Often times the “under the radar” status of an actor reasonably corresponds to the relative obscurity and/or commercial shortcomings of their chosen projects. But on occasion, even actors with a habit of showing up in major studio films, some of which amass substantial returns at the box office, can fall short of being household names.
Such is the case with Irish actor Ciarán Hinds. Hinds, who will be appearing alongside former Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe in this week’s horror release The Woman in Black, has throughout his career been in quite a few titles we know you’ve heard of, if not likely seen. Here are a few places you can catch sight of this wonderfully talented performer.
One of my favorite films of last year, John Madden’s The Debt is an arresting spy thriller featuring some truly outstanding performances and elegant storytelling. The film takes place in two separate eras and centers on a trio of secret agents who were tasked, in the 1960s when they were very young, with tracking down and killing a Nazi war criminal. Jumping forward to the late 90s, the three agents are being honored for their heroic deeds, but a secret they’ve kept for years is threatening to destroy them. Hinds plays the grown-up version of the agent played in his younger days by Sam Worthington. It is fascinating to see how the two of them occupy the same compelling role.
Sam Mendes, acclaimed American Beauty director (who is currently hard at work on the new James Bond film), gave us the stellar gangster drama Road to Perdition in 2002. Adapted from a graphic novel, the film tells the story of an Irish mob enforcer double-crossed by his own organization who must go on the run with his young son. Road to Perdition is gorgeously shot, masterfully performed by the likes of Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, and Daniel Craig, and features a great balance of old school gangster gunplay and emotional resonance. Ciarán plays, Finn McGovern, another Irish gangster who unwittingly becomes the catalyst for our hero’s tragic story. He delivers a powerful speech in the film in which he perfectly encapsulates the character played by Paul Newman; comparing him to a wrathful god.
The Woman in Black will not mark the first time Hinds has worked with young Daniel Radcliffe. That’s right—like nearly all of the greatest actors of the United Kingdom, Hinds found himself featured in the Harry Potter franchise, right before the final curtain, portraying Aberforth Dumbledore, the mysterious brother of the Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizadry. Though his role was small, and his screen time was brief, Hinds managed to leave an indelible mark upon the series.
The HBO series Rome, which ran from 2005-2007, was one of the earliest in this now seemingly rampant television movement to bring the graphic violence and sexuality back to history’s most famous tales. It focused on, as one would suspect, the ancient Roman Empire created by Julius Caesar and follows it through and beyond his assassination. Though the series primarily revolved around a pair of Roman soldiers named Lucius Vorenus (Kevin McKidd) and Titus Pullo (Ray Stevenson), Hinds played the doomed Julius Caesar. His portrayal of the legendary dictator was fantastic and, despite how many different actors had occupied the role in the past, uniquely his own.
Yes, I know, this is a film that has not yet been released, but as fans of Ciarán Hinds, we are very much looking forward to his appearance in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. The first film was off-the-wall insane, but there was something oddly watchable in its outlandishness. In the sequel, Hinds is set to play the devil himself, so yes, color us intrigued. It’s looking like 2012 is shaping up to be a huge year for Ciarán Hinds. In addition to The Woman in Black and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, he is also set to appear in Andrew Stanton’s John Carter, based on the novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs.