Dougray Scott takes Netflix subscribers to ‘Hemlock Grove’
When he was a little boy, actor Dougray Scott used to stow away in his father's car when his dad left for work as a salesman.
"I used to hide in the back until he drove so far away from the house that he couldn't take me back. I used to be fascinated by his preparation in the morning. And what it taught me - it didn't teach me then because I wasn't sure what I was looking at - but looking back on it, I realize why I had a fascination for it, because what I watched him do was try to form himself in the morning into this character so he could go out into the world and sell fridges and freezers.
"And whatever he was feeling, he had to suppress that in order to present this happy, likable, charismatic character to the people he wanted to buy his wares. And I just loved watching him do that. I was fascinated by it."
Scott is still studying characters who exhibit one thing, but are thinking another. He's bounced from the big screen in films like "Mission Impossible II" and "Ever After: a Cinderella Story" to the small screen in "Desperate Housewives" and the new thriller, "Hemlock Grove," premiering Friday on Netflix.
Scott grew up in a working-class neighborhood in Fife, Scotland. He longed to be a soccer player, but says he wasn't good enough. When he was 14 he discovered the play "Death of a Salesman."
"And I just made the connection between my father's life with Willy Loman, and with writing in general," he says, seated on a white canvas lounger on the verandah of a hotel here.
"I'd always enjoyed reading as a kid, and when I read plays by Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller, I just fell in love with it. When I did my first play at school I just felt that I'd found something really personal and fulfilling. And it kind of released the idea of playing other people and exploring other people's lives," Scott adds. "And being able to immerse myself into someone else's life as well was incredibly appealing to me because then I could do anything. It did have to be real, but it didn't have to be my life."
His parents were supportive, but no one else was.
"The people in my school weren't at all because they thought it was a ridiculous idea because no one had really done it where I came from. So it wasn't like anyone had set a precedent or it was an easy path where I came from.
"I always thought, 'Well, where does anyone come from who's an actor? They all come from somewhere. They don't come from Actingland. They all come from somewhere. So if not me, who? Why not?'"
So he was stubborn and tenacious about it.
"There was this bloody-mindedness I had from a very early age; even now I still have that," he says, tapping the couch with his forefinger.
"I think you have to overcome the difficulties that not just an actor has but anyone in life in order to carry on. Someone says, 'No, I don't want you for a particular role,' you can't take it personally. 'I think I would've been fantastic, but that's your prerogative and I think you're wrong.' And you move on and not take it personally."
After three years of drama school in Wales, Scott at 21 landed on the streets of London hopeful, but not very successful. He would brew up a pot of lentil and vegetable soup that could last two or three days. Eventually his "bloody-mindedness" landed him some theater parts.
He did odd jobs in between, working as a waiter, mover and accountant.
"I was terrible (as an accountant). I can't spell. I don't know why, they must've have had a terrible accountancy problem - they offered me a job. But I said, 'No, I'm an actor.' You do what you have to do in order to survive."
His father died when Scott was 30, and that changed his life.
"That was a huge loss for me because he was an intriguing part of my life, and it was very significant. I've had losses and events before in my life, but the most vibrant most affecting incident was that," he says.
He married casting director Sarah Trevis and had twins, a boy and a girl, now 14. Five years later they divorced and he married actress Claire Forlani ("Meet Joe Black.")
"I swore I would never get involved with an actress, but lo and behold. I met Claire and she's an amazing human being. She's my best friend as well. We have a wonderful relationship, and that was an incredibly important part of my life. It changed my outlook on life as well to have a soul mate like that."