Brendan Gleeson (born 29 March 1955) is an Irish actor and film director. He is the recipient of three IFTA Awards, two BIFA Awards, one Emmy Award and has been nominated twice for a BAFTA Award and three times for a Golden Globe Award.
Gleeson at the British Independent Film Awards, 2014
29 March 1955 |
|Other names||Breeses Gleesies|
|Occupation||Actor, Film director|
|Spouse(s)||Mary Weldon (m. 1982)|
|Children||4; including Domhnall and Brian|
His best-known performances include supporting roles in films such as Braveheart (1995), Lake Placid (1999), Mission: Impossible 2 (2000), Gangs of New York (2002), 28 Days Later (2002), Troy (2004), as Alastor Moody in the Harry Potter films (2005–10), Albert Nobbs (2011), Edge of Tomorrow (2014), and Assassin's Creed (2016), and leading roles in films such as In Bruges (2009), The Guard (2011), Calvary (2014) and Live by Night (2016). He won an Emmy Award in 2009 for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in the television film Into the Storm.
Gleeson was born in Dublin, the son of Pat and Frank Gleeson. Gleeson has described himself as having been an avid reader as a child. He received his second level education at St Joseph's CBS in Fairview, Dublin where he was a member of the school drama group. After training as an actor, he worked for several years as a secondary school teacher of Irish and English at the now defunct Catholic Belcamp College in North County Dublin, which closed in 2004. He was working simultaneously as an actor while teaching, doing semi-professional and professional productions in Dublin and surrounding areas. He left the teaching profession to commit full-time to acting in 1991.
In an NPR interview to promote Calvary, he revealed that he was abused by a Christian Brother, saying, "I remember a particular Christian Brother dropped the hand on me at one point. It wasn't very traumatic and it wasn’t at all sustained, it was just one of these things where something odd happened."
As a member of the Dublin-based Passion Machine, Gleeson appeared in several of the theatre company's early and highly successful plays such as Wasters (1985), Brownbread (1987) and Home (1988). He has also written three plays for Passion Machine: The Birdtable (1987) and Breaking Up (1988), both of which he directed, and Babies and Bathwater (1994) in which he acted. Among his other Dublin theatre work are Patrick Süskind's one-man play The Double Bass and John B. Keane's The Year of the Hiker.
Gleeson started his film career at the age of 34. He first came to prominence in Ireland for his role as Michael Collins in The Treaty, a television film broadcast on RTÉ One, and for which he won a Jacob's Award in 1992. He has acted in such films as Braveheart, I Went Down, Michael Collins, Gangs of New York, Cold Mountain, 28 Days Later, Troy, Kingdom of Heaven, Lake Placid, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Mission: Impossible 2, and The Village. He won critical acclaim for his performance as Irish gangster Martin Cahill in John Boorman's 1998 film The General.
While Gleeson portrayed Irish statesman Michael Collins in The Treaty, he later portrayed Collins' close collaborator Liam Tobin in the film Michael Collins with Liam Neeson taking the role of Collins. Gleeson later went on to portray Winston Churchill in Into the Storm. Gleeson won an Emmy Award for his performance. Gleeson played Hogwarts professor Mad-Eye Moody in the fourth, fifth and seventh Harry Potter films. His son Domhnall played Bill Weasley in the seventh and eighth films.
Gleeson provided the voice of Abbot Cellach in The Secret of Kells, an animated film co-directed by Tomm Moore and Nora Twomey of Cartoon Saloon which premiered in February 2009 at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival.
Gleeson starred in the short film Six Shooter in 2006, which won an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film. This film was written and directed by Martin McDonagh who also wrote and directed In Bruges in 2008. The film, and Gleeson's performance, enjoyed huge critical acclaim, earning Gleeson several award nominations, including his first Golden Globe nomination. In the movie, Gleeson plays a mentor-like figure for Colin Farrell's hitman. In his review of In Bruges, Roger Ebert described the elder Gleeson as having a "noble shambles of a face and the heft of a boxer gone to seed."
Gleeson will be making his directorial debut in a film adaptation of Flann O'Brien's novel At Swim-Two-Birds. The Irish production company Parallel Pictures will produce the film with a budget of $11 million. Colin Farrell, Gabriel Byrne, and Cillian Murphy have been attached to star in the film, which was originally set for release in 2010. In October 2009, however, Gleeson expressed concern that the Irish Film Board's budget might be reduced given the state of the Irish economy and that At Swim-Two-Birds might fall through. Gleeson confirmed in July 2011, that he has secured funding for the project. He described the writing of the script as tortuous, saying that it has taken fourteen drafts so far.
In July 2012, he started filming The Grand Seduction, with Taylor Kitsch, a remake of Jean-François Pouliot's French-Canadian La Grande Séduction (2003) directed by Don McKellar; the film was released in 2013. In 2016, he appeared in the video game adaptation Assassin's Creed and Ben Affleck's crime drama Live by Night. In 2017 he finished Psychic, a short he directed and starred in.
Gleeson is a fiddle and mandolin player, with an interest in Irish folklore. He played the fiddle during his role in Cold Mountain, Michael Collins and also The Grand Seduction, and also features on Altan's 2009 live album.
He has been married to Mary (née Weldon) since 1982. He has four sons; Domhnall, Brían, Fergus, and Rúairí. Domhnall and Brían are also actors. Gleeson speaks fluent Irish and is an advocate of the promotion of the Irish language. Gleeson is a fan of Football League Championship team Aston Villa, as is his son Domhnall.
|1992||The Bargain Shop||Jim Kennedy|
|1992||M.A.N.: Matrix Adjusted Normal||Dr. Abraham||Short film|
|1992||Far and Away||Social Club Policeman|
|1992||Conneely's Choice||Josie Conneely||Short film|
|1992||Into the West||Inspector Bolger|
|1995||The Life of Reilly||Patient||Short film|
|1996||Angela Mooney||Barney Mooney|
|1996||Michael Collins||Liam Tobin|
|1997||Spaghetti Slow||Frank Ferguson|
|1997||The Butcher Boy||Father Bubbles|
|1997||A Further Gesture||Richard|
|1997||I Went Down||Bunny Kelly||Nominated—National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor|
|1997||Before I Sleep||John Harte||Short film|
|1998||The General||Martin Cahill||Nominated—National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
|1998||The Tale of Sweety Barrett||Sweet Barrett|
|1999||Lake Placid||Sheriff Hank Keough|
|1999||My Life So Far||Jim Menries|
|2000||Mission: Impossible 2||John C. McCloy|
|2000||Harrison's Flowers||Marc Stevenson|
|2000||Wild About Harry||Harry McKee|
|2001||Cáca Milis||Pól||Short film|
|2001||The Tailor of Panama||Michelangelo 'Mickie' Abraxas|
|2001||A.I. Artificial Intelligence||Lord Johnson-Johnson|
|2002||28 Days Later||Frank|
|2002||Gangs of New York||Walter 'Monk' McGinn|
|2002||Dark Blue||Jack Van Meter|
|2003||Cold Mountain||Stobrod Thewes|
|2004||In My Country||De Jager|
|2004||The Village||August Nicholson|
|2004||Six Shooter||Donnelly||Short film|
|2005||Kingdom of Heaven||Raynald of Châtillon|
|2005||Breakfast on Pluto||John Joe Kenny|
|2005||Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire||Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody/Bartemius Crouch Jr.|
|2006||Studs||Walter Keegan||Nominated—IFTA Award for Best Actor in a Lead Role – Film|
|2006||The Tiger's Tail||Liam O'Leary|
|2007||Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix||Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody|
|2008||In Bruges||Ken||Nominated—IFTA Award for Best Actor in a Lead Role – Film
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated—British Independent Film Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
|2009||The Secret of Kells||Abbot Cellach||Voice|
|2009||Perrier's Bounty||Darren Perrier||Nominated—IFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Film|
|2010||Green Zone||Martin Brown|
|2010||Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1||Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody|
|2010||Noreen||Con Keogh||Short film|
|2011||The Guard||Sergeant Gerry Boyle||Nominated—British Independent Film Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture
Nominated—IFTA Award for Best Actor in a Lead Role - Film
|2011||Albert Nobbs||Dr. Holloran||Nominated—IFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Film|
|2011||The Cup||Dermot Weld|
|2012||Safe House||David Barlow|
|2012||The Raven||Captain Charles Hamilton|
|2012||The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!||Pirate with Gout||Voice|
|2012||The Company You Keep||Henry Osborne|
|2013||The Smurfs 2||Victor Doyle|
|2013||The Grand Seduction||Murray French|
|2014||Calvary||Father James Lavelle||British Independent Film Award for Best Actor
San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
IFTA Award for Best Actor in a Lead Role - Film
Nominated—Detroit Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
|2014||Edge of Tomorrow||General Brigham|
|2014||Song of the Sea||Conor / Mac Lir||Voices|
|2014||Stonehearst Asylum||The Alienist|
|2015||Suffragette||Arthur Steed||British Independent Film Award for Best Supporting Actor|
|2015||In the Heart of the Sea||Old Thomas Nickerson|
|2016||Alone in Berlin||Otto Quangel|
|2016||Trespass Against Us||Colby|
|2016||Live by Night||Thomas Coughlin|
|2016||Assassin's Creed||Joseph Lynch|
|2017||Paddington 2||Nuckles McGinty|
|1989||Dear Sarah||Brendan Dowd||Television film|
|1990||Hard Shoulder||Lorry Driver||Television film|
|1991||Saint Oscar||Television film|
|1991||The Treaty||Michael Collins||Television film|
|1991||In the Border Country||Farmer||Television play|
|1993||The Snapper||Lester||Television film|
|1993||Screenplay||Thomas Macken||Episode: "Love Lies Bleeding"|
|1994||The Lifeboat||Leslie Parry||9 episodes|
|1995||Kidnapped||Red Fox||Television film|
|1998||Making the Cut||Flanagan||Television film|
|1998||This Is My Father||Garda Jim||Television film|
|2009||Into the Storm||Winston Churchill||Television film
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor – Miniseries or a Movie
Satellite Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—IFTA Award for Best Actor in a Lead Role – Television
Nominated—British Academy Television Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
|2017–present||Mr. Mercedes||Bill Hodges||10 episodes|
|2017||Psychic (Short Film)||Acting and directing||Also starring Domhall and Brian Gleeson. Written by Ruari Gleeson and music by Fergus Gleeson.|
|2018||The Ballad of Buster Scruggs||Television miniseries|
Finders Keepers Bill Hodges Second Book in Mr. Mercedes Trilogy Television Mini Series
- "The heart of the matter" Archived 11 November 2014 at the Wayback Machine. 17 February 2011, RTE.ie
- In Conversations with Eamon scruphy Archived 20 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine. 10 November 2007, RTÉ
- "School is out for Brandon Gleeson", 23 July 1999, Entertainment Weekly
- "Gannon to get €400m for Belcamp College site" Archived 4 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine. 10 September 2006, Business Post
- "Brendan Gleeson reveals abuse by Christian Brother". Independent.ie.
- "Irish Theatre Institute's Playography database". Irish Theatre Institute.
- "STARS WHO HIT IT BIG AFTER 30". The Hype. Archived from the original on 23 August 2013.
- "The Devoted Friend". Wilde Stories. Channel 4. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
- Brendan Gleeson on Foodandwine.net
- "THE SECRET OF KELLS to screen at the Dublin International Film Festival" 10 December 2008, Irish Film Board web site
- Review of In Bruges by Ebert at Rogerebrt.com
- RTÉ article on At Swim Two Birds RTÉ
- Quote from Irish Examiner re Irish Film Board funding Irish Examiner
- Gleeson, Sinead (16 July 2011). "Capturing the Glee Factor". Irish Times. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
- Fleming, Mike (30 July 2012). "Brendan Gleeson, Taylor Kitsch Find 'The Grand Seduction'". Deadline.com. PMC. Retrieved 25 August 2012.
- "Altan EPK". Mpibands.com. Archived from the original on 9 October 2011. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
- "Capturing the Glee factor", 16 July 2011, The Irish Times
- "Star Wars actor Gleeson: Villa Wembley win was special day" Archived 16 May 2015 at the Wayback Machine., 13 May 2015, Aston Villa
- "Hugh Grant joins Paddington sequel as shooting begins".