Ciarán Hinds is a veteran character actor from Ireland. Over the course of his four-decade-long career, he has accumulated over a hundred film and TV credits. A Belfast native, Hinds grew up in a Catholic household and developed an early interest in dancing. He initially pursued a career in law before shifting his attention to acting. After studying the craft at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, he began his professional career on stage. His first play was Glasgow Citizens' Theatre’s 1976 production of ‘Cinderella’. In 1977, he made his screen debut in an episode of the historical TV series ‘Out of the Past’. He had his big screen debut in the 1981 fantasy adventure film ‘Excalibur’. In the ensuing years, Hinds has essayed memorable portrayals of various characters in all three mediums of performing arts. He has won numerous accolades, including the Career Achievement Award at the 2010 Dublin International Film Festival and two Behind the Voice Actors Awards in 2014 as part of the vocal ensemble in the 2013 animated film ‘Frozen’.
Childhood & Early Life
Born on February 9, 1953, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Ciarán Hinds is the son of amateur actress Moya Hinds and doctor and schoolteacher Gerry Hinds. He has four sisters: Caitriona, Bronagh, Gerardine, and Moya. The family was Catholic, residing in North Belfast.
Hinds started taking dance lessons when he was quite young. He attended Holy Family Primary School and St. Malachy's College.
At first, he wanted to pursue a legal career and enrolled at Queen's University, Belfast. However, he was later convinced that his true calling in life is acting. He subsequently dropped out of Queen’s to attend the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, from where he graduated in 1975.
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Ciarán Hinds made his stage debut in ‘Cinderella’ in 1976. Through the late 1970s and mid-1980s, he was making regular appearances on various productions at Citizens' Theatre. In Ireland, he enjoyed spells with the Abbey Theatre, the Field Day Theatre Company, the Druid Theatre, the Lyric Players' Theatre and at the Project Arts Centre.
In 1987, he joined the cast of Peter Brook’s production of ‘The Mahabharata’ as Ashwattaman. Based on the Sanskrit epic ‘Mahabharata’, the original 1985 French play was nine hours long. It was contracted to six hours for a TV miniseries and to about three hours for the big screen and DVD. Hinds has also been affiliated with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
In 1999, for his performance as Larry in the London and Broadway productions of Patrick Marber's ‘Closer’, Hinds received the Theatre World Award for Best Debut in New York and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Special Achievement.
His other prominent theatre credits include ‘The Yalta Game’ (2001), ‘The Seafarer’ (2007-08), and ‘The Birds’ (2009).
Ciarán Hinds followed up his debut cinematic appearance in ‘Excalibur’ (1981) with the drama film ‘December Bride’ (1991), romance drama ‘Circle of Friends’ (1995), and French-Italian erotic drama ‘Il tempo dell'amore’, (1999).
In the 2002 crime film ‘Road to Perdition’, Hinds shared screen space with Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Jude Law, and Jennifer Jason Leigh. He played former Israeli soldier and cleaner Carl in Steven Spielberg’s 2005 historical drama ‘Munich’.
He worked with Daniel Day-Lewis in Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2007 biographical drama film ‘There Will Be Blood’.
In the final film of the Harry Potter franchise, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2’ (2011), Hinds essayed Aberforth Dumbledore, the brother of Albus Dumbledore. He was cast as Roy Bland ("Soldier") in the 2011 Cold War spy thriller ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’.
In the massively successful Disney 3D computer-animated musical fantasy film ‘Frozen’, Hinds lent his voice to the troll king Grand Pabbie. He also voiced the main antagonist Steppenwolf in the live-action superhero film ‘Justice League’ (2017). He is set to appear in the upcoming comedy film ‘The Thin Man’.
Following his TV debut in the 1977 episode of ‘Out of the Past’, Hinds appeared in the TV movie ‘The Long March’ in 1980. In the 1994 television miniseries ‘Seaforth’, Hinds portrayed John Stacey. He played Fyodor in the four-part BBC television drama series ‘Cold Lazarus’ (1996).
Between 2005 and 2007, Hinds portrayed Gaius Julius Caesar in 13 episodes of the HBO series ‘Rome’. In unarguably his greatest on-screen performance, Hinds brought out the natural charisma, bravura, and political genius of the character. He also masterfully and subtly demonstrated his incapability to compromise, which ultimately led to his downfall.
He played DCS James Langton in ITV’s ‘Above Suspicion’ (2009-12), Bud Hammond in USA Network’s miniseries ‘Political Animals’ (2012), Mance Rayder in HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ (2013-15), and Walter in BBC Studios’ ‘MotherFatherSon’ (2019).
Family & Personal Life
Ciarán Hinds became acquainted with actress Hélène Patarot in 1987 while they were both members of the cast of ‘The Mahabharata’. She was playing Gandhari in the project. They have been together since and reside in Paris. In 1991, the couple welcomed their daughter Aoife into the world.