ou can almost imagine the disappointment of the woman from Elle. She‘s just become the envy of half the female population of Great Britain — spending the better part of an hour alone talking to Scottish actor Robert Carler — but all she can go on
FEATURE ROBERT CARLYLE about is how he lacks the pastel Pringlejumper
and naff moustache of Trainspotting‘s Begbie. In the flesh. hejust doesn't live up to her image of a latter-day Scottish hard man.
For some reason. a lot of people seem unwilling to give Robert Carlyle due credit for
the full range of his work. They see only extremes — Albie. the skinhead Hillsborough survivor in Cracker. or mild-mannered Highland cop Hamish Macbeth — and ignore the emotional depth he brings to each and every one of his screen creations. Perhaps that’s
He’s not a psycho like Trainspotting’s Begbie; he‘s not straight off the heather-covered hills of Hamish Macbeth. The real Robert Carlyle lurks
in a private space behind the screen images. He tells Alan Morrison because he has jumped into the national — and about the price of fame and his latest film, Ken Loach’s Cur/a 's Song. “of?” ““cmam’m' ‘ SPOU‘gl“ 5" "uld‘ly' ‘ ' l'tve years ago. he was still working regularly
on the Scottish stage and taking minor screen *1 roles in the likes of The Advocates and Silent V 3‘ Scream. Then came the triple whammy of ~ . * Hamish Macbeth. Priest and Trainspotting. As , l997 stretches before him. he knows that things have changed. for better or worse. Even a walk down the road is a new experience as finger- pointing recognition becomes a fact of life.
‘At its worst points. it’s a pain in the arse. but you can never really talk about it in that sense because it’s a consequence of what you’re doing.‘ he shrugs. ‘You have to learn to accept it and live with it. Because ofthe type of roles I play. there‘s not that many people going to come tip and grab tne round the shoulders.
‘I was convinced I was just going to be driving in the yard, you know, setting up cones and that. Next thing, I’ve to go out into the street. In a double decker bus. I was shiteing myself.’
When people address you in the street. it‘s always by a character’s name. And I suppose I‘ve got to be happy with the fact that it‘s a big range of people — some will shout "Hamish". some will shout “Begbie”. some will shout “Albie” or whatever.‘
At the age of35 and with his fame on the rise. Carlyle is still a Glasgow boy. Secure employment has allowed him to shift his postcode to Glasgow‘s West End from the Maryhill hippy communes where his father brought him up. His mother left when young Bobby was four years old. But it‘s not that long since he followed his father's footsteps into the painting and decorating trade — construction site work that provided backgroundexperience for his breakthrough role in the movie RiffRaff. If there‘s any city that can deal out a dose of down-to-earth pragmatism after facing up to an army of giant-sized Begbies on billboard posters. it‘s Glasgow.
‘Definitely.’ he agrees. ‘although that‘s a double-edged one. l’ve got a very perceived reputation of playing predominantly people ofa certain background. And it’s important for me to maintain some kind of contact with that background. because the further you get away from it. the more difficult it is to portray and the more difflcult it is to understand what it’s like to live on £45 a week. Because the film world is not reality.’
Despite career pressures. Carlyle is still in
PAUL SPENCER O RlZTNA
5 The List 24 Jan-6 Feb I997