Interview: Sally A. Edwards | Photography: Sarah J. Edwards
James McAvoy returns to London's Trafalgar Studios from January 16th to April 11th for The Ruling Class. Here's an excerpt from Sally's in depth interview from Vol.2 Nø 6.
“Come on over here and sit yourself down,” I say in a Scottish accent. “That was awful wasn’t it?” I ask as James runs over and sits down at the huge table in the studio. “No, it wasn’t bad actually,” he laughs attaching the microphone.
First of all, I wanted to know when your first inclination was to become an actor? “I’d never thought of it before and then a director gave me a job out of the blue when I was 16 – literally gave me it out of the blue, in a film about child prostitution / pornography and that was it really. That was me kind of going, ‘Oh, I could be an actor…’ but I didn’t do any more acting for a couple of years, I worked in a bakery and just thought, ‘Fuck it, I’ll go to drama school.’ Luckily I got in, if it hadn’t had been for that, I would have been in the navy.”
You went to the Royal Scottish Academy, is that right? What was that like? “Yeah. It was brilliant; some people had a really shitty time. I had a fantastic time there, learned a hell of a lot and expanded my range. You know, there’s stuff there that’s bullshit. You take what you need – same as anywhere, but for me I really appreciated it. I learnt how to be something other than just a working class Scottish actor – which was all I was doing up to that point.”
What’s the biggest myth about acting? About being an actor. I know the reputations you’ve all got. “The biggest myth about acting is that… The biggest myth… I don’t know… Ok. The biggest myth about acting is probably that we get paid extraordinarily well, do drugs, have sex all the time and …
Personality-wise? “That we’re all vain, that we all super confident actually. That’s a big myth isn’t it? That is a myth I think.” That is a big myth. “Yeah, that is, because we’re really not. Even the ones that act really confident are not. They’re just doing an impression of it, a really good impression.”
What do you think of people who are like, ‘Well, who are they?’ ‘I don’t know who they are?' “I don’t give a shit. I’m quite glad if they don’t know who we are. Who we are isn’t important. What we do is. Maybe, sometimes, if it’s good. But..."
I didn’t want to rub you up the wrong by asking, but I was curious because I hear it so much. People are always asking… “No, no quite right. Do you know, if Colonel Gaddafi fell out of a fucking night club at two in the morning with Paris Hilton snogging him, then I’ll go, ‘Right, I’ll read about that,’ because that’s quite interesting actually, but I really don’t give a shit if it's just Paris Hilton on her own, or Lindsay Lohan, or fucking I don’t know who the British equivalents are… you know Orlando Bloom and all that shit. I don’t care. I care about work, I care about art and it might be an industrialised form of art, but it’s art and I care about that, but I don’t really care about what you’re wearing, or what fucking night club you go to, or who your pals are, or who you’re snogging today." I’m not asking that obviously! “No, no, I know but it’s ridiculous all that isn’t it?”
Absolutely, it’s just got out of hand. “We’re so obsessed with it, I don’t know why and it’s terrifying. It’s so disempowering as well.”
Styling: Harris Elliott | Grooming: Jennie Roberts at Naked Artists for American Crew and L Oreal | Styling Assistance: Sofia Hedblom
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