Profile: Martin Compston
8 May 1984, Greenock, Scotland
The son of a welder father and office manager mother, aged 16, Compston signed as a professional footballer with his home town club Morton FC. Whilst still at school however, he had auditioned at an open casting for Ken Loach’s Sweet Sixteen and he was cast in the lead role of a youngster caught up in a criminal underworld. Compston swapped football for acting and appeared in three seasons of the Scottish television drama Monarch of the Glen. He was directed by Loach again in the portmanteau film Tickets, and he has since contributed acclaimed performances to other independent features, including Andrea Arnold’s Red Road and Dito Montiel’s A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints.
He stars in the claustrophobic new British thriller The Disappearance of Alice Creed alongside Gemma Arterton and Eddie Marsan, and he is currently filming another UK feature, the prison drama Ghost.
On playing Danny in The Disappearance of Alice Creed
‘Danny is like the femme fatale of the piece. He’s very manipulative, but he doesn’t think things through. He lies so much that he himself doesn’t know what the truth is. He lives on his feet. It’s a really exciting part to play as an actor – you almost don’t know yourself what you are going to do.’
On acting with Gemma Arterton
‘She had some really hard stuff to do in this film. She was really brave, especially considering she had only met Eddie and myself a week before shooting. Between some of the takes, she could have been really distraught, but she was laughing and putting on a brave face. She made it easy for us to do what we had to do.’
On nude scenes
‘I’m not that fazed by doing a nude scene on film. I’ve just done a shower scene with five other guys for Ghost. For the first 20 seconds it’s awkward. After that, who cares? As long as the set is warm.’
On playing football
‘It’s really hard finding a regular game, because I move around so much with work. I have played charity games at Wembley and at Stamford Bridge. I’d never have got the chance to play at those venues if I’d stayed as a professional footballer at Morton.’
Whilst shooting Neil Marshall’s Doomsday in South Africa, Compston took the opportunity to go cage-diving with great white sharks.
The Disappearance of Alice Creed is on selected release from Fri 30 Apr. See review.