Originally from the West of Scotland, Gillian MacGregor is a versatile and award-winning actress. Recent film and television highlights include an adventure western called The Stolen (opposite Alice Eve and Graham McTavish), Beyond, A Lonely Place to Die, Street Fighter: Resurrection and Nikola Tesla and the End of the World. Gillian won ‘Best Actress’ at the 31st International Valencia Film Festival.
She has been described as “a powerful and distinctive actress,” with many strong reviews for her work. Highly engaging, she is fully committed and brings a raw intensity to her characters. Also a writer, she has penned several pilots and projects, with an interest in strong female characters and compelling stories.
We had the wonderful opportunity to speak with Gillian. Check out the interview below.
Hi, Gillian! Thank you for granting the interview. You have several amazing projects that you’ve taken part in. Namely the “The Stolen”. Tell us more.
The Stolen is an adventure western set during the New Zealand gold rush. Charlotte Lockton (Alice Eve) has settled in New Zealand with her wealthy husband in 1860. But her life’s dreams are shattered when he’s murdered on their farm and her baby son is kidnapped. When Charlotte discovers she’s being blackmailed by the kidnapper, she very bravely decides to cross the wilds of New Zealand’s South Island to try to get her son back.
She joins a group of ex-convicts, hustlers, and prostitutes (played by myself, Emily Corcoran and Mikaela Ruegg) also making the dangerous journey to Goldtown, led by a Maori warrior (Stan Walker) and Bully (Graham McTavish). There, she meets Joshua McCullen (Jack Davenport), the owner of the mining town and the man who is key to uncovering the truth behind the disappearance of her son.
You recently won a “Best Actress” award at the 31st International Valencia Festival. Congrats! Tell us about the experience.
It was a lovely surprise! I couldn’t attend the festival because I was filming The Stolen in New Zealand but I was, of course, thrilled to have won. It was for my role in Nikola Tesla and the End of the World which is a charming series by Ian Strang. It’s done so well on the festival circuit and I am very proud to have been involved in it.
You’ve been described as a “powerful and distinctive” actress. Which part of acting process resonates with you the most?
You can obviously never beat a great script so that is always attractive but I guess I’m always looking for something a bit different or a character which will challenge me, emotionally or technically. I enjoy working with other actors as a scene can go in a totally different direction to how you imagined it and that’s really exciting. I love to analyze human behavior and I find it fascinating how complex our psyches are. I really love putting the pieces of the puzzle together to bring a character to life and I find damaged or broken characters utterly compelling and exploring the darker, ugly side of human behavior fascinating.
You’re also a writer and have penned several pilots and projects. What inspired you to write?
Honestly, it started because I was frustrated with the parts I was being seen for when I first started and really wanted to try something else. It was revelatory and totally changed the direction of my career. I’m surrounded by so many amazing, unbelievably talented and driven people who are making great things and they really inspired me and gave me the confidence to put pen to paper initially but now it’s something I’m compelled to do, whether I share my work it or not.
Is there any particular project you’re excited to produce?
Each one has its own journey with its own quirks. I was so excited to work on Beyond a few years ago as I knew it would be a challenge for me so I couldn’t wait to get started. The Stolen was also amazing because I was able to travel to New Zealand and work with great people, including my longtime friend Emily Corcoran who co-wrote, produced and acted in the film. It’s always a privilege to be honest so each time is an exciting new adventure.
What are some of your favorite films?
That’s such a difficult question because I can never choose and sometimes I’ll love an aspect of a film or a specific performance, or a film might speak to me at a particular time in my life. I love hyper-naturalistic performances and, for this reason, Red Road was incredible. It really moved me. The first film that I remember changing my life was Aliens. I was way too young to be watching it but it blew my mind! I’ll always watch it when it’s on, ditto Alien. The Green Mile would definitely be in my top five and makes me cry every time. I also love This is England and Blue Valentine… there are so many. TV wise, I love The Shield, Sons of Anarchy, The Affair and found The Sinner compelling. It’s impossible to pick!
What are three “Good to Know” facts about you that no one knows?
I performed a Gaelic song and an aria from La Traviata in The Stolen but both were cut. (I’m trying not to take that personally!)
A Lonely Place to Die and Beyond are the only films I’ve shot in my native Scotland.
The most unpleasant experience I’ve had whilst shooting was for a horror film where I had to hold a piece of raw meat to look like a human heart.
Do you have any upcoming projects that we haven’t mentioned?
I’m working on something new right now but more information on that will follow very soon!
Complete this sentence, if I had an opportunity to do anything in 2018 I want to…
… finish a novel I’ve been working on.
Editor’s Note: The Stolen is out now on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital
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Featured Image Credit: Photography by Anne Fowler.