Ben Gallagher tells us about his first lead role in a film

Upcoming Scottish actor, Ben Gallagher, has been described by many professionals as one for us all to look out for, and from what we have seen in Iona this is not a hard statement to believe.

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Ben Gallagher, a 19-year-old actor and star of BAFTA nominee Scott Graham’s 2015 production “Iona”, talked to us about his role in the Scottish drama and what is was like to play a leading role in his first film:

“Iona is named after the main character of the film and it is set on the Scottish Island, also called Iona. Iona was played by Ruth Negga, who has also starred in World War Z, Misfits and several other films and TV shows. I played Iona’s son, Bull” he tells us.

“In the film, Iona and her teenage son seek refuge from a violent crime among a religious community on the island where she was born. Her return exposes her tormented son, Bull, to a way of life she rejected when she left the island as a teenager and sends a shock wave through the family that she left behind.”

Although dialogue in the British drama is kept to a minimum throughout the film, plot details are gradually revealed in a lyrical, artistic way in a similar style to Scott Graham’s 2012 BAFTA nominated film, Shell. The traumatic incident for Ben’s character, Bull, is revealed through flashbacks to the mainland.


Iona’s world premiere was shown at Edinburgh International Film Festivals as the festivals closing gala. Ben said:

“The film was shown at the Edinburgh Film Festival 2015, Dublin Film Festival 2015 and San Sebastián Film Festival 2015. After the festivals it was released in cinemas all over the United Kingdom.”

The 19-year-old shot the film midway through his final year at high school and he took a couple of months out of his studies to travel to Iona for filming. He said:

“Being cast in the film was quite a long process. There were 3 months of auditioning to go through before they told me that I had the part.

“I loved every minute of it! The whole experience is something else. You would need to be there to realise just how amazing the industry is.”

Ben has also appeared in Scottish TV Shows such as Waterloo Road and River City and studied HNC Acting & Performance at New College Lanarkshire last year. He told us:

“I have a few things coming up, but unfortunately I can’t say anything about them at the moment.”




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