By Christina Nunez
Angus Macfadyen seems laid-back, on the surface.
Although he is playing Orson Welles in Tim Robbins' The Cradle Will Rock and will be seen with Jessica Lange and Anthony Hopkins in Titus later this month, his acting ambition is not all-consuming. "I'm not a workaholic," Macfadyen claims. "I don't like to work consistently, go from job to job. I like to have a lot of down time, and in that time I do a lot of writing."
Sometimes he combines the two: The actor says that when a script is bad, he will rewrite all of his scenes. If this sounds troublesome, Macfadyen avers that his help was welcome on 1997's Warriors of Virtue. "I had agreed to do this role so long as I was allowed to rewrite it. It was written as a bad James Bond thriller and I rewrote it as a Taoist villain, a character who spouted philosophy. ...And it was welcomed, in a way, because it was an improvement on the material."
Presumably, Macfadyen had less script doctoring to do on his two most recent projects. Though the films were radically different from each other ; one a '30s drama set in New York, the other a Shakespeare adaptation filmed in Rome with Lion King musical stage director Julie Taymor; both featured directors who had written their own scripts.
"[For Taymor and Robbins] it was a very personal vision," says the 36-year-old Scotsman. "Both of them had insisted on a three-week rehearsal period, which was incredibly necessary, considering the films were so technically complicated. So once we got going it was a question of relying on those three weeks in which we'd done a lot of character work, because there wasn't much time for anything else with all the technical difficulties."
Macfadyen concedes that the Titus shoot was particularly tough, with an intense "heart of darkness of man" theme complicated by the project's $20 million budget and technical ambitions. Though the Rome shoot stretched from three months into five, the actor says that just meant more time "soaking up the sights and sounds of Rome."
He also credits Anthony Hopkins for off-camera entertainment. "There are actors, and Hopkins is one of them, who love to joke around. [He'll] do his impressions of Katharine Hepburn and Burt Lancaster and Peter O'Toole, and you name it. He'll do them all. Just to try and alleviate a bit of the pressure."
Playing Orson Welles in Cradle was a different kind of challenge. Macfadyen has built a good deal of his career on playing real-life figures: He was Richard Burton in the NBC movie Destiny; The Elizabeth Taylor Story, Robert the Bruce in Braveheart, and Peter Lawford in HBO's The Rat Pack. But the actor says all of the research can help as well as hurt.
"You can sort of start drowning in it to some extent," he notes. "...There's got to be something, you know, like a key, or some little hidden piece of knowledge which you know, which is sort of the secret, out of which everything else sort of emanates."
That key came a few days before filming, when Macfadyen unearthed a piece of '40s rehearsal tape revealing Welles' more playful side. "I was worried about [the role] for awhile, until I found that piece of tape. ...At that point I had let go of anything I; I threw it all out the window and had fun. That's what I heard: a scenery-chewing, intense, huge, generous spirit of Dionysian quantities."
Macfadyen, who is single and plans to spend his New Year's Eve on Scotland's isle of Skye in "the middle of nowhere," is slightly more retiring but no less intense. He abandoned ambitions of being a diplomat when he realized "I wasn't going to be able to go out and have to lie in the real world for a country when I'm sure it would have created some sort of moral dilemmas. So I chose something like acting; in a sense, telling the truth through a lie, through an illusion. The ultimate paradox of life."
Macfadyen's next projects are a play called Back When/Back Then by Raymond Barry and the role of Zeus in Jason and the Argonauts, but he hasn't given up the pen. "I do have my own voice, as it were, and vision of the world," he says. "I have things I'd like to say about it. So it'll lead there somewhere down the line, in the next few years."
Back to the top!
TO LIVE AND STAY 'PURE' IN L.A.?: "Well, being a
Westerner, I'm still prone to all the temptations and distractions
which are provided," admits Macfadyen.
Enjoying his Angus beef
Back to the top!
By Natasha Stoynoff
For his upcoming role as Orson Welles in the Tim Robbins
film, Cradle Will Rock -- which is in competition here -- actor
Angus Macfadyen put on 20 pounds the hedonistic way.
"I ate three steaks for lunch instead of one, and two pieces of
chocolate cake for dessert, and I didn't exercise at all," says the
Scottish actor of his two months of force-feeding before filming
began in New York last fall.
But then, dear Angus, who played Robert The Bruce in
Braveheart, discovered what most women learn early: "It takes
a lot longer to lose it than to gain it," he confided during a
cocktail party at The Majestic Hotel, where he triumphantly
turned his back on the fabulous and highly caloric dessert table.
By the time he began shooting his next role in Titus, with Jessica
Lange and Anthony Hopkins, he still hadn't shed the extra beef.
But that's because they were shooting in Rome. And when in
"You just can't lose weight in Italy," he insists. "The pasta, the
bread, the wine."
The actor has a lot on his plate, professionally speaking, too.
With both Titus and Cradle making appearances at Cannes this
year, Macfadyen is bound for fame.
Like most actors, he thinks he'll never work again.
"I've already had a three-month break," he says. "So after
Cannes, I have to go back to L.A. and look for another job."
HIS BIGGEST TEMPTATION?: The California sun. "I have
a permanent suntan," says the formerly pale Scot, "which is fine
Angus MacFadyen's Personal Fan Club Interview 1997
Fan club: You were born in Scotland and raised in France, what are
your impressions of growing up in France?
Angus: Le chat est dans la maison.
Fan club: What age in your life did you want to become an actor?
Angus: As I child I worked as a clown in the circus. Laughter was my
Fan club: Was there a certain actor that inspired you?
Angus: Gerard Depardieu
Fan club: You have been in a lot of theatrical plays, which one
is your favorite and what part did you play?
Angus: "Topaze" by Marcel Pagnol; It's about the corruption of innocence.
Fan Club: You wont the Questors Award for your play "1905".
Could you give us an idea what the play is about?
Angus: A sequal to Chekhov's 'Uncle Vanya' set in the 1st Russian revolution.
Fan club: All the fans want to know where did you learn to ride a horse so well?
Angus: In the circus.
Fan club: What type of parts do you enjoy the most in movies?
Angus: Characters who ask themselves: 'Is there something worth dying for?'
Fan club: Do you research the parts in a movie before accepting them or follow
Angus: Follow your instincts and try not to bump into the furniture.
Fan club: Who are some of your favorite actors?
Angus: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Gerard Depardieu, Spencer Tracy, Harvey
Keitel, Marlon Brando, Peter Sellers, Jack Nicholson, Jack Thompson, Tom
Towles, Jack Lemon, Jessica Lange, Monty Cliff, Ian Bannen, Luke Mullaney, Luke
DeLacey, Geoffery Rush, and David O'Hara.
Fan club: What do you enjoy doing when you have time off from work?
Angus: Getting another job, painting, loving friends, and trying very
hard to understand my enemies. Not arguing with God.
Fan club: Were you surprised when you found out about the fan club?
Fan club: Could you tell us what your impressions were when you
were chose to play the part of King Edward II in "BRAVEHEART"?
Angus: A desire to end it all.
Fan club: What was it like making the movie "BRAVEHEART"?
Angus: I was terrified. Always am.
Fan club: Which scene in "BRAVEHEART" was your favorite?
Angus: When young William drops a single tear at the graveside of
his father. My hair stands on end every time.
Fan club: What is something that you would most want your fans
to know about you?
Angus: "The only demons in this world are in our own hearts, where
all our battles much be fought." Gandhi.
Fan club: All parents like to talk about their children's
accomplishments. What do your parents think about your work,
now that things are really happening for you?
Angus: They wish for me what all stable parents wish: An understanding
of those inner conflicts which leaves us an ability to live at peace
in a world quite mad.
Fan club: Now that the movie "BRAVEHEART" was your launch pad into
Hollywood, will you be staying there or going back to London to
further your career?
Angus: Stay in Los Angeles. The weather here suits the clothes
I like to wear.
Fan club: Is there anything you would like to say to your fans?
Angus: "The glory of God is to seek out. The glory of kings is to
conceal." (I'm not sure of the exact words. Re: The Bible)
Fan club: Angus, on behalf of the fan club and the officers, we
wish you the very best in your wonderful acting career and look forward
to seeing you in your new movies. We thank you so much for this
interview and will always support you in all that you do.
Angus: Thank you Bonnie, Kristine, and Karen. (The shortbread was,
in short, delicious) X Angus MacFadyen
If there's any typos or omissions blame 'NS. I transcribed this for Fritters......
Back to the top!
DIRECTING TIPS FROM MEL: "Fear is the enemy of all
people, especially actors," says Macfadyen. "Mel's good at
making a set relaxed by telling jokes and being crazy. He's an
actor, he understands the horror."
by Gregg Kilday
Question for some future version of Trival Pursuit
Silver Screen Edition: Name the actor whose resume reads
like an index page torn out of Who's Who. He's portrayed such
larger-than-life figures as Scottish freedom fighter Robert
the Bruce, Welsh movie star and tabloid Romeo Richard
Burton, English smoothie Perter Lawford and American stage
and screen legend Orson Welles.
The answer: Angus MacFadyen, Scottish-born actor, who,
though he's still far from a household name, is becoming
a veritable one-man version of A&E's Biography.
For a rising actor, whose own face is not yet well
established, playing a succession of far more famous figures
represents a calculated risk. It's one thing to lose yourself
in a part, but it's quite another to willingly immerse your
own identity in that of indelible real-life characters you've
chosen to portray. Play a protean, ever-changing character like
Hamlet and the critics will focus in on the particular interpretation
you bring to the role; dare to embody the mighty Welles, however,
and those same critics, their memories of the actual Welles still
vivid, judge you by how successfully you disappeared into the master's
MacFadyen, 36 years old, discovered that firsthand when Tim Robbins'
new feature, Cradle Will Rock, a kaleidoscopic recreation of the
artistic ferment and political backlash that swirled around the federal
government's Works Progress Administration in Depression-era New York,
premiered at the Cannes International Film Festival earlier this year.
The film, just released by Touchstone Pictures, is Robbins' third effort
behind the camera and stars a powerhouse ensemble cast, including Susan
Sarandon, John Tuturro, Bill Murray, Emily Watson, Vanessa Redgrave,
John Cusack, Joan Cusack, Cary Elwes and Hank Azaria. Based on true
events, the film is a stirring encapsulation of the era and the ongoing
interplay between art and politics, Amongst a number of well played roles,
it's MacFadyen who steals the show.
Playing Welles, then just 21, as the hyper-confident young impresario,
MacFadyen is at the center of the Altmanesque drama, which follows Welles
and his producing partner, John Houseman (played by an amusingly WASPy Elwes),
as they attempt to mount Marc Blitzstein's (Azaria) agitprop musical The
Cradle Will Rock, only to find nervous politicians have barred the WPA
from the theater. Welles hand Houseman lead their actors and fellow protesters
though the streets to another playhouse, where, without benefit of stage or
scenery, the shows hastily improvised debut proves one of the most electrifying
openings Manhattan has ever seen.
Critics generally applauded Robbins' account of the battle between art
and politics - a subject that couldn't be more contemporary given New
York mayor Rudy Guiliani's well-publicized battle this fall with Brooklyn
Museum of Art over it's controversial Sensation exhibition. But, opinions
over MacFadyen's Welles were, predictably, mixed. The Times of London
wrote, "MacFadyen's surprisingly convincing Welles rants, raves and
guzzles." Vanity Fair's James Wolcott agreed, "MacFadyen plays Welles
with buoyancy and aplomb." But Variety demurred, "Angus MacFadyen plays
him mainly by lurching about, flailing his arms and making sure he speaks
louder than anyone else."
MacFadyen himself is unflappably philosophical about the judgments
playing such a part necessarily elicits. "I just don't think about that,"
he insists. "You're never going to please everyone. You just have to do
your best and walk away from it. At the end of the day, it's just a movie."
MacFadyen was determined to play Welles, though he's more than a decade
older than the young Orson he portrays - "Welles always looked older than he
was," he says in his defense - and so he pursued the part for more than
six months before Robbins, who has flirted wit the possibility of
playing Welles himself, finally granted him an audition. Eventually, his
agent called and said, "Well, they've seen everybody is town and they
haven't found Welles, so here's your shot." After finally meeting with
Robbins, MacFadyen was forced to cool his heels for ten more days before
the director ultimately awarded him the prize, after which he immediately
immersed himself in month of Wellesiana.
Continues MacFadyen: "I read all the books there were and watched the
films, and listened to a lot of his radio work. His voice was of great
importance to me. I think what comes across is a sense of mischievousness
and generosity and anarchy, which were the main cornerstones to his
creativity. He consumed life - he just went at it and consumed it like
some great feast, on a physical and metaphysical level." Mimicking Welles'
gargantuan appetite gave the moon-faced MacFadyen, who admits to packing
on and extra 15 pounds during the course of the production, license to
indulge himself as well. "There was that aspect of having freedom to
eat as much as I wanted," he laughs. "To drink red and white wine and eat
two pieces of chocolate cake and have three steaks for lunch."
By the time Robbins' ltiple cameras were rolling, " just threw myself in
the deep end and went for it with a sort of blind confidence," MacFadyen
says. "Welles walked through life like a bull in a china shop, not really
worrying who got in the way, and if they got in the way inadvertently,
they were just smashed to pieces. I didn't want to sit down and think
to myself "Oh, dear, I'm playing a legend and everyone will probably
hate it." I just didn't think about it."
The whole Wellesian adventure underscores a pattern in MacFadyen's burgeoning
career. At crucial moments he's veered off from the expected path and fought
hard for a role in which he was not initially even considered. Speaking with
MacFadyen from a hotel room in Winnipeg Canada where he was bivouacked while
working on an independent features titled A Woman's a Helluva Thing, the
itinerant actor, who is single at the moment and doesn't even have a permanent
address, admits that after he finished his training at London's Central School
of Speech and drama, he instinctively rebelled at the prospect of a lifetime
of tidy women's tea-cozy dramas on the BBC.
"Britain has a funny, very patronizing attitude about actors," MacFadyen explains.
" 'Come and work for the BBC and be paid a pittance because it's great quality'
In fact, that's nonsense, because they're a bit behind the times on all sorts
of levels compared to what's being done in America today. They're just a little
bit conventional. They're still doing Agatha Christie-type whodunits. They do
them very well, but, quite frankly, I'm a little more adventurous. It's a little
boring to wear a suit and do the same role in these middle-class, suburban dramas."
Having made his professional debut in the 1991 BBC film The Lost Language of
Cranes, a British adaptation of the David Leavitt novel about a young gay man who
discovers his father's hidden homosexual life, MacFadyen originally appeared fated
to play a string of soulful-eyed sensitive young men. "It put me on the map on a
certain level," he recalls. "But suddenly that's all I was getting - characters
who were quiet and repressed and very middle-class." Even when he was invited
to audition for Mel Gibson's Braveheart, the role he was first offered was that
of the homosexual weak Prince Edward. "I didn't want to play that," explains
MacFadyen, "I really wanted to play [Robert] the Bruce because I was brought
up in Scotland and I knew the whole history. So I went in and refused to talk
about the other role or read it or anything. I basically said, "Robert the Bruce
is me; it's my role." It was then offered to another actor, so I kind of
committed actor's suicide by going and doing that. But apparently the actor
in question let the day go by which he should have accepted the offer, to
they withdrew the offer and gave it to me."
Braveheart - which would go on to be hailed by the Academy as the Best
Picture of 1996 - brought MacFadyen to Hollywood, where he quickly picked up
a TV assignment, playing the lusty Richard Burton in the TV miniseries Liz:
the Elizabeth Taylor Story. "It aired during the same week that Braveheart
opened, so even it it was a little cheesy, it didn't matter," he related,
"It was, after all, Richard Burton." But once all the excitement over Braveheart
died down, MacFadyen, who'd opted to stay on in Hollywood, found he still
faced an uphill struggle getting a secure foothold in the American film
industry. "Braveheart was Mel's film at the end of the day," he recounts, "After
the initial Oscar rush, I found I had a few offers for little films. People
don't always know what do with with you. So it was just a matter of sitting
down, being patient and keeping your sights set on something that's going
to move you and keep you passionate."
The son of a doctor in the World Health Organization, MacFadyen has traveled
all over the world. And so he quickly acclimated himself to Los Angeles. "It
amused me," he says, "You go there and play tennis for eight weeks and get
bored and then you get yourself a job." Less amusing though was Hollywood's
rather narrow casting parameters that, as a regular-looking bloke, he kept
bumping up against. "There's this whole nonsense that everyone has to be
gaunt and look like Keanu Reeves or Brad Pitt," he complains, "I got sick of
hearing that people are too heavy for playing roles. In fact, they are just
normal people who live a life."
MacFadyen kept himself busy with "some little indie films that went straight
to video - and some that didn't even make it to video." Then, just as
abruptly, his fortunes picked up again. He was tapped to play Peter
Lawford in 1998's HBO feature The Rat Pack, a swinging account of Frank
Sinatra and his gang of buddies. "Sinatra and Dean Martin and Sammy Davis [Jr],
they were such icons." says MacFadyen, who played Lawford, their toadying
messenger boy. "Here was this guy who couldn't really act, frankly.
He could sing but he didn't have a great voice. He was really known for
being a sociable gentleman, and English socialite known for knowing famous
people. I don't think he was even his own man, and he was never treated
as their equal."
After completing Cradle, MacFadyen trekked to Rome, where he spent some
five months shooting the Lion King director Julie Taymor's visually extravagant
film adaptation of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus. Playing Lucius, military
son to Anthony Hopkins' title character, was as close to a dream assignment
as he's yet achieved. "I knew Julie was going to do something very
visual," MacFadyen says, "And I really wanted to work with Hopkins
and watch his process. And, of course, there was the added attraction
of being in Rome." Certainly, it was all as far away as he could hope
to get from those little BBC tea-cozy dramas that MacFadyen has always
But his studies of careers like Welles' and Burton's and even Lawford
have taught him anything, it's that "you've got to fix your eye on longevity.
I want to be around for a while. It such be a terrible thing to have it
all for a year and then have it taken when you're no longer the flavor
of the month. Not that you have any control of it, but it's a question of
the wisdom of your choices. The only real power you have is the
ability to say no."
For the moment, then, MacFadyen's own biographical entry will just have
to remain a work in progress.
Back to the top!
A Touch of Evil and Laughter
By Louis B. Hobson
BEVERLY HILLS - Scottish actor Angus Macfadyen has
traded his brave heart for an evil soul.
Macfadyen played Robert the Bruce in Mel Gibson's
Oscar-winning epic Braveheart. In the fantasy epic Warriors of
Virtue, Macfadyen plays the evil emperor Komodo.
The fantasy sequences of Warriors were filmed in Beijing. It
proved quite a culture shock for Macfadyen.
"The studio was literally falling to pieces and safety was very lax.
One day a light fell into one of the man-made lakes. If anyone
had been in the water, they would have been electrocuted,"
"Whenever something went wrong, the Chinese would light
incense and pray."
Like several of the exotic characters in Warriors, Komodo flies
through the air.
That's not Macfadyen winging his way from cliff to pillar.
"They couldn't have paid me enough to do those stunts. Several
of the stuntmen broke bones during the fight and flying
Macfadyen is proud of the final product because he got to tailor
much of his role.
"When I arrived on the project, the villain had no sense of
humor. I also wanted him to spout philosophy so he would be
amusing to adults."
Though he had worked on stage and TV in Britain, Macfadyen
didn't have a major film role until Braveheart.
"I was so fortunate to have Mel as my first feature film director.
Now I know how rewarding making a movie can be. Mel is an
actor. He knows that tension and nervousness are the enemies
of all actors, so he works hard to create a carefree atmosphere."
Macfadyen recalls that Gibson "was a real madman. He has no
reverence for tradition. He messes around with the script so that
it works for the actors rather than making them bow under the
weight of the script demands."
One of the first projects Macfadyen got when he moved to Los
Angeles was the TV miniseries The Elizabeth Taylor Story in
which he played Richard Burton.
"In researching my part for Burton, I learned how to drink and
not fall over. The man had an incredible capacity for liquor. It
was his defence against self-loathing.
"Burton hated himself for being born in this little Welsh mining
town. He had been taught to believe he was inferior and he
never shook the feeling no matter how famous he became."
Macfadyen made his professional acting debut six years ago in
the BBC film The Lost Language of Cranes.
In the past year, in addition to Warriors of Virtue, he has filmed
Brylcream Boys with Gabriel Byrne and the independent films
Nevada, Snide and Prejudice and Still Breathing. He is currently
filming Death Valley with Eric Roberts and Chris Penn in
Back to the top!
Angus Macfadyen does battle with his dark side
in Warriors Of Virtue
By Natasha Stoynoff
HOLLYWOOD -- Angus Macfadyen is quietly grappling with
the good and evil within.
As Komodo, a sinister yet charming warlord in the
action/fantasy flick Warriors Of Virtue, opening Friday, the
twentysomething actor wore pale makeup, an Elvira-dark wig
and devilish robes, then took an introspective look in the mirror.
"Suddenly, there's this strange creature looking back at me,
saying, 'Hello! I'm your shadow,'" cackles the actor, "'and you
haven't been playing with me lately! Come out to PLAY!'"
Fortunately, battling one's inner dark side is just the kind of
moral struggle Macfadyen specializes in -- both professionally
Making his feature debut in Mel Gibson's Oscar-winning
Braveheart, the fetching Macfadyen excelled as the conflicted
Scottish nobleman who betrays, then befriends, good guy
Gibson in his revolt against the British.
More recently in the can is Snide And Prejudice, in which he
plays a mentally ill man who thinks he's Adolph Hitler.
"It's a bit like being a drunk," he says, of his "addiction" to
playing characters on the edge.
"Once you've been there, you don't want to go back."
On the surface, Warriors is about a boy (Mario Yedidia)
transported to a mystical land of animal-human inhabitants
fighting (with martial arts and a dose of Taoism) for survival.
But it really symbolizes "the fight between light and (darkness),"
says the philosophical actor.
The good guys -- five kangaroo-looking warriors each endowed
with a virtue in classic Chinese tradition (benevolence,
righteousness, order, wisdom and loyalty) -- try to defend their
people without actually killing the bad guys.
In the end, young audience members are to learn, "the only
demons in this world are in your own heart," says Macfadyen.
"That's where all the battles must be fought."
Macfadyen's own spiritual quest began in Scotland, where, "I
was an angry kid who didn't understand myself or the world," he
says. "Then I began to acquire bits of wisdom here and there."
Growing up in a family that moved around (dad worked for the
World Health Organization), he learned life lessons in locales
such as Africa, France, the Philippines and Singapore.
Ideal training for the nomadic lifestyle of an actor, he agrees,
since "now, I can't settle down for very long in one place."
But still scant preparation for his two-month Warriors shoot in
"It was a very rough, raw place," he says.
Even the man-made set of turquoise waterfalls and breezy,
surreal forestry -- a lavish Garden of Eden -- was hell to work
"The whirlwind of leaves and dust got in our mouths and noses,"
he grimaces, "it was just disgusting. They'd turn on the fans, and
I'd think, 'No more! Let me go home!'" (Some exteriors were
shot in North Vancouver.)
Adding to the stress was the sub-zero temperatures of the
soundstage, fixed for those actors wearing 40 pounds of
unyielding, hot, plastic 'kangaroo' costumes.
On days off, Macfadyen took refuge in a Shaolin monastery,
observing monks in meditation.
"For them, it's their direct expression to the universe," he says, in
"They practise this eight hours a day and they're not doing it to
sell something to somebody. It was incredible to see because it
was so pure."
Fitting research for Warriors, he notes, since it's a film "with a
The love-brainchild of the four Law brothers, all Colorado
medics born in Hong Kong who shared a notion to make "a
family film with a positive message," the siblings put up $36
million for their first venture as movie producers.
"At first, everybody was stepping on everybody's feet just like
dancers learning to dance with each other," says Chris Law, a
plastic surgeon. "But we turned from a clumsy dance team to a
Along with acclaimed Hong Kong director Ronny Yu (The
Bride With White Hair), the team agreed on a common goal for
their youthful audience: more morale, less violence.
"The cinema is a medium with great impact," says Yu. "I feel
responsible for the message I send out."
Using 27 masks, 200 pairs of hands, and 120 pairs of feet,
special effects guy Tony Gardner "walked a fine line between
what is scary and what is accessible," he says, while constructing
the motorized faces and bodies of the kangaroo warriors.
"We were constantly softening their features," he says, conscious
that they should appear non-threatening to kids.
And using stop-time cinematography, says Yu, gave a "fantasy,
surreal quality that made the action less violent, more artistic."
Added artsy stuff came from Macfadyen, an English/French
graduate from the University Of Edinburgh, who wrote some
poetry ("Life is but a dream ... flowing to another dream ...) into
"I wanted to make (Komodo) a poet and a philosopher," he
explains, "exciting and enticing enough to mesmerize this young
With starring roles in four upcoming Hollywood movies, plus
current heartthrob status in Britain (due to several BBC
productions that showcased the actor's saucer-blue eyes),
Macfadyen's own head should be turning.
But while his career is moving at full speed, his personal life
retains a Zen-like stillness.
"I paint, I write, I live," he says, "and I drink a good bottle of
wine at the end of the day."
Now transplanted to L.A., though, the peace never lasts for
He's working on a script which he'll direct that asks the
questions: "What is success and failure?" and, "In order to be an
artist, must you be tortured?"
Next month, he begins shooting Death Valley with Eric Roberts
in Las Vegas.
"It's about an insane Frenchman who tries to rebuild the
Versailles palace in the middle of the desert to make it into a
gambling casino," he laughs, adding, "he's mad."
Right up Macfadyen's alley.
Back to the top!
Being Orson Welles
Actors Liev Schreiber and Angus MacFadyen each take a crack at playing a Hollywood legend.
Los Angeles Times
Every so often, Hollywood spins out the kind of dueling duals that seem more than coincidence: twin asteroid movies one year, a pair of Wyatt Earp pictures another, a matches set of Christopher Columbus films before that.
But not since John Belushi faced off with Joe Cocker have we had anything quite like the dueling portrayals
of Orson Welles presented in HBO's "RKO 281" (with Liev Schrieber playing Welles as he makes "Citizen
Kane") and Tim Robbins' "Cradle Will Rock" (with Angus MacFadyen as Welles in his pre-"Kane" New York
Having previously played Richard Burton in "Liz: The Elizabeth Taylor Story" (1995) and Peter Lawford in
"The Rat Pack" (1998), MacFadyen was well acquainted with the challenge of creating a character who
already is firmly etched in the public's consciousness. He harbored no trepidation about portraying the most
celebrated and debated filmmaker of all time.
"I'm stubborn and stupid so I jumped with both feet," he says. "The thing about playing people who existed,
who were established, is that there is so much research to draw on. I love that search into history."
Not that MacFadyen is about to start doing his Orson Welles impersonation at parties any time soon.
"You try to avoid doing an impression," he says. Schreiber concurs, "If you spend too much time doing
an impression, it keeps the audience at arm's distance."
Schreiber was less sanguine than MacFadyen about the idea of playing Welles; though he had
auditioned for the role in "Cradle Will Rock" (losing it to MacFadyen because he looked too old,
though MacFadyen is actually older than Schreiber), he initially turned it down when it was offered
for "RKO 281."
"He's one of those characters who's kind of sacrosanct," says Schreiber, currently rehearsing
"Hamlet" at the Public Theatre in New York. "They're big shoes to fill. I got nervous because I
didn't want to somehow disrespect the memory of the character."
Yet, while avoiding caricature, it was important to simulate the Welles voice, so deep and
commanding: "The voice he used in film and radio was his, but it was also put on for film and
radio," MadFadyen says: "I found this priceless piece of tape where he is rehearsing 'Tomorrow
and tomorrow and tomorrow' and then he gets something wrong and his voice went up into this
high, loud, anarchic rant as he berated himself. And it was a key to this quality of his Dionysian
In trying to create the character of Orson Welles, tyro film director, Schreiber focused on
"how isolating it must have been, at the young age of 19, to be one of the most famous young
men in America," he says. "All he knew, all he had to live up to was this mantle of genius -- at a
great cost in emotional maturity and personal relationships. And all he really had to gauge
reactions to what he was doing was the press, which is the most powerful mirroring one gets in
MacFadyen calls Welles a much tougher acting challenge than playing Burton or Lawford
"because of the energy level. It was necessary for me to reach that level at all times. And to
sustain it through 30 takes.
"With Welles, I found the root was his very powerful confidence, at times even a desire to
dominate people. He was a bit of an alchemist. He caused a chemical reaction in the people
around him. He caused things to happen."
Like Macfadyen, Schreiber availed himself of the numerous biographies of Welles, as well as
watching "Citizen Kane" several times, sometimes with the express purpose of helping to re-
create moments from that film in "RKO 281" (which was the numerical production designation
of "Citizen Kane" at RKO pictures). He even looked at Vincent D'Onofrio's performance in a cameo
as Welles in Tim Burton's "Ed Wood."
"For me, that's just an actor thing -- I love to see how other actors do things," he says. "Some
people are shocked that I would go see other 'Hamlets' before I played him. But it's always
interesting to see how other actors do a role."
As a movie character, Welles has turned up before, usually in TV films. The late Paul Shenar
portrayed him in 1975's "The Night that Panicked America," A TV movie that was more about the
panic caused my Welles' "War of the Worlds" radio hoax than about Welles himself. Edward
Edwards played him in little more than a walk-on in 1983's "Rita Hayworth: The Love Goddess."
And D'Onofrio slipped in and out of "Ed Wood."
But this is the first time Welles has been the focus of a film, feature or TV, and Robbins,
who wrote and directed "Cradle Will Rock, " has already heard some grumbles from those who
hold Welles' memory sacred. The muttering about MacFadyen's dynamic, showy, occasionally
boozy interpretation of Welles in "Cradle Will Rock," misses two points, Robbin's says: that this
isn't a film about Welles, and that Welles was hardly a saint.
"Welles was a provocateur," Robbins says, "and I think Angus nails that. In nailing it, he's
made some people feel uncomfortable with that Welles. But I thought it was consistent: How
does this guy do what he does? How does he have the brass at that age to do what he did?"
For all the research the actors did on his life and all of the film available of his
performances, Welles remained a fascinatingly enigmatic figure: "I read five biographies and got
five different accounts of the same thing," Schreiber says, "which in and of itself is very telling."
"His work was all about studying the heart of darkness in man," MacFadyen suggests. "So he
did a 'Macbeth' with voodoo -- and told people he believed he was possessed by the devil when he
played Faust. In some ways he was making himself the study of his own films."
And what would they say to him, if the late Welles were still alive?
Cracks Schreiber, "I'd say, 'Can I be in your next movie?' "
Back to the top!
CASTING and START OF PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHY
Starring Natasha Henstridge, Angus MacFadyen and Peter Fonda
Darrell Roodt to direct
April 17, 2000‹Toronto/Los Angeles -- ALLIANCE ATLANTIS COMMUNICATIONS
INC. announces the casting of Natasha Henstridge, Angus MacFadyen and Peter Fonda in
the thriller Second Skin for Le Monde Entertainment, a division of ALLIANCE ATLANTIS, it
was announced today by Patrice Théroux, President of Alliance Atlantis Motion Picture Distribution.
The feature will be directed by Darrell Roodt (Sarafina, Cry The Beloved Country). David Wicht of
Film Afrika (Tarzan and The Lost City) is producing the project and Jeff Morton and David
Lancaster (Caracara) are Executive Producers. Principal photography will begin on May 8, 2000 on
location in South Africa.
Mr. Théroux stated, "We are delighted to have cast Natasha, Angus and Peter who each bring their
unique talent as actors to the project in addition to great international appeal."
Second Skin is a thriller about a man, Sam Kaner (MacFadyen), with connections to big-time
mobster Irv Shuman (Fonda). Kaner moves to a small town and opens a bookstore in an attempt
leave the mob and start a new life. When Crystal (Henstridge), a beautiful stranger, is hit by a
speeding car outside his store and suffers amnesia, Sam tries to help her piece together her former life.
As they uncover a series of alarming clues to Crystal¹s true identity, Sam is reluctantly drawn back
into his own dark past - only to realize that it is his life that may now be at stake.
Henstridge, who most recently starred alongside Bruce Willis, Matthew Perry and Rosanna Arquette
in Warner Bros.' hit comedy, The Whole Nine Yards, got her first feature break as the
provocative alien in Species. After partnering with Jean-Claude Van Damme in Maximum Risk,
Henstridge starred in the independent hit, Dog Park. Henstridge previously starred in
Caracara produced by Alliance Atlantis/Le Monde with Jeff Morton and David Lancaster.
MacFadyen who starred as 'Robert The Bruce' in Mel Gibson's Braveheart most recently appeared
in the independent feature Titus and portrayed Orson Welles in Tim Robbins' The Cradle Will
Fonda recently starred with Terence Stamp in the critically acclaimed Steven Soderbergh feature,
The Limey. He won the 2000 Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Movie Made for Television for
Passion of Ayn Rand, having previously won a Golden Globe Award in 1998 for Best Actor in a
Drama for his performance in Ulee's Gold.
Marc Forby, Director of Creative Affairs, Le Monde Entertainment, added, "One of our chief goals at
Le Monde Entertainment is to produce the highest quality genre features on the market. Attracting the
level of talent in Second Skin and an accomplished director such as Darrell Roodt confirms that we
are on target."
Back to the top!
An Actor Who Just
Happens to be Scottish
William Russell meets Angus MacFadyen
Los Angeles Times
THERE are Scottish actors, and actors who happen to
be Scots. Bobby, Peter, and Ewan are Scottish actors,
and so is Sean, especially Sean. Like Esther Williams,
a star when wet, Sean is a star when Scots. But Angus
Macfadyen is just an actor who happens also to be a
Scot, which is odd, given that he made his name in
Braveheart, Mel Gibson's take on William Wallace,
beloved by both the SNP and right-wing militias in the
Son of a doctor who worked for the World Health
Organisation, Macfadyen is not your run-of-the-mill
thick actor. After a peripatetic childhood as his father
travelled the world - Africa, the Philippines, Singapore -
he read French and English at Edinburgh University
and then went to the Central School of Speech and
Drama in London. He does not, he says, "feel like a
Scottish actor as such". What he does feel like is a
nomad. That is the actor's life, unless one happens to
be in something long-running on television and reports
to the set with the same people for five years.
As an actor, you never know what is coming next, he
says. One day you may think it is all over, the next you
are in Russia or China with a whole new family for a
couple of months. It is an adventure, and what he
enjoys is the unpredictability. He reckons it is his
childhood that made him want to become an actor,
because although he did read English and French at
university the four years were spent "mostly getting
drunk and doing theatre". He did 35 plays during that
How much of a nomad is he? He has a flat in LA where
he spends maybe three or four months of the year, and
keeps his DVD collection of around 100 films and a TV
set he uses to watch them on. They are, he says, mostly
films from the seventies - the golden era of film-making,
he believes - films such as Sunday Bloody Sunday
or Apocalypse Now.
He is in London to talk about his latest film to be
released here, Titus, directed by Julie Taymor, the
puppeteer and designer who made her name as a
director with the Broadway version of Disney's The
Lion King. It is, Shakespeare not being exactly film
box-office, Titus Andronicus by another name. The
all-star cast is headed by Anthony Hopkins as Titus and
Jessica Lang as the luckless Tamara, Queen of the
Goths, who gets given her two sons baked in a pie for
dinner. Filming was, by all accounts, not a happy
experience. It was while making Titus that Hopkins
staged one of his giving-it-all-up scenes. The word was
that Taymor is a control freak. True? Macfadyen, who
plays Lucius, the eldest of Titus's sons, is discretion
"It was an interesting film to work on as three months of
shooting turned into five," he says. "It was very
interesting just to watch people like Hopkins work - and
go mad. That was when he said he was giving acting
up." Why? "When three months become five, it is like
telling a long-distance runner that there is another five
miles ahead of him. I don't think he always likes doing
what he does."
He enjoys acting himself, unlike some actors, notably
Hopkins, but admits there are always days when you
wake up and wonder what the hell it is all about. But he
never ceases to be grateful for the incredible
opportunities actors get - like being in Rome for five
months, eating pasta and drinking red wine and getting
paid for it. "Sometimes you forget that."
On the other hand, there were times such as when they
were filming at the Roman amphitheatre in Pula,
standing in for the Coliseum, when it was cold, wet, and
they were covered in mud - "a very glamorous lifestyle".
As for Taymor, he says she had a very powerful vision.
"I think she is quite a genie out of the bottle, and
sometimes that goes with certain sociopathic
tendencies, and if people don't embrace their genius
they get very upset by this inability of an artist to deal
with their reality," he adds. "I know some people did get
upset with her, but you have to accept that kind of thing.
People were not aware of what they were making. To
some it was just another job. They did not have the
heart or foresight to see what they were involved in. I
think it is a film which, 20 years down the line, people
will still be watching."
He did not, as some of the cast did, come totally fresh to
Shakespeare, having played Prospero and Edgar
while at drama school. He has read the plays and the
sonnets, and is familiar with the language. He says
Taymor had cast a lot of Celts in the film - Hopkins,
Alan Cumming, and Matthew Rhys among them - so it
was not a film just about talking heads, divorced from
the emotional context of the story. As a result she had
"a whole bunch of very seriously disturbed Celts" to
cope with, and did "a damn good job dealing with them
His career has seen him play the likes of Orson Welles,
in The Cradle Will Rock, and Richard Burton and
Peter Lawford in two made-for-television films. What
was it like playing real people? Fun, he says. As
opposed to using one's imagination, one got given
money to buy all their films and all the books about
them, and to immerse oneself in the person for a few
months. That seems to have been fine with Welles and
Burton, less so with Lawford.
One of the reasons he enjoyed making Tim Robbins's
Cradle, a film about the Welles's famous production of
the banned musical, was that they had three weeks'
rehearsal, and when they came to shoot the scenes in
the theatre where the musical was being staged they
spent all of the 12-hour day rehearsing to shoot 30
one-minute takes. "We were all there," he says. "There
was no going off to your dressing-room. It was exciting,
and also like dying and going to actors' heaven
because I was with so many actors I admired and
enjoyed working with."
Burton was "a gift of a role", but the script had been
written by an American who did not understand how
Burton spoke, so he got the chance to re-write most of
his own dialogue. "I put the poetry into it wherever I
could, wherever it was acceptable," he says. "But you
are talking about something for an American TV
network. It was fun for five weeks. When you look back
with hindsight you always want to do things differently,
but there is no point in torturing yourself. You move on
and take those lessons and try to do something
But getting under Lawford's skin was not pleasant. "He
was not his own man," he says. "He was famous for
being famous, hanging out with legends far bigger and
more talented than he was, who ate him for breakfast,
lunch, and dinner."
Lawford's end was terrible, he adds. His kidneys
ceased to function and on his deathbed he basically
"spat his guts out". Why was it a bad experience?
Because as an actor one took something home, paid a
price for playing such characters, and getting beaten
up by Ray Liotta was not his idea of a good day at work.
"Lawford was someone constantly apologising for his
existence," he adds. "It makes you feel uncomfortable
under your skin."
Since Titus he has made a couple of independent
films, in one of which he plays a villain all covered in
tattoos with short hair, and completed a cameo in
Jason and the Argonauts as Zeus. "On that it was a
question of learning the lines and not disappearing into
the clouds while wearing a beard and a wig," he says.
"It was three days' work mostly done in front of a blue
screen." Difficult? "That is where you start to have to
use your imagination. It is the opposite of playing
Lawford. What research can you do to play Zeus? You
have to play it tongue-in-cheek because it is quite
absurd." As for being a villain, what he had liked about
the film Second Skin was that the role was, for once,
So where next? Berlin, to make a futuristic thriller with
Christian Bale and Emily Watson called Librium, a
drug people take to make them have no emotions
whatever. "I am playing the equivalent of the President
of the United States, except there are no nation states. I
am the corporate president of the whole thing, but I am
not going to play it like another villain. That is too
boring. People who do the things he does do them
because they believe they are right. People such as
Stalin, Mao, Hitler . . . Blair."
6degrees Meets with Angus MacFadyen
6degrees met with the Scottish actor Angus MacFadyen, who discussed his role as
Lucius in Julie Taymor¹s Shakespearean epic ŒTitus¹
6degrees Had you played the part before on stage?
Angus MacFadyen No.
6degrees How were you aware of the role?
AM I wasn't, actually. It was one of the plays that I don¹t think I'd ever read so I didn¹t
know much about it.
6degrees - Julie Taymor comes from a theatrical background. Were you aware of that?
AM - I was aware of it but I hadn't seen 'The Lion King'.
6degrees - Is it different working for a director who comes from a theatrical background?
AM - It was in the sense that we rehearsed for three weeks, which you don¹t get in films.
So that was "theatrical".
6degrees - Were you allowed to improvise in that time?
AM - No, we were dealing with Shakespearean language, so we weren't allowed to
6degrees - What do you feel of Shakespeare adaptations generally?
AM - Usually I don¹t have time for them because they take you out of the play and make it
about some specific period. The interesting thing about this film is it wasn't just about the
Thirties: it seemed to move through history from Roman times, starting with swords,
through to slightly more sophisticated weaponry and then guns.
6degrees - The film was very gory but for me was really about betrayal and vengeance.
How do you think it will be perceived?
AM - I don¹t know. It didn¹t go down very well in America because it wasn't as sentimental
as they like, but hopefully it will go down better over here.
6degrees - What was it like working with Anthony Hopkins?
AM - Madman! He's a genius and he's a madman. It's always very interesting every day.
6degrees - You're both Celts, so was there a lot of bonding?
AM - We did some Marlon Brando impressions and Richard Burton and that kind of stuff.
He's quite a quiet man and tends to stick to himself.
6degrees - What research did you do for the role?
AM - Went out and killed a lot of people! No, just imaginary stuff about the father-son
6degrees - There are moments of real black comedy. What was the shoot like?
AM - It was quite absurd. We were also under a lot of pressure because we didn¹t have a
lot of money and we didn¹t have a lot of time. We did a lot of night shoots and were often
caked in mud.
6degrees - Where was it shot?
AM - Mostly Rome and we shot for a couple of weeks in Croatia, in a collosseum there.
6degrees - What other Shakespeare have you done?
AM - 'The Tempest', 'King Lear'. It was such a long time ago.
6degrees - I heard that you once were a clown. Is that true?
AM - No, it's not true. It's something I put out there!
6degrees - Have you seen 'Theatre of Blood' with Vincent Price? I mention it because
there's a scene at the end where he serves a pie made of poodles, which reminded me
of the offering in 'Titus'.
AM - Is there? I must look at that again. Yes, I've seen the film and it was directed by
Douglas Hickox. I know his daughter, who works in Los Angeles.
6degrees - How did you get into the character of Lucius?
AM - It's mostly one big close-up on Anthony Hopkins so you're there in the background
trying not to crack up or fart!
6degrees - There's a strong family element in the film between the brothers in the story.
How did you achieve that?
AM - Is there? Well, we were there for five minutes so I guess we made it work.
6degrees What's next in film for you?
AM- I'm about to go and do a film in Berlin called 'Librium' with Christian Bale and Emily
Back to the top!
from L.A. Magazine, January 2000
written by Margot Dougherty
Angus Macfadyen was the last actor to audition for the role of Orson Welles in Cradle Will Rock, Tim Robbins's quasi-comedy about the Depression, censorship and a drama troupe. "After Tim had seen everyone in town, my agent said, 'Now's your chance,'" Macfadyen remembers. So he laid his best Welles down on a cassette and sent it off to Robbins in New York, thinking, "'Aha, at last' In a weird, arrogant, insane way, I knew it was mine." Robbins was less sure. "It turns out he had designs on the role himself," Macfadyen chuckles. "So for 10 days, he'd listen to his tape, then to mine, to his, to mine." The Scottish-born actor (an ex-beau of Catherine Zeta-Jones) prevailed and can also be seen playing Anthony Hopkins son in Titus, an update of one of those grisly Shakespeare revenge tales, grandly told by Broadway Lion King director Julie Taymor.
Mayfadyen, who played Robert the Bruce in Braveheart, Peter Lawford in HBO's The Rat Pack and Brendan Frasers antagonist in Still Breathing, grew up all over the world - from Switzerland to the South Pacific, thanks to his father's job as a doctor for the World Health Organization. His acting bent was apparent even as a wee bairn in Kenya. "I'm told I spent a few years running around with no clothes, thinking I was Tarzan," he says over tea and poached eggs at the Four Seasons. Now he's thinking he'll be a director and hopes to sell his new screenplay about Jung and Freud. "It's a musical called Hamlet Gets Therapy," he says. "It's also got Picasso, Einstein, Sarah Bernhardt, Buffalo Bill and Geronimo. They're on a boat and sitting at the captain table." All aboard.
Back to the top!
I Had to go 5000 Miles to Escape Zeta Circus
from Sunday Mail, September 3, 2000
written by Steve Hendry
ANGUS MACFADYEN has the world at his feet. The Scot has joined the Hollywood elite after a string of knockout
performances alongside class acts such as Mel Gibson and Anthony Hopkins.
But any time he starts to get carried away with himself, three little words can bring the Edinburgh-born actor crashing back
down to earth - Catherine Zeta Jones.
The 37-year-old star, best known as Robert the Bruce in Braveheart, shudders when he looks back on his romance with the
Welsh beauty, who gave birth to superstar Michael Douglas's son Dylan last month.
But Angus has no regrets over his love for Zorro star Catherine - even though they were forced to flee 5000 miles across
the Atlantic to get some privacy.
Angus, who now lives in Los Angeles, said: "That sort of attention wasn't to do with me being an actor, it was to do with
"I've got to say I didn't like that at all - and nor did she.
"That's why both of us left the UK, that's why we travelled 5000 miles.
"What's the point of just being a celebrity and having rubbish said about you? It really wasn't satisfying.
"It was a very tough time. I probably - definitely - wasn't someone who should have been in a serious relationship then."
Angus met former Darling Buds of May star Catherine - due to become the new Mrs Douglas later this month - while he
was playing Second Lieutenant Alex Pereira in the ITV drama Soldier Soldier.
She had recently endured a very public split with Scots Blue Peter host John Leslie, amid rumours that he didn't want to be
rushed into marriage. Angus and Catherine later got engaged but split in 1996, after he shot to fame in Braveheart.
Bachelor Angus went on: "I'm out of the country most of the time, so I never see the stuff written about me in the UK now.
It doesn' t really affect me too much, but it did when I was still here.
"It's not really about becoming famous and not being able to walk down the street for me - I've seen Mel Gibson walk
around the streets, completely unrecognised.
"I have a thing about just not wanting to be recognised."
If he feels upset by continued interest in his former love life, he hides it under a laid-back, carefree attitude.
He doesn't seem to mind that he's perhaps better known as Cath's ex than for many of his film roles.
He said: "The hardest thing in life is to turn the other cheek. That' s really tough.
"It's associated with mild and meek behaviour, but to actually turn the other cheek you have to have courage. There's a
certain defiance in doing that."
Since his split with Catherine both have gone on to conquer Hollywood - she alongside Antonio Banderas in Zorro and
Sean Connery in Entrapment, and Angus with Mel Gibson in Braveheart, and as Orson Welles in Tim Robbins' film Cradle
His latest role is alongside Oscar winners Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange in the Shakespearean epic Titus.
Angus plays Hopkins' eldest son, Lucius in the gory drama, which includes a scene in which he uses a spoon to slay his
The Titus cast is full of Celts - including fellow-Scots Laura Fraser and Alan Cumming and Welshmen Hopkins, Jonathan
Rhys Myers and Matthew Rhys. And Angus revealed how the Celtic clan pulled together when the going got tough on
location in Italy.
He said: "There were times when we were stuck out in the middle of nowhere and had to remind ourselves why we decided
to do this film.
"We were only shooting at night because the Colosseum didn't look good during the day so there were these howling winds
coming in. We were covered in wet mud and the temperatures were below freezing.
"It was a very unglamorous shooting environment. There were days which were very intense and not fun.
"But there were a lot of Scots and Welsh and there was also a lot of sitting around, joking and going crazy.
"Anthony Hopkins did wonderful impressions of Hollywood greats. Anthony is the focus of the whole film and he used to
joke about that saying: 'It's all one big close-up on me'.
"I used to reply: 'Well, you've got quality wallpaper right behind you.'
"I'm very proud of the film and I enjoyed making it. We had Rome, we had great restaurants, we had wine, that whole
culture. It was marvellous."
Spending your time drinking wine and eating pasta might sound like the ideal way to make a living, but for Angus it was
almost too much temptation.
He came to the set of Titus four weeks after starring as Orson Welles in Cradle Will Rock.
He had put on three stones for the part - and had to shed them before starting work on Titus.
Angus admitted: "It was very difficult because I only had a month between the films.
"I was quite happy eating pasta and sipping wine in Rome and didn' t really want to stop, so I just kept eating and went to
the gym every day and tried to ensure I was a bulky sort of warrior."
In the break between films, Angus also went hiking in the Cuillins on Skye in his bid to shed the pounds.
His parents have a home on the scenic island and he took full advantage of the mountain landscape to get back into shape.
Patriotic Angus remains proud of his role in Braveheart, but tries to play down his passion for Scotland.
He said: "I try not to fall into the trap of being one of those Scots who leaves home and then has very strong opinions about
the country they no longer live in.
"I love the land and the country and I'm obviously pleased about the political situation.
"I think that's a big step in the right direction. What's amazing is it was really a film that did that -- it was Braveheart. The
film did far more than any politician's speech to awaken the consciousness of the people. It was quite remarkable to be
"I still pinch myself thinking about the impact it has had - in fact I was pinching myself the first day I had to do a scene with
"I was going from Soldier, Soldier to working with Mel Gibson. It was quite a way of getting into films."
The success of Braveheart saw doors starting to open for the talented Scot.
In the last few years, he's starred as Hollywood hellraiser Peter Lawford in Rat Pack, Welles in Cradle Will Rock and
Lucius in Titus.
His performance as movie legend Welles was tipped for an Oscar and he can count the likes of Joe Mantegna, Susan
Sarandon, Vanessa Redgrave, John Turturro and John Cusack among his co-stars.
He is about to start work on the futuristic thriller Lithium with Christian Bale and Emily Watson and has numerous projects
awaiting release - including a part as Zeus in a big-budget remake of Jason and the Argonauts.
But no matter how successful he is, Angus will be attempting to stay out of the headlines.
After his affair with Catherine Zeta Jones, he's determined to keep his private life private.
He said: "I have the type of career that is not some huge explosion on to the hype market.
"I don't feature on the covers of gossip magazines, I've not been in movie magazines, I don't have a publicist. I just do my
"I just enjoy the experience of working with great actors such as Hopkins and Lange. That's really what it's all about for
Back to the top!
Angus Right for Triangle
from The West Online
LOS Angeles-based Scots actor Angus MacFayden has just signed to star
in When We Were Modern, the cinematic saga of the Heide love triangle
of John and Sunday Reed and Sir Sidney Nolan.
MacFayden, best known for his role as Robert the Bruce in Braveheart,
has most recently played the key love interest in the box office hit
Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood, also starring Sandra Bullock,
Ashley Judd, Ellen Burstin and James Gardener.
MacFayden's Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood hit the third spot
in the US box office last week, having earned $64.8 million in just
In When We Were Modern, MacFayden will play John Reed.
The film, directed by Paris-born and Melbourne-raised Philippe Mora,
will also feature Rachel Ward as Sunday Reed, Susie Porter as Joy
Hester and Marcus Graham as Sidney Nolan. Mora's brother, Tiriel Mora
(The Castle) will play writer Max Harris.
During the 1940s Heide (the nickname for the Reed's home in
Heidelberg) became a hotbed of creativity.
When We Were Modern explores the somewhat bizarre and tumultuous
world of the birth of modernism in Australian art in the 1940s.
Heide became a focal point for Nolan, Joy Hester, Arthur Boyd, Albert
Tucker, John Perceval, and Philippe's parents, Georges and Mirka Mora.
When We Were Modern begins production in Melbourne in November.
Back to the top!
Back to the top!
Here we have a letter from Angus to the fan club.
And here are part one and part two of a letter
to the Angus fan club from the then President of the club, Bonnie.
And over here, yes another scan-link, is the last
letter I scanned from The Man.