Category: Burns News | Posted by: admin
Article Date: December 11, 2004 | Publication: Daily Record | Author: Paul English
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PHANTOM OF THE OPERA star Gerry Butler might well be the latest Scottish star to send female pulses racing in cinemas across the country.

But there's one woman who is not so impressed at the prospect of getting up close and personal with the Tomb Raider II ace - Glasgow actress Kathleen McDermott.

The flame-haired 27-year-old, plucked from the obscurity of a shopping trip in her hometown and propelled to silver screen status, will appear opposite Butler in a new film about Rabbie Burns.

And while she confesses to being a big fan of the Glaswegian actor's work, she's not so sure about his ever-changing hairdos.

Kathleen, who will start shooting on the pounds 5million biopic of the Ayrshire bard in March 2005, said: 'I really hope he has short hair for the film.

'Every time I see a picture of him these days he looks different, and I have a feeling that he'll have to have long hair in the film.

'I think he looks a lot better with short hair - long hair is horrible.'

Kathleen plays Jenny Clow, a maid who the literary lothario ends up having an affair with.

But the former barber, who shot to fame in Lynne Ramsay's screen adaptation of cult novel Morvern Callar, doesn't have to get down and dirty with the man many hope will step into Pierce Brosnan's shoes as the new James Bond.

As far as she knows, she's just lined up for a few snogging scenes.

She said: 'I don't think we have any bed scenes, but I do have to kiss him. I'm quite glad about that.'

Kathleen will have to spend hours in make-up, as her part requires her to have a port wine birthmark on her face.

But she is delighted to have landed the role alongside heavyweights like Butler, John Hannah and American actress Julia Stiles.

She said: 'I think I did a brilliant audition, I totally knew my part inside out. I even tape recorded myself before going down and sat on the plane listening to it back and forth.

'The guy sitting next to meon the plane couldn't figure out what I was doing.

'Then I had to wait for a week, and when the call came through from my agent, I was convinced it would be a 'no'. So I couldn't believe it when she said I had the part.

'Jenny's not as big as anyone else in the film, but she's in it all the way through, and ends up having an affair with Rabbie. And she has a birthmark on her face, so she's a very memorable character.

'It's great that Julia has been cast in it, and so far I think I'm the only Scottish girl in it.'

Despite her lack of acting training, determined Kathleen remains undaunted by the prospect of standing shoulder to shoulder with the big hitters.

She said: 'I'm just going to act my heart out and more than match the other big names in it.

'People say that Scottish actresses aren't getting the big parts, but when you do get the chance, I think you have to totally get in there and match them all.'

After her BAFTA-winning breakthrough, the gorgeous redhead was inundated with offers for roles. And at one stage, she was lined up to star in the biopic of Ayrshire cycling champ Graeme Obree, but the film failed to materialise after the death of one of its backers.

Still, her next moves were canny ones. After being advised to stay away from drama classes by Robert Carlyle, she decided to earn her apprenticeship on the quiet.

Rather than being seduced by whatever big offers came her way, Kathleen told her agent she wanted to learn her trade by working in more short projects.

She's already starred alongside Oscar winner Brenda Fricker in Milk, which was screened a fortnight ago on BBC1.

That role saw her having to bathe the veteran actress, and even fall into the tub with Brenda in the buff.

She has also taken part in a series of film workshops in Ireland, which landed her in an improvised same-sex clinch with an Asian girl. It's unlikely to go on general release, but locking lips was as far as it went.

She said: 'There was no kissing in the rehearsal, but the director thought it was quite appropriate that we kissed when we filmed the scene.

'So it was a spur of the moment thing. I was like 'Oh my god, do I have to... ?' 'But I think I know my sexuality, I don't have a problem with that. It's not as if one kiss with a lassie is going to turn me. It made it easier that she was quite attractive though.'

This week, Kathleen pops up as a primary school teacher in a touching Tartan Short, which also features an acting debut for Scottish television presenter Gail Porter.

Quick flick Baldy McBain follows the story of a wee boy who loses his hair after witnessing his mother's death in an open lift shaft.Taunted by his classmates, he withdraws, losing his voice and his best pal.

Things are looking bleak for the lonely lad, before, bizarrely, an outbreak of nits solves his problem.

Kathleen loved working on the project. She said: 'It's a great wee story, but it's always the way with shorts, they're over just as you're getting into them.

'I loved working with the kids. One of the boys was a right wee toerag, but it was brilliant to have him there.

'And some of them actually thought I was a real teacher, and would be coming up to me to tell me that so and so did such and such.'

In between acting projects, Kathleen is still singing three nights a week at Shanghai Shuffle karaoke restaurant in Glasgow.

And she has started writing her debut album with Scottish DJ Bobby Bluebell, which she hopes will see the light of day next year.

Kathleen confessed that it has helped her move on after the public break-up of her relationship with Stephen Irvine, who she discovered was seeing another woman behind her back.

'I have written about how I felt there, but not about the actual experience,' said Kathleen, who now has a new man - Martin - who she met in a bar in the city's Baillieston suburb.

She said: 'I've written about what it felt like to find that sort of thing out, and how it affected me, rather than going on about what happened or what he did.

'I'm trying to move on, I've put it in the past. He knows how I feel, and I told him that I can forget, but not forgive.'

If hopes for a record deal materialise, Kathleen has yet to decide whether or not she'll perform under her own name or a stage name.One of her influences is American rocker Pink. So what about a Scottish equivalent? Instead of Pink, how about, er, Ginger?

'Aye,' she said laughing. 'That's it. Ginger.What a laugh.

Maybe I will.'