link to the characters he has played, it is an intellectual quality behind the easy-going charm, suggesting the cogs are turning in his head. He does not play people motivated by primitive urges, but characters who think about things for a little too long. Hannah would probably make a good Hamlet.
In Four Weddings his character Matthew was gay, but while Simon Callow camped it up outrageously, Hannah didn’t have so much as an ear-stud to hint at his sexuality. Instead, he made Matthew convincing through his relationships to other characters, particularly the women. Tiny moments, like his discussion
‘I got to 30 and I thought, well l’m not Marlon Brando and I’m never going to be and I should be enjoying things a bit more.’
with a female wedding guest about the dishiness of Hugh Grant’s deaf brother, were far more convincing than any limp-wristed gestures. ‘That wasn’t thought out, it just happened,’ says Hannah. ‘lt kind of took out the sexual frisson there is between heterosexual males and women. It was really interesting to be the person rather than think, “Oh, this person’s being chatty with me, I wonder if she fancies me”. Retrospectiver I’ve seen that that’s the case with gay men and women. I’ve always been a bit jealous of that and never understood why.’
If the species exists, Hannah at 34 could probably be described as a New Lad — a bit wild sometimes, but pretty sensitive and vulnerable beneath it all. ‘I got to 30 and l thought, well I’m not Marlon Brando and I’m never going to be and I should be enjoying things a bit more,’ he laughs, face creasing up in that familiar way. ‘In my 205 l was quite steady, l was in a long-term serious relationship which had been good for me. Then 1 got chucked by my girlfriend and you spend a lot of time trying to figure out why, so it doesn’t happen again. Butthen I thought, oh fuck it, and did all the things I should have done in my 205.’
‘I don’t want to be a professional Scotsman in things. I want to be accepted as an actor, a good actor, who would be considered for parts that might not necessarily be Scottish.
Hannah has the ability to let his roots as a time-served electrician from East Kilbride show a little, but has always refused just to play the Jock-of-all-trades. Immediately after leaving drama school, he went to London, and from the start was very choosey about the roles he accepted. lt’s paid off: Hannah has avoided typecasting by nationality. ln Four Weddings. last year’s two-part political drama Faith in which he played a tabloid journalist in London, and the police serial Out Of The Blue set in Yorkshire, Hannah’s Scottishness was only incidental.
‘I find I’m far more content with my work when I know the voice l’m speaking in, which is more or less my own voice,’ he says. ‘Having said that I don’t want to be a professional Scotsman in things. I want to be
accepted as an actor, a good actor, who would be considered for parts
that might not necessarily be Scottish. It’s something l’ve
deliberately held out for, to be accepted as a person. not as a Scottish person.’
Hannah has only worked in Scotland a handful of times. His ﬁrst break was in Brand, a thriller with a Scottish nationalist undercurrent set in Glasgow. He returned a couple of times in the late 805, but Hannah can’t actually remember the last time he worked in Scotland, so Bait is a chance to hook up with old pals.
His next role on our
screens is another Scotsman abroad situation, with Hannah playing the lead in
McCallum, a feature- length drama about a forensic pathologist. It’s made by Scottish Television, and scripted by Taggart writer Stuart Hepburn, but set in London’s Docklands. lain McCallum is a sexy, motorbike-riding saw- bones who conducts postmortems on the steady stream of bodies the police fish out of the Thames. Off-duty, he tries to breathe some life back into his tangled love-life.
The 90-minute episode screams out ‘commission me as a series’ and it’s very obviously a post-Cracker attempt to find a new slant on the police procedural genre. John Hannah undoubtedly has the star quality necessary to carry a series, as the fan mail which started ﬂowing in after Four Weddings
JOHN HANNAH FEATURE
Hooked: John Hannah and Helen Baxendale In Bait
and Faith testiﬁes.
Hannah says he has no career plan, beyond
simply choosing parts that interest him, but he’s already shown that being Scottish need not determine the range of parts an actor is offered by London casting agents. The next question is whether the success of Four Weddings in America has alerted Hollywood to his star potential. McCallum is on Thursday 28 December at 9.30pm on Scottish. Bait will be shown on BBC] next year as part of the Screen One season.
McCallum: Hannah and In Turner get ahead of the out can
The List [5 Dec 1995-” Jan [9969