Dundee actor Stephen Samson has spoken of his journey from homelessness to featuring in the new £160 million Marvel blockbuster.
Stephen, 39, was just 15 years old he was made homeless following the death of his grandparents and for years he sofa surfed until discovering his passion for the theatre at Dundee Rep.
The actor has multiple scenes as a stunt double in the latest hit from Marvel Studios, which produces films based on characters that appear in Marvel Comics.
The production, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Elizabeth Olsen, sees Doctor Strange protect a teenager capable of travelling the multiverse.
I ended up getting a bedsit from the council, but couldn’t afford to pay for it, so without warning they evicted me, and I ended up with nowhere to go.
Stephen said: “When I was about 15 I stayed with my gran, I didn’t know where my dad was, and when my gran died I ended up on my own.
“My mum was away living in Spain, and my dad wasn’t around.
“I ended up getting a bedsit from the council, but couldn’t afford to pay for it, so without warning they evicted me, and I ended up with nowhere to go.
“I ended up staying with friends for a few years until I figured things out.
He added: “I’ve suffered with depression over the years as a result. I’ve had moments where I’ve thought, what’s the point?
“It was a really difficult period of my life, so I am always trying to make sure that I never end up back in that position.
“On reflection, I can’t believe how things have panned out, from being homeless to ending up in a Marvel movie, it’s mad.”
‘Theatre saved me’
The actor speaks proudly about his Dundonian roots, and before making it in Hollywood, he landed his start at the city’s Rep theatre.
He said: “Scottish actor Steve Martin was a family friend of mine, and he actually signed me up for the Dundee Rep’s youth theatre group.
“It’s safe to say I got the bug pretty quickly, I just loved acting.”
He added: “The Rep really gave me my start; it’s an incredible theatre. The theatre really saved me, I’m sure I would have gone off the rails without it.
“Acting gave me a direction and it allowed me to focus. My experience with being homeless really pushed me forward and kept me going.
‘Dundee will always be home’
He said: “Doctor Strange 2 happened totally by accident.
“I was with my agency down south, and the opportunity came up by chance as they were looking for people who were vaccinated, which I was.
“So I ended up getting cast in a small role, I got to do some stunt acting too.
“I got to do some of the magic martial arts in the movie, which is pretty cool if you’re a Marvel fan.”
He added: “I’m really proud of being from Dundee, and I think the Rep is an amazing place for aspiring actors to get their start.
“I would say to young actors who are lucky enough to be in Dundee, get down to community theatres, get to the Rep and just get stuck in.