He attended Auchmuty High School.
In 1988, he moved to London. Scott began his acting career in national theatre, television, and puppet shows. He appeared in his first role on the television series Soldier Soldier and made his film debut in Twin Town.
His first major film roles were as Prince Henry in Ever After and the hero in the film adaptation of the Robert Harris novel Enigma.
In 2000, he signed up to play the villain in Mission: Impossible II (hand-picked by star Tom Cruise) but was also due to play Wolverine in the feature film version of X-Men. When Mission: Impossible II went over schedule, Scott was replaced by Hugh Jackman in X-Men.
After the 2002 release of Die Another Day, Scott was a frontrunner to replace Pierce Brosnan as James Bond. Despite the numerous reports that Eon Productions was leaning towards naming Scott as the new Bond in the 007 adventure Casino Royale, the role eventually went to Daniel Craig.
In January 2006, he appeared in the miniseries The Ten Commandments as Moses.
He also appeared in the National Broadcasting Company series Heist, which aired in March 2006 for five episodes. From 2006 until 2007, he starred in the third season of Desperate Housewives as Teri Hatcher"s character"s new love interest. In 2007, he played the primary antagonist in the film Hitman, based on the popular video game.
He appeared in the title role(s) of a modern re-telling of Doctor Jekyll and Mr.
Hyde. In May 2009, it was announced that he was to play ex-con Michael O" Connor in the new RTÉ- Independent Television drama Father & Son. Scott starred in The Day of the Triffids.
The drama was broadcast in December 2009 as part of the British Broadcasting Corporation 1 Christmas schedule. On the opening weekend in the United Kingdom it took just £121 in June 2011.
In April 2011, Scott portrayed football manager Matt Busby in the British Broadcasting Corporation television drama United, which was centred on the Munich air disaster of 1958, in which Busby was badly injured but survived.
Busby"s family were reportedly "incensed" by Scott"s portrayal, with Busby"s son commenting that his father"s character "had the appearance of a gangster rather than a football manager" and wore an overcoat and trilby hat instead of a tracksuit, despite Busby famously being the first "tracksuit" manager of the post-World World War II era. In 2013, he guest starred as para-psychological researcher/ghost hunter (and War Hero) Alec Palmer in the Doctor Who episode "Hide" alongside Matt Smith, Jenna Coleman and Jessica Raine. Scott has signed up to play the main primary villain in Taken 3 (hand-picked by star Liam Neeson) in 2015.