“That was fun,” Dickie says. “It’s the same characters, but with different relationships and a different set of circumstances. That really interested me, because it meant your character is making different choices. The film’s a very black comedy, and it meant that you’d be p****** yourself laughing at the same time something awful was happening. But I like having the rug pulled from under me like that, thinking things are going one way, then they end up going somewhere completely different.”
Also of note, the remainder of the piece contains her thoughts on the unfortunate labels often slapped on Scottish film ("I think it’s good to shake it up in front of people. I don’t understand why people always go on about all this grim stuff in Scotland. If you look at the stuff coming out of eastern Europe, it makes us look like Cinderella.”) There are also mentions of Colm McCarthy's Outcast starring Kate and James Cosmo and James Nesbitt, which was filmed (and covered here) last summer in Edinburgh as follows:
Dickie identifies a problem that film-makers including Arnold, McKinnon and Glenaan, plus others such as Lynne Ramsay, have all had to face. Schooled in a European arthouse tradition, at home they’re too easily dismissed as kitchen-sink sensationalists romanticising the local underclass. Even Outcast, the horror film that Dickie has just made alongside James Nesbitt, looks set to face such charges. Ostensibly a supernatural thriller, Dickie plays one of the Syph people, a type of Irish fairy isolated from their homeland. “We look human,” she says, “but we’re not.”
If this sounds like a metaphysical leap away from Dickie’s other work, think again. Outcast, as she describes it, is a modern urban horror, filmed on location in Edinburgh’s Sighthill district, and which is “Quite dark. Quite violent. Quite brutal, really.”
Not that Dickie is ever likely to see it when it’s released. As with most things, she’s scared of horror films, and can’t even watch them on TV. She’s more likely to be able to cope with The Pillars of the Earth, a major mini-series based on a Ken Follett novel and co-executive produced by Ridley and Tony Scott, which Dickie appears in two episodes of. Set in the 12th century, its epic tale of war, politics and religious strife sounds a long way from Red Road. Dickie is the first to admit, however, that it was the global exposure she received via Arnold’s film that opened the door to this other realm of city-size sets in Budapest and casts of thousands led by Ian McShane.
“I was terrified,” she says. “I’m used to doing small things, and suddenly I’m doing this. I die about 15 minutes in, but that sets off a lot of different things. But it was terrifying. Just being away from home. I’m a real home body and I hate change.”
Where, though, does all this fear come from? “I don’t know,” she admits. “I’ve thought about it a lot, but I’m quite shy, and I probably hide behind my characters a lot. I can do anything when I’m playing a character. I’ve always found it easier doing things when I’m not being myself. I can put on a good show of being brave, but inside is something else.”