Interview With Scottish Actor Craig McGinlay

I read that you studied sports science at the University of Stirling. You then became a rugby player, fitness coach and then model. How did you get into your career as an actor? 

I played rugby in a world cup at under 20’s level in Italy. I then studied a Masters Degree and stayed in sport training professional athletes in strength and conditioning for the likes of pro rugby and football as well as elite level Commonwealth and Olympic athletes. I was asked to play the role as the weightlifter in the commonwealth games brand launch film for Glasgow because I know the Olympic lifts. I was spotted by a director and cast to play the lead in his short film which won best thriller in Calgary and LA. I joined a small agency in Glasgow then was cast in a whisky commercial which Guy Ritchie directed. guy then cast me in King Arthur: ‘’Legend of the Sword’’, to play one of the knights of the round table, Sir Percival. I moved to London to film at Warner Bros Studios and from there I have been working steadily playing characters such as guest lead Aldred in Netflix show Knightfall, Macneil in Amazon show outlander, and currently filming in Mumbai India playing the a late 19th century soldier and lead villain in Bollywood epic ‘Shamshera’ alongside Bollywood heavyweights Sanjay Dutt and Ranbir Kapoor. 

Where did you train to act? 

As above, I didn’t. I am learning as I go. Watching documentaries, watching movies everyday, and learning on the job when doing short films between major jobs. I find this a really great way to learn. Plus working on King a as my first ever feature film was a great way to learn from experienced actors on the job such as Jude Law, Eric Bana, Aidan Gillen, Djimon Hounsou, Annabelle Wallis, Charlie Hunnam as well as working with Guy Ritchie. I learnt a lot on this film as well as when working on Knightfall with tom Cullen. Top boy and talented actor. 

As a former fitness coach and rugby player you have the ability to push your mental and physical boundaries to their limits. What training techniques would you say have continued to assist you in your acting career?

I know how to bulk up and trim down depending on the role I am playing. I have found this hugely beneficial and my athleticism has helped me when doing action roles. I do all of my own stunts and take a lot of pride in learning skills that are transferable to the screen such as horse riding, sword fighting, scuba diving, harness work, rowing, archery, boxing, muay thai, jiu jitsu. 

Was acting something that you always aspired to? Do you ever miss playing rugby?

I did always want to be an actor but it never seemed like a realistic goal as my school didn’t push acting or drama much and none of my friends were acting. The only regret I have is not trying it earlier but I am very happy to be in this world now and I hope it continues. I don’t really miss playing. I’m happier on a film set. I liked rugby but probably didn’t love it enough. I love acting and want to continue working in the industry. 

You played the character of Sir Percival in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. What was your most memorable experience from the filming of that movie?

I think generally stepping on set everyday with such an established cast and crew and feeling a part of something really special. The whole experience was incredible. I loved every minute of it and I will never forget it. Stepping onto the rugby pitch singing the national anthem gaining my first cap in rugby was an immensely proud and somewhat an emotional moment but I have to say stepping on set for the first day at Warner Bros Studios was even more so. I will never forget it and I am hugely grateful to guy and the casting director for giving me a shot. Unforgettable. 

The rest of this editorial will be published at a later date.