Spotlight on.... Ewen Macintosh

Welcome to the latest of our exclusive weekly blogs, designed to offer you some fascinating and unique insights into the extraordinary careers of our ever-growing roster of talented film & TV folk.

This time, we're extremely proud to give deserving focus on Ewen who, in a number of memorable roles, has become a familiar and welcome face in households across the land.

From The Office to The Lobster, Scene Stealer Ewen's appearances in the BAFTA-winning TV comedy and subsequent collaboration with the Oscar-nominated director of The Favourite have the appearance of a smartly-manoeuvred ascent through the ranks of the acting establishment. It was therefore surprising to learn in conversation this week, that the man best-known for managing to deadpan opposite Ricky Gervais and Martin Freeman largely chalks up his biggest breaks to date to his being at the right place at the right time. Aside from a memorable turn as Marjorie Dawes' Slimmer of the Year in Little Britain, Ewen believes his newcomer status at the time helped get him cast as Wernhamm Hogg's Keith Bishop, as the show's creators wanted unknown actors in order to help its documentary conceit feel more convincing.

In a subtle way, The Office creators Gervais & Stephen Merchant began to develop back-stories for the support characters through the series to add subtext, deciding that Ewen's Peak Practice and scotch egg fan was, like David Brent himself, once intent on becoming a musician. This led them to the conclusion that Keith would DJ in his spare time, and why he can be seen spinning the decks at the work quiz night. Once the episode aired, in a brilliant twist of life imitating art, Ewen then began to get booked to DJ at events. It's become a skill he loves and continues to this day as an additional side career, but is always bemused why he's regularly requested to perform dressed as Ali G, given his famous sporting of the costume was in fact from the Comic Relief Day episode of the show.

With his newfound status as a fan-favourite character (who reportedly include The Simpsons creator Matt Groening amongst their number), Ewen gamely played on this by making a terrific pair of cameo appearances, both as himself in Gervais' acclaimed series Life's Too Short, and as a disinterested journalist in Two Door Cinema Club's cool black & white video for their single Changing of the Seasons. He would later learn it was his role in the latter, which he did for a bit of fun, that got him cast in Yorgos Lanthimos' decidedly offbeat, dark comedy feature film The Lobster.

One day, Ewen received a call from his acting agent to inform him that the renowned and stylish Greek filmmaker, who would go on to direct Olivia Coleman's Oscar-winning performance, would like him to head to Ireland for a small role in his latest film opposite Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz. Without being asked to audition, and wondering if there had been some kind of mistake, he took a chance, duly packed his bags and booked himself into the very hotel in County Kerry seen in the film, where the cast & crew also resided during the production. It was there on the evening before his scene was scheduled to be shot that he heard the director rarely likes to rehearse his actors before they appear in front of the cameras. The very next morning he learnt, thankfully, there had been no mistake and delivered his scene. His role as the trainee waiter at the shooting range is brief but, as with previous appearances, ever-memorable. It was only sometime later when chatting to a mutual editor friend he heard Yorgos had watched his friend editing the Two Door promo and enquired who played the journalist, noting he would be sure to get the actor in his next film.

An actor's opportunities may be, to a point, about being at the right place at the right time, but in that place and time it works on your side to have Ewen's sense of comic timing and willing attitude to take a crack see what happens.

As well as being available through Scene Stealers for appearances at Comic Cons and other public events, Ewen can be booked to DJ through and for personal video & voice recording messages, which he will happily record in-character on request.

Stay tuned next week for our next Spotlight On... feature!

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