Peter Mullan (//; born 2 November 1959) is a Scottish actor and filmmaker. He is best known for his role in Ken Loach's My Name Is Joe (1998), for which he won Best Actor Award at 1998 Cannes Film Festival, and The Claim (2000). He is also winner of the World Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Breakout Performances at 2011 Sundance Film Festival for his work on Paddy Considine's Tyrannosaur (2011). Mullan appeared as supporting or guest actor in numerous cult movies, including Riff-Raff (1991), Braveheart (1995), Trainspotting (1996), Young Adam (2003), Children of Men (2006), War Horse (2011) and the Harry Potter film series (2010–11).
Mullan at BAFTA in Scotland, 2005
(m. 1989; div. 2006)
Mullan is an acclaimed art house movie director. He won a Golden Lion at 59th Venice International Film Festival for The Magdalene Sisters, listed by many critics among the best films of 2003 and nominated for BAFTA Award for Best British Film and European Film Award for best film, and a Golden Shell at San Sebastián International Film Festival for Neds. He is the only person to win top prizes both for acting (Cannes best actor award) and for the best film (Golden lion for The Magdalene Sisters) at major European film festivals.
In television, Mullan appeared in Gerard Lee's and Jane Campion's acclaimed miniseries Top of the Lake as Matt Mitcham, head of the Mitcham family and father of Tui Mitcham, whose disappearance is the main topic of the series. He was nominated for Primetime Emmy Award for his work in the series. He played a lead role in the 2008 ITV series The Fixer. Beginning in 2017, he has appeared in the first two seasons of the Netflix series Ozark opposite Jason Bateman and Laura Linney. Since 2016, Mullan has starred in the BBC Two sitcom Mum. In 2018, he starred in the second season of HBO's Westworld, and in 2020 in the first season of the Netflix series Cursed.
Mullan is also politically active, supporting left-wing causes and protests.
Mullan was born in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, the son of Patricia (a nurse) and Charles Mullan (a lab technician at Glasgow University). The seventh of eight children, Mullan was brought up in a working class Roman Catholic family. They later moved to Mosspark, a district in Glasgow. An alcoholic, Mullan's father became increasingly tyrannical and abusive; he died from lung cancer when Mullan was 17. For a brief period, Mullan was a member of a street gang while at secondary school, and worked as a bouncer in a number of south-side pubs. He was homeless for short periods at the ages of 15 and 18.
Mullan went on to the University of Glasgow to study economic history and drama. There he began acting 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.
A self-described Marxist, Mullan continues to support socialist causes and was a leading figure in the left-wing theatre movement that blossomed in Scotland during the Conservative Thatcher government. These included stints with 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". Mullan took part in a 2006 occupation of the Glasgow offices of the UK Immigration Service, protesting against the UKIS's "dawn raid" tactics when deporting failed asylum seekers.
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." Mullan has agreed to appear in an adaptation of Iain Banks’ novel Stonemouth after the BBC aired a DEC appeal for Gaza in late 2014.
Mullan was a supporter of the Yes Scotland campaign in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum. 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.”
|1990||The Big Man||Vince|
|1991||Riff Raff||Jake||European Film Award for Best European Film|
|Good Day for the Bad Guys||John||Yes||Yes||Short film|
|1996||Trainspotting||Swanney "Mother Superior"|
|1997||Poor Angels||Gordon||Short film|
|Fairy Tale: A True Story||Sergeant Farmer|
|My Name Is Joe||Joe Kavanagh||Cannes Award for Best Actor|
|Mauvaise passe||Patricia's husband|
|2000||Ordinary Decent Criminal||Stevie|
|The Claim||Daniel Dillon|
|2001||Session 9||Gordon Fleming|
|2002||The 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|
|2005||On a Clear Day||Frank Redmond|
|Children of Men||Syd|
|2007||The Last Legion||Odoacer|
|Dog Altogether||Joseph||Short film|
|2008||Stone of Destiny||Ian's dad|
|2009||Red Riding: 1974||Martin Laws|
|Red Riding: 1980||Martin Laws|
|Red Riding: 1983||Martin Laws|
|2010||Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1||Corban 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||Corban Yaxley|
|War Horse||Ted Narracott|
|2013||Sunshine on Leith||Robert Henshaw|
|Welcome to the Punch||Roy Edwards|
|2016||Tommy's Honour||Old Tom Morris|
|2017||Hostiles||Lieutenant Colonel Ross McCowan|
|2018||Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle||Akela|
|Your Cheatin Heart||Tonto||Series 1, Episodes 3–5|
|Taggart||Peter Latimer||Series 5, Episode 2 and Series 6, Episode 3|
|1992||Rab C. Nesbitt||Peter the Warlock||Series 2, Episode 6|
|1993||Seeker Reaper||George Campbell Hay||Bilingual drama about the life of Scottish poet George Campbell Hay (1915-1984).|
|1994||The Priest and the Pirate||Billy Hill|
|Harry||Jimmy||Series 2, Episode 6|
|1997||The Longest Memory||Sanders Sr.||Whitbread First Novel Award for First Novel|
|2003||This Little Life||Consultant|
|Richard & Judy||Himself|
|2004||Shoebox Zoo||Michael Scot|
|2005||Sunday Morning Shootout||Himself||Series 2, Episode 15|
|2007||British Film Forever||Himself||Series 1, Episode 3|
|The Trial of Tony Blair||Gordon Brown|
|2008–2009||The Fixer||Lenny Douglas||Series 1–2|
|2009||Scotland on Screen||Himself|
|2012||The Fear||Richie Beckett|
|2013||Top of the Lake||Matt Mitcham||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|
|2018||Westworld||James Delos||Recurring role; 4 episodes|
|2020||Cursed||Father Carden||Recurring role; 9 episodes|
|2020||The North Water|
- Sources differ as to Mullan's exact birthdate; the Internet Movie Database states 2 November 1959.
- "Peter Mullan Biography (1960–)" Yahoo.com (Retrieved: 15 August 2009)
- "Biography: Peter Mullan", FilmReference.com (Retrieved: 15 August 2009)
- Malcolm, Derek; "Sins of the sisters", Guardian.co.uk 16 September 2002 (Retrieved: 15 August 2009)
- Ramsey, Nancy (27 July 2003). "An Abuse Scandal With Nuns As Villains". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 January 2011.
- Matheou, Demetrios; "Local Hero" Guardian.co.uk, 7 January 2001 (Retrieved: 15 August 2009)
- "On a razor's edge: Neds portrays 70s Glasgow in one light, but what was it really like?". The Scotsman. 18 January 2011. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
- "Peter Mullan & Anne-Marie Duff" FutureMovies.co.uk, 9 July 2003 (Retrieved: 15 August 2009)
- Jones, Emma (11 December 2015). "Peter Mullan brings homeless reality to big screen" – via www.bbc.co.uk.
- "Interview: Peter Mullan, a hard act to follow". www.scotsman.com.
- "Festival de Cannes: My Name Is Joe". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2 October 2009.
- "The Players: Peter Mullan" Guardian.co.uk (Retrieved: 15 August 2009)
- "Protesters in 'asylum raid' demo" news.BBC.co.uk, 2 November 2005 (Retrieved: 15 August 2009)
- English, Paul; "Peter Mullan and other stars to boycott BBC over Gaza charity snub" DailyRecord.co.uk, 27 January 2009 (Retrieved: 15 August 2009)
- "Peter Mullan among cast of BBC's adaptation of Iain Banks' Stonemouth - Inside Media Track". 20 October 2014.
- "Peter Mullan: I would love to do more comedy in the future" Metro.co.uk (Retrieved: 14 September 2015)
- "Peter Mullan: BBC showed 'horrendous bias' in Scottish referendum coverage" Guardian.co.uk (Retrieved: 14 September 2015)
- Christie, Janet (5 June 2015). "Interview: Peter Mullan, a hard act to follow". The Scotsman.
- Black, Stuart (11 December 2015). "Peter Mullan Makes Christmas Odyssey In New Film Hector". Londonist. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
- "Seeker Reaper - BBC ALBA". BBC.