Andrew Scott-interview about Jimmy’s Hall, Pride and playing Moriarty in Sherlock
Andrew Scott, who got famous due to his outstanding portrayal of BBC Sherlock’s interestingly evil professor Moriarty, paid a visit to Helsinki’s Love & Anarchy -festival. He plays a reformist priest in an Irish drama Jimmy’s Hall, which was directed my Ken Loach. The movie is about 1930’s Ireland where the modern culture strikes against the catholic church’s conservatism.
You were born in Ireland. Does the Loach’s movie represent a honest picture from your home land?
I would think so. The power of the catholic church was huge back then, at least I think so. The liberty of arts and freedom of speech are important to me as an actor and that’s why the topic of the movie is important too. My own role in the movie is fairly small, but Ken Loach wanted to give a face to the catholic church that is easily seen as a one sided institution. There’s a scene in the movie where my character rises against an older and more experienced priest. I think it’s also important to see a more modern side of Ireland.
Did you have hopes of working with Loach before this film?
Yes! I’ve always said that I’d go and take care of the catering or anything to be able to work with him. He’s a big hero of mine. We need more film makers like him. His movies are so very important to me, and working with him makes me really proud. Ken doesn’t hold auditions for the parts in his movies, instead he meets actors and has discussions with them. He’s really strict that the actors chose for the roles are not too far from the characters and that they are possibly from the same area. Jimmy’s Hall is set in Western Ireland, and my father is from the same area.
What was it like working with Loach?
Ken has a very special way of working with his actors. He doesn’t give them a script; instead on the day of filming he hands them a piece of paper that has the character’s line’s body (meaning a rough sketch of the lines). No one know their character’s arc before hand and Ken might even prevent some of the actors from meeting. His way of working is utterly exciting, but at the same time it’s really laid back. Acting this way doesn’t feel like acting, it feels like a piece of life. On the day of the shooting someone just says something, someone comes from the door and Ken puts the camera on and says “action”. It’s a very fresh way of working, I like it very much.
How did you end up playing a priest? You are known as a criminal! How do you see your own role?
It was pretty delighting actually. I don’t even know if Ken has seen Sherlock. I believe that he was more interested of me as a person. It was wonderful that he could see the role in me, because of course I’m not a criminal in my real life. This role might be the closes that comes to my persona than any that I’ve played before.
You have just recently made another politically interesting movie. “Pride” based on true stories just premiered in the USA. It’s about young people who are collecting money for mine workers that are on a strike.
Pride comes to Finland in January! It’s an amazing true story about two different groups of people and their friendship, that still goes on to this day. I could describe it as a romantic comedy between two groups of people. It’s a very funny and touching movie about solidarity and kindness, and about the way we all are more the same than we think we are.
You have openly told that you’re gay. What do you think about playing characters like these?
Exactly like this. (Doesn’t make sense in finnish either) I think it still is very great that you don’t need to be racially in the minority to believe in racial equality, of to be a woman to believe in women’s rights, and you don’t need to be gay to believe in gay rights. In the movie Pride, it’s about the people. They wanted to make it a mainstream movie, that anyone can go and watch with their grandparents and grandkids. Even though it’s about the relationship between two different communities, it’s still a tale about what it is to be a humane human.
As an actor, you rose to the spotlight as Sherlock Holmes’ worst enemy, over intelligent Moriarty. The role brought you a BAFTA-prize two years ago, over your colleague Martin Freeman who plays a more noticeable part as doctor Watson himself! What is the secret behind the success of Moriarty?
Moriarty is a very well written character and his writers have made sure that his character hasn’t been overused. I wanted him to be a character that’s both playful and charming (in his own way), and that you enjoy watching him. Moriarty is a very well known character from literature history so I know that helped too, as well as the chemistry between actors. Mainly I think the secret is in the script.
After the shocking end of season three of Sherlock we are guessing that you are looking forward to the next season?
Hahaha, I knew you’d ask this! As well as you know, I can’t say anything! *laughing*
We have seen a plenty of British actors rise into charismatic villain roles in big franchises. Can you see yourself in such a role?
I believe that most of the actors want to do something they haven’t done before. I believe that if you have played the hero, you’d like to play the villain for a change. I think I’ve made quite a lot of villain roles and that’s why I’d love to do something else, movies like Pride or things I’ve done in the theatre. In fact, I’d love to make a romantic comedy, because I really think that romantic comedies are usually under appreciated.
translated by mrsexhimself (let me know if you notice any huge mistakes)