James Harkness has said a teenage “axe fight” propelled him out of his tough neighbourhood and into acting.
Harkness grew up in Glasgow’s Gorbals, and remembers the “misery” of the quarter.
Since then he has starred in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and will take the role of Craig Myers in upcoming BBC crime drama The Victim.
Harkness has said he became involved in an axe fight on his birthday as a teenager, and his escape from the confrontation pushed him into acting.
He had abandoned his ambition to act, but his performing skills allowed him to get out of the situation, and he vowed to return to the craft.
Speaking to the Press Association of his background, Harkness said: “The Gorbals. Real rough stick, but I love where I come from.
“I don’t criticise it in the slightest but it was tough, man. Everyone’s looking for something to talk about all the time. Misery needs company.”
He added on what converted him from a career outside acting, to pursuing his original ambition to perform: “I had a really big fight in Glasgow, at my birthday party, and I sort of acted my way out of the fight. I know it sounds so melodramatic.
“It was an axe fight, and it was my axe so it was my fault. I can remember being told you have to act to get yourself out of these situations, and I remember having to act and then I woke up and I was like, ‘back to acting’ man.”
Harkness has said he does not forget his background, and counts his blessings every day for the opportunities he has been given.
He fears for the lack of opportunity for those from a similar area of deprivation, and wants to see more chances given to young people.
The actor said: “I still think it’s really hard if I’m honest, there’s a lot that needs to be done. You don’t really get to jump after your dreams.
He added: “I think there’s a massive stigma with the Scottish accent.”
The four-part legal thriller stars fellow Scottish talent Kelly MacDonald and John Hannah, centring on a woman whose nine-year-old son was murdered 15 years ago, and her decision to identify him.
The Victim will air April 8-11 at 9pm on BBC One.