Robert Carlyle has portrayed a Bond baddie, a male stripper,
a drug addict and now a cannibalistic nutter. Is there no
end to this mans' bizarre career? Darren Rea finds out...
ReviewGraveyard: Ravenous doesn't really fit under the
traditional horror genre. How would you best describe it?
Carlyle: I never saw it as a horror film. The other themes
that are woven into the piece were the reasons that I did
it. I think it's a mixed genre piece and when I read the script,
I saw an opportunity for something quite unusual or even original
which is quite hard to come by. It's got this Gothic psychological
feel to it. There
are lots of layers to Ravenous. It amuses me, for instance,
that the film is set in California. And that amuses me because
everything about California is about appearance and this desire
for youth and trying to keep yourself looking young. Vitality,
virility, all that. And that's exactly what my character is
doing and saying. He discovers that cannibalism is going to
keep him young and virile. So he was the first true Californian...
It's an exceptionally black comedy. The humour is extremely
sick. Did you have any objections to any of the humour?
No, not at all. I think it required humour. The subject matter
- cannibalism - is so dark it needs it. If you are going down
that road of dark, dark, dark, you need the humour to counter
It's entertainment. I hope the audience get entertainment
out of it and maybe if people start to talk about the film
they will maybe begin to see some of the metaphors that I
mentioned earlier, about modern day California. And then they
may see it a bit differently.
Was it hard work? It looked like a lot of fun.
It was hard work but you do have fun. You have to. I mean,
if you are standing there with a pitchfork in your stomach
doing this scene and you suddenly catch sight of yourself,
it is funny. You go '******** hell! What a job!' It's funny.
The director also changed before filming started so did that
add any problems? Weren't you instrumental in bringing Antonia
Bird onboard as the new director?
Once Milcho had gone it was vital for me to try and find someone
I could get along with. Antonia is a great friend of mine,
a great collaborator, so it seemed an obvious choice really.
She came in under difficult circumstances and did a fantastic
job. I'm very proud of the film. It's not easy, some people
will love it, some people will hate it,. But I'm delighted
RG: The two of you have worked together a few times in the
past and I understand that you've formed your own production
We have a development company, rather than a production company,
called Fourway Films. The biggest problem in this country
and particularly in Britain, is that scripts don't get the
chance to develop. We have a few projects that were working
on including one that is loosely titled The Scottish Western.
I don't know if many people are aware of it but in the 1780s
there were what is known as the Highland Clearances when a
lot of Scots were shipped out to America. And they were amongst
the first cowboys because that's what they were doing in Scotland
at the time - they were horse thieves and cattle thieves,
they fought each other in various clans. So the idea of these
people meeting with the tribal system of native Americans
is very interesting.
You seem to have a habit of portraying nutters. How do you
prepare for these roles?
I think every actor has their own method. I research things
as much as I possibly can, I try to submerge myself as much
as I possibly can. You know, the theatre and cinema is about
the suspension of belief and it's absolutely vital that I
suspend my own belief. That's a vital part of my own journey.
Being involved in a James Bond movie, was that a childhood
dream for you? You were following in impressive footsteps
- Christopher Lee, Christopher Walken and Telly Savalas have
all been down that road. How did you feel about that?
I didn't agonise over it. I remember going to see the Bond
movies with my father in the '60s and 70s' when Sean Connery
was playing Bond. And, you know, I thought Connery was the
only guy who spoke kind of like me. So there's that link between
Bond and Connery and Scots and stuff. It's fundamental, so
it was an easy choice to make.
How big and influence has your father been on your career?
My father has always been very encouraging for me. I was a
house painter and when I decided that I wasn't going to do
that and I was going to try acting people were, I don't know,
they were shocked, stunned, amazed - all of the above. Except
him. He was always encouraging all through my career - and
it hasn't always been sweetness and light, there have been
hard times. But he has always supported me.
No thoughts of relocating to Los Angeles?
No way. I think it's too dangerous there. I could have gone
to LA maybe three or four years ago, certainly after Trainspotting
and after The Full Monty. I held back and kind of looked
at it from afar. I didn't want to be pushed or pulled in any
What do you think the perception of you is in Hollywood?
I don't know. Maverick? (laughs) Maybe they think I've got
a mouth on me and hopefully they have a grudging respect for
the fact that I don't join in and I'm prepared to do long
Thank you for your time.
thanks to David at DSA