Actor Kaspar Green’s journey from a schoolboy Kurdish shepherd to TV star

His malachite-jade stare pierces through, much like the Albanian gangsters he portrays.

Kaspar Green’s eyes paired with his jet-black mane and craggy features produce a menacing vibe that’s a casting director’s dream when looking for token baddies: pimps, human smugglers, murderers, with an ‘exotic’ background.

And he has found success on the screen playing them very well.

Green, 34, is currently one of the stars of Sky One’s police drama Bulletproof.

Born in the Iraqi-Kurdistan city of Sulaymaniyah, Green was just 16 when he escaped to the UK in 2002.

Traumatic recollections of his escape remain, understandably, off-limits.

“There are things I haven’t told anyone, not even my mum,” he confides.

Unable to speak a word of English, he came alone to Britain for what he refers to as  ‘political reasons’, and ‘because of Saddam’.

Saddam Hussein’s genocidal campaign against Iraqi-Kurds and his widespread use of chemical weapons, the destruction of 2,000 villages, and massacre of around 50,000 Kurds in the late ‘80s and his war on Iraqi-Kurds caused many to flee.

“That journey from Kurdistan to here, has made me who I am, and I am writing a book about that journey,” he adds.

I wonder what horrors must have occurred to teenage Green, what his eyes have seen. He plays tough guy gangsters, and I feel he has a reservoir of grit and grime to draw upon.

Little Kaspar was a shepherd until the age of 14 in the Kurdish village where he grew up.

“I loved those sheep. I was on the mountains all the time. I was a good shepherd. If one sheep is missing, the shepherd will leave the 99 sheep to find that one,” he says.

The village had no electricity and he didn’t have movie ambitions until he came to the UK and felt as if he should leave a legacy. He wanted to change something in the world.

“I wanted to have a voice, leave a legacy behind me, change something in the world.”

Green, pictured above, decided to become a doctor but after struggling with exams, turned his attention to acting.

He recalls: “I came across Scarface and saw that the guy [Tony Montana, played by Al Pacino] is an immigrant. I am an immigrant and this opened a door for me to pursue acting.”

When Green auditioned for a two-year National Diploma in Acting at Kingston College, he was asked to prepare two monologues: one classical, preferably Shakespeare, and one modern.

Instead, he wrote a gangster duologue reading both parts himself and singing a Kurdish song at the end of the audition.

The college’s head of drama was impressed and Green was offered a place.

In 2009, Green landed his big break, being accepted into East 15 acting school in Essex for a three-year MA of fine arts in acting and with a loan and bursary he was able to study there.

Did his family in Kurdistan support his acting career?

He says: “My family are very supportive of my acting. I visit often and I miss my hometown, although I have lived in Whitton for 17 years and I love it here.”

After years of theatre, Kaspar is enjoying his TV work.

Green says he relishes playing Albanian human smuggler Gazim Dushku in Bulletproof. The crime thriller genre resonates with him more than other genres. But romantic scenes and nudity are a big no-no.

“I have to respect my culture. Love making if you show it to people is pornography. Love making is not love when someone pushes a girl against a wall. I don’t wanna show that,” he says.

“Kissing is fine but not lust. It is not about religion, it is about culture and self-respect. Some roles will damage your career.”

Green plans to set up his own charity for vulnerable people with half of every pay cheque he receives going to the charity.

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