My Name Is he put

.on top of the iivorld when he'vWasw g

named best actor at the Cannes

~ {Film iFestival. But, red carpets aside, ~.

What could be better than winning the Best Actor prize at the world‘s most prestigious film festival? 'The best thing was getting Martin Scorsese to sign a Celtic strip.‘ says Peter Mullan. 'That was my highlight because I went there with the vague hope that I might

see him in passing and sort of hijack him for

two seconds.’ Of course Mullan did better than that. The

Glasgow-based actor suddenly found himself

hobnobbing with Hollywood‘s finest when he deservedly won the top award for his performance in Ken Loach‘s My Name Is .lm’. ‘()nce you get over being a bit starstruck. you

'Glasgow comes out really well because it's a great film and it shows real

can decide who you really want to talk to.‘ Mullan adds. ‘I was amazed at how many genuine people were there. Like everyone else. I had the assumption that they're all. on the whole. artificial. I really liked Winona Ryder. she seemed genuine when l was chatting to her fora wee whilc.‘

Mullan had a unique perspective on the French festival: feted for My Name Is .lm’ in the Official Competition. but slogging it out in the buy-and-sell world of the marketplace. trying to secure a distributor for Orphans. his feature debut as writer-director. Earlier this year. this black comedy drama about a

Glasgow family's reaction to the death of their

mother had been dropped by Film Four. its

10 THE lIST 3-19 Nov 1998

- more COatbridge . e ' " 3.." iWords:Alan Morrison

principal backers.

Mullan was shattered: "l‘he pain of that was unbelievable. because I felt I‘d let the actors down.‘ he sighs. ‘I felt that they‘d done

all this brilliant work and nobody was ever

going to get to see it.‘ l-lowever. when the film won four awards at the Venice Film Festival in September. potential distributors came rushing back. Orphans will appear in UK arthouses and multiplexes in February.

It‘s the writing and directing side of his career that Mullan most wants to develop now that doors are beginning to open for him. "lb be honest. what I'm looking forward to is

really just getting back to work.‘ he says. ‘A lot of this year has been spent having to promote My Name Is Joe and ()rp/ums. But I’m getting to the point where I‘d like to move on. do other stuff and make mistakes again. because the last thing you want to be doing is sitting back and going. "Look at me".‘

That's a typically no-bullshit answer from one of the most genuine articles in the business. Currently he‘s in Ireland filming ()nlinmjv Der-mt (‘riminu/ (like The General. a take on the Martin (‘ahill story) with Kevin Spacey and Linda Fiorcntino. Given the sheer power and charisma of his performance as a recovering alcoholic in My Name Is for. it would be a shame if he gave up acting

completely particularly as he admits Loach's style of holding back the script until each day's shooting began suited him down to the ground.

'lt‘s dead exciting not knowing from one day to the next whether you're going to be alive or dead. or happy or sad. or tragic or confused. or sober or drunk.‘ he says. 'You‘re permanently exhilarated because you‘ve always got to be on your feet. The magic thing about being allowed to do a film like this is that you get to play the full range of a human being. Ridiculous though it sounds. you don‘t always get that chance sometimes you‘re too

trapped in plot or directorial style.‘

Mullan’s character. Joe Kavanagh. is a man who’s making up for his alcoholic. occasionally violent past by doing all he can to help out his mates in the Ruchill area of (ilasgow. It‘s a relief to see a film about Scottish working-class culture that doesn‘t have a hard man commanding the respect of the community. In fact. Mullan believes it‘s because Joe has acknowleged his own flaws that he grows in the eyes of others.

‘I was crap at maths at school.‘ he admits. ‘and I only cracked it in my Highers when this maths teacher we had told me he failed his () Level first time round. l)‘you know what I mean'.’ It made you respect him more for