Happy New Year! Four Actors I’d love to see portray Auld Lang Syne’s writer, Scottish poet Robert Burns


Happy New Year, everyone!! So long 2022, welcome 2023!

I know those of you in the Southern Hemisphere had already rung in the New Year. Well, there are still four hours to go where I am now, and I thought I’d resurrect this old post I did twelve years ago about Scottish poet Robbie Burns, whose song he wrote in 1788 would be sung all over the world.

A bit of history about the song itself – per Encyclopedia Brittanica, The lyrics of Auld Lang Syne is in the Scots language. The title, translated literally into standard English, is Old Long Since. The words can be interpreted as since long ago or for old times’ sake. The lyrics are about old friends having a drink and recalling adventures they had long ago. 

While poems with similar words existed before the time Burns wrote them down, the lyrics have been associated with him for a long time. Here’s a guitar and vocal version courtesy of Scottish singer-songwriter Dougie MacLean:


Burns himself has an interesting history despite his short life as he died at the age of 37. There’s his amorous reputation and famous love affair with Jean Armour who bore 9 out of his 12+ children! Despite his fame, he lived in relative poverty until his death of terminal heart failure. Though there are many aspects of his life that are scandalous even by today’s standards, many historical figures weren’t exactly blameless. I mean, given Netflix’s obsessions with serial killers, I personally would rather see an unflinching historical drama about a poet with such a rich literary legacy. 

There have been documentaries made about Burns, and I found an indie film on IMDb made in 2004 called Red Rose. Well, that was nearly two decades ago, so I’d love to see another biopic of the man considered the greatest Scot by the Scottish public in a vote back in 2019. Gerard Butler might have wanted to play Burns, but he is definitely too old now and he seems to be more into action flicks now anyways. So here are four actors I’d love to see portray the Bard:



At 36, the Scottish-born actor would be perfect as Burns. He’s clearly got the accent down and he’s got that undeniable charm and virility, and he sure knows how to rock a kilt! He’s also no stranger to biopics, having starred as Elton John’s former manager and lover John Reid in Rocketman. I’m still dying to see his version of Oliver in Lady Chatterley’s Lover but based on the previews, Richard would make a swoon-worthy ladies man.



At 43, McAvoy might be on the older side to play Burns, but he’s got a youthful look that would still make him suitable for the role. He’s such a talented actor with astonishing range who can play anyone of various ethnicities, but his Scottish accent is adorable so I’d love to see him use it for an entire movie! There’s such a playfulness to him but he’s also got that emotional intellect and artistic brilliance that would make an intriguing adaptation. 



Jack Lowden was born in England to Scottish parents so technically he’s a Scot. He’s the least-known actor on this list but his star is on the rise. I’ve been impressed with him in quite a few things: Mary Queen of Scots (where he met his girlfriend Saoirse Ronan), Fighting with My Family, Dunkirk, War & Peace miniseries, and recently, Slow Horses series on AppleTV. The 32-year-old sure has range and I think he’d do the role justice.



Now, ideally we have a Scottish actor playing the role of such a celebrated Scottish artist– Taron was born in England but raised in Wales. But you know what, I think Taron is so talented and charismatic that he could pull off playing a Scotsman with aplomb. I’ve been impressed with him since his breakout role in Kingsman: The Secret Service in 2014 and he’s been in a ton of prominent roles since but I haven’t seen him in a period piece (prior to 19th century I mean, so Rocketman doesn’t count). It’d be interesting to see him in the role.

What do you think about Rabbie Burns biopic and who would you like to play him?

Here’s to 2023!

Health and happiness to you and yours in the new year ahead!


5 thoughts on “Happy New Year! Four Actors I’d love to see portray Auld Lang Syne’s writer, Scottish poet Robert Burns

  1. Pingback: Alliance Lately: Issue No. 69 – The Minnesota Film Critics Alliance

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