Happy Birthday Aidan Turner!
Aidan, known to millions as the dwarf Kili, brother of Fili and nephew of Thorin Oakenshield, is thirty today.
When he was first cast in The Hobbit Peter Jackson said,“Aidan is a wonderfully gifted young actor who hails from Ireland. I’m sure he will bring enormous heart and humour to the role of Kili.” And, indeed, he has.
Aidan was brought up in Clondalkin, South Dublin. He left St. Mac Dara’s Community College at eighteen, not knowing what to do next. He didn’t want to work in an office like his accountant Mum nor be an electrician like his Dad and he didn’t want to do anything ‘mundane.’ Recognising his artistic side, he signed up for a part-time acting course. He says,“I did ballroom and Latin American dancing for about 10 years; I even represented Ireland. So I did have a flair for the creative…” and, “My first acting experience was an ‘Acting for Camera’ class … That was a game changer for me. The buzz of walking ‘on stage’ …was a rush I hadn’t quite achieved through anything else up to that point in my life. And so naturally, I loved it.”
That buzz led to Aidan training at the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin. He graduated in 2004 and, within a few weeks, was jetting off to Europe to shoot a couple of adverts for Irish television. Each ad took a day to film and, with every take, the actors found it harder and harder to swallow the product.
For the next few years, Aidan worked steadily in mainstream and fringe theatre. His very first job was with Ireland’s national theatre, The Abbey. Their production of The Plough and the Stars took him to The Barbican in London in 2005. The following year found him cast in, perhaps, his first supernatural role, as Pan in The Crock of Gold, where critics praised his strong performance and fine voice. One review describes Pan as “…beautifully played…his strutting around the stage is hilarious,” although, “…Pan turned out to be quite chaste in the end. He offered someone a cup of tea at one stage.”
In 2007 Aidan started working in television and film. He played the lead in the feature film Alarm which was released in 2008. Director Gerry Stembridge says his character, Mal, is, “… really charming but there’s something of a wolf about him.”
Around this time Aidan was cast in the television drama The Clinic and, playing the receptionist Ruairí McGowan, found himself nominated for Favourite Newcomer to Irish TV in the Now TV Awards 2009.
Then, “without the safety net of an actual job,” Aidan moved to London, where he soon found work playing a vampire in what was to become the award-winning BBC drama, Being Human. More television roles followed. He played the artist Rossetti in Desperate Romantics and the cad John Schofield in Hattie, the critically acclaimed biopic about Hattie Jacques. Coincidentally John Bell, who plays Bard’s son Bain in The Hobbit, was in the drama too, as Hattie’s son.
Aidan has been cast in three fantasy/supernatural screen roles: as Mitchell the vampire in Being Human, Kili the dwarf in The Hobbit and Luke Garroway, the werewolf, in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. He jokes,“I just thought…let’s just do the holy trinity – the dwarf, the vampire and the werewolf!” And although he admits “It’s not my favourite genre,” he accepts he may have the look for these supernatural roles. He says,“There’s a certain sort of stereotype that people have about a vampire. I guess I kinda have that look. I have big moveable eyebrows. My hair was already long, so they could slick it back.” All he needed for Being Human was a little make up and, of course, vampire teeth. He says, “I was hoping I’d have them in all the time, what with me being a vampire and all. But actually, they only appear in one or two scenes.
“There was one terrible moment early on when I was supposed to be biting a woman’s neck. It was only after the scene was finished, that I realised the false fangs actually had left two puncture wounds in the actress’ neck. I felt terrible about having actually drawn blood. I mean, how was I to know? She was screaming anyway.”
Aidan has famously “dodged the bullet” in The Hobbit as, unlike the other dwarves, he does not have to wear many prosthetics. We will have to wait until City of Bones is released on 21 August to see how he fares as a werewolf.
In his free time Aidan enjoys winning at poker and playing pool (he recently bought a pool table for his home). Waiting around on the set of The Hobbit he plays Fifa with fellow dwarves Dean O’Gorman and Stephen Hunter. He likes the music of The Doors but one of his favourite albums is Pink Moon by Nick Drake (with whom, oddly enough, he shares his birthday). He is not interested in social media and is not on Facebook or Twitter. And, as a real piece of trivia, he once said that the one invention he could not do without was “…a washing machine.”
Aidan is known for being nice to his fans. Recently, for example, he sent a fan some signed photos of himself to auction for the rescue dogs charity Golden Bone Rescue saying “I love dogs.” I myself was lucky enough to meet Aidan a few months ago and he is certainly lovely in real life! As Toby Whithouse, the creator of Being Human, says,”.. aside from his skill and professionalism and talent, he’s also a ridiculously nice and funny guy.”
Here’s wishing Aidan very Happy 30th Birthday from us all!
You can read more about Aidan here.
Follow @ eviebowman on twitter