He got his big screen break with a bit part as a drug dealer in the sequel to Trainspotting. Now Lewis Gribben is set to become Scotland’s latest comedy star after starring alongside Eddie Izzard in a new coming-of-age movie set in the Highlands.
Boyz In The Wood, the curtain-raiser at this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival, sees Izzard play a sinister masked huntsman stalking a group of teenagers for laughs while they are on an outward bound course in the wilderness.
And Gribben, who has just finished acting studies in Edinburgh three years after joining a young theatre collective at the King’s Theatre in the city, is the joker in the pack as the unlikely hero Duncan.
Gribben, who is signed to the Leith-based agency Strange Town, admits there are obvious similarities between his role and Spud, Ewen Bremner’s character, who he appeared alongside two years ago in his brief role in Danny Boyle’s T2.
Gribben, 23, said: “I think I’m definitely the most like my character. It’s actually a bit hard to distinguish between us. Duncan is kind of off-beat and weird. He doesn’t really think about what he is doing.
“He is quirky and unorthodox. He is a dreamer but he really believes in himself. He is odd, but in a really cool way. He is definitely the Spud of the group.
“I actually went for one of the roles as a young Renton or Spud in T2 and was raging I didn’t get it. But I was asked if I wanted to go for another role and I ended up in front of the camera in a scene with Ewen Bremner. I get slagged off for it now because I was only in it for ten seconds!”
Gribben joins former River City star Rian Gordon, and rising English stars Samuel Bottomley and Viraj Juneja in Boyz In The Wood, which sees the four teenagers battle for survival against Izzard’s tweed-clad character.
Boyz In The Wood is the debut feature film of Edinburgh-born director Ninian Doff, who said the movie, which is set to a pounding hip hop soundtrack, aims to capture “a very particular Scottish joy, madness and humour.”
Although none of the lead actors are household names in Scotland, their co-stars included established actors like James Cosmo, Kate Dickie and Kevin Guthrie, as well as Izzard.
Gribben added: “If only one of us was doing it it would have felt like a lot of pressure, but because there three other boys to lean it became a real team bonding thing. We all got on really well.”
Gordon said: “The four of us are the best of mates now. We don’t live anywhere near each other. There’s a bond that you don’t break when you do a film like that.
“When we were filming it we didn’t play it as a comedy. Ninian was pretty hard on us telling us we needed to play it really straight and dramatic or it wasn’t going to work. It was about being as truthful and honest as we could.
“We were just so grateful to work on it. There was no way we could complain about it. It was such a buzz. It was long hours, it was constantly raining, it wasn’t glamorous, but it was the best experience of my life.
“We can’t believe that we have gone from reading the script to making this little film in the Highlands to opening Scotland’s biggest film festival. We couldn’t put into words how excited we are.”