HE might be 77 but veteran of stage and screen Maurice Roeves has absolutely no intention of taking life easy.

In fact, don't even mention retirement to the star of Tutti Frutti and Last of the Mohicans - in his world that's a bad word.

We're talking about his latest role in the Dave McKean-directed film, Luna, starring Dervla Kirwan, Ben Daniels, Michael Maloney, Maurice and Stephanie Leonidas, which screens at the GFT tomorrow.

Despite the fact he was unwell during filming and subsequently went into hospital for surgery just before its London premiere, the actor says he has no plans to slow down.

His approach to the role of the mercurial doctor in the story of a couple coming to terms with the loss of their child, who spend a weekend with friends in a remote seaside cottage in Cornwall, his insightful.

"It's an interesting piece and I thoroughly enjoyed it, I thought it was quite fun," he says of the role. "Someone else had been cast in it but didn't turn out the way they expected. So they came to me and asked if I would do it and I said yes.

"I had just recovered from cancer so it was all a bit hectic at the time.

"I was surprised when I saw the film at the premiere, I thought, 'Blimey, I look quite healthy.' At the time, I felt as if I was dying."

He adds: "I brought a lot of that to the role, whatever happens to you in life, you bring it into your performance."

For a man who is three years away from his 80th birthday, Maurice's work schedule is impressive. He has just finished filming the TV series Murder, in the Borders - "I was just a bag of clothes living out in the hills in Peebleshire" - and earlier this year was involved in the new Macbeth movie, starring Michael Fassbender.

"We filmed all over, we were down at Ely in Cambridgeshire and up in Skye for a week, where we hardly got anything done because it was magnificent as always but this time it was magnificent with rain, thunder and lightening," he laughs.

When I ask if he's thinking about slowing down the answer is undisputable: "No, God forbid, I certainly hope not. I enjoy working and it's important. You get bored sitting around doing nothing."

Born in Sunderland but an adopted Scot after growing up in Glasgow, Maurice's CV features many unforgettable big name productions: from Dr Finlay's Casebook, Tutti Frutti and the Sweeney on television to The Acid House, Beautiful Creatures and The Damned United on the big screen.

He says they have all been memorable in their own way but he will never forget the physical pain of playing Vincent Diver, the ageing heart throb in John Byrne's Tutti Frutti, in an all-star cast including Robbie Coltrane, Emma Thompson and Richard Wilson.

"It was just absolutely crazy. I'd never played guitar in my life before and I said, 'I'm only going to do the part if I learn how to play the guitar.' I didn't want them cutting away from me to someone else playing," he explains.

"I had to take guitar lessons, which nearly killed me. My fingers bled like nobody's business, but wherever I went I carried the guitar and I played it.

"Jake D'Arcy was there too and Stewart McGugan was drumming away, with sticks all over the place every time we went out drinking - and it was a terrible one for going out drinking, we were always in the bars of Byres Road.

"Tutti Frutti, it was that kind of thing, it was rock and roll and it was absolutely great.

"I don't play the guitar now but I did keep the guitar because of the pain it put me through."

Maurice trained at Glasgow's Citizens Theatre, where he first caught the eye of audiences playing Lorenzo, in the Merchant of Venice: "I was heavily appreciated by the young schoolgirls at the time, the press jumped onto it and I was getting the Beatles treatment."

These days he lives in a village near Nottingham with his wife Vanessa Rawlings-Jackson and spends part of the year at their condo in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where they plan to move to.

He's thinking in terms of relocation - not retirement.

"Retirement is a terrible word. I'll retire when they put me into a wicker coffin."

n Luna is showing at Glasgow Film Theatre tomorrow.

angela.mcmanus@ eveningtimes.co.uk