Interview with Actor Stephen Billington

Edinburgh International Film Festival and 20th Century Fox held a 20th anniversary commemorative screening for Braveheart. It was not only to celebrate the twenty years since production began on the film but the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn as well.

Date: Tuesday 24th June 2014

Venue: Dominion Cinema

Attended by: Brian Cox, Peter Mullan, James Robinson, Gerda Stevenson, Andrew Weir, David McKay, John Murtagh, Stephen Billington, Mhairi Calvey and David O’Hara.

As well as being able to attend this special screening, we had the chance to interview Stephen Billington who portrayed the character of Phillip in Braveheart.

It’s been twenty years since filming began on Braveheart, do you even remember your first day on Braveheart?

I do, I was in a 4 x 4 going to a muddy field, just outside Dublin. We were bouncing over ruts and we stopped in this field. This other 4 x 4 came across the bumps and Mel Gibson leapt out, dressed like these fellas with blue paint on his face. He’s going ‘hey Stephen, thanks for joining us.’ So that was my first day.

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Is tonight the first night in a long time that you have seen many of the cast members that you worked with on Braveheart?

Well to be honest, I haven’t seen any of them yet because i was one of the evil English. So i only worked with the other evil English. I didn’t actually get to work with any of them. I’ve seen a few of them about but I don’t actually know them.

Did you think that when you worked on Braveheart, twenty years down the line that it would still have such an impact?

I don’t think anyone could have imagined that. I mean the fact that it won 5 Oscars and has become such a classic of it’s type. It’s almost like a traditional Hollywood movie; a big epic with masses of extras and big epic landscapes etc. They just don’t make films like that anymore.

Did all the props, costumes and make up help when it came to acting out your scenes?

Of course, the moment you put it on, well i was wearing chainmail chaps and things like that. It certainly does suggest…

(It took time to get used to?)

Yeah, i mean walking for example it kinda leads you in a certain direction. (Laughs).

You can check out more photos from the red carpet on our Flickr.

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