We chat with Scottish actor Craig McGinlay. Craig is probably best known for his role as Sir Percival in the fantasy film ‘King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword’ alongside Jude Law and directed by Guy Ritchie.
He can currently be seen as a special guest lead in Season 4 of the STARZ and hit show Outlander with Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe which premiered on Amazon Prime last month.
32 year-old Craig was named in 2017 as British GQ Rising Star and with a growing movie career the lad from Paisley who started off his career playing rugby before becoming a personal trainer before landing his first commercial and we. In our exclusive interview with the star we cover his TV and Film roles and probe as to hat 2019 holds.
Not only are you a style icon, but an athlete and an actor with a worldwide fanbase and everything you work on seemingly turning gold, how do you decide what to take on and what to say no to? It’s a process of reading the script and understanding the character then deciding if it’s a role I’d like to take on. It’s still very early in my career so it’s crucial for me to try different characters too and sometimes roles that I wouldn’t have originally envisaged myself playing to show variety in my work.
We’ve seen your photoshoots and red carpet appearances but how do you find the time to keep in shape whilst on set? Most of the time I can make time to go to the gym between filming so I can be in the gym early in the morning before filming or later in the evening or sometimes during on the likes of King: Arthur (Legend of the sword) we would all train between scenes doing chin up and push up challenges. Guy (Ritchie) would get involved too which was great having a director who understood how important the physical side, action work, stunt training was for the movie. If I finish late on set and don’t have time to get to the gym then I can do short sharp high intensity bodyweight workouts in the hotel room which comprise of the likes of squats, push ups, dips, sit ups/crunches, leg raises, planks.
As a former rugby player, could you see yourself writing a film about the sport from the eyes of a rugby icon? Funny you say this. I am actually considering this and have written a synopsis for the story which changes all the time. While I would potentially like to write and direct one day I think these are further down the line. I really want to focus on my acting for now.
From portraying characters in Outlander; you are now working on Bollywood film, ‘Shamshera’ – what can you tell us about this experience? I cant’ say too much about Shamshera as its still early stages; regarding Outlander, it was a fantastic experience. the sets, the costumes, the locations, the cast and crew I thoroughly enjoyed all of it. I was portraying a horrible character from the books (Andrew Macneil). he’s not a nice guy but sometimes you have to play bad guys and this definitely was that. the Outlander ‘fanmily’ don’t like Macneil in the books understandably as he’s not a nice guy but as long as they think the character was portrayed in a way they expect from the books then that is all I can hope for as an actor. Outlander is such a beast of a machine and I am a small cog in this but I just want to produce good work as an actor and continue to improve.
If you looked back from when you were 20, could you have predicted how successful your would prove to be as you your social media is full of amazing photos of various locations and famous people. Even from the age of 28 I would never have thought I would have been offered the roles played so far. It’s still very early days and I have a long way to go, a lot to learn, but i am very ambitious and want to continue to improve and develop as an actor.
From all the people you have worked with, what traits have you developed? Having not trained as an actor I think everyone has been able to pass on some wisdom. King Arthur was my first feature film project so working on this for 6 months was an incredible acting experience for me but also a great workshop for me being able to watch how the actors prepare and how the cast & crew all work together as a team I firmly believe this has helped me moving forward to work on projects like Knightfall and Outlander. Every project I have worked on from short films, to ad campaigns, to tv shows, to feature films they have all been hugely helpful in helping me develop and I am still continuing to learn.
How do you relax whilst not at work? I enjoy playing golf with family/friends. I’m a big foodie so going for food and good coffee is always a win. I love watching film and tv and even go to the theatre a lot more than I used to. I think it’s crucial for me to watch as much as possible and learn. I have found it immensely helpful watching more and more everyday learning.
What is next for you? I am working on a feature film. It’s been an incredible experience so far and I am loving working on it. I will be getting a little time off over christmas so looking forward to going back to the homeland (Scotland) and catching up with family & friends for a few days.