Robert Carlyle Tapped to Portray RD Laing in Bio-Pic

Robert Carlyle with the press (2008)Robert Carlyle with fans/press July 2008

Stargate‘s newest star, Robert Carlyle, who’ll be one of the leads in the upcoming Stargate Universe television show, has been tapped to portray Scottish psychiatrist Dr. Ronald David Laing (1927-1989) in a partially biographical film, according to the UK’s Times Online.

The movie revolves around the LSD-prescribing psychiatrist who convinced even James Bond actor Sean Connery to take the hallucinogenic drug to alleviate stress. According to the Times article, “Most of the film will be set between 1967 and 1970 at Kingsley Hall” in east London, where “Laing lived with his patients at a psychiatric community project.”

“For the past 10 years I have wanted to play Laing in a film,” Carlyle said in the article. Both Laing and the actor were born in Glasgow, and Carlyle also brings important life experiences to the part, having lived in hippie communes with his father while growing up.

“Robert had read some of RD Laing’s books, and indeed mentioned that just a few days previously he had seen some of them in a Glasgow bookshop and felt destined to play him,” said Bob Mullan, Laing’s biographer who is also the film’s producer. “As an actor, he has that same mixture of charm, sharp intelligence, sexiness, vulnerability and utter malevolence that is suited to the role. Indeed, depending on your point of view, Ronnie Laing was either a seductive saint or the devil.”

Laing’s son Adrian, 50, a London-based lawyer, commented on Carlyle’s casting, “He has that Celtic fury about him that captures what my father was about. Whenever people have asked me over the years who would be my first choice to play my father, I have always said Robert Carlyle. I have always been very impressed with his work, and he has that Scottish intensity you would need to play the role.”

According to the Times, the film will be made by Gizmo Film Productions and run by Mullan, who is currently securing financing. If all goes as planned, they will start shooting the “part-fictional story” in Glasgow next year.

To read the complete article, visit “Times Online: Robert Carlyle goes from psycho to psychiatrist: The trainspotting star is to play maverick Scottish doctor RD Laing who extolled the benefits of LSD and became a 1960s hero. To find out more about RD Laing, visit University of Penn Review of ‘THE WING OF MADNESS: The Life and Work of R. D. Laing’.

Carlyle is due to arrive in Vancouver soon to begin production on Stargate Universe, which will start principal photography February 4 and make its premiere in July on the Sci Fi Channel.

[Image from IMDb.]