1. While starring in Hollywood films, he was still driving a battered Nissan Micra.
While the prizes, plaudits and pay came rolling in after having starred in films such as Atonement and the X-Men franchise, James was still pottering around in an old Micra, which was probably cheaper than the cufflinks of most of Hollywood’s male stars.
2. He’s a proper Celtic fan.
Having grown up in Drumchapel, Glasgow, James was always going to live and breathe football. He missed the Hoops’ most recent shot at European glory – the 2003 UEFA Cup against Porto and a certain ‘special’ manager – but managed to drag the cast of Shameless to his place to watch it on TV. They all watched on, faintly bemused, as James burst into tears when Bobo Baldé got his second yellow in extra time.
3. He remembers where he’s from.
He knows how difficult it is for working class kids to get into acting. James didn’t get the benefits of some of his thespian contemporaries in early life, and had to work at a bakery throughout his three years at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland to support himself. He has since established a scholarship fund at his alma mater to support underprivileged Scottish youngsters.
4. He tries to stay close to home when he takes on roles.
Family is very important to James, who has a young son, and being able to stay at home with him during filming is a big factor in which roles he accepts. Movies such as X-Men: First Class were shot close to his North London home (which helps him take care of what really matters in his life).
5. He knows how to party.
After scooping Best Actor at the Empire Film Awards for his role in Filth, based on the Irvine Welsh novel, James proceeded to to get royally plastered. In fact, the libations had already begun pouring before he gave the (unexpected and unprepared) acceptance speech – you can check it out for yourselves online to witness the ebullient hilarity. James is the sort of guy you’d love to go for a night on the town with your mates, so long as you can stay in bed the next day with a hot water bottle and a tube of Berocca.
See James in Glass, out 18th January