There may have been a time any child actor would have been overshadowed by the cutest bespectacled kid of the ’90s, Jerry Maguire‘s Jonathan Lipnicki—but for Scottish actor Iain De Caestecker, those days are over. In 2000, De Caestecker landed a minor role in 2000’s creepy-cute “horror” flick Little Vampire, starring Lipnicki himself. And while Lipnicki has been floated to the land of strange People stories about his abs, 24-year-old De Caestecker has only been built up his acting cachet. After a few years of drama studies at Glasgow’s Langside College and numerous roles on UK shows like Lip Service and Coronation Street, the world’s longest-running soap opera, De Caestecker has landed his first leading role as Paul Roberts in BBC’s newest sci-fi series, The Fades. Fades writer Jack Thorne, of Skins and This is England fame, pitched the series as “Freaks and Geeks meets Ghostbusters.” And since its premiere in September, the series has nabbed some seriously positive reviews across the pond. (Look out for the show’s US debut in January on BBC America). Interview recently caught up with De Caestecker to discuss his new starring role, his dream gig, and the guidance his non-industry mother has for acing auditions.
NAME: Iain De Caestecker
HOMETOWN: Glasgow, Scotland
CURRENT CITY: London, England
EARLY FILM EXPERIENCE: When I was younger, me and my brother got a video camera, and he used to direct and I used to act. We used to make these silly, stupid short films, which, looking back now, were probably horrible. [laughs] I remember at the time we thought it was the best things ever.
FIRST ACTING IDOLS: In the beginning, it was people like Ewan McGregor, because they were from the same place that I was from. But I remember my first actor that I really, really fell in love with was Tom Hanks. I suppose when I was growing up and getting more serious about acting, at that point, he was the biggest actor in the world. I remember really loving him. I think I got Sean Penn’s biography and I read that. I kinda go through stages of finding actors I like and just going through their catalog of stuff and starting from the beginning and watching them from film to film and seeing their path, their journey.
ON PARENTAL SUPPORT: Both my mom and dad are doctors, so I suppose they don’t really understand a lot of it. My mom was always keen I stayed in school and got good grades, and she was always keen for me to do medicine. I used to go to drama classes when I was younger, and she would always take me. But when I got to an age, when I decided it was what I wanted to do, when she accepted it, she had actually been the most supportive person ever. It’s strange because she’s very supportive, but she doesn’t really understand the whole [acting] world. Sometimes I’ll make decisions about things I want to do, and I suppose she doesn’t really understand a lot of it. If I don’t get a part or something, she’ll say, “You didn’t smile enough.” [laughs]
HIS FIRST REAL ACTING GIG: I did a short film called Billy and Zorba, with a Scottish actor named James Cosmo who was a really cool guy. It was only a 10, 15-minute film, but I remember it was just a really cool experience. But I suppose at the time, I don’t think I really understood it all. Looking back on it now, I just went in and thought it was this really cool thing and was acting alongside quite a famous actor who had done so much stuff. I suppose if I had the same opportunity now, I would have soaked a lot more up. But I remember at the time, it was a really cool thing to get. I was only about 11, and I was still in school.GETTING INTO CHARACTER OF PAUL ON THE FADES: In the show, Paul’s got an English accent. Its quite good being in London, ’cause no one knows me, so I could just go out and shove the accent on and try it out and go into shops and buy stuff in the accent. That was quite a good way to get into it. And I just did research into certain things. I think when you are coming up with a character, everything sounds a lot more colorful or bigger to you. There’s stimulus everywhere that you don’t really pick up normally that when you’re looking for something its seems to be a lot clearer to you.
HIS DREAM ROLE: They haven’t made a film about Thom Yorke. You know, the Radiohead lead singer. I think he’s a really interesting character and an amazing person. I love his music, and I’ve watched a lot of him, and he’s definitely not in it for the popularity or the fame. I just find him really interesting, and I think he’d be a great character to explore.
ADVICE FOR YOUNG ACTORS: Advice? I dunno. I always think if I do say that stuff, I always sound a bit patronizing. I think I have to be well aware of this, but there’s probably always going to be a lot of actors out there that are a lot better than me that maybe don’t get the same chances. I think to always just remember that you can never know all; you’re always going to be learning; there’s always going to be something knew. I don’t think you’ll every have it all figured out. I think if you do, you’ve got the wrong end of the stick, or you shouldn’t be doing it. You should always be worried, or never be quite content with what you’ve done, or you might be going down the wrong path. I’m still learning loads from filming and working and watching the stuff. When you see it, there’s still so much I’m getting out.
UP NEXT: I’m just in the middle of filming a film called Shell. It’s by a writer director called Scott Graham who wrote this really cool script set in the highlands of Scotland. And it follows this girl and her father who own a petrol station, and I’m a character who comes in and out of the story. I think it’s going to be a really beautiful film. I’m finishing up on that this week.