To celebrate the launch of our debut collaboration with Morgan Motor, we met up with actor and fellow petrol-head Craig McGinlay who taught us a masterclass in modelling sunglasses, and what 2017 has in store for him.
Hi Craig! Thanks for meeting with us. For those who haven’t had the pleasure to meet you, could you tell us a little bit about yourself
Yes of course. I am a Scottish actor living in London. I was playing rugby for the Scotland Under 20’s in a World Cup in Italy when I dislocated my shoulder. I had an operation on the shoulder but I retired from the sport at 22 years old. I then did a Masters degree in Sports Science which led me to working with professional rugby and football players as well as elite level commonwealth and Olympic athletes. The most recent Commonwealth Games were held in Glasgow and they were looking for a weightlifter to feature in the advert however they said the real weightlifter was too short so I was asked to play the part of the weightlifter. The advert was released with me in a skimpy, Lycra, weightlifter outfit. The ad was released and a modelling agency in Scotland spotted me and called me in for a meeting.
Over time I joined agencies in the likes of Milan, Germany, and London including Storm. I was cast in a campaign for Brooks Brothers suits and this campaign was heavily featured in NYC. From this campaign a film director contacted my agents and asked if I could act as they liked my look for a short film they were due to start filming. I was then cast in a whisky advert called Haig Club where I was featured alongside David Beckham and directed by Guy Ritchie. Working on this for 5 days was when I realised I wanted to work full time as an actor in film.
Shortly after I was contacted to audition for Guy’s film King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and was then offered a role in the movie in 2015. This was an incredible experience and I cannot thank Reg (casting director) and Guy for their support. To work with Guy twice within a year was incredible for me and I am so grateful for these opportunities. I was taught how to horse ride (Dan Napreous, A Devils Horsemen), sword fight (Mike Lambert, Warner Bros), and stunt train (Eunice Huthart, Warner Bros). All were an absolute pleasure to work with and I would love to step onto set with the same guys again. The film is due for cinema release on 12th May 2017.
I have most recently been cast by Debbie McWilliams for TV series Knightfall where Tom Cullen is the lead actor and Jeremy Renner as the producer. This project was filming in Prague in 2016 and is due for History Channel and potentially Amazon or Netflix release early in the year of 2017. I play a guest lead role and it was a fantastic opportunity to be cast in my first TV series so I cannot thank my agent (Sarah) and her team as well as Debbie (casting director) for the opportunity.
So we found out on our shoot that you’re quite the petrol head, had you ever been behind the wheel of a Morgan before?
I hadn’t actually so this was a fun experience. The Taylor Morris guys had to prize my hands away from the car at the end of the shoot! I didn’t want to leave that little beaut of a motor!
We love to travel at Taylor Morris, and we know you’ve done quite a bit of travelling this year too! Where’s been your favourite place to explore?
I would have to say Austria. I was away with Jaguar and it was an incredible experience. I had never been to Austria and was given the opportunity to hit the ice slopes with the Olympic Champion for downhill Skeleton! Having never in my life even ski or snowboarded before this was a liiiiiiittle bit of a step up from sledging as a kid in Scotland…
You’re quite frequently found on the FROW at LC:M. Have you always been interested in fashion, or it is something you’ve grown to like?
To be honest having worked in sport I was mostly found wearing a tracksuit or shorts, trainers, and a t-shirt or a hoody to work whereas now I’m often dressed by brands for events etc in the likes of Saville Row tailoring etc. Not sure my suits of the track variety would quite cut it on the FROW of LC:M… I wasn’t massively interested in attending my first fashion week but after attending LC:M January 2015 that changed my perception completely. I have attended 4 seasons now and it’s great fun, very relaxed, sociable, I have met a lot of good friends in the industry now and I find myself getting better and better at understanding fashion and having my opinion on various collections. Perhaps one day I will have my own collection. Who knows. The BFC have been immensely welcoming and I thoroughly enjoy attending the events and shows for each season and long may that continue.
How did you get started with acting? Was it always a passion?
I suppose that I have covered this at the beginning of the questions here however I did always have a passion for acting but never thought it could become a reality. Which on reflection is a silly mentality to have. My friends would say there is no jobs in acting and it’s too tough to get into etc., so I was put off that it may be too risky. However, now, on reflection I realise that was a negative attitude to have. If you want something you have to go for it. I don’t like to regret things but I do wish I had been acting for longer.
Congratulations on your role in King Arthur! Does riding on horseback and brandishing swords come naturally to you? How was it preparing for the part?
That was so much fun. Swinging swords and riding horses… it’s every guys dream, right? With my background in playing elite level rugby and having studied sports science I wanted to log my training and nutrition plan and do it all myself instead of getting a trainer. I put on a stone and a half of muscle onto my frame via eating 5000 calories everyday and heavy weight training often twice per day. It sounds horrible but I loved every minute of it. Transforming myself into character was a challenge but I really enjoyed the experience and would relish the opportunity of doing this again. I also grew a huge beard but this wasn’t hugely difficult other than an extra 10 minutes of maintenance shampooing it, conditioning it, oiling it, combing it…it was like taking care of a pet!!
What else can we expect from you in 2017?
I have 1 short film, 1 independent feature film, Knightfall (tv series), and obviously King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (movie) all being released in 2017 as well as filming another independent feature film. It is very early days for me in the industry but that feeling of stepping on set even tops that proud feeling of me stepping onto the pitch for the first time earning my first Scotland cap in rugby. Working with Guy on Haig and then King Arthur has made me realise this is what I want to do long term and look forward to the challenges ahead and learning more and more all the time. I have a fantastic agent in London with Independent Talent Agency and there may be scope for me to head to LA and seek out a US agent in 2017. One step at a time and let’s see what happens, but for now I am enjoying the transition from being a sports scientist in Scotland to now moving into acting in London. Fingers crossed the journey continues.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword trailer
Images by Vitae photography