HE could have been Wolverine. He could have been James Bond. He could have been Aragorn. Coulda, shoulda, didnae. But, despite missing these mighty roles, Fife’s Dougray Scott still made it in Hollywood.

This weekend, he made it to New York for the annual Tartan Day jamboree, a Caledonian cornucopia of bagpipes, kilts and stravaiging doon the street with yon classic Scottish attribute: pride. You know, the one synchronised with its sister-feeling: shame.

Shamelessly, Dougray acted as Grand Marshal of the Parade, following in the footsteps of such luminaries as Billy Connolly, Sean Connery, Alan Cumming and KT Tunstall.

Provocatively, to some Americans at any rate, he took the opportunity to cock a snook at  yon Donald Trump, telling The Herald he detests the fellow, while not holding it against folk in tough economic circumstances who back the dubious dude out of desperation.

He says New Yorkers are “great people” – not in my experience they ain’t – as are the Scots, with their egalitarian heart and soul. Yes, everyone’s equally likely to be  accused of hate crimes.

He was born Stephen Dougray (French grandmother’s surname) Scott on November 25, 1965 in Glenrothes, the youngest of four children to Elma, a “glamorous and charming” nurse, and Alan Scott, a travelling salesman of refrigerators and freezers.

Dad had been a Glasgow-based actor previously, and Dougray believes he took on the “role” of travelling salesman, effectively giving  his first acting lessons when the boy accompanied him across north Scotland: “Some of my happiest childhood memories.”

The family lived in a council house, with dad dependent wholly on commission to make a living. Mum had a “posh Kelvindale accent” and wore white gloves, but his great aunts in Glasgow were rougher: they would “put their cigarettes out by stubbing them on their hands”.

The Herald:

Onto a promise
After attending Auchmuty High School, young Dougray studied acting at Fife College – coupla Icons studied there; sounds like a decent place – before progressing to the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in Cardiff, where he  was named most promising drama student.

Early television credits included Soldier Soldier, The Rover, Taggart, and Lovejoy. In 1997, he made his film debut in black comedy Twin Town, set in Swansea. 

His international breakthrough came the following year when he played Prince Henry to Drew Barrymore’s Cinderella in Ever After. This role involved wearing a codpiece, which he vowed never to do again.

After that, Tom Cruise picked him personally to play the villain in Mission: Impossible 2. Here’s where it gets interesting. He was also cast to play Wolverine in the original X-Men movie, but Mission ran over schedule, and he was forced to drop out of the project, being replaced in the long-clawed role by Hugh Jackman, who never looked back.

Scott later claimed Cruise stopped him taking the role: “We were doing Mission: Impossible and he was like, ‘You’ve got to stay and finish the film’, and I said I will, but I’ll go and do that as well. For whatever reason he said I couldn’t. He was a very powerful guy.”

Then there was Bond. Scott appears to have been considered for the role in Die Another Day, but Pierce Brosnan put the kibosh on that by deciding to give it another go.

The Scot’s name came up again for Casino Royale, but that role eventually went, with Dougray’s good wishes, to Daniel Craig.

He turned down the chance to play Aragorn in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, as he didn’t fancy spending two years filming three movies back to back in New Zealand.

The Lord Of The Rings is the greatest story ever told, but Scott was able to access a poor second to that title in 2006, when he appeared as bigger-bearded Moses in ABC miniseries The Ten Commandments.

The Herald:

Desperate act
Also in 2006, he appeared in short-lived NBC series Heist, and in the third season of Desperate Housewives as Teri Hatcher’s new love interest. In 2007, he played the heavy in Hitman, based on the video games of the same name and, in 2009, won praise for his performance as an ex-con in RTÉ-ITV drama Father & Son.

The year 2011 was a challenging one, with Scott featuring in Love’s Kitchen alongside his wife Claire Forlani, as football manager Matt Busby in the BBC drama United, and as Arthur Miller, no less, in the star-studded My Week With Marilyn.

There’s a pile of other stuff that I ain’t going to list here. Acting: it’s just one thing after another. 

Scott has called method acting “a label I don’t really understand, because there’s a method to everybody’s acting”, adding: “In terms of jumping into a character’s skin, I try to immerse myself in the role as much as possible to bring me closer to them.”

In 2021, he opened the Scottish wing of London production company Buccaneer, which got going with an adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s Crime, earning Scott a Bafta in the UK and an international Emmy in the US for his role as Ray Lennox, an Edinburgh cop on the trail of a murderer.

An adaptation of another Welsh novel, The Blade Artist, based on Trainspotting character Franco Begbie, is also in the works.

Like Begbie, and indeed most leading Scottish cultural figures, Scott is a passionate supporter of Hibernian FC. His Glaswegian father was a former Rangers supporter turned “mad, mad Hibee”. Dougray’s grand uncle was a scout for the Edinburgh club.

Modest goals
Scott says football makes him feel more passion than acting, and would choose an evening with Sir Alex Ferguson over Robert De Niro any time.

The Herald:

In 2001, he skipped out of the international premiere of Enigma in Edinburgh to watch Rangers v Hibs in a nearby boozer, leaving a bewildered Kate Winslet and Saffron Burrows behind. 

He also tried explaining “the Hibs thing” to Tom Cruise – with no success.

Politically, as well as disrespecting top statesman Donald Trump, he votes Labour in London, where he now lives after some years in Los Angeles, but he supports independence, and in Scotland would vote SNP, saying Scotland could “look after ourselves. We could outlast the English purely based on Irn-Bru profits”.

More seriously, Scott has said: “We have a particular vision of the world, which is why I think it makes sense to have independence, and we have many great stories to tell.”