My first mentor and inspiration was my Irish Dancing teacher Patricia Mulholland. She created her own form of dance known as Irish ballet and created stage productions of old Irish myths and legends. They were my first experiences on stage. She told my mum I was destined for the stage, and I took that as my cue.
Judi Dench has always been the benchmark for me. Everything I have seen her do is incredible. I also really admire Cate Blanchett. In terms of people I have worked with, there is no one more admirable than Hugh Jackman, for his spirit, energy, generosity and hard work.
To be honest, accents are one of those things for me, personally, that usually come quite naturally by just listening to the people.
It's a funny thing when you know someone and you meet their siblings – you get so much a sense of who they are because when you can recognize similar traits in the family, you understand exactly why they are the way they are.
Throughout my childhood, I did a form of Irish dancing that was kind of the precursor to 'Riverdance.' It was a mixture of ballet and Irish dancing that my teacher, Patricia Mulholland, had invented, essentially. It was Irish ballet, and she would create performances based around the myths and legends of Ireland.
It's not my job to get really personal in how I express myself. I've met fans, and they've been lovely. But letting my personal life out there, I don't think is a good idea for me. I think the more you do that, the more you can be accused of encouraging that kind of attention.
I always look to play flawed characters. I'm not very interested in playing somebody that's just, you know, the very nice one or the attractive one, or whatever, which a lot of female parts can just be written that way.
I've had people break into profiles on my Internet; they got into my accounts. This was at the beginning of my career. There is a fair bit of alarm when something like that happens. It definitely bothered me a lot at the time. But you move on from these things.
I'm not really into method acting – the way I was taught was the good old-fashioned British way of just doing your research and getting on with it.
Any rehearsal process – I find, anyway – does have quite an effect on me, and I very much live in that world for the whole period of time that I'm involved with the production. But normally, afterwards with a little bit of space, I can come right back out of it again.
Fishing is very meditative; you need to be able to give up control and cast out the line and then hope for the best, so in that way, it's quite like acting.
I was only 23 and just out of college when I filmed 'Casualty' and so nervous, but it was brilliant fun. I was really lucky, and it really helped my career.
I was watching the Danish version of 'The Killing' when I got the audition for 'The Fall,' and I loved it; it was so original. I approached 'The Fall' with that in mind. I'd no problem with the violence – it was very clear from the script how horrifying the crimes were and that had to be shown, without going to extremes.
Once, and only once, I walked on stage and my mind went utterly blank! I had no idea why I was there! My fellow actors had to rescue me. I was very young and new to the business, so I'm glad it didn't give me stage fright for the rest of my life!
It's not easy being Hugh Jackman, but he wears the attention better than anyone I've ever met. He treats every person he meets the same and finds joy in everything he does. The lesson I've learned is that if you work incredibly hard, and you're nice to everybody, you'll be fine.
'Outlander' is filmed mostly around Glasgow and the central belt of Scotland, so it's lovely for me because I get to go up and spend time in the place that I lived for three years. I've got a bunch of friends in the cast because a lot of them studied at the same college as I did, and I get to see my family, most of whom now live in Scotland.
I respect the system out there in Hollywood, I really do, but I'm very intent on art versus commerce. I want to do it all – film, TV and theatre – if it's the right job.
When I first read 'The River,' I had theories on what it was about, but once we got into rehearsal, I realized it's much simpler: It's about how human beings try to connect. The play holds a mirror up to the audience, and they take from it what's relevant to their lives.
You never want to sound bitter about critics, because they're entitled to do their job, too, but I place much more trust in a person who I can look in the eye and someone who I know I share some kind of taste with – so my friends, for instance. For me, a critic is unknown and therefore irrelevant.