Gary Lewis (actor)
30 November 1957
Easterhouse, Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Gary Stevenson (born 30 November 1957), better known as Gary Lewis, is a Scottish actor. He has had roles in films such as Billy Elliot, Joyeux Noël, Gangs of New York, Eragon, and Three and Out, as well as major roles in the television docudrama Supervolcano and the Starz series Outlander.
Gary Lewis was born Gary Stevenson on 30 November 1957 in Easterhouse, Glasgow. The middle of three children, his father was a coppersmith whilst his mother worked in a local biscuit factory. After leaving school, he worked a series of jobs including as a street sweeper and in a library. He completed a social science degree at Glasgow College of Technology (now Glasgow Caledonian University), graduating with honours in 1983. Encouraged by his high school English teacher, Lewis read voraciously and eventually decided to pursue a career as an actor.
In 1979, Lewis starred in writer Freddy Anderson's Fringe First Award-winning play Krassivy, which was based upon the life of Socialist school teacher John Maclean. Although he had pursued amateur theatrics, Lewis was 32 when he committed to acting, joining Robert Carlyle's newly formed Raindog Theatre. During his time with Raindog, he performed in plays such as One Flew Over the Cockoo's Nest, Ecstasy, and Wasted. He also worked with the 7:84 Theatre Company on The Grapes of Wrath, The Arches Theatre Company's production of Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party, and starred in One Two Hey by Glaswegian author James Kelman.
1993–2004: Film work
In 1993, with the support of his friend actor-director Peter Mullan, Lewis was cast in the short film Close. After working together on the short, both actors appeared in Danny Boyle's 1994 thriller Shallow Grave, alongside Ewan McGregor and Christopher Eccleston. Lewis went on to feature in Mullan's subsequent shorts Good Day for the Bad Guys (1995) and the award-winning Fridge (1996).
Lewis joined director Kenneth Loach's unofficial stock company lending support to his two mentors in separate films: with Robert Carlyle, he co-starred in Carla's Song (1996), while he played a recovering alcoholic alongside Mullan in My Name Is Joe (1998). Between the two films, Lewis was featured in Sigma Films' short California Sunshine (1997) before again working with Mullan, who cast Lewis as over-righteous elder sibling Thomas in Orphans (1998), an examination of a dysfunctional family. That same year he was featured in director Albert Pyun's independent film Postmortem, director Sean McGuire's short film The Good Son, director Kenny Glenaan's short The Whirlpool, short film The Lucky Suit opposite Robert Carlyle, and screenwriter Barry Gornell's short film Sonny's Pride.
In 1999, Lewis starred in Ayub Kham Din's dramatic comedy East is East, and Bill Forsyth's comedy Gregory's Two Girls. He went on to star with Max Beesley in The Match (1999) before landing his international breakthrough in Billy Elliot (2000). Lewis' portrayal of a grief-stricken father, coping with the 1984-85 miner's strike and raising a son who wants to become a ballet dancer earned him a BAFTA nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. In 2000, Lewis starred in May Miles Thomas' drama One Life Stand, which premiered at the Edinburgh Film Festival, and featured Michael Caine as a boxing coach who was possibly involved in a murder in Shiner, which screened at the San Sebastian Film Festival. Lewis finished the year with several short films including What Where, a 12-minute short with Sean McGinley based upon Samuel Beckett's play of the same name, director David Mackenzie's Marcie's Dowry, The Elevator alongside Ashley Walters, Long Haul alongside Simone Lahbib, Clean with actor Stephen McCole, and director David McKay's Caesar. He appeared in an additional short film in 2001, Rob of the Rovers, which followed a day in the life of gym teacher Rob Meadows.
Lewis worked with director Giles MacKinnon twice in 2002. Revenge thriller The Escapist, which featured Lewis in the role of Ron, was followed by a turn as Detective Inspector French in the crime drama Pure. He went to Rome's Cinecittà Studios to join the ensemble cast of Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York, an epic tale of gang warfare among the lower classes in 1860s New York City. Lewis portrayed McGloin, an Irish-American meant to embody the shift in mid-nineteenth century attitudes towards other immigrants.
2003 was another strong year with Lewis playing different roles. The first was Posh Pictures' The Fall of Shug McCracken, which tackled the subject of employee theft and labour unions. Next was Danish director Soren Kragh-Jacobsen's film Skagerrak, a romantic drama set in Scotland, which saw Lewis in a supporting role as a local Glaswegian. The last, a film noir drama from director and writer May Miles Thomas titled Solid Air, which is about the relationship between a sickly father (Maurice Roeves) and his compulsive gambler son (Brian McCardie).
Working with director Kenneth Loach again, Lewis starred in the 2004 love story Ae Fond Kiss..., which takes its name from a Robert Burns poem. That same year, he had a role in director Friðrik Þór Friðriksson's drama Niceland (Population 1.000.002) alongside Peter Capaldi and Kerry Fox. His next project was Stephen Whittaker's The Rocket Post. Filmed on the island of Taransay, Scotland, the film explores a German scientist's idea to deliver mail via rockets in the late 1930s. Director Peter Timm's film My Brother Is a Dog, features Lewis as the Antiquitätenhändler in a film about a young girl wishing for a dog. Lewis ended the year with two films about the post 9/11 tension between the Western and Arab worlds. First was a supporting role in writer Simon Beaufoy's Yasmin, set in Northern England before and after the 9/11 attacks. Second was Sally Potter's fourth feature film Yes, which views the post-traumatic rift through the lens of two lovers caught in the divide.
In 2005, Lewis starred in Christian Carion's international production of the film Joyeux Noël. Set in WWI, the film explores the "Christmas Truce" of 1914 between the armies of three countries. In a departure from previous films, Lewis was next featured in director Danny Cannon's football film Goal! The Dream Begins, which focuses on a Mexican football player trying out for the Newcastle United Football Club. Clive Gordon's 2006 film Cargo, a psychological thriller, featured Lewis opposite Daniel Bruhl and Peter Mullan. As the skipper of a bankrupt Scottish fishing trawler in True North, Lewis and actor Martin Compston tackle the subject of migrant smuggling and the effects it has on those making the journey. At the end of 2005, Lewis starred as Hrothgar in 20th Century Fox's live action adaptation of Christopher Paolini's hit fantasy trilogy Eragon.
The 2008 British black comedy Three and Out (released as A Deal Is A Deal in Australia), from director Johnathan Gershfield, saw Lewis in the supporting role of Callaghan. The film focuses on a train conductor who tries to use a little known three strikes rule of the London train service to force an early retirement and payout for himself. Screened at the Edinburgh Film Festival, Lewis' next film was director Robert Rae's debut film Trouble Sleeping, which tells the story of a Palestinian refugee's struggles in the UK. Psychological thriller Dorothy Mills, directed by Agnes Merlet, featured Lewis as the brainwashing pastor of a small community on a bleak Irish island. His last film of 2008 was Mark Aldridge's drama Blessed, alongside James Nesbitt and Lil Woods.
Reprising the role of Mal Braithwaite, Lewis began 2009 with the third instalment of Andrew Morahan's football series entitled Goal! III: Taking On the World. Wasted, his next film from filmmakers Caroline Paterson and Stuart Davids, treated the subject of homelessness in Glasgow, Scotland. From there he was cast in the Danish film Valhalla Rising, alongside Mads Mikkelson, and director Christian Carion's Cold War thriller Farewell (L'Affaire Farewell). Lewis returned to short films in 2010 with director Tom Shrapnel's Eat Me, Tribeca Film Festival Judge's Award nominee The Terms, Robert James Armstrong's Little Green Bag, and Vocation opposite James Chalmers. He was also featured in Peter Mullan's gang drama Neds.
2011 showcased Lewis in two additional short films. The first, from director and writer Raisah Ahmed, titled Last Order, featured Lewis alongside Leann O'Kasi and David Elliot. The second was filmmaker Gregor Johnstone's comedy Rule of Thumb, which saw Lewis as the school janitor during a disastrous standoff. In 2012, Lewis appeared in two feature films. The Strange Case of Wilhelm Reich, which explored psychiatrist Wilhem Reich's career and subsequent investigation by the FDA and other government agencies. He played Dr. Donald Cameron, who was President of the American, Canadian and World Psychiatric Associations. When the Lights Went Out starred Lewis as Father Clifford, a local priest who performs an exorcism on a house plagued by a poltergeist. The film is based on the real-life experiences of director Pat Holden's mother and aunt in 1970s West Yorkshire. Lewis' next role was Andrew Griffin's short film The Gift (2012), which was screened at the New York International Independent Film Festival in 2013.
Thirteen years after first working with May Thomas Miles in One Life Stand, Lewis reunited with the filmmaker in 2013 for the film version of her BAFTA winning interactive website The Devil's Plantation. Both the website and film are based on archaeologist Harry Bell's belief that Glasgow, Scotland was laid out based upon a secret, hidden design he called the Secret Geometry. Lewis starred as Bell, opposite Kate Dickie’s psychiatric patient Mary Ross, as their lives intertwine. He then appeared in Scottish romantic comedy Not Another Happy Ending as Benny Lockhart opposite Karen Gillan and fellow Outlander alumni Stanley Weber. Director Alberto Arvelo's The Liberator, the story of Venezuelan freedom fighter Simón Bolívar, featured Lewis as Colonel Rooke of the Irish Brigade while director John S. Baird's psychological police drama Filth, saw Lewis guest star as Gus. Later that year, Lewis featured in Luca Barbareschi's The Mercury Factor, which takes on the issue of adulterated food. Returning to independent films at the end of 2013, Lewis starred alongside Teresina Moscatiello in the German production Waiting and in Marcus McPeake's short film For Gracie.
First time British director Daniel Wolfe's thriller Catch Me Daddy (2014), which screened at the Director's Fortnight strand and focused on a teenager and her boyfriend who flee from her overbearing father, portrays Lewis as hired thug Tony, who is sent to retrieve the runaways. In 2015, Lewis appeared in short films, working twice with director Gordon Napier. The first film was the drama La Chasse, in which Lewis portrayed the protagonist's deceased father through a voice over. Second was the 25-minute short Tide, which saw Lewis star as lobster fisherman Alasdaire as he watches the life he knew erode into modern practices. Also in 2015, Lewis in featured in Joshua J. Krull's German language short film The Heavy Load.
In 2018, Lewis returned to feature films with director Marcus H. Rosenmüller's football flick The Keeper. The film is a story of German goalkeeper Bert Trautmann, who helped Manchester City win the FA Cup final in 1956. He also featured opposite Gerard Butler and Peter Mullan in Kristoffer Nyholm's 1930s era thriller, The Vanishing.
Lewis' first professional role, in 1993, was in BBC's anthology series Screen One, in a feature-length episode entitled Down Among the Big Boys. The standalone film, also starring Douglas Henshall and Billy Connolly, focuses on the marriage of a policeman's son to a criminals daughter. His next project was a 1995 made-for-TV movie from writer/director David Kane. Ruffian Hearts is a romantic comedy set in a Glasgow tenement where Lewis' character resided. Between 1995 and 1999, Lewis appeared in several episodes of series such as Doctor Finlay, Hamish MacBeth opposite Robert Carlyle, BBC medical drama Cardiac Arrest, BBC anthology Screen Two's feature length Flowers of the Forest, school drama Hope and Glory, and BBC Scotland's medical drama Life Support. During that time, he also appeared in director Mark Haber's made-for-TV film The Princess Stallion and BAFTA winning television film Coming Soon.
In 2002, Lewis starred in CBC's award-winning TV film The Many Trials of One Jane Doe, which is based on a true story of a Toronto woman who challenged the police and their investigation after being raped, through a lengthy court battle. 2003 saw Lewis return to the BBC for director Antonia Bird's compelling TV film Rehab, a semi-improvised film about the rehabilitation of people addicted to drugs.
That same year he featured in scriptwriter Andrew Davies' made for TV historical drama Warrior Queen, which detailed the birth of Great Britain. His next project, Gunpowder, Treason and Plot (2004), was a four part mini-series for the BBC on the lives of Mary Queen of Scots and her son James VI of Scotland/James I of England. Lewis portrayed historical figure John Knox, a prominent leader of the Scottish Reformation who supervised the preparation of the Reformed Church of Scotland's constitution and liturgy.
The BBC and The Discovery Channel partnered in 2005 to produce a made-for-TV film, Supervolcano, that proposed a scenario where the magma chamber beneath Yellowstone National Park erupted. Filmed in Vancouver and Yellowstone, it starred Lewis alongside Michael Riley and Shaun Johnston. Between 2006 and 2008, Lewis appeared in a wide range episodic television programs, including ITV's crime thriller Rebus, Prime Suspect 7: The Final Act alongside Helen Mirren, ITV's showcase series Comedy Lab, the second of two episodes he appeared in (the first was in 1999), Channel 4's mini series City of Vice, Wired alongside Jodie Whittaker, crime drama Taggart the second of two episodes he appeared in (the first was in 1996), and BBC comedy Rab C. Nesbitt.
In 2010 Lewis portrayed Adam Ingram in the Channel 4 drama Mo, a biopic of former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Mo Mowlam, a role that saw him nominated for a BAFTA Television Award in the category of Best Supporting Actor. He went on to appear alongside actor Kevin McKidd in BBC Scotland's drama One Night in Emergency, which was based upon Homer's The Odyssey and written by Gregory Burke, as well as the BBC's adaptation of RAF fighter pilot Geoffrey Wellum's WWII autobiography First Light. Lewis rounded out the year by featuring in series seven of the BBC's long-running crime drama New Tricks.
Lewis appeared in several television miniseries in 2011. The first was episode five of the BBC's Outcasts, which saw Lewis portraying Patrick Baxter. Next was an episode of the BBC drama The Body Farm where he portrayed Jimmy West, butler to an elderly man accused of murder. Finally, Lewis appeared in the BBC mini-series Young James Herriot, which focused on the All Creatures Great and Small author's time as a student at Glasgow Veterinary College, in the role of Professor Quinton Gunnel. He also featured in several TV series including the enigmatic wizard Alator in two episodes of the BBC fantasy drama Merlin, Robert Winter in ITV's crime drama Vera, and Detective Novakowski in Canada's true crime drama Dual Suspects.
In 2012 Lewis starred in the two-part television miniseries L'Olimpiade Nascosta, on Italy's Rai 1, which tells the story of symbolic Olympic Games held by the prisoners and their captors while in Polish Nazi concentration camps. He went on to feature in a season two episode of the BAFTA winning show Case Histories, alongside Jason Isaacs.
2014 saw Lewis appear as DS MacNeil in the Silent Witness two-part episode "In A Lonely Place". This was the second of two guest starring roles on the hit series, the first was as Edwin Stickley in a 2008 two-part episode entitled "Terror". He next appeared in episode six of Sky One's mini-series The Smoke, which chronicled the lives of a group of London firefighters, and the BAFTA winning TV film Glasgow Girls, which featured Lewis as a teacher supporting his pupils in their fight to save their classmate from deportation. From 2014 to 2016, Lewis appeared in the recurring role of Colum MacKenzie, Laird of the MacKenzie clan, on Starz' time travel drama Outlander, based upon best-selling author Diana Gabaldon's novels of the same name.
Death in Paradise, BBC's lighthearted police drama set on an island in the Caribbean, featured Lewis in the guest starring role of Bill Williams early in 2015. Later that year he starred as Mike McAvett in BBC Two's mini-series Stonemouth, an adaptation of Scottish author Iain Banks' thriller of the same name. In BBC One's four-part drama One of Us (aka Retribution), a triple homicide murder mystery, Lewis featured as farm manager Alistair. From there he starred in ITV's British crime drama The Level, as father of protagonist Nancy Devlin (Karla Crome). Lewis ended 2016 by once again working with costar Douglas Henshall in ITV's three-part mini-series In Plain Sight, which was based on the true story of Lanarkarshire Detective William Muncie's quest to bring serial rapist and murderer Peter Manuel to justice in the 1950s.
Lewis signed on to co-star opposite Catherine Walker and Søren Malling in MTG Studio's drama Rig 45, set during the investigation of a fatal accident on a North Sea oil rig, in early 2018. He next appeared in season three of Netflix's Canadian fur trade drama Frontier, alongside Jason Mamoa and Zoe Boyle. During the first quarter of 2019, Lewis guest starred in series finale of BBC Scotland's hit comedy Still Game, which focused on two Glaswegians and their reactions to the world.
In 2020 Gary appeared in episode 2 of It's a Sin, as the father of an AIDS victim called Gloria.
|1993||Screen One||Jacketless||BBC||Episode: "Down Among the Big Boys"|
|1995||Ruffian Hearts||Brendan||BBC Two||Television film|
|Doctor Finlay||Philip Calder||STV (TV channel)||Episode: "No Time For Heroes"|
|1996||Hamish MacBeth||Dave the House-Seller||BBC Scotland||Episode: "Isobel Pulls It Off"|
|Cardiac Arrest||Mike Lucas||BBC Scotland||Episode: "The Oedipus Effect"|
|Screen Two||George||BBC||Episode: "Flowers in the Forest"|
|Taggart||Price's Lawyer||STV||Episode: "Devil's Advocate Part 1"|
|1997||The Princess Stallion||Rab||CBC||Television film|
|1999||Coming Soon||Union Rep||Channel 4||Television film|
|Hope and Glory||Malcolm Bird||BBC||1 episode|
|Life Support||Greg Malloy||BBC Scotland||1 episode|
|Comedy Lab||Gregor Munroe||ITV||Episode: "Heart and Sole"|
|2002||The Many Trials of One Jane Doe||Jeremy Sharp||CBC||Television film|
|Warrior Queen||Magior the Shaman||ITV||Television film|
|2004||Gunpowder, Treason and Plot||John Knox||BBC||Miniseries|
|2005||Supervolcano||Jock Galvin||BBC One / Discovery Channel||Television film|
|2006||Rebus||Gregor Jack||ITV||Episode: "Strip Jack"|
|Prime Suspect 7: The Final Act||Tony Sturdy||ITV Granada||Miniseries|
|2007||Comedy Lab||Alec||ITV||Episode: "The Smallest Game in Town"|
|2008||City of Vice||Robert Anderson||Channel 4||Miniseries, 1 episode|
|Wired||Lewis Stone||ITV||Miniseries, 1 episode|
|Taggart||Donald Booth||STV||Episode: "Homesick"|
|Rab C. Nesbitt||Frank Owen||BBC||Episode: "Clean"|
|Silent Witness||Edwin Stickley||BBC||Episode: "Terror"|
|2010||Mo||Adam Ingram||Channel 4||Television film|
|One Night in Emergency||Patient||BBC Scotland||Television film|
|First Light||Mac||BBC||Television film|
|New Tricks||Alex Close||BBC||Episode: "Dark Chocolate"|
|2011||Outcasts||Pak||BBC||Miniseries, 1 episode|
|Vera||Robert Winter||ITV||Episode: "Telling Tales"|
|Dual Suspects||Detective Novakowski||CBC||Episode: "Body in the Orchard"|
|The Body Farm||Jimmy West||BBC||Miniseries, 1 episode|
|Young James Herriot||Professor Quentin Gunnell||BBC||Miniseries|
|2012||L'olimpiade nascosta||Alex||Rai 1||Television film|
|2013||Case Histories||Barry||BBC||Episode: "Started Early, Took My Dog"|
|2014||Silent Witness||DS MacNeil||BBC||Episode: "In A Lonely Place (Part 1 & 2)"|
|The Smoke||Hamish||Sky One||Miniseries, 1 episode|
|Glasgow Girls||Euan Girvan||BBC||Television film|
|2014 to 2015||Outlander||Colum MacKenzie||Starz||Recurring role, 7 episodes|
|2015||Death in Paradise||Bill Williams||BBC||Episode: "She Was Murdered Twice"|
|Stonemouth||Mike MacAvett||BBC Two||Miniseries|
|2016||One of Us (aka Retribution)||Alastair||ITV||Miniseries|
|The Level||Gil Devlin||ITV||6 episodes|
|In Plain Sight||William Watt||ITV||Miniseries, 1 episode|
|2018||Rig 45||Douglas||Viaplay||6 episodes|
|Frontier||Edward Emberly||Netflix||3 episodes|
|2019||Still Game||Rab||BBC Scotland||1 episode|
|His Dark Materials||Thorold||BBC One / HBO||3 episodes|
|2021||It's A Sin||Duncan Finch||Channel 4||1 episode|
|1993||Close||Fumigation Man||Independent short film|
|1994||Shallow Grave||Male Visitor|
|1995||Good Day for the Bad Guys||Jockie||Short film|
|1997||California Sunshine||Taylor||Short film|
|1998||My Name is Joe||Shanks|
|1998||The Good Son||Gabriel Doyle||Short film|
|1998||Sonny's Pride||Alec||Short film|
|1999||East is East||Mark|
|1999||The Match||Dead Eye|
|1999||Gregory's Two Girls||Mr. McCane|
|2000||Billy Elliot||Jackie Elliot|
|2000||One Life Stand||Jackie Clarke||Screened at the Edinburgh Film Festival|
|2000||Marcie's Dowry||Short film|
|2000||What Where||Bom / Bim / Bem||Short film|
|2000||The Elevator||Business Man||Short film|
|2000||Long Haul||Short film|
|2002||Pure||Detective Inspector French|
|2002||Gangs of New York||McGloin|
|2003||The Fall of Shug McCracken||Crawford|
|2003||Solid Air||John Doran|
|2004||Ae Fond Kiss...||Danny|
|2004||Niceland (Population. 1.000.002)||Max|
|2004||The Rocket Post||Jimmy Roach|
|2004||My Brother Is A Dog||Antiquitätenhändler|
|2005||Joyeux Noel||le pasteur Palmer|
|2005||Goal! The Dream Begins||Mal Braithwaite|
|2005||Rob of the Rovers||Rob Meadows||Short film|
|2006||True North||The Skipper|
|2008||Three and Out (aka A Deal Is A Deal)||Callaghan|
|2008||Trouble Sleeping||Detective||Screened at the Edinburgh Film Festival|
|2008||Dorothy Mills||Pastor Ross|
|2009||Goal! III: Taking On the World||Mal Braithwaite|
|2009||Valhalla Rising||Kare - Christian Viking|
|2009||Eat Me||(Voice Over)||Short film|
|2009||The Terms||Father||Short film|
|2010||Little Green Bag||Dad||Short film|
|2010||Vocation||Father Sweeney||Short film|
|2011||Last Order||Gaz||Short film|
|2011||Rule of Thumb||The Janitor||Short film|
|2012||The Strange Case of Wilhelm Reich||Dr. Cameron|
|2012||When the Lights Went Out||Father Clifton|
|2012||The Gift||Policeman||Short film|
|2013||The Devil's Plantation||Harry Bell|
|2013||Not Another Happy Ending||Benny Lockhart (Dad)|
|2013||The Liberator||James Rooke|
|2013||The Mercury Conspiracy||Gregory Poulson|
|2013||For Gracie||Trevor||Short film|
|2014||Catch Me Daddy||Tony|
|2015||La Chasse||Father (Voice Over)||Short film|
|2015||The Heavy Load||Actor||Short film|
|2015||Tide||Alasdair MacInnes||Short film|
|2018||The Keeper||Jock Thompson|
Awards and nominations
|1998||Gijon International Film Festival||Best Actor||Orphans||Won|
|2001||BAFTA Movie Award||Best Performance By An Actor in a Supporting Role||Billy Elliot||Nominated|
|2001||London Critics Circle Film Awards||British Actor of the Year||Billy Elliot||Nominated|
|2001||Flaiano Film Festival||Best Actor||Billy Elliot||Won|
|2001||Screen Actors Guild Awards||Ensemble Film Cast||Billy Elliot||Nominated|
|2002||Awards Circuit Community Awards||Best Cast Ensemble||Gangs of New York||Nominated|
|2010||BAFTA TV Award||Best Supporting Actor||Mo||Nominated|
|2017||Satellite Awards||Best Ensemble (Television)||Outlander||Won|
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