The highwayman in charitable mood by Geraldine Baybutt

Jonny Lee Miller robs from the rich to give to himself in his new film Plunkett and Macleane. Alongside Robert Carlyle, his co-star from the cult film Trainspotting, Lee Miller plays the role of an 18th century highwayman. This weekend he will be back out on the highways of London in search of cash but his motive will be strictly charitable.

Lee Miller, like Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels stars Jason Flemying and Jason Statham, is running in Sunday's Flora London Marathon.  He will wear the blue and yellow colours of Whizz-Kidz, the charity which specialises in kitting children out with tailor-made wheelchairs.  

The 26-year-old from Primrose Hill has trained in a variety of locations for his debut race. He has been running eight miles a day in London, Northampton, where he was filming for Jane Austin's Mansfield Park, and Glasgow during the making of a film based on Iain Banks' novel Complicity.  

His love of acting was first fuelled while at school, under the expert guidance of drama teacher, Frank Whately, brother of actor Kevin Whately.  His passion for running stems back to his days at Tiffin School in Kingston-Upon-Thames, where he excelled in cross-country and enjoyed playing rugby. 

"I used to play a lot of rugby. I lived in America for a while and I played for the Santa Monica Dolphins," he said. "But it is ferocious over there because the ground is so hard. One season I just broke too many bones and I thought, 'hang on a minute'. I even went to Cannes with my arm broken wearing a huge plaster and completely filled up with painkillers."

Lee Miller played the part of Sick Boy, the wide boy heroin junkie of Trainspotting, but in reality his only addiction is running.

"I try to run for at least an hour every morning before filming. Every week we get one day off on which I will generally do a big run - probably 20 or 22 miles. I have found that I have more energy and running helps me to stay more alert during work. Relaxation is very important for actors. If you are working 12-hour days, the mental concentration which you need is exhausting. Running clears my head completely. Once I have got my rhythm going, something just clicks and I get a real buzz of energy from it. On the last film which we finished two weeks ago, we had a really gruelling schedule. The first assistant director told me that I wouldn't even be able to run a bath but I am going to prove him wrong."

Mansfield Park, in which he plays the part of prudish academic Edmund, saw a return to costume. "I got so sick of hanging about in frilly shirts. Getting into costume every day just makes you long to get back in your jeans," he said.

On Sunday, a running vest will replace the frilly shirt but, despite his mounting fame, Lee Miller's face may go unnoticed by many in the crowds.

"I'm still kind of unrecognisable at the moment, even in London. I usually get a couple of autograph hunters per day but that's always nice. At the end of the day, if you are making films for people to enjoy and you hate getting feedback, then maybe you are in the wrong job. You can't close yourself off from people. I'm happy with my freedom but I also value my job as well."

Complicity took Lee Miller back to Glasgow, where Trainspotting was filmed. His running route along the Kelvin River and the city's canals and slopes left a strong impression. "If I go out in my trainers early in the morning I get to see loads of the city even before I go to work.  Glasgow is such a beautiful place to live. For the same price as just an ordinary place in London, you can live like a king in Glasgow and the countryside is only a few miles away. I've done three films there, so the place really does feel like my second home now. When I came up to Scotland, I brought all the cold running gear, including bright yellow stuff so that I wouldn't get run over on the dual carriageways. But I love running in the rain. You soon realise that rain doesn't actually hurt when you have been out in it enough."

Whizz-Kidz will have more than 700 runners in the London Marathon and are hoping to raise more than £1 million from their efforts.

"I realise how lucky I am to be able to enjoy running," said Lee Miller. "Using my legs to run the Marathon helps to point out the problems which disabled children face. It is important that all kids have their freedom and the charity's aim is to give children as much independence as possible."

But will Carlyle, his co-star in Plunkett and Macleane, also be taking to the track?  

"No, he won't be running. He used to run a lot when he was younger, but he is getting on a bit now, poor chap. He is more into yoga



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