Childhood & Early Life
Tom Cullen was born on July 17, 1985, in Aberystwyth, a historic market town in Wales. Both his parents are writers. He has a brother named Joseph and a sister named Ruth. Despite being the son of an Irish father and an English mother, he grew up fully assimilated into the Welsh culture.
In the early years, it was music that held much of his attention. He was raised in Llandrindod Wells before moving to Cardiff at the age of 12. He studied at the Llanishen High School and later attended Central School of Speech and Drama for a year. He then enrolled at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama from where he graduated in 2009 with a First Class Honours degree in Acting.
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From the very outset of his career, Tom Cullen demonstrated his natural talent for the craft. In 2006, while still a college student, he debuted on screen with the Welsh horror film ‘Daddy’s Girl’ (also known as ‘Cravings’), playing a character named Jason. The movie won the Best Film Award at the 2008 British Academy Cymru Awards.
During this period, he regularly appeared on stage as well. He performed in the productions of ‘Gorgio’ at the Bristol Old Vic, ‘Assembly’ and ‘A Good Night Out in the Valleys’ at National Theatre Wales, and ‘The Sanger’ at Sherman Cymru.
He then acted in a series of short films: ‘Watch Me’ (2008), ‘20 Questions’ (2009), and ‘Balance’ (2010). ‘Watch Me’ received a BAFTA Cymru nomination for the Best short film. In ‘20 Questions,’ he portrayed an unfaithful husband. Alternatively, he played a supportive husband in ‘Balance’.
In the ensuing years, he did three more shorts, ‘Henry’ (2012), ‘Room 8’ (2013), and ‘Trial’ (2016), with ‘Room 8’ winning BAFTA Award for Best British Short Film.
In 2010, he debuted on the small screen in the episode ‘Tokyo’ of the British docudrama ‘Banged Up Abroad’. Later, he worked in the S4C’s drama series ‘Pen Talar’.
He was cast as Russell, a quiet, reclusive lifeguard, in Andrew Haigh’s directorial venture ‘Weekend.’ The film registered an overwhelming critical acclaim and won several awards, including Audience Award for Emerging Visions at the SXSW Film Festival, Grand Jury for Best Film Award at the Nashville Film Festival, and Audience Award Best Film at the Toronto Inside Out LGBT Film Festival.
After making an appearance in an episode of the science fiction television anthology series ‘Black Mirror’ in 2011, he landed the role of Wulfric in the TV adaptation of Ken Follett’s historical fiction ‘World Without End’. The eight-episode miniseries originally aired in 2012.
For his next project, Cullen chose ‘The Last Days on Mars’ (2013), in which he played Richard Harrington, a scientist stationed on Mars. He was also involved in ‘Desert Dancer’ (2014), a movie based on the true story of Iranian choreographer and dancer Afshin Ghaffarian. In 2015, he shared screen space with Ray Winstone in the crime-drama ‘The Trials of Jimmy Rose’.
The year 2016 was the busiest one of his career as yet. He appeared in Joan Carr-Wiggin’s ‘Happily Ever After’, romanced his real-life partner Tatiana Maslany in ‘The Other Half’, and played a character named Jake opposite Idris Elba in ‘100 Streets’. In ‘Mine’, he collaborated with Armie Hammer and directors Fabio Guaglione and Fabio Resinaro. He also portrayed the main protagonist, Mark Wells, in Sky1’s ‘The Five’.
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Following the success of ‘Vikings’, History’s next series ’Knightfall’ has garnered a lot of interest. The upcoming show also stars Sam Hazeldine, Simon Merrells, and Ed Stoppard.
The 2017 television drama ‘Gunpowder’ is based on the infamous Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Cullen’s Guy Fawkes is a recurring character in the series.
Besides being an actor, he is a promising playwright and screenplay writer. He wrote and produced the 2008 short film ‘Naughties’ with fellow Welsh actor Alexander Vlahos. A year later, they set up the Undeb Theatre. In 2010, he staged his first full-length play ‘Kingfisher’.