- Photography by Mr Jon Gorrigan
- Styling by Mr Tony Cook, Junior Fashion Editor, MR PORTER
- Words by Mr Chris Elvidge, Senior Copywriter, MR PORTER
One of the first things that you notice about Mr Emun Elliott is his voice. The Scottish-born actor speaks in a warm Edinburgh drawl, all single malt and heather honey. It's the kind of voice that would induce grown men to switch car insurance providers without due consideration; one can only imagine the effect that it has on the opposite sex. Combined with his enviable good looks and affable nature, it gives the 29-year-old the air of a wandering minstrel, a roguish charm that I can't be the first to pick up on if his recent casting in the medieval fantasy drama Game of Thrones, as the handsome troubadour Marillion, is anything to go by.
It was a role that appealed not only to his sense of adventure - "I got to ride around on a horse wielding a sword," as he matter-of-factly puts it - but also to his inner musician. "The instrument he played was a psalter, a medieval wood harp with 22 strings," says Mr Elliott of his character. "The only evidence that we have of it is from old paintings, so it's impossible to say how it was held, or even how it was supposed to sound. I spent a month learning how to play it."
While his decision to take up an obscure folk instrument may well have been driven by a commitment to his craft, it doesn't take long in his company to realise that music, and folk music in particular, plays an important part in Mr Elliott's life. He speaks passionately on the subject; when asked if he has ever felt truly starstruck, he recalls the time that he met Ms Joni Mitchell. "Whenever I'm not working," he says, "I just immerse myself in music - playing it, listening to it."
From left: Messers Elliott and Stephen Wight, and Ms Amy Huberman in the 2011 sitcom about three friends who decide to have a baby together
From left: Messers Elliot and Tom Felton star in the historical TV miniseries based on a novel by Ms Kate Mosse
Mr Elliott plays a 19th-century department store owner in the 2012 BBC series
Mr Elliott at the premiere of Prometheus, London, May 2012
These moments might be fewer and further between in the next few years, however, as Mr Elliott's profile - and his workload - continues to rise. Among other exciting projects, he'll be returning to a medieval setting this spring with a role in the forthcoming TV adaptation of Labyrinth, a novel by Ms Kate Mosse that's set in both 13th- and 21st-century France. "I'm involved in the medieval part of the story - so there's lots of dressing up in armour, chain mail and leather," he explains. "My hair's down to my shoulders, I've got an unkempt beard, and I go around philandering and killing," he laughs, before adding, "I became an actor, really, for the chance to transform. To step into a different persona, a different era. And it's especially exciting for me when I'm playing someone who's not at all like myself."
Given his approach to acting - it seems difficult to imagine him ever selling out, or, indeed, ever taking the easy option - Mr Elliott seems surprisingly comfortable with his "star-in-waiting" status. He has, after all, been a perennial "one to watch" since the announcement of Prometheus a couple of years ago. "I sometimes feel as if I'll be one of those 'rising stars' for the rest of my life," he jokes. "But it's reassuring, of course, and good to be recognised."
We suspect that's something that Mr Elliott may have to get used to.
Labyrinth will air in the UK on Channel 4 this March