Sequel to classic Scots film announced

Iain Robertson in the 1996 film Small Faces <i>(Image: PA)</i>
Iain Robertson in the 1996 film Small Faces (Image: PA)

A Scots actor is to reprise the role that earned him a Bafta award at the age of 13.

A sequel to the cult classic gangland film Small Faces has been announced almost 30 years after the original was released.

River City’s Iain Robertson was hailed by critics for his role in the 1996 film, which also launched the careers of Kevin McKidd and Breaking Bad star Laura Fraser.

The original follows the lives of three teenage brothers. gang member Bobby, artistically-minded Alan (Joe McFadden) and 13-year-old Lex, growing up with their mother on Glasgow's South Side in 1968.


Events start to spiral out of control when Lex accidentally shoots Malky, the leader of the Garaside Tongs street gang, with an air gun.

The MacKinnon brothers are keen to stress that this isn’t a typical sequel and more of a "follow on".

Gillies explained:  “Smile is not Small Faces 2, it is a different film, with a different tone and in a different era, but based upon the drama left off a quarter of a century earlier.

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"This is a self-contained film and the viewer need not have seen the original to enjoy Smile as a film in its own right. In a way, it is a Glasgow ghost story - a story of redemption.


“Iain‘s character, Lex was a wee boy who felt responsible for his own brother’s murder on a Glasgow ice rink.

"Now, turning 40, Lex is suddenly faced with his dead brother’s resurrection, as a ghost, an apparition, or a reality, he can’t know, but one thing is beyond question – Bobby, played by Stephen Duffy, has returned from the dead."

Robertson revealed that the idea from the film all snowballed from a silly question.

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He said; “I had never properly played a recurring character until I went into River City, but weirdly, the character's life starts to exist alongside your own.

"In the downtime from filming you start to wonder to yourself - how is Stevie, my character, getting on, what will he have been up to?


"I got to thinking about significant characters I had played over the years and I started to ponder what Lex would have been up to, so I emailed Gillies and Billy to ask them and here we are.

"“It’ll be interesting playing the younger brother to Joe McFadden after all these years, seeing as I have gone completely grey and he now looks about ten years younger than me."

Real-life best pals, Robertson and Duffy first met on Small Faces and Duffy reflects, “The depiction of my character's death was pretty powerful in cinematic terms. I haven’t seen a script yet and obviously I’m very curious to discover how I might be involved, but there’s talk of this film being a ghost story. I’m absolutely up for haunting Iain."

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Actor Kevin McKidd, who went on to achieve world-wide fame in Trainspotting and US medical drama Grey's Anatomy, said he was "surprised and delighted" at the prospect of a sequel.


He said:  “I loved working with our cast and crew back in the day, but given that Malky, my character, also died in Small Faces, it’s hugely intriguing to hear that there’s talk of my involvement”.

Joe McFadden added: “Small Faces was such a special project to work on and I very much look forward to finding out what happens to the characters in their later lives. I would jump at the chance to work with this team again."

The film was shot on location in areas of Glasgow, including Darnley, Sighthill, Partick, Merrylee, Mount Florida and Bishopbriggs and in Edinburgh.
Scenes were also shot at the Glasgow School of Art.

Small Faces was named ‘Best British Film’ at the Edinburgh Film Festival.

It was given 15 viewing certificate but some said because of the high levels of violence and adult themes an 18 would have been more suitable.