To our sweet, beautiful readers: welcome to a new series in which we carefully, methodically profile those special few actors who, for various reasons, are flying Under the Radar but deserve much more. Now, this isn’t a series about the Next Hot Thang. Would-be Hemsworths need not apply, as they’ve got the entire rest of the internet to pay attention to them. We’re thinking much more Cumberbatchian, in light of the success of unusual-yet-great people like Benedict and that guy who played Loki in the Avengers who everyone seems to think is really hot now even though I just don’t quite…anyway.
We don’t know how frequent these posts will be, because to be honest, not every lesser-known actor or actress has the potential to go farther. When we find a candidate for Under the Radar, we do our due diligence to make sure we’re telling you about someone worthy. We watch and read everything the actor has ever done or said that we can find, right down to their student short films from the 90’s that are TERRIBLE. We pore over years of publicity photos. We comb through fan sites. We put very embarrassing things in our Netflix queues. This is deadly serious. Are you ready?
First subject: Rory McCann.
If you’ve seen Game of Thrones, Hot Fuzz, or almost any movie featuring men hitting each other with swords, you’ve probably seen him – in fact, he’s probably made you laugh, or gasp, or tremble with fear – but I’m willing to bet you’ve never heard his name. I hadn’t heard it myself, until I was watching Youtube clips of Throne Con because that’s the amount of time I have on my hands these days, okay, look, let’s not get off topic. The point is, Rory McCann is a promising guy who has been totally flying Under the Radar for years, and it’s time for that to change. Here’s who he is, why he’s underappreciated, and what he needs to reach his potential:
Rory in a Nutshell: A towering (6’6”) Scottish outdoorsman who got his start in a series of sexy oatmeal commercials (as all great men do), won a Scottish BAFTA for his first lead role in a television series as a totally dreamy paraplegic gentleman, and then went on to do basically not that much else, alternating between living in island cabins with no electricity and playing Big Guy With Beard in movies like Clash of the Titans. He currently stars in Game of Thrones as Sandor Clegane, the Hound (the guy with the burns, come on, you know this), where he’s great even though he pretty much has no lines and you can never see his face.
Is he worthy of more? Yes, and Yes:
On Screen, He’s Talented: Rory hasn’t had many meaty roles, but he’s just as good at sweet and vulnerable and nervous (The Book Group) as he is at brutal and terrifying and conflicted (Game of Thrones, The Crew) – that’s range. He’s believably played gay and straight characters, he’s worn fake teeth and made us laugh as the “Yarp” guy in Hot Fuzz, and he managed not to be cut out of an Oliver Stone film (Alexander), which is a huge achievement in itself. Yes, he’s had some leading roles that led nowhere, but they were in films that got little play and asked little of him. And going back to his current work, this Hound business, listen up, that is a TOUGH ROLE that he is NAILING. He has to convey a lot of conflicting feelings in settings where he can rarely say what he means – if he can speak at all – with almost his entire face obscured by latex. Let’s give this man the credit he deserves. Now, with no formal acting training, Rory may benefit from slash need capable direction for large roles – but in the hands of the right person, there’s no reason this gentle giant couldn’t show his skill and become a name.
Off Screen, He’s got Personality: I would love to be Rory McCann’s publicist. The guy can’t take two steps without generating an anecdote, ranging from awkward tall-man urinal interactions to falling 70 feet off a cliff and driving himself to the hospital with two broken ankles and a cracked skull. Oh, and when I said “outdoorsman”? This actual former lumberjack wanders the highlands when he’s not working, feeding hungry birds and rowing around lochs and “dossing” in caves, which is a term I look forward to understanding someday. It’s entirely possible that he was living in a tent in Iceland before GoT happened. Rory is so rugged and off the grid, when he was spotted using a laptop at Throne Con, his fans got all excited because they weren’t sure he knew about those. After he got the part of Sandor from his really impressive audition tape (above) featuring an extremely serious beard, he read GoT by the light of campfires and made his book all dirty and smoky and rumpled because he is A Man Of The Earth. Look me in the eye and tell me you don’t know a woman (or man) who would be into that. Add in his sense of humor about his life and career, generally charming interview skills (below), earnest humility and sweet disposition, and a tendency towards shyness that can protect him from overexposure, and you’ve got a character just waiting to be exported to the eager ladies of the USA.
So what’s next? Here’s the TTTV Prescription for Success:
Rory has all the raw materials to be a consistent supporting actor (at least!) with decent name recognition, but he’ll never get noticed in America just from playing heavily-costumed supporting warrior dudes. The Hound is a great role, and if the show follows the books, we should see more of him in season three, but he’ll benefit most from it if he can juxtapose that rough beast with a totally different character at the same time. Now in his forties, he needs a fresh indie vehicle that plays to his strengths – complete with a talented helmer and interview-heavy publicity to showcase his charm – to remind people that he has a face and a personality and skills other than being tall and having “hands like shovels.” Get him in a Sundance darling about an odd couple or feature him in a prestigious ensemble drama, film or television, where he actually has some lines, and I think he’ll rise to the occasion. You’ll have people saying “did you know that dude is the burn guy on Thrones??” around the water cooler, which helps spread the word and makes him seem all the more talented. Also throw in some voice work to keep him occupied, since he sounds amazing and Scottish in interviews and it seems like he maybe could use the work, especially given that his size wouldn’t be an issue in an animated feature.
Oh, and one last thing: I never thought I’d say this, but make him shave before events. It is straight up negligent that I can’t find a recent picture of him looking like he knows a barber, and that his IMDB photo is literally the worst picture of him on the internet. You don’t want to play the Hollywood game, okay, people are into that, but at least play the Basic Personal Presentation game when you’re on the red carpet. Rory McCann is one straight-razor shave away from actual recognition, and you heard it here first.
Do you know of someone who is flying Under the Radar? Tell us and we’ll investigate!