The Lowdown: Things you don’t know about…Robert Carlyle

October 14, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

main1.jpgRobert Carlyle OBE (born 1961), acclaimed Scottish actor, has done pretty darn well for himself.  Famous for his versatility and dedication as an actor in roles such as Francis Begbie, the brutal psychopath in Trainspotting and the lovable Gaz in The Full Monty, next week he is due to appear at this year’s London Film Festival promoting the premier of his new film, I Know You Know, and to give an exclusive screen talk about his career to date.  But first, we thought we’d give you a little taster…

Where did he start out?

Robert was born in Maryhill, Glasgow to his mother, a bus driver and his father, a painter/decorator.  It was not until the relatively late age of twenty-one that Robert enrolled himself in an acting class at the Glasgow Art Centre and things took off from there.  A grateful son, Robert has always said that he owes everything to his father, who raised him after his mother left when he was four years old.  Aw…

What was his first TV appearance?

Having graduated from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and proactively founded an acting company along with four other friends, Robert’s cheeky face first appeared onscreen in an episode of that great British institution of police drama, The Bill.

This, perchance, slipped many people’s attention and some might actually first remember him as playing killer Albie Kinsella, who killed DCI David Bilborough, played by Christopher Eccleston, in an episode of Cracker.

What films has he been in?

Robert has certainly played his fair share of villains.  In 1996 he played the nutcase, Begbie, in Trainspotting, who relishes any opportunity to physically harm people.  *Warning: watch the below with hands firmly at the ready to swiftly cover the eyes just about when he drops the pint glasses.*

He also played the bad guy with a bullet in his brain, Renard, in the James Bond film The World is not Enough, a flesh-eating soldier in Ravenous and had a shot at playing the ultimate power-hungry villain, Hitler himself, in Hitler: The Rise of Evil (see pic for scary likeness).hitler.jpg

His softer side comes out in films like the wonderful Angela’s Ashes, Priest and Flood and his softest side is certainly revealed here (* exaggerated winking and nudging*- waheyyy…) in The Full Monty as Gaz, leader of a gang of amateur male strippers.

Didn’t he star in that music video?

Yes, Robert also had a small part indeed in the video for Oasis’ single, Little by Little where he played a mini man.

Is he a method actoooorrrrrr?

28-weeks-later.jpgIt is well known that Carlyle shows great devotion to his acting roles and has oft times indulged in a spot of method acting to fully associate with the characters he plays.  Before his role as Hitler, he listened to all the works of Hitler’s favourite composer, Richard Wagner.  In 28 Weeks later his commitment was such that he banged his head against a toughened glass window so many times during filming that he is said to have experienced cracking headaches for the subsequent few days…er, cool…?

Of this dedicated method, he maintains however, that “I hate that term, “Method”. It’s definitely been given to me over the years, but I don’t know if it’s true. My belief is that every actor’s got their own “method”, and as long as it works, that’s OK.?  (…so long as it doesn’t cause brain damage…)
i_know_you_know02_rgb.jpgWhat’s next?

Well, there’s a rumour that Robert might be lined up to play the next Dr. Who but these may indeed be mere rumours and besides, I personally think he’s too cool for this.  What’s certain is that you can catch Robert at The London Film Festival chatting about his career and in his new role as undercover agent and father, Charlie, in I Know You Know.  Go on, get yourself down there and check it out.