MICHAEL McCardie smiles at the suggestion he was emotionally press ganged into becoming an actor.

After all, how could he not sign up for a life in the performance arts?

McCardie’s dad is actor/writer Martin McCardie, his mum is recent River City star Maureen Carr.

His Aunt Sarah has recently appeared in an acclaimed Fringe production, Uncle Brian is a Hollywood regular (and a recent Line of Duty gangster) and Uncle Ed is a top screenwriter (Shameless, Spotless, The Last Detective).

Michael McCardie, starring at Oran Mor this week in dark comedy From Paisley to Paulo, has in fact been appearing on screen since the age of eight.

Yet, while it looks as though the young man from Glasgow’s South Side was destined for a life under spotlight, he says that wasn’t always the case. “When I was young my only dream was to play football.”

He grins; “In fact, at times my dad would take me away from the football at weekends to do acting roles.”

In 2008, for example, McCardie appeared in dark film drama Wasted, directed, coincidentally, by Stuart Davids who directs this Oran Mor play. “I’d complain and say ‘You can’t do this to me, Dad!’ Meanwhile, my sister, Erin, was always keen to act and went on to appear in Men Should Weep at just 17. But it wasn’t a career for me.”

McCardie was encouraged into a range of short films, which was fun, but never more than that. “I was also unsure about acting because my mum is a big personality, as is my sister. I’m more reserved.”

Gradually however, the idea of acting professionally seeped in. “I came to realise it doesn’t matter about your own personality, so longs as you can appear confident.”

In 2016 McCardie tested his own resolve by auditioning for a short film, Dropping Off Michael, which he landed. “I loved the experience. I played the lead, had to build a character of a boy who is going to court. He was so different from me. But I could relate to his fear.”

Buoyed with enthusiasm he applied to drama school New College in Lanarkshire. “On my first day I was worried I wouldn’t fit in amongst all these jazz hands kids. But I soon discovered they weren’t all like that at all.

“And the great thing about acting college was I had to learn how to act on stage. I’d almost grown up in front of a camera, but I’d had no stage experience whatsoever. Suddenly I was up there and performing in a Yorkshire accent in a high-energy play. I had to learn how to push it all out there, yet not go over the top.”

McCardie is excited about appearing in From Paisley to Paulo, the story of three young men who take off to a pop festival. “I play Jack, who becomes obsessed with Paolo Nutini, who was born at the same time in the same hospital in Paisley. Yet Jack can’t quite get his head around the fact Paulo has gone on to achieve huge fame, while he’s stuck inside his own head.”

Jack tells the world, or rather his immediate friends – Charlie (Saul Davidson) and Mavis (Joshua Haynes) that he and Paulo have been great friends, and he offers to take his chums to meet the pop star.

But it’s all a lie, which begins to unravel. “The friends come to argue about it. And it’s real a story about truth and lies.” And displacement and delusion. Jack is clearly in a bad place if he has to invent a friendship with a famous person.

“One of the main through lines in the play is this loss of the father figure. Jack has lost his papa, Charlie, we learn, lost his dad when he was young and Mavis’s dad has recently left, and at 19 has to take on the family business.”

Has the actor been through such a sense of loss? “I’ve lost uncles, and I never met my mum’s dad’s mum and dad. In fact, growing up I’ve felt bad because I never felt the love I had for them compared to my grandparents on my dad’s side. I remember aged eight saying to my mum ‘I’m sorry. I don’t really want to feel this way’.”

All of the McCardie family are delighted to see Michael take to the Oran Mor boards. However, dad Martin had misgivings; he wrote the play. “He didn’t want the pressure of his son being in his dad’s play. But he didn’t cast me in it.”

The casting however seems perfect. “ I was in school with Saul, although I never spoke to him at the time. And was at college with Josh. We’ve since become great pals.”

Yet, while 21-year-old McCardie has been acting for almost as long as he can remember, it’s refreshing to hear he believes he’s far from the finished article. “I’m about to attend the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland,” he says in proud voice. “I know what I want to do with my life now.”

From Paisley to Paulo, Oran Mor, Glasgow, until Saturday.