George MacKay

George MacKay - one of the UK's finest young actors - had quite a 2013 with hugely acclaimed lead performances in three major features released within days of each other. 2014 looks like it's starting the same way - but this time he's adding theatre and awards shows to his repertoire, not least as one of the 2014 EE BAFTA Rising Stars. As he also steps into the limelight as British Council's own nominated Shooting Star at Berlinale this week, George takes a moment to reflect on the films that have mattered to him most.

What/who originally turned you onto film?
Growing up I was always lucky that my family takes a great interest in films and theatre so I got to see quite a lot. There was always a good bank of films to get into at home, and I think that was mainly down to my mum.

What was your first job in the film industry?
My first job was a film called Peter Pan; it was such an amazing and wonderful experience! I was much younger, and so to have my ‘first job’ be running around built forests and pirate ships was incredible. I was very lucky.

What is your favourite British film?
This Is England. I was so shocked when I watched it and thought everyone’s performances in it were absolutely awesome. It continues to be brilliant, and more comes out of it every time I watch it.

What’s your favourite line or scene from a film?
“Honestly mate you look sterling” Woody to Shaun in This Is England

Who’s your favourite screen hero and/or villain?
Heath Ledger’s ‘Joker’ is truly amazing, and is one of those performances I feel so happy and proud to have seen in the cinema, as it seems it will go down as something our generation will share with the next as a “You have to see this, I remember when I first saw this!…' I remember as well being a little obsessed with John Leguizamo’s ‘Tybalt’ in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet.

What’s the first film you remember seeing? 
As a small child, I used to watch The Jungle Book every day. Although it wasn’t actually the first film I watched, I always think of Gladiator very strongly, it was such an amazing film, and I remember from when I first saw it, to when I watch it now, it both transports you to that world, as well as presents you with ‘a Film’, in the sense that you can appreciate its scale, and music, and all its elements that it is as a film, and still feel the experience of watching it. It was also the first DVD I watched, and so was the first ‘Making Of’ featurette I saw; I used to watch both the film and special features again and again, and that gave me a real appreciation and interest in how films are made.

Read Charles Gant's view of George MacKay here and see George's full filmography here

Find out more about the UK Films screening in the 2014 Berlinale, where George MacKay will be presented as a Shooting Star.