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Emmett Scanlan: 'I can't be a romantic lead ... my face is like a melted wheelie bin'


Emmett Scanlan in The Fall

Emmett Scanlan in The Fall

Emmett Scanlan in The Fall

Life couldn't be better for Emmett Scanlan right now.

The former Hollyoaks actor has just been named 'one to watch' by Variety, is filming a new biblical epic and he's getting hitched.

Born in Marino but raised in Clontarf, Emmett has just lined up an Amercian TV show for NBC.

It's the latest in a long run of high-profile gigs that Emmett (36) has secured.

Best known here for playing bad boy Brendan Brady in Hollyoaks, Emmett has amassed quite an impressive CV in a career that is just over a decade old.

To date, Scan - as he's known to his friends - has appeared in TV shows such as The Fall, The Clinic and also had roles in Hollywood productions such as last year's monster hit Guardians of the Galaxy and the acclaimed Irish film Patrick's Day.

But the actor, who was tipped by influential trade paper Variety as an 'International Star You Should Know', is still self-depreciating.

"Although I've done quality shows, I haven't been quality, I'm hit and miss. I'm still searching for my beat, my rhythm," he said.

"Michael Fassbender and Mathew McConaughey are magnetic to watch, they've found their beat. I've still got a long way to go.

"I've still done bugger all in the grand scheme of things so I'm still a novice in that respect."

Emmett became a household name in this part of the world for his role as the villain Brendan Brady in Hollyoaks but after just two years and numerous awards he chose to walk away in 2013.


"Honestly I felt I'd done what I came to do. I actually achieved more than I'd set out to do, I left a mark," he said.

"Hollyoaks was so good to me and I learned a lot. The people and fans are exceptional but when I leave this world I want to leave behind a set of characters I'm proud of, that my kids will be proud of."

Emmett is now filming in Morocco for TV series A.D. alongside Irish star Charlene McKenna and said that it has been an incredible opportunity.

"At the moment I'm shooting in OuarZaZate ... try saying that when you're drunk," Scanlan said.

"It's the same area where they filmed Kingdom of Heaven and Gladiator. A.D. is the biggest production I've ever been on," he said.

"The sets rival that of Guardians…and that's saying something.

"I'm also filming another American TV show, Constantine (based on the Keanu Reeves movie of the same name), at the same time both for the NBC network.

"Americans do everything big, they either find a way or they make one. I love that about them. They're fearless when it comes to investment, when it comes to taking risks.

"The closest I've come to a British production that follows that big American ethos is Atlantis. Huge scale, huge budget, great show but obviously you don't need scale to make quality and it certainly isn't a guarantee for success.

"Take BBC3's In the Flesh as a prime example. That had a tiny budget in comparison and we won two BAFTAS this year for it."

The Dubliner doesn't necessarily prioritise big-budget movies over indie productions.

"My preference is character and story, the personality of the piece. Obviously big studios pay more but that doesn't motivate me but there are exceptions to the rule of course," he said.

"I mean if Quentin Tarantino called and wanted me to be a lamppost in his next movie, then f**k character, I'll be the best lamppost he's ever seen.


"But unless you're Tarantino my preference is story and character and then its director and cast. Lastly its money and always has been, but at the same time don't take the p*ss. Long gone are the days were I do gigs for bus fares and smiles," he added.

Emmett has declared his love for boxing underdog classic Rocky but what other films does he rate?

"Rocky is what got me into this game that planted the seed. That's the all time favourite," he said.

"Others would be The Big Lebowski, The Shawshank Redemption, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, In the Name of the Father. I could go on.

"I would love to do comedy or a rom com, Notting Hill being a favourite. But I realise I've got a face like a melted wheelie bin so romantic leads are out. Maybe I could be the d***head in those movies as I've got a d***head face."

His personal life is also coming up roses and he recently got engaged to fellow Hollyoaks actress Claire Cooper.

Now that his career is taking off, what does he make of Variety giving him the nod as 'one to watch'?

"It's always nice to be acknowledged for your work and of course variety is huge worldwide," Emmet says.

"Two years ago the IFTAs nominated me for a 'Rising Star award', a similar theme, but in the grand scheme of things none of it really means anything, the phone doesn't suddenly start ringing.

"I don't get my next gig because of it. It's flattering, thank you, but my heads down, my mind's focused on work," he added.

Finally what does Emmett like to do when he get's back to Dublin?

"When I come back here, my first port of call is to hang with my family, my daughter. What else is there?" he said.

"They're the most important people in my life - [my daugher] Kayla makes everything possible she gives me reason to get up every morning."

Emmet's movie Patrick's Day is currently in cinemas and A.D. is set to be screened in the US over Easter. Constantine will be shown on Irish TV later this year.