12 Feb

James Cosmo: A Man for All Seasons


Every year Cannes chooses an image that will define their Film Festival. It is something that will appear on vast posters, giant billboards and postcards dispatched around the world. In 2012 it was a photo of Marilyn Monroe blowing out the candles on a birthday cake as the Festival celebrated its 65th edition. In 2011 it was a gorgeous photo of Faye Dunaway at her most glamourous in the early 1970s.

If Glasgow was choosing a poster star for 2013 it would have to be actor James Cosmo. Cosmo is everywhere you look in this year's programme from 1980s classics Highlander and Living Apart Together (now gloriously restored), to the creepy horror tale Citadel in which he plays a ferocious, unconventional priest, to the Irish charmer Songs for Amy and the global television phenomenon Game of Thrones in which he plays Lord Commander Jeor Mormont.

Cosmo is a bit of a phenomenon himself. His film career began in 1969 with a role in the all-star Battle of Britain in which he co-starred with Christopher Plummer. He has played roles great and small in some of the most significant films ever made in Scotland from Braveheart and Trainspotting to Donkeys in which he won a richly deserved BAFTA Scotland Best Actor prize.

He has worked on huge blockbusters like Troy and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and small, low-budget films with an adventurous spirit like One More Kiss With Gerard Butler and Rankin's The Lives of the Saints. He could make your blood run cold in the latter film as the monstrous Mr Karva and he can break your heart as the awkward, inadequate father in Donkeys playing a dying, defeated man only too aware of his endless shortcomings.

Of late, James Cosmo has also been appearing in some of the coolest shows on American television from Sons of Anarchy to Game of Thrones. Check him out on imdb and you will discover all the riches of a versatile, hard-working career that has seen him appear in more than 150 film and television roles. He has worked alongside Mel Gibson and Demi Moore, Brad Pitt and Gwyneth Paltrow. He has been directed by Danny Boyle and Wolfgang Petersen, Shane Meadows and Mike Figgis. It is a truly remarkable career and he has many a story to tell. That's why we are so excited he has agreed to talk about his career in a Great Scots event James Cosmo in Conversation. It happens at GFT on Saturday February 16th at 1.30pm. Don't miss it!

Allan Hunter,
GFF Co-director

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