Gordon Millar: It's never too late to pursue a dream
Our ‘Man at the Back’, Gordon Millar of Scot Street Style, finds it’s never too late to pursue a dream in his latest column.
I guess we’ve all dreamed about being in a movie. A sweeping romance perhaps. A superhero or sci-fi blockbuster, or a gritty drama, pulling De Niro faces in front of the bathroom mirror. Or maybe that’s just me.
I’ve been a massive movie fan since my first trip to La Scala in Inverness back in the ‘70s, a passion that’s grown over the years and the decades. As an art student in 1990, I did get to see the set of Batman at Pinewood, and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves at Shepperton, as I swept floors and did odd jobs, hoping to get a break in the industry. It just wasn’t my time.
But fast forward 27 years, and when a casting call for a David vs Goliath Scottish historic epic, with the tag line ‘beards are a bonus’ appeared on my Facebook feed, I stroked my hirsute chin and thought. ‘hmm, why not?’
I signed up at an open casting, and kept an open mind, fully aware that the supply of beardies vastly outnumbered the demand. And then it happened. I’d been selected for Foot Soldier Boot Camp. The good people of Glasgow must’ve wondered what the hell was going on, as 200 of us assembled at 6 o’clock in the morning in a city centre car park, looking like a Vietnam vet convention.
We were shipped out to a secret location and met by our Chief, Mr Charlie ‘Chick’ Allan, a colossal Scot and a giant of cinema. You will have seen him as the Germanic leader, opposite Russell Crowe, in Gladiator, and in many other features since. We were taught some basic fighting techniques with swords and shields, up to our knees in mud, which proved to be good preparation for the epic finale battle scene, in the real outdoors of Scotland in the late autumn of 2017.
My first day on location in full costume - chain mail and armour - involved marching by Portencross Castle on the west coast. I was on cloud nine, and the traditional Scottish weather, choppy seas and sunny rays dramatically bursting through the tumultuous skies, enhanced the authenticity of the whole experience. The 3am calls soon became part of our daily routine, along with attending hair and make-up (read mud and blood) before sunrise.
Have you guessed which production yet? Here’s another clue. Dressed as a nobleman, lording it up in medieval bling around a market mock-up, we were aware of some commotion around the Mercat Cross. Panic and screams spread through the crowd like wildfire as we witnessed the remains of our hero, William Wallace. I stood, horrified, in front of the extremely realistic prosthetic, and felt a firm hand grip my right shoulder, moving me to the side. That hand belonged to Robert the Bruce, aka Hollywood star Christ Pine. Yes, the film was Outlaw King and, during that specific scene, I had an epiphany. I realised I’d acted for the first time, and I loved it. Unable to quell my burning desire to explore, learn and study the craft, I jumped into a beginners’ course, and have never looked back. By the time you’ve read this, I will have finished my acting diploma, and will be on my way to apply for my Equity card. With hard work, dedication and perseverance, you really can make your dreams come true.
Gordon is the founder of Scot Street Style, and can be found on Instagram @scotstreetstyle