Profile: Ian Hart
Ian Hart’s role as Professor Quirninus Quirrell in the ongoing Harry Potter saga is only a footnote in a role-call of strong supporting performances. Hart started out with a Play for Today appearance in 1982, followed by Ken Loach’s Land and Freedom, and playing John Lennon in both The Hours and Times and Backbeat. He’s balanced regular TV work with blockbusters like Tony Scott’s Enemy of the State. Hart’s latest, A Boy Called Dad provides him with a welcome return to leading man status.
How does his latest venture relate to Hart’s early television work?
‘Looking back on my first roles back in the day of the Play for Today, it seems about as long ago as the Isle of Man TT race of 1947. This felt like a return to that kind of subject; what the kid is going through is a very scary real-life situation, it’s a question of responsibility, and my character’s journey is an echo of what the boy is going through.’
What did Hart feel he could bring to this role as a parent?
‘I have got my own kids, so the idea of playing a character who hasn’t seen his son since he was four was a powerful one for me. The kid in this story mythologises his father, he projects what he wants his dad to be like, but when I turn up, I’m not what he expects. It’s easy to blame parents for things, but when you get older, you see it’s never as simple as that.’
Has Hart ever thought of working behind the camera?
‘I’d love to direct, but I can’t get anyone to give me money, and I can’t get on the list of prescribed writers you need to be on. I’d like to work with actors the way Ken Loach does. I love films by Cassavetes like Shadows. Now, when I see myself on screen, I’m thinking ‘why didn’t they use that take?’ I probably should have gone down the directing route 20 years ago.’
A Boy Called Dad is on general release from Fri 30 April. See review.