SCOTT Miller had never been on a horse in his life. His backside had never even sat on a Blackpool donkey.

Not even a hobby horse.

For most people, it matters not a jot if they don’t know which way to face when on top of a mount. But that wasn’t the case with Scott.

At the end of last year, it was imperative the then 24-year-old could convince he was John Wayne, that he and six and a half feet of hair, teeth and muscle were one and the same.

The young man from Cumbernauld was going through a gruelling round of seven auditions for War Horse, the National Theatre stage show currently on tour.

“For one of the auditions, I had to leap six and a half feet into the air and jump onto the life-sized horse,” he says of the giant puppet, his voice suggesting the fear he felt at the time.

“Thankfully I managed to get away with it and look the part, even though I’d never been near a horse in my life.”

War Horse is an adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s story of a young boy called Albert and his horse, Joey.

Set against the backdrop of World War 1, a deeply moving tale emerges when Joey, bought by Albert’s dad with the mortgage money in a fit of drunken bravado, is sold to the army as a war horse and sent to France.

However, Albert is determined he and Joey will be reunited and the play features Albert’s attempts to connect.

The part however calls for a young actor to replicate a perfect Devon accent; not one of the easiest to get to grips with, the danger being the performer sounds less like Ross Poldark and more like one of The Wurzels.

“As luck would have it, my flat mate when I was in drama school (at Lamda in London) was actually from Devon.

“When I heard the part called for a Devon accent my first thought was ‘I know how to do this!’ But what’s the chances of an actor student sharing a flat with a Devonian?

“It’s a very hard accent to grasp. It’s really nuanced. So I had to layer my technique with a 1914 sensibility. I spent a lot of time on YouTube as well, and doing work with a voice coach. But I knew the reward was huge.”

Scott Miller’s passion for acting is underlined when he reveals the unusual route to acting success.

“I’d gone to Scottish Youth Theatre from the age of 11. I did a summer course and it really changed my life.”

Scott was so sure he wanted to become an actor he left school aged 16, just after Fourth Year. “I needed to get out.”

He adds; “I suppose lots of young people feel disconnected. But maybe for me the feelings were accelerated because of the experience I’d had with SYT.”

Revealingly, he went back to SYT, this time to work on reception, “to do other jobs with the company, working up the ladder and learning.”

Did his parents have a say in their son leaving school so early? “I don’t think I was a loose cannon as such, but it was definitely about doing what I wanted to do. This was me at the time. Hopefully I’ve grown up a bit since then. But at least I was committed to being an actor.”

While working at SYT, Miller auditioned for a London theatre role, which he didn’t get, but the producer rated the keen young hopeful so much it led to interest from Vox Motus theatre company - who offered Miller a role in a new production, Dragon.

Scott excelled as the tormented teenager who loses his mother in this story of isolation and adolescence. And he went on to feature in Glasgow’s Oran Mor Play, Pie and a Pint season.

At this point he was accepted for drama college (Lamda) and took off to London. But why not go in the first place?

“I just never felt ready,” he admits. “I needed to grow up and SYT allowed me the place to mature. And at what age should you go to drama college? Can you go and learn to become other people if you don’t yet know yourself?”

His time was now. “I was trepidatious about moving to London,” he admits. “And when the buzz of arrival wears off you realised you’re in amongst lots of young actors who are really committed and so hard working.

“It’s a hard business to be in. Straight out of drama school I was straight into working in a bar. But that’s good. You meet lots of fascinating people, and you get a chance to learn about real life.”

Scott lives in London with Scottish actor Joanne McGuinness, who starred in theatre hit Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour. “We met in Dragon all those years ago when she played my sister,” he recalls, grinning.

“It’s great. We help each other with audition scripts. She’s working a lot at the moment but I’d love the chance to work with her at some point.”

As well as landing the starring role in War Horse, the actor appeared in his first film this year, Balance Not Symmetry alongside Laura Harrier of Spider Man and Black Klansman fame.

Scott clearly savours, but also appreciates current success.

“ I know for a fact I will have to go back to working in a bar one day,” he offers. “I’ll always be an actor, but not always a working actor. “

War Horse, the Clyde Auditorium, January 15 - February 2.