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Look Darlings, I'm the real Finn; Scots actor lands dream role as character he was named after by his smitten actress mum.


It's not often you get the chance to play the part you were named after.

So when Scots actor Finn den Hertog was asked to star as Finn in Neil M Gunn's The Silver Darlings, he could not refuse.

The play has been adapted from the famous Scottish book by His Majesty's Theatre in Aberdeen.

It is the company's second large-scale in-house work - following last year's successful adaptation of Sunset Song.

Finn's mum is actress Ann Louise Ross, who named her son after the character in the famous book.

When Ann played the role of Katrine, Finn's mother, in a six-part radio series in the 80s, she fell in love with the novel and decided if she ever had a baby boy he would be called Finn.

Not only is her son Finn now playing the part of his namesake but, for the first time, he will share the stage with his mum, who is playing the role of Kirsty - Finn's aunt.

Finn 23, said: "It's really weird that it has happened like this. I couldn't turn it down. Not a lot of people get the opportunity to play the person they were named after. I jumped at the chance and with my mum doing it as well, it's great."

For as long as he can remember, Finn has known where his name came from and, in preparation for the role, he is now reading Gunn's book, which is set around a herring fishing community.

He said: "My mum explained the story of how it came from the Silver Darlings book and how she did a radio play of it. I am reading the book and it's fantastic. It's beautiful and poetically written. I think it will transfer into a fantastic stage show."

Finn was also part of the company's highly-acclaimed adaptation of Lewis Grassic Gibbon's Sunset Song and sees some similarities between the two works.

He said: "It's very like Sunset Song in that it describes the land, the people and the time so vividly.

"It means a lot to people in that part of the world. It's part of their heritage in the north-east Highlands and it really holds true for a lot of people."

The Silver Darlings is a rite-of-passage tale - which most people can relate to.

He said: "It's just someone growing up and learning about themselves, their surroundings and the people around them.

"Wanting to be a fisherman is something I can't identify with but his change from being a boy into a man is very clear and it's an easily identifiable thing."

So how will Finn feel sharing the stage with his mum? He said: "When my mum was offered the part, the director said he was sorry he wasn't offering her the part of Finn's mum but she's playing Kristy, who is perfect for her. She'll be great and it'll be exciting to work with her on stage for the first time.

"Once you are on stage, you just have to get on with it. There is no time for thinking 'there's my mum across the way'.

"We have to remember that as long as we're in the rehearsal room and on stage, we're not mother and son - we are two actors working together.

"That might sound a bit cold but that's just got to be the way it is. It will be very exciting also for my dad and brother to see the two of us on stage together."

Finn was born in Edinburgh and moved to Dundee when he was 13 as his parents got jobs at Dundee Rep Theatre.

When he was 17, he left Dundee for Glasgow to further his acting career and has now been in the city for six years.

Being around actors all his life and watching his mum at work inspired him to follow her footsteps.

He said: "I really admire my mum as an actor and always have done.

"She is the reason I started acting but I get nervous when I'm in something and my mum comes to see it.

"It means a lot to do her proud. I've pretty much been around theatre and acting my whole life and I've seen everything she has done.

"It made me decide that this is what I wanted to do. It's a really exciting job. I can't think of anything else I would rather be doing."

Finn did a stint with Scottish Youth Theatre when he was 15 to 17. When he came to Glasgow, he auditioned and got in to the RSAMD and after three years of study, found himself some jobs.

He said: "I've been really lucky. I've been in the right place at the right time and done the right things to be seen.

"The first two jobs I got out of college were in America and that was incredible."

His favourite roles so far include playing a ned and the killer in Taggart.

He said: "Last year I did a play called The Wall where I got to play a tracksuit ned. Not long after that, I got a part in Taggart as the murderer. That's the highlight of anyone's career, really - the killer in Taggart."

However, there are lots of roles he dreams of playing. He added: "There is a play called The Seagull which I would love to be in, preferably with my mum.

"Obviously, there is Hamlet and stuff like that but I'd just like to see what comes up, keep working and doing different roles.

"There are some great things on television. I watched Red Riding recently and thought that it is exactly the sort of thing I would love to do.

"I watch The Wire and The Sopranos and I'd love to do something like that - but that is dream terrority. You look at the acting and it's incredible but it's really something to aspire to."

His favourite actors include Philip Seymour Hoffman and a few others closer to home.

He said: "A lot of my favourite actors are in theatre. Keith Fleming - who just did Peer Gynt at Dundee Rep - was amazing.

"Mymum's an actor, my flatmate's an actor, my girlfriend's an actor, so I have to say all of them - they're all my favourites." Visit or call 01224 641122 for tickets.THE SILVER DARLINGS His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen, August 28September 5. Then touring in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, Dundee, Perth and Wick.


THE RIDE ROLE... Finn den Hentog in The Silver Darlings
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 19, 2009
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