirely fitting that he was recognised in this civic manner, as alongside acting with and directing some of the biggest names in Hollywood he continues to take a passionate interest in the city’s matters – past and present.

The early part of David Hayman’s life story so far is Glasgow through and through – born in Bridgeton on 9th February 1948, he went on to be an engineering apprentice in Maryhill and he studied at the city’s Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama before starting his acting career at the Citizens Theatre.

That acting career has gone on to span stage and screens big and small, with a continuing active presence on all three platforms. Movie credits over the years include Hope and GloryRob RoyVertical Limit and The Tailor of Panama, while more recently he had a small role as Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and is attached to a number of forthcoming releases – most notably 2015’s Macbeth, starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard.

He both acted in and directed Glasgow-set features Silent Scream and The Near Room, as well as directing a number of other films and television programmes. These include The Hawk, for which he directed Helen Mirren – his co-star in another Glasgow film, Heavenly Pursuits.

Hayman wears his Glasgow badge proudly. On television he has appeared on institutions Scotch & WryRab C. Nesbitt and Still Game, as well as hosting the documentaries In Search of Bible John and Clydebuilt: The Ships That Built the Commonwealth. He is a noted supporter of Celtic Football Club, publicly backed Glasgow MSP Sandra White in her election campaign and founded the city-based humanitarian charity Spirit Aid. In 2001 Spirit Aid announced plans for a Live Aid style event at Hampden Stadium, with the Evening Times reporting that Hayman would be getting his Tailor of Panama co-stars Pierce Brosnan and Jamie Lee Curtis on board to appear at the event – while the Hampden event sadly did not transpire, the charity successfully continues to this day supporting projects from Partick to Sri Lanka.

Glasgow’s Global Visitors: Sean Combs

Name: Sean Combs

Born: 4th November 1969 in Harlem, New York, USA

Credits include: I’m Still HereGet Him to the GreekMonster’s Ball

Reason for visiting Glasgow:

Known by different names throughout his career – Puff Daddy, P Diddy, Diddy – Sean Combs has successfully tried his hand at many pursuits, including his own clothing line and a role in the Ciroc vodka brand. In film he has dabbled in executive producing (Notorious) and has had a handful of acting appearances in front of the camera.

Music is probably the industry he is most synonymous with however and in 2010 he visited Glasgow for an exclusive one-off event. His band, Diddy – Dirty Money, performed a free concert at the Old Fruitmarket under the banner MTV Crashes Glasgow – with the American television network broadcasting the performance globally.

Combs was mobbed by fans and photographers when he left the Blythswood Square Hotel ahead of the event.