‘I thought I was the only Scottish man who's really shit at football.‘ laughs Duffy. ‘But Dan is supposed to be absolute rubbish. so I don‘t have to act too hard there.‘
The makers of .S'lap.’ always wanted a Scottish lead. Duffy puts this down to Scotland's current cool cachet.
‘Northern England is popular because of The Full Monty.‘ he says. ‘A lot of sitcoms are being set there. but they get in a Scottish front-man to deliver the dry humour. Scotland is the place to be right now.’
Duffy‘s profile may be running high thanks to the media Mardi Gras of Lookng After Jo Jo. but after 1996's Small Faces he was unemployed for a year. leaving him cautious about a future which the filmmakers he has worked with describe as very bright.
‘Before Jo Jo I thought my agent was going to dump me.’ he says. ‘It's too fickle a business to plan ahead. and I'm still pretty scared of what the future has in store. But I've got the potential to do a lot of big things. and I'm happy with the work I'm doing.’
Duffy's ambition for 1998 is to play the lead in a film. He‘s up for one called Marl About Mambo. a ‘cross between Strictly Ballroom and The Commitments". and has a
shot at another which would allow him to ditch the ‘Scottish boy’ tag and play a Londoner.
This desire to avoid typecasting explains the shift to comedy from the gangland stylings of Jo .lo and Small Faces. but the latter was itself an attempt to bodyswerve ‘light’ parts.
‘l‘ve got a chip on my shoulder from when
'l've got a chip on my shoulder from when I left drama college and everybody said I was a pretty boy who would only play romantic leads, but
I love the darker element.’ Steven Duffy
I left drama college and everybody said I was a pretty boy who would only play romantic leads.‘ he says. ‘but I love the darker element. I read this book where the baddy slips his gun under someone‘s lapel. shoots them and then puts a flower in the lapel so nobody knows he‘s killed them. I‘d love to play a character like that. Someone who‘s a bit slick.’
Despite being raised on a strict diet of ﬁlm epics and classic black and white ﬂicks. Duffy didn’t get into acting straight away. Leaving Kilwinning Academy. he drifted through a couple of mind-numbing jobs until his dad urged him to do something he enjoyed.
Role man: Steven Duffy in (l—r) Small Faces, Looking After Jo Jo and Slap!
Enrolling at Edinburgh‘s Queen Margaret College. he never looked back.
Now he‘s walking the line between industry cred and crossover success. It's a good line for a Scottish actor to walk because it means you can blag your way into glitzy patties with Sean Connei'y’s security as he did at the Edinburgh Film Festival last year. without having Robert Carlyle‘s problem of hacks blagging their way into your wedding. Whatever Duffy does next. he can rest assured that he was centre—stage in one of the defining scenes of Scottish cinema. Truth is. the brutal slaying of Bobby Maclean was a brilliant laugh to film.
‘My jacket had massive blood bags in the back and l was wearing a wet suit and padding. so I couldn‘t even bend down. They do a take. this guy runs up with a scalpel. slashes the bags. and these two skaters drag me across the ice. So I'm hurtling along going ‘whoooooooooo!’ with all this blood gathering at the back of my head. on it was l‘antastic.’
Bloody cool. in fact.
Slap! - Love, Lies and Lipstick starts on Channel 4, Sun 8 Mar, 9.30pm.
6 —19 Mar 1998 THE “ST 19