Some of his notable early film roles include Highlander, Braveheart, Trainspotting, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Last Legion, The Four Feathers and Troy. More recently, he appeared in Ben Hur, directed by Timur Bekmambetov and the independent film The Ashes In The Snow with Bel Powley.
His independent work in film has garnered him two prestigious prizes in recent years – he won the BAFTA Scotland Award for Best Actor for his performance in Morag McKinnon’s Donkeys, (part of the Advance party Trilogy), and last year won Best Performance in a British Feature Film for his stunning performance in The Pyramid Texts. Notable TV includes Sons of Anarchy and as Commander Mormont in Game of Thrones.
Recently, James can be seen on British television series Shetland, the BBC3 comedy drama Stag, and The Durrells for ITV. He is currently starring opposite Kate Bosworth and Sam Riley in the BBC 5 part thriller SS-GB, based on the 1978 novel written by Len Dieghton. He will also star in The Collection, due for imminent release for Amazon.