George MacKay

George MacKay4Actor George MacKay discusses his upcoming film Bypass and the passion he has for learning.

by Joanna Orland

George MacKay is one of Britain’s best up-and-coming actors.  Nominated for an EE BAFTA Rising Star Award in 2014 (he lost out to Will Poulter), at age 23 he has already established a prolific repertoire of interesting roles in films including Pride, Sunshine on Leith, How I Live Now, and Peter Pan.  His latest film Bypass sees the actor take on a darker and grittier role as Tim, an overlooked youth forced into a life of crime as he struggles to take care of his family and himself.

Bypass is an empathetic examination of ‘Broken Britain’, and through collaborating with director Duane Hopkins, George has carved out a very sensitive and humanistic character with Tim. “Tim’s got a strong sort of moral compass that’s constantly challenged by the environment that he’s in,” explains George. “The film looks a lot at what family means to Tim and the influence of the role of parenthood, be it yourself or parents on you – the responsibility of parenthood. And I think, I’m quite close with my family, and through stories like this it’s kind of helped me.  It kind of gives you an understanding of your own life as well.”

Working with Duane was a key factor in George’s decision to work on Bypass. “It was really lovely, because Duane’s kind of method is that he’s very detailed in his work,” he says.  “We reworked again and again and again the scenes, and had quite a long conversation about myself and him, and also then the character, and the story and things that were applicable in my life and what I felt I connected to and things like that.”

George learned a lot from working with the Bypass director. In fact, he considers the act of learning to be key in all of his work experience.  George states, “I want to try and work in as many different ways… and working with different types of people as well as the different characters you portray… Different things require different things.  So I think ultimately it comes down to a want to learn, and therefore to do as many different types of things as possible.”

George’s passion for his work and the art of cinema is so strong that it even emanates over the phone.  The actor insisted on taking longer than our allotted 10 minutes so he could discuss everything I was interested in asking regarding Bypass.  It’s an independent film he is immensely proud of, and he passionately wants to see it succeed.  “It’s not a film that is going to put bums on seats in an entertainment way, but it’s a form of entertainment.  It asks questions and looks at subjects that I think should be looked at, and Duane’s chosen to look at them in a different way,” he says.

Chatty, polite and passionate are words I would use to describe George after our conversation, but for the actor himself, he is just ‘George’.  “I’ll stick with George.  I’ll just say George.  That encapsulates me.”


Bypass is in UK cinemas April 10th, 2015.  Read our review.

Leave a Reply