AN Edinburgh actor who beat Robert Carlyle and David Tennant at Scotland’s film and TV “Oscars” has dedicated his award to the Dalkeith war hero he portrayed.
David Elliot hopes being named best film actor at the Scottish Baftas would “extend the legend” of Corporal Mark Wright, who was killed trying to rescue an injured colleague in an unmarked minefield in Afghanistan in 2006.
Rising star Elliot said it had been a “massive honour” to play Cpl Wright in Kajaki, revealing that the script had regularly moved him to tears.
Cpl Wright, who lived in the Capital with his fianceé, Gill, was 27 when he was killed trying to rescue fellow paratrooper Stuart Hale, after he had a leg blown off. He was awarded the George Cross posthumously.
Elliot, 34, who was largely unknown in the Scottish film industry before his Bafta success, revealed he had taken Cpl Wright’s parents, Bob and Jem, to the awards ceremony in Glasgow as his guests, saying the film could not have been made without their backing.
He said the film, also nominated in the main Bafta film awards in London earlier this year, “would always be close to my heart”.
Elliot said: “No matter what other movies come or go, or any other jobs, there will be nothing else that will quite touch this. I brought along Mark’s parents with me as they have been so welcoming with me. Without them and their say-so about being able to do a film that involved what happened to Mark, it couldn’t have got made.
“This is a story that you wouldn’t believe if someone came in with a script and said they had an idea for a film.
“The thing that makes films like this so compelling is knowing the lengths that real human beings have gone to and the realities they have faced. To be charged with the responsibility of playing Mark was a massive honour and I’m really proud.
“Getting the award just extends the legend of Mark’s name. Any accolade this film picks up can only go to more people knowing about the story and more people getting to see who Mark was as a person.”
Asked whether he had broken down during the filmmaking process, he said: “When you know those words had come from a real person you’d have to be an alien not to be affected.”
Carlyle’s directorial debut, The Legend of Barney Thomson, led the running in the nominations with four nods, including the Trainspotting star for his lead role as a hapless Glasgow barber who gets embroiled in a series of grisly murders.
The movie, which opened this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival, won best film and Emma Thompson, who played the on-screen mother of Carlyle’s character in the black comedy, was named best actress.
But Carlyle lost out in the best film actor and best director categories.
Bathgate-born Tennant had been nominated for his role as Billy Connolly’s on-screen son in the comedy-drama What We Did On Our Holiday.
Elliot could not believe he had actually been nominated alongside Carlyle and Tennant.
The actor said: “They are both amazing and to have my named mentioned with them in front all these creative people that I’ve looked up to for years was just incredible.”