Photo: Steven Cree is a massive Andy Murray fan, Twitter
As I write this, we drive through the beautiful Wyoming countryside en route to Montana; I’m on a road trip with my family. Sunsets last for hours this time of year, and we talk about all kinds of things. Apart from the occasional squabbles, it’s a wonderful experience. Windows down, my swimsuit still wet from our last stop at the Platte River, we drive through intermittent patches of sunshine and rain, which splatters pleasantly on the windshield. The kids are “plugged in” in the backseat. Our daughter is watching Brave, and she says in the loud voice of someone wearing headphones: “Steven Cree screams like a girl…”
I had a delightful chat with Steven the other day, and despite spending much of our conversation suppressing laughter so the camera would stay on him, we managed to cover some serious topics as well. An accomplished hypnotherapist once told me: “the mind works like a monkey, jumping from branch to branch;” never is this more evident than when in dialogue with Steven Cree (which I write with complete affection). I’m a Gemini, so my brain works much the same way; a conversation (or fan convention panel, or twitter exchange) with Steven is always an adventure.
One question I had going into our interview (which I didn’t have time to ask) was how are you like Ian Murray? My thinking was that Steven is not like Ian Murray, or at least that was my thinking going in. Steven describes Ian as “steady, dependable, loyal, kind hearted, and mellow.” Through my communications with Steven, I feel I’ve come away with my question answered without having asked it. Steven is like Ian Murray; I would use all of the above words to describe him. While silly, outrageous and fun, he’s also sweet, considerate, reflective and sincere.
I learned some things about Steven I hadn’t known previously. For one, Steven was in two blockbuster Disney movies (which happen to be family favorites at our house), Brave and Maleficent. In Maleficent, he plays an exhausted, overworked and bullied overseer for the iron workers, and in Brave, he is the voice of one of Merida’s suitors, Young Macintosh (the one who says, “A grand idea! Give us our own say in choosing our fate…” in the clip below).
Steven was born in Kilmarnock, UK, the son of a kitchen and bathroom fitter. Though he now lives in London with his wife, casting director Kahleen Crawford (who is also Scottish), he still enjoys visiting family and attending football (soccer) games in Kilmarnock.
Photo: Kahleen and Steven at 2016 Scotland BAFTA awards
Steven’s acting spark was ignited when he played Oliver Twist in elementary school. He would also dress up as Michael Jackson and do performances for his Mom and her friends at the tender age of eight or nine (more about that in Part 2).
When Steven was 12, he saw Jesus Christ Superstar (the film), and knew then that he wanted to act. At 15, he went to London to see Starlight Express and became set on returning to do musical theater. At 16, Steven played Riff in West Side story at school (where he first showcased his splits move). He studied theater arts at Langside college in Glasgow for one year, and then auditioned for RSAMD (now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland), after betting a classmate he could get in, which he did.
It was at RSAMD that Steven first met Sam Heughan and his “wife” Jenny (Laura Donnelly). He was also introduced to and studied the classics for the first time in drama school, having been a Jean Claude Van Damme fan ’til then. After graduating, he moved to London where he struggled to find work. He eventually moved back to Scotland and began getting theater parts, but at 24, he was still a party animal. One night he attended a wedding in Aberdeen, and on his way to work the next day, he slept through his train stop and woke up 100 miles away from his destination. The actor who replaced him in the production ended up winning a Herald award. This was a wake up call, and became a turning point for Steven.
Steven returned to London and his lucky break came when, at 27, with no musical experience, he landed the male lead role in Caberet in London’s West End. After that, the flood gates opened, and work poured in.
Steven now has a pretty impressive list of work in theater, television and film. In a recent interview, he attributed that to having three things: 1. thick skin (because there is a lot of rejection), 2. talent (which he obviously has), and 3. luck. Steven aspires to do more musicals, however, film is his passion.
Steven was cast as Ian Murray in early 2014, and had not read Outlander before that. In an early interview, he talked about taking the wooden leg home to practice walking before filming, and he said because of the leg, the role was very demanding. He had to go to physical therapy weekly during filming of Season 1, particularly to help alleviate back pain. He said that his leg fell off a lot during filming, and that Caitriona in particular found that hilarious.
Photo: Steven taking a breather during S1 filming
In this next segment, Steven talks about Ian Murray’s involvement in Season 3, his favorite scenes, David Berry, and he tells us a well kept secret about Mr. Sam Heughan…
Side note- Video editing is an art form. Take Outlander, for example: someone or more likely, many people have meticulously reviewed and cut together certain scenes, worked and reworked the angles and audio, and then added music, fade ins and outs, etc. to create what we ultimately see. When I edit my interviews, it’s a similar process, and I take pride in and enjoy sharing the ultimate product. Sometimes there are copyright flags (which I totally respect and want to work with), which require me to alter the final product. That was the case with the following segment of this interview, so I am including two versions here – one for those in the US (directly below), and one for people who are outside of the US (further below). Please enjoy from wherever you happen to be watching!
For people in the US…
Jibland cllip courtesy of Samantha Kraupner
For people outside the US…
Jibland cllip courtesy of Samantha Kraupner
Steven is very definitely an animal lover, evidenced not only by his love for his (now famous) cat, Hushpuppy, but his fervent support of International Animal Rescue Urgent Forest Fund, and in particular their work to save orangutans.
— Steven Cree (@MrStevenCree) July 15, 2017
Hushpuppy (the aforementioned famous cat), was on hand for a brief celebrity appearance during our interview…
That’s it for Part 1. In the 2nd and final part of our interview, Steven and I talk about what it was like for him to play a dad (and grandpa) in Season 3, how Heughan Talks originated, Michael Jackson, The Little Princess, and the Outlander Effect. For Part 2, CLICK HERE.
Source: Film News
Source: Janice Forsyth Show
Source: The Herald
Source: Frost Magazine