THE SCOTTISH TOURIST Board must be squirming in its tartan seats. No sooner has it recovered from the shock-Jock effect of Begbie wielding a broken pint glass at the world than along comes Twin Town, with Trainspotting’s Danny Boyle and Andrew MacDonald as executive producers.
Director Kevin Allen’s anarchic debut ﬁlm is Welsh, not Scottish, but stepping into the limelight as a result of his key role in Twin Town is 29-year—old Fifer Dougray Scott. He plays Terry Walsh, a psychopathic bent copper with a nice line in cocaine deals and a broad Glenrothes accent — his own.
You might have seen Scott as Major Rory Taylor in Soldier Soldier, or as Joe McFadden’s smoothie big brother Lewis in the TV adaptation of lain Banks’s The Crow Road. But, and this is a big but, you’ve never seen him like this. Sporting a George Clooney crop, bad Hawaiian shirt, Rangers FC tattoo and permanent sneer, he effs, blinds and headbutts his way through a dizzily-paced, blackly funny, tit-for-tat revenge tale that pits Walsh and local business mogul Bryn Cartwright against joy-riding hash-heads, the Lewis Twins.
For obvious reasons — drugs. swearing, Danny Boyle and Andrew MacDonald — Twin Town has been dubbed a ‘Welsh Trainspotting’, sparking calls for a ban from politicians and press. Big, bad and amoral, but bursting with larger-than-life characters, cartoon violence and kitsch jokes, it is more than Trainspotting goes to Swansea, but like the Scottish ﬁlm, looks set to capture the youth vote at the box ofﬁce, whether Barry Norman likes it or not.
It should also put Dougray Scott under the same spotlight as Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle and the rest of Scotland’s most wanted. Scott’s performance as baddass cop Terry, immersed in more sleaze than the Tory Party campaign bus, is one of the film’s strongest features.
Now London-based, the Fifer is getting used to media attention. Since the press discovered Twin Town he has been featured in the glossies and a stack of broadsheets, and described in the tabloids as a hunk. Asked how he is taking the glare of flashbulbs, he says: ‘lt’s alright. but you’d be lying if you said you weren’t flattered by it. You can’t get too blasé.’
Scott is also used to being asked how it feels to play a man with no visible redeeming features. He admits he has developed some sympathies for Terry Walsh — even if the actor is a lifelong Hibs fan and his character wears the rival Rangers top. Like Walsh, Scott had a desire to leave his small town. At seventeen. Stephen Scott left home to train as an actor at Kirkcaldy College. then the Welsh College Of Music and Drama. The change of name to Dougray came later.
‘I can understand Walsh’s. frustrations and hatred of this small-town mentality,’ he says. ‘lt’s all a bit mad and he’s got huge ambitions. I can understand his desire to get out.’
Scott is loath to say anything too damning about his home town — ‘My mum might get upset, eh?’ — but neither is he sentimental. ‘There is a certain kind of inward thinking that
‘I've known some pretty wild characters - really scary people who are incredibly Violent. It's quite exciting to play the people you could never be yourself.’ Dougray Scott
goes on in that area of Scotland that can be quite claustrophobic,’ he says. ‘Glenrothes is grey and can be dull, but there are positive things about it too.’
The son of a salesman, Scott found his thespian aspirations were not taken seriously in working-class Glenrothes — he suspects his ambitions were met ‘with peals of laughter’. He adds: ‘My family were supportive, but no one else thought I would make it. It was all a bit of ajoke.’
Scott’s career is far from a joke in Glen- rothes these days. which gives him more pleasure than all the ﬂashbulbs Empire can muster. ‘I get a lot of people coming up and saying: “Aw, we’re really proud of you.” They’re genuinely pleased and that’s quite touching.’
Scott admits Terry Walsh’s character reflects some of Fife’s most colourful inhabitants: ‘l’ve known some pretty wild characters — really scary people who are incredibly violent. It’s quite exciting to play the people you could never be yourself.’
Like Walsh. Scott has been a .lock abroad. living in Wales for three years. He agrees with Twin Town’s postcard-
Swansea. but would he award it the three-word put-down Walsh utters in the film’s opening scenes? You could describe it as a “pretty shitty city”.’ 'he admits. ‘but you could also describe it as an incredibly vibrant and surreal melting pot of weird and wonderful pe0ple.’
‘Surreal’ describes those Twin Town scenes showing Swansea on the bender time forgot. Scott recognises his home town in there somewhere. ‘You get a kind of madness sometimes in a provincial town where people just go mental because there’s nothing else to do,’ he says. ‘But I haven’t seen anywhere rougher than Swansea on a Saturday night. I think everyone should go and visit it and see for themselves in busloads.’
With Twin Town behind him. Scott is keen to get started on the next big project. He was too busy in London to attend the film’s Welsh premiere. and has just played war poet Robert Graves in Gillies Mackinnon’s Regenera- tion and is preparing for an lrvine Welsh screenplay Soft Touch — part of the Acid House trilogy — which starts filming in May. Post- Twin Town, there could be glitzier offers on the cards, but Scott appreciates the opportunity the film gave him to explore a life
not too far from his own background: ‘lt might j
be the only chance I get to do something in the
vernacular. I understand that sort of area. I
know these people.’
For the moment, Scott has little inclination to pursue the Big Apple and big bucks. ‘l’vc no burning ambition to sit by a swimming pool in Hollywood,’ he says. ‘There’s a lot of good films being made in this country now and I’d much rather be in film about my own country. I might go to America when Twin Town comes out there to meet people. but not to try and get a part in a blockbuster movie. That’s not what I see my career being about.‘
Min Town goes on general release on Fri 25 Apr.
TWIN TOWN ’
shattering portrayal of
Real life brothers Rhys lfans and Llyr Evans offer a pretty rude welcome in the hillside in Min Town. Words: Anwar Brett
OF ALL THE cities in all the world, Swansea does not seem a match for the rough, tough reputations of Glasgow, New York or Hamburg. But now audiences won't look at the place described by Dylan Thomas as an 'ugly, lovely town' with quite the detached benevolence that they once did. Twin Town depicts Swansea as a hotbed of vice, crime, corruption and close harmony singing, a living reflection of a universal decay in the fabric of so-called normal society that more and more UK films are drawing upon.
For its stars, 29-year-old Rhys lfans and his brother Llyr (pronounced Clear) Evans, 25, the film marked an opportunity to show their country in general, and Swansea in particular, as a vibrant and swinging place every bit the equal, in terms of thrills, danger and excitement, of any more trendy location.
'I'm not exactly sure what this film does for Wales and I don’t really care,’ reckons Rhys. 'What's fresh about it is that we're getting a modern voice for Wales. We've been cool for centuries, you’ve only just found out. It's a highly accurate picture of Wales, which is so often depicted as a sheep shagging, choir singing, rugby playing, beer swilling outpost - which it isn't. It's a vibrant, living culture like anywhere else.’
The twist on the cliched image of national characteristics appealed strongly to Rhys and his brother. Welsh is the first language of both actors — in fact, Twin Town marks the English language acting debut of Llyr, who has a regular role in Welsh television soap Pobol Y Cym. Rhys was seen last year in Anthony Hopkins's film August and will be seen again in Lynda La Plante's serial Trial And Retribution. Both found Twin Town a breath of fresh air.
’I just thought it was really, really funny,’ explains Llyr. ’I found it really interesting, especially our characters. I think it's an accurate picture of everywhere today, it’s not really about Wales, it just happens to be set in Wales. That kind of corruption, the kind of things that we show in the film, they happen everywhere.’
'This story could happen anywhere,‘ agrees Rhys, ‘and every event that occurs in the film was paralleled either before we started shooting or during the making of it. It's realer than real, and Welshness is not an issue.’
Brothers in arms: Llyr Evans and Rhys lfans
l8 Apr—l May 1997 rue usr 11