Movie Glaswegians: Craig Ferguson

Screenshot (1)Born in Stobhill Hospital in Springburn on 17th May 1962, Craig Ferguson’s life journey so far has taken him through the worlds of music, acting, writing and stand-up comedy to become one of America’s best known talk show hosts. Alongside regularly interviewing the biggest names in Hollywood, he retains an active movie career of his own.

Raised in Cumbernauld, both the North Lanarkshire new town and the city of his birth appear to have remained close to his heart across the miles – where he now resides in California as the host of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. This was no more evident than in 2012 when Ferguson brought a host of Hollywood names to both Glasgow and Cumbernauld to record a week’s worth of The Late Late Show episodes. During these broadcasts he showcased Glasgow rock band The Imagineers to the massive American audience and this trend for highlighting Scottish talent has continued as recently as last week, with the Daily Record reporting that he had booked Glasgow’s Roddy Hart and his band The Lonesome Fire to appear on the show in Los Angeles. Scottish guests on The Late Late Show are a regular occurrence and as noted previously on this blog one show saw Ferguson and friend and one-time band-mate Peter Capaldi recall tales of wild times on Havelock Street.

Between his time in the band Dreamboys with Capaldi and his Late Late Show tenure which began in 2005, notable chapters in Craig Ferguson’s career included appearances in London’s West End, at the Edinburgh Fringe and on television shows including the BBC sitcom One Foot In The Grave and the USA’s The Drew Carey Show.

His film career includes both writing and lead acting credits on the movies The Big Tease (1999) and Saving Grace (2000), with the former set in both Glasgow and Los Angeles. More recently he has been a popular choice for voicing over animated movies, with Brave and the forthcoming How To Train Your Dragon 2 among such credits.

Movie Glaswegians: Peter Capaldi

peter capaldiPeter Capaldi was born in Glasgow on 14th April 1958 and attended Glasgow School of Art. During his time as an art student, Capaldi was lead singer in a punk rock band called Dreamboys alongside drummer Craig Ferguson, another Glaswegian who went on to act and now hosts The Late Late Show on American television. Look up the two names on YouTube and you will find a video of Ferguson interviewing Capaldi on The Late Late Show – it is somewhat surreal to see a high profile American talk show, filmed in Los Angeles, on which the host is Glaswegian, the guest is Glaswegian and the pair are reminiscing about taking acid in a flat in Havelock Street.

Back to Capaldi and his part in the world of movies though. Glasgow on Film previously mentioned his legendary role as Malcolm Tucker in both In The Loop and television’s The Thick Of It. His other big screeen acting credits include the role of Oldsen in one of Scotland’s most celebrated films, Local Hero, that of Azolan in 1988’s Dangerous Liaisons and parts in British comedy movies including Bean and Magicians. He has also appeared in Soft Top Hard Shoulder and Wild Country – both films with Glasgow scenes. Peter Capaldi is another very versatile Glaswegian actor – for an example of this see his performance in In The Loop (or The Thick Of It) versus his portrayal of Home Office Permanent Secretary John Frobisher in the television mini series Torchwood: Children Of Earth – both productions see Capaldi suited up and walking the corridors of Whitehall but the contrast between his characters in each is wide – he goes from being ferocious manipulator to humble and manipulated.

As well as having success in front of the camera, Capaldi is an experienced writer and director – he wrote the aforementioned Soft Top Hard Shoulder and most notably wrote and directed 1995 short film Franz Kafka’s It’s A Wonderful Life, which won both an Academy Award and a BAFTA Award for Best Short Film.

Movie Glaswegians: Armando Iannucci

At this time there is currently only one big screen feature credited to Armando Iannucci, but it is definitely a good one – 2009’s In The Loop. More on this below.

Born in Glasgow on 28th November 1963 to a Glaswegian mother and Neopolitan father, Iannucci is undoubtedly one of the most influential figures in British comedy. On television he has written, produced, directed or all of the above on shows including The Day Today, Knowing Me, Knowing You With Alan Partridge, Time Trumpet, The Armando Iannucci Shows, Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle and The Friday Night Armistice – appearing in front of the camera on the latter four of these too.

It was one of his most successful television creations – political satire The Thick Of It – that led to In The Loop, which he directed and contributed to the screenplay for. In The Loop does not quite keep to the canon of The Thick Of It, with some regular The Thick Of It actors appearing as different characters, however one character that is the same on both small and big screen is the tyrannical, foul mouthed government spin doctor Malcolm Tucker. Tucker, incidentally, is played by another Glasgow Italian – Peter Capaldi, whose performance here has made the character a legendary one. In The Loop – filmed in both the UK and the USA – was highly acclaimed when released and features a fantastic cast that includes The Thick Of It regulars such as Chris Addison and Joanna Scanlan, Hollywood names like James Gandolfini and Mimi Kennedy and other fine British acting talent in the form of Gina McKee and Steve Coogan to name a couple. It is worth noting that In The Loop had its European gala premiere at the Glasgow Film Theatre on 12th February 2009 as the opening of that year’s Glasgow Film Festival.

In 2011 Armando Iannucci was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters by the University of Glasgow, where he had in the past been educated (in addition to further time spent at University College, Oxford).

There is hopefully a lot more cinema to come from Iannucci – at this time he is working on Alan Partridge: The Movie and as creator of the recent HBO television series Veep, which stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Vice President of the United States, his work is certainly being noticed around the world.