'The Victim' Star Kelly Macdonald Has Had Some Very High Profile Acting Jobs

BBC/STV/Mark Mainz

BBC's latest thriller The Victim is one series you're not going to want to miss this week. Trust. Not only has it got an intriguingly divisive plot (that I'm sure will become a nightly Twitter discussion), but it's also housing some of Scotland's most talented actors including Kelly Macdonald, who you'll more than likely recognise from the likes of Trainspotting and Boardwalk Empire. But who is Kelly Macdonald, and what else has she starred in?

Macdonald grew up in Glasgow's Southside, the Telegraph reports, eventually moving to the outskirts of the city at age nine after her parents got divorced. According to the newspaper, Macdonald caught the acting bug pretty early, performing plays and trying out accents in her room and taking part in a local drama group before leaving school at 16. Three years after leaving school, while working as a barmaid, Macdonald found an audition ad for Danny Boyle's Trainspotting.

"I wanted to go to drama school, so I just knew I had to do something, and I thought having a go would be an experience that might help me," Macdonald told the Telegraph. "I'd just had my hair cut really short and weird, whereas all the other girls had long hair. They were all in pretty dresses, I was in a jumper I got from Oxfam, ripped jeans and a big pair of clumpy steel-toecapped shoes. In the end it probably worked in my favour."

And it totally did. According to The Scotsman:

"Boyle said later that he knew Macdonald would win the part of Diane as soon as he laid eyes on the shy brunette teenager. 'We narrowed it down from 10 to six to two, but it was Kelly all the way,' he said. 'She has that thing Ewan McGregor has: indefinable star quality, yet they're ordinary people. There's something about them that connects with people. Ordinary but extraordinary.'"
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However, even though Macdonald snapped up a fair few roles in the '90s, she "struggled to find challenging roles" according to The Scotsman, which led to her starring "low-key" films as opposed to Hollywood blockbusters. It wasn't until her role in the Coen Brothers No Country For Old Men in 2007 that she believed that she'd hit her stride. As The Scotsman reports, Macdonald said of the film: "It was one of the best experiences of my working life. It was just so easy."

From there, the actor went on to voice the brazen-haired Disney Princess Merida in Brave (yes, that's why her voice sounds so familiar), and was also a staple of the Sky Atlantic series Boardwalk Empire, which earned her an Emmy nomination in 2011. She also played the iconic role of Helena Ravenclaw in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2, which was also the last role of the film to be cast, according to the Guardian. "It's always a thrill when I go into the Harry Potter shop and see the navy-and-grey scarves," she told the newspaper. "I think: 'That's my house!' I don't support any sports teams so that's as close as I get. Team Ravenclaw!"

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Obviously Macdonald has made a pretty big name for herself on the big screen with that roster, and thanks to her role on Boardwalk Empire she's done the same in the television realm too. After her work on the series, she went on to star in an episode of Black Mirror and the television film The Child in Time, before landing the role of grieving mother Anna Dean on BBC's The Victim.

Macdonald was drawn to the role of Anna due to the complexity of the character, as she explained to the Guardian: "She felt real: sympathetic at times, unlikeable at others. The title is great because you're wondering who the victim is. Reading the script, my allegiances were switching, so I hope it's the same for viewers."

Boy, I cannot wait to see Macdonald shine in this role.

Watch The Victim on BBC One, April 8 at 9 p.m.