Ciarán Hinds

Active - 1981 - Present  |   Born - Feb 9, 1953 in Belfast, Northern Ireland  |   Genres - Drama

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Biography by Rebecca Flint Marx

An Irish actor of charisma and talent, Ciarán Hinds has applied his skills to screen, stage, and television. A towering, burly man whose jagged features make him a natural for playing strong, silent types, Hinds has won respect and recognition from critics and drooling women alike.

Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on February 9, 1953, Hinds was the fifth child of a doctor and an amateur actress. He attended Belfast's Queen's University for a year with an eye toward studying law, but he left to pursue acting. After studying at London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Hinds found employment with the Glasgow Citizens Company, where he made his professional debut playing the back end of a horse in Cinderella. He acted with the company for the better part of the next decade, splitting his time between Glasgow and Ireland. In 1987, he received one of his first big breaks, at the hands of esteemed director Peter Brook, who selected him as a member of his Paris-based theatrical company; the actor was soon performing all over the globe.

Hinds made his film debut in John Boorman's 1981 Excalibur, but he did not make another movie until 1989. That year, he appeared in a supporting role in Peter Greenaway's stylishly horrifying The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover. After sharing the screen with actors like Richard Bohringer, Tim Roth, and Excalibur co-star Helen Mirren, Hinds went on to make December Bride the next year, and in 1993 he won acclaim for his performance in the made-for-TV Hostages. Two years later, Hinds began to win recognition outside of the U.K., first for his small role as a university professor in the popular Circle of Friends and then for his more sizable performance in Roger Michell's acclaimed adaptation of Jane Austen's Persuasion. As Captain Frederick Wentworth, captor of heroine Anne Elliot's repressed affections, Hinds caused many an audience member to wonder where he had been for so long, and, more important, when and where he would reappear. When was the following year and where was Some Mother's Son, a drama based on a 1981 hunger strike in a Belfast prison. Hinds had a supporting role in the film, which reunited him with Mirren, but the next year he had a more substantial part in Gillian Armstrong's Oscar and Lucinda, in which he played a reverend. That character was a far cry from his next role, a man trapped in the Irish conflict in 1970s Belfast in Titanic Town (1998). In 1999, Hinds could be seen in Chris Menges' The Lost Son with Daniel Auteuil, Bruce Greenwood, and Natassja Kinski, and in Il Tempo Dell'Amore, which was shown at that year's Toronto Film Festival.

The new millennium seemed to bring about something of a re-birth for Hinds' enduring career, with featured roles in such widely-seen films as The Sum of All Fears, The Road to Perdition, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, and The Phantom of the Opera hinting that Hollywood may have finally grown savvy to the impressive talents of the physically-imposing actor. Of course it wasn't all Hollywood glamor, with roles in such limited-release but critically-praised independents as The Weight of Water and Veronica Guerin, and Calendar Girls serving well to help Hinds balance out the big-budget blockbusters. In 2006 Hinds would step into the sandals of no less that Julius Caesar when he essayed the role of the notorious Roman general in HBO's lavish historical drama Rome, with a subsequent role in director Steven Spielberg's 2005 drama Munich preceding a turn as a hard-charging FBI agent in Michael Mann's high-octane action thriller Miamy Vice in 2006. In 2007 he played the closest associate of oil tycoon Daniel Plainview in Paul Thomas Anderson' Oscar-winning There Will Be Blood, and appeared in Margot at the Wedding. He was in Todd Solondz's sort-of sequel to Happiness, Life During Wartime, and was prominent in the well-reviewed 2011 adaptation of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. He joined the cast of Harry Potter in that successful series' final entry, and a very busy 2012 found him with major roles in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, The Woman in Black, and providing a voice in the infamous box-office flop John Carter.

In addition to his screen work, Hinds has kept busy both on television and the stage. On the small screen, he has appeared in series like Prime Suspect 3 (1993), A Dark Adapted Eye (1994), Jane Eyre (1997), and Ivanhoe (also 1997). On the stage, Hinds has taken part in a number of productions, perhaps most notably the London and Broadway productions of Patrick Marber's Closer in 1998 and 1999. As part of an ensemble cast including Natasha Richardson, Rupert Graves, and Anna Friel, Hinds won raves for his work, further establishing himself as an actor of international acclaim.

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  • Studied law at Queen's University before deciding to pursue an acting career.
  • Made his professional stage debut in a Glasgow Citizens Company production of Cinderella, playing the back end of a horse.
  • First big-screen role was in the 1981 fantasy feature Excalibur.
  • Most prominent TV role to date was Gaius Julius Caesar in the HBO-BBC co-production Rome.
  • Is a patron of YouthAction Northern Ireland's youth drama group Rainbow Factory School of Performing Arts.