Robert Carlyle almost quit acting because he was working class
He played psycho bad boy Begbie in Trainspotting – and it’s hard to imagine how Robert Carlyle could have perfected such a role without a dash of working class history – but startlingly the star’s accent almost stalled his career.
Carlyle, who went to acting school at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD), has told how his working class Glaswegian accent resulted in him not fitting in due to the field being dominated by the more privileged.
The star told how he disliked using the ‘received pronunictaion’ (RP) accent, rather than his own.
Carlyle was so angry at being made to feel he must be something he wasn’t, he walked out of the drama school but was in the end asked to return by the principal.
“Acting didn’t seem right. It wasn’t a real job. My da’ had a real job, Carlyle told the Mirror.
“There were about 20 of us in the year, but most of the students were middle class and from down south and I didn’t know how to deal with all of this.
“One of the reasons I hated drama school was because we were all required to speak in RP, and I thought ‘I can’t be f****d with all of this.
“My deal for coming back was I didn’t have to speak middle class English and Ted Argent agreed.”
Carlyle clearly displayed some hints of Begbie showing such hutzpah and spending more time chatting up girls than crafting his acting skills.
Finally Carlyle gave improvisation a try and once he found he could make people laugh, the actor was hooked.
He said: “People began laughing at me, because they thought I was funny, and this gave me a wee buzz. I remember going home that night feeling ‘Maybe I could do something with this’.”
Joseph, Carlyle’s painter and decorator father had what the young actor called a normal job.
But the single father accidentally gave his son the acting bug with visits to the cinema after a young Carlyle’s mother left when he was only four.
Carlyle said: “Because of what had happened with my dad and mother, in the late Sixties my dad would take me to the cinema, to forget about what had happened, to forget about the s**** in our lives, to forget where we were living.”
“In those days, you could sit through the same film all day long, and we’d do that watching cowboy films over and over again. We’d be there four or five times a week.
“The kernel of an idea must have stayed with me, even though I was in my early 20s before I started to act.”
Carlyle, who will be returning to take on his role as Begbie in Trainspotting 2 when filming starts next month, clearly loves his roots though because there is no place better to him to live than Glasgow.
“I could live anywhere. I live here because I want to. Because I feel part of this city.”