Born in Glasgow, Scotland and raised by his parents in East Kilbride, his mother was a midwife and his father was a Royal Air Force mechanic and prosthetics engineer. At a young age he started lifting weights and became a competitive junior Scottish bodybuilder, winning several championships in his late teens.
He enrolled in evening acting classes and joined a local drama group before attending drama school in Glasgow. Shortly after he started work in the theatre, touring with Harold Pinter's classic, 'The Birthday Party', in the role of the menacing McCann followed by Jerry in Edward Albee's 'A Zoo Story', and Tambo in the world premiere of 'The Ringer', to rave reviews.
He was awarded the BAFTA Scotland Award for his Performace in 2006 and his second BAFTA Scotland award for the self-penned 'Running in Traffic'.
A variety of diverse roles followed in American and British independent films, The Red Machine (2009) Running in Traffic (2009) as the grief-stricken, drug dealing, Cullen, alongside Olivier Award winner Kenneth Cranham for which he won also won the Rising Star Trailblazer award.
He demonstrated his leading man versatility with a slate of both dramatic feature roles and action movies.
Battleground (2012) before gaining over 40 lbs of muscle for the towering Russian, Dolokhov in Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz (2013)
His recent career has been marked by playing on the duality of vulnerable but tough types. Often showing a depth and complexity to an otherwise two-dimensional character. Let Us Prey (2014) as the brutal and broken cop, Jack Warnock opposite Liam Cunningham. He also appeared in the Golden Globe nominated Outlander as Geordie Chisholm (2015) and Shetland 2016
In 2016 he co starred with Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman in the No1 UK bx office 'London Has Fallen', the sequel to Olympus Has Fallen'.
In 2017 he appears in Vengeance, Dead Heading and a leading role opposite Donnie Yen and Andy Lau in 'Chasing The Dragon'. released in theatres in the fall of 2017
He is the official UK Ambassador for Giordano the largest clothing brand in Asia and his ongoing work with them will continue through 2017 and into 2018 cementing his popularity in more than 30 countries with a series of aspirational commercial films.