Andrew Scott's Life From Childhood To Hollywood Stardom

When it comes to entertainment, whether you are solely into crime thrillers or you dedicate all your time to watching romcoms, there's a good chance you know who Andrew Scott is. Or maybe you've been a diehard fan even before the Irish actor became a popular face on television. Thanks to playing Jim Moriarty in BBC's "Sherlock" and the hot priest in the comedy-drama "Fleabag," Scott is now a known presence in entertainment, and these standout roles have earned him a British Academy Television Award and a nomination for a Golden Globe Award, respectively.

While you can find plenty of info about the actor with just one click of Google's search button, there's a lot more to know about him than what encyclopedia-style websites might offer. So whether you're a loyal fan or just curious about the actor, here are bits and stories from Scott's life that you likely didn't know — in his very own words.

He was raised in Dublin

Born in October 1976 to Nora and Jim Scott, Andrew Scott was raised in Dublin, Ireland. His father worked at an employment agency and his mother was an art teacher. The "Sherlock" actor is the middle child of three: His older sister, Sarah, works as a sports coach and TV commentator, whereas his younger sister, Hannah, seems to have followed in her brother's footsteps, pursuing a career in acting.

Scott himself has been acting from a very early age. While studying at a private Jesuit school, a shy nine-year-old Scott started attending acting classes at Ann Kavanagh's Young People's Theatre in Rathfarnham every Saturday. Fortunately, his shyness never got in the way when he performed on stage. As he told The Guardian in 2019, "I was just so self-conscious, but I felt free on stage. I could be more audacious."

As a child, Scott also developed a knack for drawing, only to ditch it later on for the sake of acting. However, in a 2015 interview with The Guardian, Scott revealed that, at the time, he used to — and maybe still does — sketch fellow passengers while on the London tube. "I always go up to [the passengers] at the end of my journey and give them the portrait that I've done. Usually, they're really pleased, and that feels nice." When asked about his favorite artist during another Q&A interview with The Guardian, the actor didn't hesitate before naming David Hockney.

He dropped out of college to focus on acting

At 17, Andrew Scott was awarded a scholarship to art school. However, shortly after enrolling — in fact, on the same day he was supposed to attend his first class — Scott was offered the role of Eamon Doyle, the protagonist of the 1995 period film "Korea." Soon after filming ended, Scott enrolled in Trinity College for a degree in drama. During his time at Trinity, Scott started performing on stage, earning his first professional theatre credit for John Crowley's 1995 production of "Six Characters in Search of an Author." His performance soon caught the attention of stage directors, leading him to be cast in plays like Thomas Kilroy's "The Secret Fall of Constance Wilde" and Conor McPherson's "A Dublin Carol." After attending college for nearly six months, Scott realized nothing would be more effective than learning on the job so he dropped out of Trinity to join Dublin's Abbey Theatre.

In 1997, Scott was cast in Steven Spielberg's legendary war film "Saving Private Ryan," which was being filmed in Ireland at the time. However, his contract with Disney for 1998's "Miracle at Midnight" prohibited him from playing his original role in the Spielberg movie, meaning his screen time in "Saving Private Ryan" was much shorter than what he was initially offered. As he recalled to Vanity Fair in 2022, "I was absolutely devastated ... But it was still an extraordinary experience just to be on this extraordinary, long stretch of beach."

He moved to London in his early 20s

Back in 1999, Andrew Scott moved to London for the supporting role of John Campbell in the 2000 Channel 4 series "Longitude," which starred Michael Gambon and Jeremy Irons. Although the show only lasted for one season, with a total of four episodes being broadcast, Scott's experience with Gambon left a life-long impression. In a 2012 interview with ShortList, Scott said of Gambon, "He was a great person to learn from because he's such a laugh — a mischievous, brilliant actor. He's got the right attitude." Scott added, "He's the best actor in England."

However, his experience on sets after moving to London wasn't always smooth sailing. Scott was cast in a small role in Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg's 2001 war series "Band of Brothers," and the set was a toxic environment, to say the least. In the same ShortList interview, the actor revealed, "I'm really aware now that it's difficult to come on to a set when everyone's backslapping and telling in-jokes, and you've only got two days. On 'Band Of Brothers,' there was an awful atmosphere."

He made his Broadway Debut in 2006

Andrew Scott stepped into the world of Broadway playing Philip Lucas in the 2006 production of "The Vertical Hour," a Sam Mendes direction starring Julianne Moore, Bill Nighy, Dan Bittner, and Rutina Wesley. Dealing with the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the play earned Scott a Drama League award nomination and national acclaim. In their review of "The Vertical Hour," David Rooney wrote for Variety, "The friction between [Bill Nighy's character] and his son (deftly played by Scott with a disarming mix of maturity, awkwardness, and bottled anger straining beneath the sweet-natured surface) is consistently more involving than the main event."

With all that said, among the dozens of plays that Scott has acted in, the most memorable one is presumably Robert Icke's 2017 Almeida Theatre production of "Hamlet." Scott's portrayal of Hamlet in the play was so intense that it earned him a 2018 Laurence Olivier Award nomination for Best Actor alongside nominees Bryan Cranston, Andrew Garfield, and Paddy Considine. Scott also faced challenges when playing Hamlet. As he noted in an Evening Standard interview, "The real challenge was to see [the character] as someone who wasn't completely separate from myself ... I thought I had to speak in some way that I don't normally speak, so part of the process was having the confidence to say no and just speak in my own voice."

BBC's Sherlock brought him worldwide recognition

Although Andrew Scott was already a known face in the entertainment industry by 2010, it was his portrayal of Jim Moriarty in BBC's "Sherlock" that shot him to worldwide fame that year. Deconstructing the role of Sherlock's archnemesis and criminal mastermind Jim Moriarty, Scott explained the reason behind his popularity to the Independent. "Moriarty came as a real surprise to people. He doesn't have to do the conventional villain thing," the actor explained. "Moriarty is a lot of different characters. He changes all the time."

Playing Moriarty led to Scott being cast in similar roles for a while. For instance, after "Sherlock," he played villainous characters in projects like the 2015 film "Victor Frankenstein" starring Daniel Radcliffe, the 2015 James Bond movie "Spectre," and the 2016 blockbuster "Alice Through the Looking Glass." As one might deduce, after a certain point, the actor stopped going out for wicked roles, looking for something that would keep people from further associating him with Moriarty-type characters. As he explained to GQ, "I think, after a while, you have to go, 'No, I don't want to do that anymore.'"

He publicly opened up about being gay in 2013

In a November 2013 interview with the Independent, Andrew Scott made his first public statement about his sexuality. Speaking about how he perfected a Russian accent for his character in the 2013 film "Legacy," the actor revealed that he initially did his homework with YouTube videos featuring Vladimir Putin speaking — however, the actor went on to explain, "Then Putin introduced anti-gay legislation this summer — so, being a gay person, I switched to Rudolf Nureyev videos instead."

Although same-sex sexual activities were illegal in Ireland until 1993, Scott never felt unsupported or uncared for at home. As he's stated in multiple interviews, his parents have always been understanding and accepting, allowing him to be his true self. Grateful for being loved as he is, Scott told The Guardian, "It's a great gift that you're given, when you have to go around to everybody in your life and say, 'This is me, I hope you love me,' and they say that they do."

However, when asked about the challenges of playing both heterosexual and LGBTQ+ characters as an "openly gay" person during a GQ interview, Scott clarified upfront that he was not okay with the label. "You're never described as openly gay at a party. 'This is my openly gay friend Darren.' 'She's openly Irish.' It implies a defiance I don't feel," he said frankly.

His Fleabag role turned him into a sex symbol

For the second season of Phoebe Waller-Bridge's comedy-drama series "Fleabag," Andrew Scott's role as the Catholic priest was one of the main reasons behind the huge amount of praise it received worldwide. Later dubbed the "hot priest" by netizens, Scott's character was initially introduced as the officiant for Fleabag's father's wedding. However, as the storyline progressed, things took viewers by surprise; the priest turned out to be Fleabag's love interest. As a matter of fact, the sexual tension and chemistry between the two characters were so captivating that searches for religious pornography saw a 162% increase on a leading X-rated website the same day "Fleabag's" second season was first aired (per HuffPost).

As strange as it may sound, Scott — who had previously worked with Waller-Bridge in a 2009 play titled "Roaring Trade" — actually signed onto the show without ever seeing a script, citing his love for Waller-Bridge and her work as justification. In 2019, the actor told Vulture, "[Phoebe and I] met up last summer ... We had a big long meeting in London. We walked around London and talked about all those things and caught up, but I didn't actually get a script ... I just signed on to working with Phoebe because I obviously loved the first series and loved Phoebe herself, so I was very delighted, actually, when I got the script eventually."

He calls himself a lapsed Catholic

Born to two people who regularly attend church, Andrew Scott and his siblings were raised Catholic and sent to Catholic school. However, the actor now wants to have nothing to do with the faith. Over the last few years, Scott has opened up about his anger with the Catholic church in interviews and has made his current beliefs clear. In 2017, calling himself a "lapsed catholic," Scott told the Evening Standard, "When I was growing up there was terrible abuse in the Catholic church, so I lost my faith in the people who were telling me how to live. But it's only in the past 10 years that I've fully been able to reject it, to consciously say no, I don't agree with that."

However, he has nothing against people around him who are Catholic or religious. In 2018, Scott revealed to The Guardian that values like spirituality and mindfulness have aroused his curiosity years after he abandoned his Catholic upbringing. Expressing his excitement about his newfound interests, he said, "Over the past five years I've been really interested in the idea of spirituality and mindfulness — just being here."

He reportedly had a 15-year-long relationship with writer Stephen Beresford

If multiple reports on the internet are to be believed, Andrew Scott started dating actor and writer Stephen Beresford in 2001. Although Scott has always been extremely private about his dating life, he has shared bits of information here and there. For example, in 2015, talking to The Times about his "long-term partner," with whom he owned a residence in London at the time, Scott revealed, "He's not an actor, though he does work in the industry."

Although the couple reportedly broke up in 2016, they were spotted vacationing together in Venice in January 2022, triggering rumors about a patch-up. Irrespective of whether they had broken up in 2016 and reunited in 2022, the two seemed to remain friends over the years, with Scott acting in two projects Beresford penned. In 2020, Scott acted in Beresford's play "Three Kings," nearly six years after their first joint project, the 2014 film "Pride," came out.

He's garnering early Oscar buzz for his role in All of Us Strangers

With the trailer of his upcoming movie, Andrew Haigh's "All of Us Strangers," released in September 2023, Andrew Scott has received an impressive amount of early Oscar buzz for his role. In the film, Scott's character, a gay screenwriter named Adam, is suddenly drawn back to his hometown following his encounter with his neighbor, Harry, played by Paul Mescal. While there, Adam finds his parents, who died when he was a child 30 years earlier, living in his childhood home, appearing to be just how they looked at the time of their deaths.

After the movie premiered at the 50th Telluride Film Festival in August 2023, Variety predicted Scott has a strong chance of getting nominated for (if not winning) an Academy Award in 2024, and The Hollywood Reporter prophesied the same, with the latter listing Scott as a "Major Threat" under the Best Actor category.

Clearly, the actor chooses his projects as wisely as he can, but movies with huge budgets have never really been his utmost priority. "I don't want to be a slave to [big budgets]. We're not here that long. So if I want to do a really cool film with great people and it pays f*** all, I want to go and do that," he told The Times in 2015.