Thursday 19 June 2014

Happy Birthday, Aidan Turner!

photo via EmpireOnLine
Happy Birthday, Aidan Turner!

Aidan is 31 today and is spending the day on the set of Poldark, a new BBC period drama in which he plays the lead character Ross. Aidan is aware he's stepping into to a well loved role with Ross but says, 'He has been done before. I haven't watched it. So I get to start all over again.'  In what is proving to be a busy year, Aidan is filming Poldark from now until September followed by, possibly, making the film Inferno and all topped off with the press junkets and premieres for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Not bad for a boy who left school with no notion of what he wanted to do!

Aidan was born in Clondalkin, South Dublin, in a house in which he lived throughout his childhood with his mum, dad, and brother. He says, ‘I was born in that house in that living room. I spent 20 years in that house and it's very close to my heart, but I don't get to see it much now.’

He left school knowing he didn’t want to do anything ‘mundane’ and signed up for a six week ‘Acting for Camera’ course because he thought it looked ‘like a laugh.’ He says, ‘I did ballroom and Latin American dancing for about 10 years; I even represented Ireland. So I did have a flair for the creative.’ There may be more to it than that though for, when asked about any history of acting in his family he says, ‘I’m the break-out. Ours was an arts-friendly household,’ which may well be a reference to his grandmother, an amateur actress and stalwart of her local theatre group for many years. His grandmother also enjoys dancing and is no doubt pleased that Aidan lists Ballroom, Jive, Latin American, Salsa, and Tango among his dancing skills.

Aidan says, 'The "Acting for Camera" class was a game changer for me. The buzz of walking "on stage" …was a rush I hadn’t quite achieved through anything else up to that point in my life. And so naturally, I loved it.’

That buzz led to Aidan training at the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin. He graduated in 2004 and within a few weeks was jetting off to Portugal to shoot a couple of adverts for Irish television. Each ad took a day to film and must have been a great introduction to trying to look fresh and new take after take for, as the days progressed, the actors found it harder and harder to swallow the drink they were promoting, some spitting it out after each take!

Within his first year as an actor Aidan was performing at The Barbican, one of London’s top theatres, in The Plough and the Stars. There followed several years of acting both in fringe and mainstream theatre, as he went from the black vest and snakeskin trousers of the award winning Titus Andronicus (in which Sarah Greene, who is now his girlfriend, also appeared) to being suited and booted in Romeo and Juliet. In Cyrano, Aidan stole the show as Christian and was hailed by critics as 'The next James Bond'.

From 2007, Aidan began to get roles in television and film. He played the lead in the feature film Alarm which was released in 2008. Around this time Aidan was cast in the Irish television drama The Clinic and, playing the receptionist Ruair√≠ McGowan, found himself nominated for Favourite Newcomer to Irish TV in the Now TV Awards 2009.

Then, ‘without the safety net of an actual job,’ Aidan moved to London, where he soon found work playing a vampire Mitchell in what was to become the award-winning BBC drama, Being Human.
More television roles followed. He played the artist Rossetti in Desperate Romantics (his audition tape for which was filmed by his friend and fellow Being Human actor Russell Tovey) and the cad John Schofield in the critically acclaimed biopic Hattie, in which another The Hobbit actor John Bell was also cast.

Aidan and his LEGO figure Photo Credit: Nicoletta Steiger
Aidan says of working on The Hobbit, ‘It was amazing, being flown out to the other side of the world, being part of the Peter Jackson experience. As Kili I’ve got my own Lego figure and I’m on a caramel latte cup in Germany. How did that happen?’
In 2014, the public voted Aidan best male newcomer in the Jameson Empire awards. While the category of newcomer may seem slightly incongruous, there’s no doubting his delight at winning and being able to share the evening with fellow The Hobbit actors Richard Armitage, Adam Brown, James Nesbitt and Stephen Fry. Commenting on his win Aidan blushed, ‘I had no idea I had this kind of support. It’s deeply humbling.’

In his free time Aidan loves playing pool and says he's 'completely obsessed' with it. He's even built a pool hall at his parent's home which he says is 'a proper man-cave'. He also plays tennis, squash and badminton but, although he learned to ride for The Hobbit, is unlikely to take up horse riding just yet saying, 'I don't know if they'll let me. If I injure myself on the job I'm fine but in my own personal time, I'll be killed! I'd never get away with it!'

On this his birthday we know that Poldark producers Mammoth Screen, along with with Aidan Turner Forever, are throwing him a surprise party on the Poldark set, so we hope he has a lot of fun. Here’s wishing Aidan a fabulous birthday from Poldarked.

With thanks to BBC News, Article Magazine, Irish Weekend and Gaiety School of Acting.

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