Martin Compston talks about taking dark turn in Piggy

Scottish actor Martin Compston takes the lead role in Piggy as a mild-mannered young man who is turned towards a path of vengeance when his brother is murdered, and he’s talked to STV about how he became involved in the gritty film.

Out in cinemas this weekend, in Piggy Greenock-born Martin plays Joe, a mild mannered young man is bored by his life.

When his beloved brother is murdered Joe finds solace in Piggy, one of his brother's old friends. As their friendship grows Joe finds himself in an increasing dangerous and murky world of violence and revenge.

Martin told us about his character: “With Joe I thought there were things you could sympathise with, on both sides.

“At the start he’s a bit of a lost soul. He’s scared of everybody, he’s a bit paranoid, and you can sympathise with that. We’ve all been a bit overly cautious going down a dark street or something.

“It’s the society we live in at the moment, everybody’s scared of each other.

“Then by the same token we’ve all been bumped into by some d***head in a pub on a Friday or Saturday night who then gives you s***, and you’ve had to bite your lip and let it go – because that’s what good people do.

“But there’s always that little part that goes ‘Just once, I’d like to crack him right in the mouth’. There’s a reason why we don’t do that, but it’s that line of fantasy, and that’s what Joe crossed when he is pushed too far.”

Piggy is the writing and directorial debut of Kieron Hawkes, and set in London. Martin explained of doing an English accent for the movie that “when your director’s from South London and your [screen] brother’s from South London, and your main sidekick is London as well, there’s no room for error. It’s very helpful, because your ears in it all the time.”

Having shot to stardom in Sweet Sixteen and also having appeared in A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints and The Disappearance of Alice Creed, the 27-year-old is now based down south, though recently returned back to Scotland to film the highly anticipated adaptation of Irvine Welsh novel Filth.

Martin explained how he came to be involved in Piggy: “They sent the script to my agent, and I read it and really, really liked it. I thought, for a first-time, it was one of the most complete scripts that I’d read in a long time.

“The boy who’s playing my brother in it, Neil Maskell, is actually a really old friend of the director Kieron [Hawkes], he’s also a mutual friend of mine, so it was very nice going into the audition.

“We were all rooting for each other, because I knew Keiron liked some of my stuff, so we went from there.”

The actor was full of praise for the first-time director: “I really do think he has the world at his feet.”

“He’s got the right quality, which I think all good directors have, that when they cast someone – if they cast it properly – you start to know the character in some ways more than they do. Their job at times is just to guide you, and to rein you in when you go too far or you need help with something, and he was great with that.

“There were two things in the whole script that jarred with me, and on the morning of shooting those scenes – both times – he came to me first and said ‘There’s something not quite right, let’s try it like this’. We just seemed to be on the same page.”

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