Sunday, October 14, 2007

KEN STOTT ON REBUS

One of the UK's most respected actors, Ken Stott was surely born to play Rebus, if you've ever read any of Ian Rankin's superb whodunnits then you'd know why he is so pleased to have Stott in the role, we caught up with the trawler dwelling actor recently.

Ken Stott has been taking things easy following nearly five months filming the new series of Rebus in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

After a month relaxing at his Italian second home in the idyllic Umbrian countryside he has now retreated to his new boat moored in the Isle of Skye.

"I have bought a motor boat but not the kind you might imagine – pointy at one end, white and only to be driven in sunglasses. This is a trawler design, built in the Isle of Lewis. Just a wee trawler but I love it," sighs Ken.

"I have always loved boats and loved the sea. I had a plan when I was 15 to go, with my chum Neil Fraser, down to Southampton and catch a boat to Casablanca. We thought we'd peel potatoes on board then jump ship to a merchant vessel to the Caribbean where we'd fish and sell our catch at market and live on the beach. That was the plan but I'm still waiting to do it."

However Ken admits he does catch the odd mackerel for tea.

"And nothing could be better than eating it on board your own trawler," he adds. "I'm lucky, I'm a good sailor, I never feel sea sick.. Maybe that's because my ancestors are from an island, Sicily and my great, great grandfather was a pescatore – a fish seller."

At the start of the new series Rebus is facing difficult times having been sent to Police Training College as a result of his behaviour.

Ken explains: "He is isolated on all sides in this episode and he tests people's patience to the limit. It's rather interesting how his relationship with Siobhan goes onto a knife edge but that the bond they share is much greater at the end of the day."

And Ken is proud of what they achieve in Resurrection Men, the first episode in the series.

"It's a departure from formulaic principles. We do try to steer away from the ordinary on Rebus because much of television does comply with these principles."
In another episode Rebus is called upon to investigate a series of murders in the Church of Scotland.

He says: "In Ian Rankin's books it is alluded to that Rebus has a religion of kinds. I have been thinking about his views on god and I believe it's more of a Pantheist argument. He can thank god but it's more semiotic, a figure of speech that appeals to his own sense of justice and what is right or wrong rather than thanking a god who lives on high and sees your every move.

"While investigating these murders he takes into account the fact that most religious people are in denial of what goes on in the name of religion and that is very important to the process."

Ken was delighted to be back working with his co-star Claire Price (DS Siobhan Clarke) in this series and, as she has recently passed her driving test, Rebus was looking forward to being driven around by his sergeant.

However Claire's careful driving techniques proved a little conservative for some scenes.

"The director asked us to drive around a line of cars and pull up in a little parking space as fast as I safely could. We decided I would drive as Claire drives very slowly but I'm afraid I scared her. As soon as action was called I zoomed round the corner and into the space. Claire was ashen and the director said I went so fast he didn't see me!" laughs Ken.

However his driving skills could come in handy very soon.

"My son Bill, who is at university in Glasgow, is learning to drive. He is taking professional lessons but I am a very patient passenger so I'd be happy to go out in the car with him. Only trouble is I drive an automatic."

One thing Ken doesn't have patience with are crossword puzzles and sudoku on set. "It drives me mad. It sucks all the energy from the work. It just takes too much concentration at a time when your thoughts should be on the job at hand – the filming."

Ken can be seen later this year in a new movie, Charlie Wilson's War with Tom Hanks and Philip Seymour Hoffman in which he plays an Israeli arm's dealer.