Where they are now? The stars of Scottish classic Local Hero

Bill Forsyth’s Local Hero brought together Hollywood names and rising Scottish stars to tell the story of one small community’s struggle to outsmart a large American oil company and save their home.

Peter Riegert – MacIntyre

Riegert went on to direct short films after his stint as oil tycoon MacIntyre with his work ‘By Courier’ – a story of a drifting relationship – nominated for an Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film in 2001. In recent times, he is possibly best known for his role as crooked New York state assemblyman Ronald Zellman in The Sopranos. One scene that is hard to shake shows him being beaten, half naked, with a belt by Tony Soprano as his mistress looks on. We preferred Riegert as Mac on the beach at Ferness collecting shells and opening himself up to the wonders of the universe. 

Denis Lawson – Gordon Urquhart

Lawson is memorable as the smooth, smart and sexy landlord of the MacAskill Arms, but some fans will know the Crieff-born actor as ace rebel pilot Wedge Antilles in the original 1970s Star Wars trilogy. Others may know him as the maternal uncle of actor Ewan McGregor with the two working together on sci-fi drama Perfect Sense and short film Perfect Geometery in recent times. In 2006, his portrayal of John Jarndyce in a BBC production of Bleak House earned him an Emmy Nomination. He regularly appears on prime time television and recently appeared in Death in Paradise, Victoria and Marchlands. For many, it is the way he rallied a community in Local Hero that will endure. Lawson is also no stranger to the stage and has previously performed at the Royal Lyceum Theatre. He will be starring in ART at the King’s Theatre, Edinburgh which runs from 11th to 16th of February. 
Lawson is also no stranger to the stage and has previously performed at the Royal Lyceum Theatre. He will be starring in ART at the King’s Theatre, Edinburgh which runs from 11th to 16th of February.

Peter Capaldi – Danny Oldsen
Capaldi needs little introduction as one of Scotland’s most high-profile actors but his part in Local Hero as Danny Oldsen, a young naive oil industry professional, was his first part. The scene in the film where Peter Capaldi runs over the beach – arms and legs swinging wildly – to catch a glimpse of the woman he admires does not fade. Other notable roles in the post-Local Hero years include transgender woman Vera Reynolds in Prime Suspect and Rory in the 1996 television version of Ian Banks’s The Crow Road.

But his part as foul-mouthed spin doctor Malcolm Tucker in The Thick Of It set Capaldi apart with the actor collecting a string of awards – and likely a place in television history – for the comedy role. He is now known across the generations as the twelfth Dr Who. John Gordon Sinclair – Ricky Sinclair was already a nation’s favourite when he turned up in Local Hero given his starring role in Gregory’s Girl, another Bill Forsyth classic, which screened two years earlier. He has numerous television and film credits to his name and recently appeared in World War Z alongside Brad Pitt as a Seal Commander. Sinclair moved to London in the early 1980s and now lives in Surrey with his wife, a GP, and children.

Christopher Rozycki – Viktor

The scene in Local Hero where Russian fisherman Viktor takes the mic at the ceilidh is one of the classic moments of the film with Christopher Rozycki radiating the film’s qualities of love, warmth and belonging. The actor was born in Poland and moved to London in the 1970s. After Local Hero, he became one of the founding characters of medical drama Casualty and played hospital porter Kuba during the first three series. He went on to roles in Truly Madly Deeply and then Downtown Abbey where he starred as Count Nikolai Rostov. Sadly, Rozycki died in April 2015 – but we’ll never forget Viktor’s Song. 

Jenny Seagrove – Marina

Recently starring on the London stage in a six-month production of The Exorcist, Jenny Seagrove manages her long-running acting career with caring for abandoned horses. Her role as web-footed marine biologist Marina in Local Hero was her first big film role with Seagrove spending much time immersed in freezing west coast water for the part. From there she worked solidly in film, television and theatre and is well known for her playing lawyer Jo Mills in the long-running BBC drama series Judge John Deed. She set up The Mane Chance charity in 2011 after a friend ran out of money to feed her horses. Her partner is theatre producer and Everton chairman, Bill Kenwright.

Fulton Mackay – Ben

The fulcrum of Local Hero lies in character Ben, the wise beachcomber who lives on the sands held by his family for 400 years. The part was played memorably by Fulton Mackay, who at the time of the film was famous for his role as prison warder Mr Mackay in the sitcom Porridge. Paisley-born Mackay trained at RADA and then had a lengthy spell at Glasgow Citizen’s Theatre from 1949 to 1985. As well as Local Hero, he appeared in Defense of the Realm and Doing Time. He sadly died in London in 1987 – but the wisdom and wit of beachcomber Ben lives on.

Burt Lancaster – Felix Happer

One of the greatest actors in the classic Hollywood style, securing the services of Burt Lancaster to play oil tycoon Felix Happer was a major coup for director Bill Forsyth. The tough street kid from New York joined the circus and the army before settling on being an actor with hundreds of roles to his name. He was lauded for his part in The Birdman of Alcatraz and Atlantic City with his From Here to Eternity, where he makes love with Deborah Kerr on a Hawaiian beach amid the crashing waves, deemed to be one of the most romantic movies of all time. On the beach at Ferness in Local Hero, he is remembered for his meeting with Ben after which his plans to build a refinery grind to a halt. Lancaster died in 1991.

Source: Where they are now? The stars of Scottish classic Local Hero – The Scotsman

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