When I was a boy, I wasn't interested in sport and I did't follow any football
team, so it was posters of Madonna that I stuck on my bedroom wallss, although I certainly didn't think of her as a role model. I
suppose the person who influenced me the most was Moira Robertson, my English teacher at Paisley Grammar School. She made
me realise the possibilities of great literature - the work of JD Sallinger and Harper Lee, of Orwell and Arthur Miller. And
it was Moira who first guided me towards a dim understanding of what Shakespeare could be about.
Both my parents were important in giving me a strong moral sense, but I
think it was my father who taught me how to cope with having a public persona - quite an asset if you want to be an acto.
As the minister of the parish church, he was a huge public figure in the area and I admired his ease, his joie de vivre and
his way with words.
Now I'm older, I still get a tremendous thrill when I meet actors who have
been role models for me and I discover that they completely fulfil my expectations. A few years ago, I made a film ith Maggie
Smith and Michael Gambon and they bith turned out to be as entertaining and as talented and as dazzling as I'd anticipated.
It was great to be reunited with them on the new Harry Potter flm. In the same way, when I woked with Peter O'Toole recently
on Casanova, he was still the livng legend, all fizz and crackle, and a photograph of us together has pride of place on my
When I her actors talking about the 'integrity' of their work, there's
a part of me that says, 'Don't be so pompous. If you want to act, act. If you want to help humanity, go and work in Rwanda.
Don't make a film about it.' My role models are people who are good at what they do and are happy with who they are. As I
may soon discover, people will have expectations of me that it will be imossible to meet. All any of us can do is be true
to ourselves to the best of our ability.
Source: CIS Magazine August 2005