Peter Mullan

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Peter Mullan
Mullan at BAFTA in Scotland, 2005
Born (1959-11-02) 2 November 1959 (age 62)
Peterhead, Scotland
Occupation Actor, filmmaker
Years active 1988–present

Peter Mullan (born 2 November 1959)[1] is a Scottish actor, filmmaker and socialist. He is known for his acting role in My Name Is Joe, winning Best Actor Award at 1998 Cannes Film Festival. Mullan appeared as supporting or guest actor in numerous cult movies, including Riff-Raff, Braveheart, Trainspotting, Children of Men, War Horse and the Harry Potter film series.

He is also acclaimed art house movie director, winning a Golden Lion at 59th Venice International Film Festival for The Magdalene Sisters, listed by many critics among best films of 2003, and a Golden Shell at San Sebastián International Film Festival for Neds.

Early life

Mullan was born in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, the son of Patricia (a nurse) and Charles Mullan (a lab technician at Glasgow University).[2][3] The second youngest of eight children, Mullan was brought up in a working class Roman Catholic family.[4][5] They later moved to Mosspark,[citation needed] a district in Glasgow. An alcoholic and sufferer from lung cancer, Mullan's father became increasingly tyrannical and abusive.[6] For a brief period, Mullan was a member of a street gang while at secondary school,[6] and worked as a bouncer in a number of south-side pubs.[7] He was homeless for short periods at the ages of 15 and 18.[8]


Mullan began acting at university and continued stage acting after graduation. He had roles in films such as Shallow Grave, Trainspotting, Braveheart and Riff-Raff. His first full-length film, Orphans, won an award at the Venice Film Festival. In 2002, he returned to directing and screenwriting with the controversial film The Magdalene Sisters, based on life in an Irish Magdalene asylum. Mullan won a Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival.

Mullan's role as a recovering alcoholic in My Name Is Joe won him the Best Actor Award at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival.[9]

Personal life

Mullan is a lifelong supporter of Celtic Football Club. A Marxist,[6] he was a leading figure in the left-wing theatre movement which blossomed in Scotland during the Conservative Thatcher government, including stints in the 7:84 and Wildcat Theatre companies. A passionate critic of Tony Blair's New Labour government, he told The Guardian "the TUC and the Labour Party sold us [the working class] out big style, unashamedly so".[10] Mullan took part in a 2005 occupation of the Glasgow offices of the UK Immigration Service, protesting against the UKIS's "dawn raid" tactics when deporting failed asylum seekers.[11]

In January 2009, Mullan joined other actors in protesting against the BBC's refusal to screen a Disasters Emergency Committee appeal for Gaza. They told BBC director general Mark Thompson: "Like millions of others, we are absolutely appalled at the decision to refuse to broadcast the appeal. We will never work for the BBC again unless this disgraceful decision is reversed. We will urge others from our profession and beyond to do likewise."[12] Mullan has agreed to appear in an adaptation of Iain Banks’ Stonemouth after the BBC aired a DEC appeal for Gaza in late 2014.[13]

Mullan was a supporter of the Yes Scotland campaign in the Scottish independence referendum, 2014.[14] In 2015 he criticised the BBC for "horrendous bias" against the Yes campaign and told the Radio Times that " to see the BBC used as a political cudgel against a legitimate democratic movement ... really broke my heart.”[15]



Year Title Role Director Writer Notes
1990 The Big Man Vince
1991 Riff Raff Jake European Film Award for Best European Film
1992 Sealladh Sim Short film
1993 Close Vincent Yes Yes Short film
1994 Shallow Grave Andy
1995 Fridge - Yes Yes Short film
Good Day for the Bad Guys John Yes Yes Short film
Braveheart Veteran
1996 Trainspotting Swanney "Mother Superior"
1997 Poor Angels Gordon Short film
Fairy Tale: A True Story Sergeant Farmer
1998 Duck Mick
My Name Is Joe Joe Kavanagh Cannes Award for Best Actor
Orphans - Yes Yes
1999 Miss Julie Jean
Mauvaise passe Patricia's husband  
2000 Ordinary Decent Criminal Stevie  
Claim, TheThe Claim Daniel Dillon  
2001 Session 9 Gordon Fleming  
2002 Magdalene Sisters, TheThe Magdalene Sisters Mr O'Connor Yes Yes Winner of Golden Lion
2003 Young Adam Les Gault
Kiss of Life John
2004 Out of This World Jim
Criminal William Hannigan
Blinded Francis Black
Waves Himself
2005 On a Clear Day Frank Redmond
2006 Cargo Brookes
Children of Men Syd
True North Riley
2007 Last Legion, TheThe Last Legion Odoacer
Dog Altogether Joseph Short film
Boy A Terry
2008 Stone of Destiny Ian's dad
2009 Red Riding: 1974 Martin Laws
Red Riding: 1980 Martin Laws
Red Riding: 1983 Martin Laws
Connolly James Connolly
2010 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 Yaxley
Neds Mr. McGill Yes Yes Winner of Golden Shell
2011 Tyrannosaur Joseph World Cinema Special Jury Prize: Dramatic (Male)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 Yaxley
War Horse Ted Narracott
2013 Sunshine on Leith Robert Henshaw
The Liability Peter
Welcome to the Punch Roy Edwards
2014 Hercules General Sitacles
2015 Sunset Song
2015 Hector Hector McAdam[16]
2017 Jungle Book: Origins Akela Filming


Year Title Role Notes
1988 The Steamie Andy
1990 Opium Eaters Willy
1990 Your Cheatin Heart Tonto Series 1, Episodes 3–5
1990 Taggart Peter Latimer Series 5, Episode 2 and Series 6, Episode 3
1991 Jute City Mallet
1992 Rab C. Nesbitt Peter the Warlock Series 2, Episode 6
1993 Seeker Reaper[17] George Campbell Hay Bilingual drama about the life of Scottish poet George Campbell Hay (1915-1984).
1994 The Priest and the Pirate Billy Hill
1995 Ruffian Hearts Chez
1995 Harry Jimmy Series 2, Episode 6
1996 Nightlife Billy
1997 Longest Memory, TheThe Longest Memory Sanders Sr. Whitbread First Novel Award for First Novel
1997 Bogwoman Barry
2003 This Little Life Consultant
2003 Richard & Judy Himself
2004 Shoebox Zoo Michael Scot
2005 Sunday Morning Shootout Himself Series 2, Episode 15
2005 Continuará... Himself
2006 Continuará... Himself
2007 British Film Forever Himself Series 1, Episode 3
2007 Trial of Tony Blair, TheThe Trial of Tony Blair Gordon Brown
2008–09 Fixer, TheThe Fixer Lenny Douglas Series 1–2
2009 Scotland on Screen Himself
2012 Fear, TheThe Fear Richie Beckett
2013 Top of the Lake Matt Mitcham Series Regular
Equity Ensemble Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Miniseries or Telemovie
Nominated - AACTA Award for Best Guest or Supporting Actor in a Television Drama
Nominated – Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Movie/Miniseries Supporting Actor
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
2014 Olive Kitteridge Jim O'Casey HBO miniseries, episodes 1-3
TBA Quarry The Broker Upcoming series


  1. Sources differ as to Mullan's exact birthdate; the Internet Movie Database states 2 November 1959.
  2. "Peter Mullan Biography (1960–)" (Retrieved: 15 August 2009)
  3. "Biography: Peter Mullan", (Retrieved: 15 August 2009)
  4. Malcolm, Derek; "Sins of the sisters", 16 September 2002 (Retrieved: 15 August 2009)
  5. Ramsey, Nancy (27 July 2003). "An Abuse Scandal With Nuns As Villains". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 January 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Matheou, Demetrios; "Local Hero", 7 January 2001 (Retrieved: 15 August 2009)
  7. "Peter Mullan & Anne-Marie Duff", 9 July 2003 (Retrieved: 15 August 2009)
  9. "Festival de Cannes: My Name Is Joe". Retrieved 2 October 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "The Players: Peter Mullan" (Retrieved: 15 August 2009)
  11. "Protesters in 'asylum raid' demo", 2 November 2005 (Retrieved: 15 August 2009)
  12. English, Paul; "Peter Mullan and other stars to boycott BBC over Gaza charity snub", 27 January 2009 (Retrieved: 15 August 2009)
  14. "Peter Mullan: I would love to do more comedy in the future" (Retrieved: 14 September 2015)
  15. "Peter Mullan: BBC showed 'horrendous bias' in Scottish referendum coverage" (Retrieved: 14 September 2015)
  16. Black, Stuart (11 December 2015). "Peter Mullan Makes Christmas Odyssey In New Film Hector". Londonist. Retrieved 12 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. BBC iPlayer, Seeker Reaper, first broadcast in 1993, repeat broadcast December 2015 to mark the centenary of the poet's birth

External links