Ciarán began his professional stage career in 1976 in the production of Cinderella at the Glasgow Citizens' Theatre, and performed in many more productions with the company for several years.
He added to his oeuvre of stage work in various theatres throughout Britain and Ireland, including the Field Day and Druid theatre companies. He was selected by Peter Brook to join the cast of The Mahabharata, a six-hour play that toured the world, and he also appeared in the 1989 film version before joining the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1990. Among his many roles with the RSC was the lead in the 1993 production of Richard III, directed by Sam Mendes.
|From Belfast to Hollywood Ciarán has made a name for himself as a quality actor...|
He also appeared in many productions with the National Theatre in London, where he originated the role of Larry in Patrick Marber's hit play, Closer. Ciarán reprised this role when the play went to Broadway in 1998-1999.
In 1981, Ciarán made his film debut in Excalibur, which also starred Helen Mirren, Patrick Stewart, and fellow Irishmen Liam Neeson and Gabriel Byrne. Ciarán has gone on to many more film appearances, including The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover with his Excalibur co-star Helen Mirren; The Sum of All Fears with Ben Affleck and Morgan Freeman; Road to Perdition with Tom Hanks and Paul Newman; and Steven Spielberg's Munich among many, many films.
In a recent spate of screen work, Ciarán has appeared with Nicole Kidman in Margot at the Wedding, with Colin Farrell and Ralph Fiennes inIn Bruges, with Frances McDormand and Amy Adams in Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, with Ryan Philippe in Stop-Loss, and with Daniel Day-Lewis in the Oscar-winning There Will Be Blood.
Ciarán is well known for his portrayal of Julius Caesar in the recent HBO series Rome, but his television career started much earlier with his role as Ashwattaman in the television miniseries, The Mahabharata, in 1989. He has since starred in numerous television series such as Prime Suspect 3, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, and Tales from the Crypt. Along with his feature film roles, Ciarán has played classic characters in made-for-TV films including Captain Wentworth in Jane Austen's Persuasion, Brian de Bois-Guilbert in Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe, and Mr. Rochester in Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre.
Ciarán has lent his mellifluous voice to several audiobook and radio productions. He narrated the audiobooks Ivanhoe and the Caedmon Short Story Collection including James Joyce's A Painful Case among other works. He played the roles of Leontes in A Winter's Tale and Antony in Antony and Cleopatra in the Arkangel Complete Shakespeare collection. Among his radio performances, he played Valmont in the BBC Radio production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses and narrated several productions including BBC Radio's Book at Bedtime reading of Damage and works from James Joyce's Dubliners.
More recently, Ciarán starred as Mr. Lockhart in The Seafarer (for which he earned critical acclaim) at the Booth Theatre on Broadway through March 2008. In France, Ca$h came to theatres in April 2008 while he was filming Race To Witch Mountain, a Disney "re-imagining" of the 1975 film Escape to Witch Mountain. Summer 2008 saw Ciarán on another TV project where he was cast as DCI Langton in Lynda La Plante's adaption of her book Above Suspicion, which was aired in January 2009 on ITV1 and turned out to be a great succes.
He finished filming Conor McPherson's The Eclipse in Ireland at the end of September 2008, a movie that is due to have its premiere at the TRIBECA movie festival in April/May 2009. Up until mid December 2008 he was part of the cast of Todd Solondz' project Life During Wartime.
Soon afterwards we were looking forward to seeing him in a leading part in Peter Flannery's play Burnt By The Sun, which brought him back to the stage in London until the end of May 2009.
During the play's run he was also fiming The Debt (directed by John Madden) with Helen Mirren.
In 2009, there has been a handfull of projects where he appeared again in a leading role or as a minor character: on stage at the Gate Theatre in Dublin, Conor McPherson's The Birds (September-October 2009), for the big screen as Aberforth Dumbledore in Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows and for ITV, he took on DCI Langton's role again in a sequel based on Lynda La PLante's second novel in Anna Travis' series, The Red Dahlia.
The filming of John Carter where he plays a Martian ruler took him until mid 2010. May 2010 saw him in Detroit to star along with Pierce Brosnan in Salvation Boulevard directed by George Ratliff and the third season of Lynda La Plante's Above Suspicion, Deadly Intent kept him busy during the Summer.
Also on his plate are The Rite, adapted from Matt Baglio's book, The Woman In Black, adapted from Susan Hill's book, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, adapted from John Le Carré's spy novel, and The Spirit Of Vengeance, a sequel of the 2007 movie based on a Marvel comic book, shot in 3D in Romania and Turkey.
2011 has proved to be a great year in many ways. Apart from his small parts in talked about movies like Harry Potter and a fourth season of Above Suspicion, he seems to be going back to his Irish roots, with Terry George's short movie The Shore and Terry Loane's Sisters (still not confirmed in 2012). Then he returned to the stage in Sean O'Casey's Juno and the Paycock for the Autumn season, first at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, then at the National Theatre, in a role he has already played in 1983.
In the third and fourth seasons of Game of Thrones, Ciarán was Mance Rayder, the "King Beyond The Wall". At Richard Rodger's NY Broadway theatre, he was Big Daddy in the revival of Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, from 18 December 2012 to 30 March 2013.
In 2013, he landed the leading part in Conor McPherson's new play The Night Alive from 13 June 2013 to 27 July 2013 at the Donmar WareHouse. The Night Alive jumped to New York for a run from 30 November 2013 to 26 January 2014 at the Atlantic Theater Company.
In 2014, Ciarán trod the boards of the Abbey Theatre alongside his longtime stage partner Sinéad Cusack, in Mark O'Rowe's new play, Our Few and Evil Days (which ran from September 26 to October 25) while landing a steady stream of supporting roles in Last Days in the Desert, Hitman: Agent 47, The Driftless Area and Bleed For This. In recognition of his services to film and drama, Ciarán also received a well-deserved honorary degree from Queen's University (Belfast).
Ciaran Hinds has accumulated an extraordinary record of achievement and a legacy of work that will live long in the memory. He has graced the stage, screen and cinema, and has established himself as a leading light in a generation of actors which is already astounding in the depth and breadth of its talent. (Professor Tony Gallagher, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Queen's University).
In 2015, he was in the Shakespearean play Hamlet alongside Benedict Cumberbatch. He played Hamlet's uncle, King Claudius. The play was held at the London Barbican.
In 2016, he appeared as Deputy Governor Danforth in the Broadway production of Arthur Miller's play The Crucible alongside Saoirse Ronan and Ben Whishaw, and starred in two short films Love is a Sting and The Hope Rooms.
In 2017, he was in the role of Steppenwolf in Zack Snyder's upcoming superhero film, Justice League, and was a voice in Aisha Tyler's Axis. On stage, he appeared in Conor McPherson's Girl From The North Country, a kind of musical written around songs by Bob Dylan, where he was the only non singing character.
2018 was a good year on stage and screen, with some nice productions, especially Brian Friel's Translations at the NT London, The Terror, a series inspired by Jonh Franklin's ill-fated expedition to the Northwest Passage, and First Man, the life of astronaut Neil Armstrong, where he played a small but pivotal role.
With his versatility as a gifted character actor plus the "tall, dark, and handsome" look of a remarkable leading man, Ciarán is a favourite not only of fans, but of directors and other actors who value his artistic talents, professionalism as well as human qualities that make him a pleasure to work with. He has won respect and recognition from critics and colleagues alike as shown by these numerous awards:
1999: Won the Theatre World Award for best debut in New York for his portrayal of Larry in Closer.
1999: Won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Special Achievement for best ensemble cast performance in Closer.
1999: Nominated for the Drama Desk Award nomination for outstanding featured actor in a play (also for Larry in Closer).
2003: Nominated for the Irish Film & Television Award for best supporting actor in film/TV for his role as John Traynor in Veronica Guerin.
2004: Won the Audie Award for best audio drama performance for his roles as Leontes and Antony in the fully dramatised recordings of William Shakespeare's plays included in The Complete Arkangel Shakespeare
2004: Won the Irish Film & Television Award (IFTA) for best actor in a dramatic series for his role as Michael Henchard in The Mayor of Casterbridge.
2007: Won the Irish Film & Television award for best actor in a lead role in television for his portrayal of Julius Caesar in Rome.
2007: Nominated for the Gotham Award for best ensemble cast for his role in Margot at the Wedding.
2009: Best Actor in a narrative feature film at the eighth Tribeca Film Festival.
2010: Nominated for the IFTA for best actor in a lead role for his part in The Eclipse.
2010: Won the Volta award in Jameson Dublin International Film Festival.
2010: Won the first "Belfast sink" award in Belfast Film Festival for his "Outstanding Contribution to Cinema & Television".
Actor, nominated in 2015 for best actor for Punk Rock, staged by the Lyric Theatre, Belfast
Ciarán Hinds was the guest speaker at my A-level prizegiving at St Malachy's College, Belfast. He spoke eloquently about what led him down the path of becoming an actor. He talked about how he left St Malachy's and began to study law at Queen's University Belfast; after half a year he dropped out to pursue a career as an actor. He mentioned how it was tough, exhausting, challenging, at times disappointing, and, for many, not worth it. In fact he managed to squeeze all the glamour out of the idea of being an actor completely.
I suppose the school would have gone mad had he persuaded us all to ignore academia and follow the arts. I could see a glimmer in his eye, a mischievousness that suggested he was having fun. I was drawn to it and the idea of pursing a career in acting. A few months later I got accepted into Queen's to study law. Secretly , however, I had other plans. I spent the next year auditioning for drama schools and got into the Lir Academy, in Dublin.
What I take away from that night in St Malachy's, and from Ciarán Hinds, is that if I really want to do this then I have to work and work and work harder, to be prepared to face challenges along the way and to enjoy a bumpy ride.
I also have to learn how to get that mischievous twinkle in my eye.
Himself: I go for stories with passion, things that involve minds and progress.
Himself: I don't see myself following in the footsteps of Liam, Pierce and Gabriel. I'm not driven by ambition to be a star. I'm just a spinner of other people's stories.
Belfast: I grew up in North Belfast in the 1950's and 60's, which I remember now as a time of innocence, invention and imagination. The Waterworks on the Cavehill Road provided us with a great arena to indulge many pastimes, whether it was sailing homemade model yachts on the reservoir, playing whatever sport we had in mind - ranging from international cricket to Gaelic football via wheelbarrow racing - or picking off imagined hordes of Red Indians or Japanese soldiers who were advancing over the brow of the Cavehill Mountain high above us. The Cavehill provided us with many bicycle paths and cowboy trails; most school holidays Mitch Campbell, Joe McAuley and myself could be found up there, either in the bluebell woods that my Grandfather Gibson first introduced me to, or even higher up on the rocky incline known as Napoleon's Nose - we favoured the left nostril, as I remember. The Cavehill Road turns into the Limestone Road where I attended Holy Family Primary School, and just behind it, in Newington Street, lived the woman who was to have a profound influence on my life, the remarkable Patricia Mulholland, who, from the 1940's to the 1980's, taught generation after generation the beauty of Irish dancing with patience, skill and supreme elegance.
Irish dance: My own professional life has been greatly influenced by the fourteen years I spent dancing with the company - the precision, the presentation, the absolute necessity of teamwork, the endless hours of practice . . . and so much FUN!
Generosity: When you find somebody who doesn't give and take, you go, 'Remind me never to work with you again.'
Irishness: My soul is still Irish.
It's so tough to get movies made in Ireland anymore. A whole generation of Irish filmmakers doesn't have the resources to get a movie made.
Sometimes, there's not an honest engagement of Ireland in Hollywood movies.
Film promotion: I've never traveled to promote anything I've been in. I've only been to about two or three premieres. The way I work, I do bits, and then I'm off to something else, whether it's theater or another project.
Being human: I do believe as human beings we are a great mass of contradictions.
Comics: I'm not a comic person at all. It never reached me in the north of Ireland, in the '60s and '70s growing up. We used to get stupid comics like The Topper and The Beezer, things like that.
Christianity: You know, Christianity has its own superstition anyway: Why you turn three times, what this saint means, why you pray to the patron saint of lost causes, why you go this way or that way.
Cold Lazarus: I was apalling at science at school. The vernacular of cryogenics and biochemistry can be one hell of a mouthful but Potter knew what he was talking about. You just have to say the lines as he wrote them and hope that you're serving his ideas.
Rome: I would like to thank the director for having the nerve to cast me (February 9th, 2007).
There Will Be Blood: The nature of Fletcher is that he sees that there's practical work to be done and he does it, very quietly and modestly. (It sounds as if this ever modest actor was speaking of himself...)
His part as Lady MacBeth at the age of 12: My mum says I haven't done anything as good, so it's an on-going battle trying to hit that high again.
Studying law at Queen University: My tutor suggested I quietly leave the law faculty - because snooker and poker wasn't much use to them.
Watching himself: It can be awfully nervewracking seeing yourself on screen. You have to put your ego aside.
His career:...But my dream is still to be offered these wonderful, little Irish films, in Donegal or Derry. It's good for my Irish soul.
Acting:...we all have to arrive, whatever happens, with the same intention, on the same evening, at the same time. There is no one way to do it - acting is a mystery.
Nicole Kidman: Licking Nicole Kidman's neck was fine by me but I hope she didn't care.
Noah Baumbach: I've worked a lot with Noah Baumbach, and he doesn't make it easy to like his characters, but the stories are funny and witty and there's an edge to that kind of humanity.
His honorary degree: It is not something I usually go for in my life, but it is such an honour and a privilege to be considered for a doctorate. My father was a doctor and I was never going to follow in his footsteps because I am not very good with blood, but here I am.
"It was quite extraordinary because at the same time I wasn't running away from what was going on the north of Ireland, but it was insane in 1973. Civil rights had kicked off '68, '69 and the army had moved in; we have internment introduced. There were tit-for-tat killings. And it was sort of something that you began to accept just part of the life that went on there. But there was nowhere, as I decided that maybe I would try and change to be an actor, there was nowhere Ireland at that time that you could do that. So, the only place is to head over to England and see if you could get a placement in one of the theater schools there, which is what I did."
"So, I have to say I arrived over, I suppose, in '73 to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. And I had very long hair, and I was going around in skinny denims and bare feet. And I probably had a chip on both shoulders. But what I did understand was how fortunate I was to come over at a proper age and meet young English people who were as inquisitive of what was going on there, what was it all about, and it wasn't about just one nation against another. There was a whole people who wanted to know, to understand, what was the way out, what we could do. So, for me, I was quite lucky."
"One of like, well, you – A, you've finally been rumbled, and, B, well, it lets the pressure off for a bit. Because when every time you come to work, you think you have to kid yourself that you can do it and it doesn't get any easier the older you get. You've just got more doubts."
Copyright © 2008 Ciarán Hinds! All rights reserved.