“I was almost thrown out of drama school for not losing my accent!”
Robert Carlyle remembers his RSAMD days. While attending the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, he was continuously pursued by his teachers to lose his native accent. The actor didn’t give away his accent but instead he walked away from RSAMD. He returned only after five pleading phone calls from the then principal Ted Argent who let him keep his working class Glaswegian brogue.
Recalling his days at the RSAMD, where James McAvoy, David Tennant, and Alan Cumming also trained, “Acting didn’t seem right, it wasn’t a real job. My da’ had a real job.” Carlyle told the Mirror.
He hated using the ‘received pronunciation’ (RP) accent which was enforced on everyone who attended the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. After all, it was recently revealed that half of Britain’s best actors had been privately educated.
“There were about 20 of us in the year, but most of the students were middle class and from down south and I didn’t know how to deal with all of this. One of the reasons I hated drama school was because we were all required to speak in RP, and I thought ‘I can’t be f****d with all of this.”
Robert Carlyle in his early acting days. Source: Mirror
But he was eventually persuaded to try some improvisational work by organizer Maggie Kinloch, who now works at the Royal Conservatoire.
Once he found he could make people laugh, the actor was hooked.
He said: “People began laughing at me, because they thought I was funny, and this gave me a wee buzz. I remember going home that night feeling ‘Maybe I could do something with this’.”
Carlyle became part of the “Jockpack” – a group of Scottish actors who found fame in the 1990s – and paved the way for other Scots to find fame without changing their accents. He said: “James McAvoy has done well and Martin Compston, too. I’m delighted there has been this sea change.”
Carlyle as the iconic Begbie in Trainspotting. Source: Scotsman
Well despite the hardships he faced due to his accent, he has made quite a name for himself with roles like Begbie in Trainspotting and its upcoming sequel, a Bond villain in The World Is Not Enough, Rumpelstiltskin in the hit tv series Once Upon A Time. In 2015, he was seen playing the mild-mannered Glaswegian serial killer in The Legend of Barney Thomson.