Irish thesp Emmett Scanlan, 35, is best known for playing bad-boy Brendan Brady in Brit soap “Hollyoaks.” He co-stars in the BBC series “The Fall” with Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan, and played the head riot guard in “Guardians of the Galaxy.”


Growing up in Dublin, he caught the acting bug when he saw “Rocky” on TV. “I remember being a kid watching the movie by myself in the living room,” he says. “Right then, I knew I wanted to do what Stallone did. I wanted to act.”


Scanlan got to use some of Rocky’s moves in 2009 Irish drama “Once Upon a Time in Dublin,” where he plays a bare-knuckle fighter who has to come to terms with the murder of his younger brother, and leaves a bloody trail behind him. For a kid who wanted to be the hero, he notes he’s often been cast as the villain. “The irony is I’ve ended up as the Dolph Lundgren on most of my projects,” he says.


Scanlan has had disappointments. The actor tried for the title role in NBC’s “Constantine,” but lost out to Matt Ryan. Still he’s philosophical about it. “Every time we think we’re being rejected, we’re being re-directed to something better. You have to believe that,” he explains.


In dark thriller “Charlie Casanova,” his lead character is a ruling-class sociopath who uses a deck of playing cards to tell him what to do next after he kills a girl in a hit-and-run accident. “ ‘Charlie Casanova’ was one of the most intense and visceral experiences of my life, and ultimately the most rewarding,” Scanlan says. “(Writer-director) Terry Mc-
Mahon is a genius. I think he’s the Aaron Sorkin of Ireland.”


Scanlan’s next movie, “Breakdown,” is about a hitman haunted by his past. He says he loves performing in films, but that TV is more organic. “You learn as the character learns, as the series evolves,” he says.