James Harkness is a Scottish actor. Born in an impoverished neighborhood of Glasgow, Scotland, Harkness would have perpetuated the mediocrity he was born in had it not been for a near-death experience that recalibrated his life towards acting.
He has left those days behind and since carved his name among the finest Scottish actors working today. He is most known for his starring performances in British television series like The Victim, The Nest, and most recently, the Netflix drama, The English Game.
His movie-role catalog also include appearances in such movies as The Program, The Darkest Hour, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Here are seven facts you might not know about James Harkness:
Harkness's early life was mired in misfortune and poverty. He was born to a single mother and grew up in an impoverished neighborhood of Gorbals, Glasgow, Scotland.
Before he turned to acting, Harkness took up menial jobs like cleaning, painting, cooking, and working as a garage hand.
On his 18th birthday, Harkness was involved in an ax fight that left him hospitalized.
Speaking about the incident with Glasgow Live, Harkness said:
"I had a really big fight in Glasgow, at my birthday party, and I sort of acted my way out of the fight. I know it sounds so melodramatic. It was an axe fight, and it was my axe so it was my fault. I can remember being told you have to act to get yourself out of these situations, and I remember having to act and then I woke up and I was like, 'back to acting' man."
Upon waking up in a hospital bed, Harkness had an epiphany that he needed to "turn his life around". Recalling the incident to The Scottish Sun, Harkness said that in some way, the harrowing incident was the best thing to happen to him.
"All of that was being in the wrong place at the wrong time but it’s also the best thing that ever happened to me. It was the making of me. I didn’t know it at the time but I acted my way out of the fight."
Recently, Harkness starred as the footballer Jimmy Love in the Netflix historical sports drama miniseries, The English Game.
The six-part miniseries premiered on March 20, 2020, and tells the origin story of the advent of modern football in England and how it transcended all social and economic classes.
Harkness was part of the main cast that also starred Edward Holcroft as Arthur Kinnaird, Kevin Guthrie as Fergus Suter, Charlotte Hope as Margaret Alma Kinnaird, Niamh Walsh as Martha Almond, and Craig Parkinson as James Walsh.
Harkness is also known for his starring role in the BBC One thriller miniseries, The Victim.
The four-part miniseries ran from April 8 to April 11, 2019, and starred Harkness as Craig Myers, a man accused of murder.
Kelly Macdonald played Anna Dean, the accuser, whose son was the one Myers was suspected of murdering.
The series was well-received by critics and fans and holds a 90% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
James Harkness made his movie debut in 2015 as Wayne in the Lance Armstrong biopic, The Program, starring Ben Foster and Chris O'Dowd.
He went on to play Private Basteren in the 2016 sci-fi space opera, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The movie is set in the Star Wars universe, and starred, among other people, Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Mads Mikkelsen, Ben Mendelsohn, Forest Whitaker, and Donnie Yen, among others.
Harkness also played A.D. Nicholl in the 2017 war drama movie, The Darkest Hour, starring Gary Oldman with his Academy Award-winning portrayal of Winston Churchill.
Harkness was also part of the main cast of the BBC One drama miniseries, The Nest. The five-part drama series aired on March 22, 2020.
The series tells the story about an 18-year-old girl who becomes a surrogate mother for a married couple who cannot conceive a child.
Harkness played James in the series and starred alongside Sophie Rundle, Martin Compston, Mirren Mack, and Fiona Bell, among others.
Other than his starring roles in The Victim, The Nest, The English Game, Harkness was a fixture of many other TV dramas.
He played Jerome Nelson in two back-to-back episodes in the fifth season of the BBC crime-drama series, Silent Witness in 2014. The same year, he guest-appeared as Rudy in the mystery-crime-drama series, Unforgettable.
Harkness also played Eddie Mulville in a 2015 episode of the Channel 5 police-procedural drama series, Suspects; Joe Brannan in season one of the BBC drama series, In Plain Sight; and Foxy in an episode of the crime drama, Tin Star.
He also played Kev in an episode of the action–crime drama series, Gangs of London, in 2020.
James Harkness is estimated to be worth $200 thousand, as of May 2020. While the exact figures have yet to be made public, it is unsurprising that his net worth is in the six figures, possibly higher.
He has been an actor since 2012. His decision was fuelled by a near-death experience that forced him to reconsider his life. He was involved in a scuffle on his 18th birthday when an ax-wielding man hospitalized him with multiple head injuries.
The incident proved to be an epiphany and the singular event that made him want to leave that part of his life behind. Since then, Harkness has been an active presence on British television and cinema.
His most notable television appearances include starring roles in shows like The Victim, The Nest, and The English Game, as well as numerous guest appearances in other shows like Silent Witness, Unforgettable, Suspects, In Plain Sight, and Gangs of London.
He has also made appearances in various capacities in movies like The Program, The Darkest Hour, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.