Best known for his award-winning portrayal of a recovering alcoholic in Ken Loach's My Name Is Joe (1998), Scottish actor Peter Mullan has been appearing in films since 1990. He first worked with director Loach in 1991's Riff Raff, and he has appeared in a number of popular Scottish films, including Danny Boyle's Shallow Grave (1994) and Trainspotting (1996), and Mel Gibson's Braveheart (1995). In 1998, the same year that he won the Cannes Film Festival's Best Actor prize for My Name Is Joe, Mullan made his feature directorial and screenwriting debut with Orphans. The story of four siblings gathered in Glasgow for their mother's funeral, it earned fairly positive reviews and comparisons to Gillies MacKinnon's Small Faces (1995). The following year, Mullan starred opposite Saffron Burrows in Miss Julie, Mike Figgis' adaptation of August Strindberg's tale about the disastrous affair between a wealthy young woman and her servant. He then went on to act in prominent roles for Ordinary Decent Criminal (1999), The Claim (2000), and Session 9 (2001). In 2002, he returned to directing and screenwriting with the controversial film The Magdalene Sisters, which managed to both win the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and be condemned by the Vatican.
Biography by Rebecca Flint Marx
- Is the third youngest of eight children.
- Father worked at the University of Glasgow, and died on the day Peter started school there in 1977.
- While in college, made extra money by entering disco-dancing competitions.
- Was rejected by the National Film School.
- While filming 2000's The Claim in the Canada Rockies, he had to be treated for hypothermia after spending six hours shooting in the snow.
- His 2002 film, The Magdalene Sisters, about Irish-Catholic women accused of sexual misconduct and forced to toil in church-run laundries where they suffer abusive treatment, touched off a dispute with the Vatican.
- In 2009, with three other British actors, he vowed never to work for the BBC again after the broadcaster refused to run a charity appeal for humanitarian aid in Gaza.
- Did a fashion spread in the July 2013 British edition of Esquire magazine.