Peter Mullan plays
The Great Wizard Michael Scot
Peter Mullan plays The Great Scottish Wizard Michael
Scot and according to the award-winning actor and director, he has the
easiest job of all the actors in the series.
"I just come in every so often, wave a wand, zap
people and proclaim doom and gloom unless Marnie finds this damn book!"
Mullan, 44, who co-starred with Kevin Spacey in the
2002 film Ordinary Decent Criminal, is one of Scotland's most prolific
actors and directors.
He has written and directed two award-winning films,
Orphans and The Magdelene Sisters and, in 1998, won the best leading
actor gong at the Cannes Film Festival for My Name Is Joe.
With an extensive career in both acting and directing,
Peter can't help but notice the potential he sees in young Vivien who
plays Marnie McBride.
"It's Vivien who is holding the whole project together.
She reminds me of Ewan MacGregor in the film Young Adam on which we
"He was in almost every scene and had to really
work to keep his stamina up. It's incredible a 13-year-old can manage
to do the same thing."
Peter continues: "She's a stunning young actress,
a young Jodie Foster."
According to Peter, playing Michael Scot has been a
lot more fun than directing his own work, which, he claims is a "24/7
"This has been great fun because I travel through from Glasgow
on the train, turn up for work and let someone else worry.
"If the production falls behind it's not my problem,
if it rains then I get the afternoon off and they have a nervous breakdown!"
Peter's character, Michael Scot, is based on a real-life
scholar, scientist, astrologer and alchemist who lived in the Scottish
Borders from around 1175 to 1230 and was known as the Wizard of the
In the story, we meet him disguised as the proprietor
of a dusty old antiquarian bookshop into which Marnie McBride and her
dad stumble at 11.00am on the day of her 11th birthday.
It is 11 centuries on from Scot's time as an alchemist
in his prime and, with his great powers on the wane, he is desperate
to find his successor and recover his Lost Book of Forbidden Knowledge.
The story of Shoebox Zoo appealed to Peter, he says,
because there is no clear division between hero and villain.
"From an adult and a kid's point of view, the villains
have their good points and the goodies are flawed," he says.
"This makes it interesting dramatically; I think
it is important to show kids the shades of grey between what constitutes
good and evil."
Father-of-three Peter admits he is looking forward to
appearing in something his children can appreciate.
"My youngest Katrin is just two but my eldest Mairi
will be 14 when it comes out and Paddy, my son will be seven.
"The fact their dad is in it might curtail their
enjoyment and shatter the illusion though, because they know their old
man ain't no wizard... that's for sure."