From the Archives: My Exclusive Interview with Mark Barrett from ‘Barney Thomson’

An in-depth look at Mark Barrett’s acting career and his time on Robert Carlyle’s ‘Barney Thomson’

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Photo of Actor Mark Barrett
Mark Barrett, Credit: Matt Swift

Readers may recall that I caught up with Robert Carlyle during the Whistler Film Festival for the North American premiere of The Legend of Barney Thomson. The actor’s directorial debut tells the story of hapless barber, Barney Thomson, who accidentally falls into serial murder. At the Q&A, Carlyle (TrainspottingOnce Upon a Time) gave credit to a young Scottish actor, Mark Barrett, for his contributions in the rehearsal process. “A lot of aspiring young actors ask for your advice and they never do it!” Carlyle exclaimed on that snowy evening in December. “But Mark, he did become an actor.”

Naturally, Carlyle’s words may have left readers wondering about Mark Barrett, who also has a small role in the black comedy as barber Ricky Callahan. I reached out to Mr. Barrett to find out more about his experiences working on Barney Thomson. The twenty-eight-year-old actor was more than happy to sit down for his first official interview. However, his excitement was tempered by a startling sense of maturity and intensity in his gaze: revealing a sharp and discerning fellow who takes his work seriously. Continue reading “From the Archives: My Exclusive Interview with Mark Barrett from ‘Barney Thomson’”

Whistler Film Festival: ‘The Legend of Barney Thomson’

It’s all grotesque fun in Robert Carlyle’s directorial debut, which features a long overdue collaboration with Emma Thompson.

The Case of the Sympathetic Barber

About thirty minutes before his Red Carpet appearance, Robert Carlyle gave his frank opinion about the titular character from The Legend of Barney Thomson. “He’s not a very nice person, this Barney,” the Once Upon a Time star admitted at the Whistler Film Festival, where his directorial debut was welcomed for its North American premiere. “It’s one of the most difficult things about the script: How do I play this guy and make him somehow sympathetic? Because he’s a tit, he really is!”

Robert Carlyle
Robert Carlyle in his directorial debut, ‘The Legend of Barney Thomson.’ Photo courtesy of the Whistler Film Festival.

It helps immensely that Carlyle dwarfs Barney’s unpleasant “outbursts” towards customers by bringing on the full force of an outrageous personality like Cemolina. Emma Thompson, a two-time Academy-Award-winning actress, is both delightful and horrifying as Barney’s mother. Only two years older than Carlyle, Thompson benefited from the expertise of Mark Coulier (Spectre, Iron Lady) for the prosthetic make-up design needed to transform her into the feisty Scottish woman. It’s Emma Thompson as you’ve never seen her.

Despite being in her seventies, Cemolina stays active with her betting at the dog races, her lively Bingo nights, and old lady dance parties. But by no means would we ever expect her to garner the accolade of “Mother of the Year” for the scathing verbal abuse she unleashes on Barney, the hapless and lonely barber. “I never saw the f***ing point of you,” she tells her long-suffering son. Ouch.

A View from the Barber’s Chair Continue reading “Whistler Film Festival: ‘The Legend of Barney Thomson’”

Interview with Robert Carlyle: ‘The Legend of Barney Thomson’

Emily Alden, John Lenic, Robert Carlyle, and Richard Cowan
Emily Alden, John Lenic, Robert Carlyle, and Richard Cowan at the North American premiere of ‘The Legend of Barney Thomson.’ Photo: Pat Cuadros

In early December, I caught up with Robert Carlyle twice at the Whistler Film Festival (WFF) as a writer for Blogcritics. The Once Upon a Time actor was at the snowy ski resorts in Whistler, Canada, for the North American premiere of his directorial debut, The Legend of Barney Thomson. He mingled with screenwriter Richard Cowan as well as producers Emily Alden and John Lenic at the Red Carpet. Continue reading “Interview with Robert Carlyle: ‘The Legend of Barney Thomson’”

Whistler Film Festival: Spotlight on Robert Carlyle

The actor-director was honored with the 2015 Maverick Award at the Whistler Film Festival.

The Whistler Film Festival held a Spotlight on Robert Carlyle earlier this month in British Columbia, Canada. As part of the WFF Signature Series, the actor-director was presented with the Maverick Award. Carlyle’s directorial debut, The Legend of Barney Thomson, was screened later in the evening for its North American premiere.

Robert Carlyle
Robert Carlyle at the Whistler Film Festival. Photo: Pat Cuadros

The event included an intimate conversation with critic Jim Gordon of CTV, a major news network based in Vancouver. Much of the focus on Carlyle these days seems to be on his work with Once Upon a Time and the upcoming Trainspotting 2, projects that he himself appreciates. “One of the lovely things about Once Upon a Time is that [my family and I] can all sit and watch it on a Sunday night together. You can’t really do that with Trainspotting,” he remarked. Continue reading “Whistler Film Festival: Spotlight on Robert Carlyle”

Interview with Kaleena Kiff and Holly Brydson: ‘The Legend of Barney Thomson’ (Part II)

Emily Alden, John Lenic, Robert Carlyle, and Richard Cowan
Emily Alden, John Lenic, Robert Carlyle, and Richard Cowan on the Red Carpet for the North American premiere of ‘The Legend of Barney Thomson.’ Photo: Pat Cuadros

Kaleena Kiff and Holly Brydson sat down with me for an interview at the Whistler Film Festival. They are both producers for Robert Carlyle’s directorial debut, The Legend of Barney Thomson, which had its North American premiere in Whistler earlier this month. Robert Carlyle was also at the festival to receive the Maverick Award, walk the red carpet, and hold a Q&A with the audience after the premiere screening. Barney Thomson was the runner-up for the 2015 Whistler Film Festival Audience Award.

Do you have a favorite scene from the filming?

Kaleena: I think probably one of my favorite scenes was at the dog track. It was a place that was really special to Carlyle and his dad. Continue reading “Interview with Kaleena Kiff and Holly Brydson: ‘The Legend of Barney Thomson’ (Part II)”

Interview with Kaleena Kiff and Holly Brydson: ‘The Legend of Barney Thomson’ (Part I)

“I gotta say Glasgow was full of characters. It’s a very edgy town and just shooting there was amazing.”

Kaleena Kiff and Holly Brydson sat down with Blogcritics for an interview at the Whistler Film Festival. They are both producers for Robert Carlyle’s directorial debut, The Legend of Barney Thomson, which had its North American premiere in Whistler earlier this month. Robert Carlyle was also at the festival to receive the Maverick Award, walk the red carpet, and hold a Q&A with the audience after the premiere screening. Barney Thomson was the runner-up for the 2015 Whistler Film Festival Audience Award.

Paul Gratton, Emily Alden, John Lenic, Robert Carlyle, Richard Cowan, and Shauna Hardy Mishaw
Paul Gratton, Emily Alden, John Lenic, Robert Carlyle, Richard Cowan, and Shauna Hardy Mishaw at the North American premiere of ‘The Legend of Barney Thomson.’ Photo: Pat Cuadros

How many years have you been coming to the Whistler Film Festival?

Kaleena: This is probably – I missed one year – my fourth time here. But this is a first time –

Holly: I’m a Whistler Festival newbie!

Recently, The Legend of Barney Thomson just got several BAFTA Awards in Scotland: Best Feature Film, and Best Actress as well as a Best Actor nomination –

Kaleena/Holly: And Best Director! Continue reading “Interview with Kaleena Kiff and Holly Brydson: ‘The Legend of Barney Thomson’ (Part I)”

Robert Carlyle’s Directorial Debut, ‘The Legend of Barney Thomson,’ Opens July 24 in the UK

No word yet if “The Legend of Barney Thomson” will hit other theaters.

Photo of Thomson Road Sign
Where will Barney appear next? Photos: Pat Cuadros

How fortunate if you’re living in the UK right now, because cinemas nationwide will release “The Legend of Barney Thomson” tomorrow. Robert Carlyle (“Once Upon a Time,” “Trainspotting”) stars in the titular role as the hapless Scottish barber, who is thrust into the world of serial killing. The black comedy recently had its world premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, of which Carlyle is an Honorary Patron. He also makes his first leap into film directing with this project, though he’s no stranger to working behind-the-scenes in theater and television. Continue reading “Robert Carlyle’s Directorial Debut, ‘The Legend of Barney Thomson,’ Opens July 24 in the UK”