He’s a bit of a legend in the UK, not as well known in the US, and now he’s starring in Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon. But who is Paddy Considine? Well, he’s a British actor and director who grew up in Burton-on-Trent in Staffordshire (that’s in the West Midlands for our American friends – you’re welcome!). He’s won two BAFTA awards both as director for his short film Dog Altogether and for his feature debut Tyrannosaur which starred Olivia Colman and Peter Mullan and was one of the first movies to really introduce Colman as a heavy weight actress. In House of the Dragon Considine plays Viserys I Targaryen, the well-meaning but ineffectual leader of the Targaryen dynasty, and King of the Seven Kingdoms. Loving his performance and want to see more? Here are his best roles.
A Room for Romeo Brass
Considine studied Performing Arts at Burton College where he met Shane Meadows with whom he would frequently collaborate. A Room for Romeo Brass is Considine’s first movie role, where he plays disturbed local man Morell who insinuates himself into the lives of a couple of 12-year-olds Gavin and Romeo (Ben Marshall and Andrew Shim – the latter would go on to be one of the stars of This is England). He stops them from getting beaten up, they try to help him get a date with Gavin’s big sister (Vicky McClure, who also starred in This is England). But things turn nasty before too long. Considine’s unpredictable Morell is a highlight and helped the film get three nominations at the British Independent Film Awards.
Dead Man’s Shoes
This might be the role that Considine is best known for. It’s certainly the one that has the most rabid fanbase. Once again directed by Shane Meadows this is a horror film with Considine as the avenging angel out to punish the men who tormented his brother (a breakout role for Toby Kebbell). “God will forgive them. He’ll forgive them and allow them into Heaven. I can’t live with that,” spits Considine’s Richard at the start. He is a ball of quiet rage and as the story unfolds you begin to understand why. This is an extraordinary film and a must watch for those who haven’t yet seen it. Considine’s performance is an incredible showcase of how powerful pure fury can be – Richard is single minded, doesn’t care about anything but vengeance, and therefore cannot be intimidated by anything. The petty criminals might be armed and (semi-) dangerous but he is the nightmare they have conjured.
Considine’s second directorial feature sees him take the starring role as Matty Burton, a middleweight boxing champion whose years of pummellings take their toll. Like Tyrannosaur, Journeyman is heart wrenching – he’s a dark one that Considine – and his central performance carries it. Jodie Whittaker also shines and Matty’s wife who has painful decisions to make after Matty’s personality drastically changes following Matty’s necessary brain surgery. He’s a broken man, volatile, occasionally violent and not in control any more. Not a fun watch then, but an absolute showcase of Considine’s talent.
If you haven’t seen Pride, stop what you’re doing and put it on immediately. Based on the incredible true story of the lesbian and gay activists who supported families suffering due to the 1984 British miner’s strike, the film is about as heart-warming as you can get. The stellar cast is a who’s who of top notch British talent (Imelda Staunton, Bill Nighy and Joseph Gilgun to name a few) and Considine is a safe pair of hands as Dai Donovan, a leader of the men’s union and a true leader for the community in breaking down long held prejudices. He may be outshone in the entertainment stakes by an incredible performance from an exuberant Dominic West, but he is as wonderful as ever in this life-affirming crowd pleaser.
How to Build a Girl
Another string to Considine’s bow is ‘people’s lovely dads’. How to Build a Girl, the movie based on Caitlin Moran’s semi-autobiographical novel, might be the zenith of these. He plays the dad of fledgling teenage music journo Johanna Morrigan (Beanie Feldstein). While the movie is about Johanna’s journey from creative ambitious teen to arsehole critic and back, her betrayal of her dad (who dreams of being a musician himself) and his unfailing support of her is a touching throughline. Considine is funny and likable and always eminently watchable. Variations on the above include protective and broken hearted dad in otherwise-awful teen grief-porn Now is Good and flirty new age guru neighbor in Submarine.
Le Donk and Scor-zay-zee
Considine actually has a long history with music, including a stint in a band with Shane Meadows, so he is perfect as Le Donk, a roadie and failed musician (we’re not implying Considine himself is ‘failed’ musically, to be clear) who is mentoring the young rapper Scor-zay-zee and generally being a bit of an arse. In the vein of This is Spinal Tap, it’s a mockumentary with Shane Meadows playing himself as the director and the Artic Monkeys performing and appearing too. Le Donk is strange, misguided, petulant and a fairly terrible ex-partner to his pregnant former girlfriend Olivia (Olivia Colman). Still it’s actually a redemptive journey and a very funny one at that, culminating with a killer performance from Scor-zay-zee and a bizarre one from Le Donk, singing: “Just calm down Deirdre Barlow, Just calm down Stephen Hawkings, Just calm down Tinky Winky, Just calm down Mork and Mindy…”
Although his co-stars Samantha Morton and Djimon Hounsou got the Oscar odds for their performances in In America, Considine shines in his role as a bereaved father trying to make a new life with his family in Jim Sheridan’s semi-autobiographical tear-jerker. Johnny Sullivan (Considine) gets into America via Canada on a tourist visa with his wife Sarah (Morton) and his two daughters (incredible performances from young actresses Sarah Bolger and Emma Bolger) following the death of his son Frankie. The loss of Frankie dominates as the family try to make a fresh start in New York and Considine’s performance is terse and tense as he tries to provide for his family and navigate his own grief. Like many of Considine’s roles, it isn’t a breezy watch, but it is wonderful (tissues recommended for viewings).
The second in Edgar Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy, Hot Fuzz has cemented itself as a British comedy classic since its release in 2007. We all know the plot by now, (but as a refresher) PC Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) is a fish out of water police officer sent to rural Gloucestershire and is partnered up with the incompetent PC Danny Butterman (Nick Frost). Pretty much as soon as he arrives local residents start getting bumped off and Angel tries to solve the murders with help from the (initially reluctant) local police force, including Considine as one of the detective ‘Andys’. “It’s alright Andy, it’s just Bolognese!” may take the crown for the best line in Hot Fuzz; shouted by Considine in a supermarket shootout as the other ‘Andy’ Rafe Spall attempts to avenge his partner’s (Dolmio) injuries. See also The World’s End, where he rejoins Pegg, Frost and Wright for an out-of-this-world pub crawl.
Like most Peaky Blinders villains, Series 3’s Father John Hughes is not a subtle creation. (See also: Adrien Brody’s matchstick-and-scenery-chewing Italian mobster in Series 4.) Despite that, Considine manages to ground his sickening character in a performance based on quiet assuredness. An Irish paedophile priest with friends in high places, Hughes symbolises the rot in the establishment that Tommy Shelby – at that stage – was still attempting to join. Few in Peaky Blinders can boast of rattling Tommy, but Father Hughes does it when he casually announces that he and his MP acquaintance will be visiting the Shelby orphanage after hours to visit the “little creatures”. He also requires keys to the place and a private office on the grounds. Using a gentle Irish accent (Considine’s father was Irish), Father Hughes represents the very worst of the Catholic church, and one of the Shelby family’s nastiest antagonists.
Red Riding 1980
Depressingly, David Peace’s Red Riding quartet, with their stories of historical police corruption and malfeasance hidden behind a badge and uniform, couldn’t be more relevant today. Paddy Considine starred alongside Maxine Peake and Warren Clarke in the James Marsh-directed second of Channel 4’s three acclaimed adaptations. The feature-length episodes focused on police misconduct surrounding the investigation into the Yorkshire Ripper murders. Though Hunter’s personal life showed that he was no paragon, he was an honest man trying to do right in the face of resistance and hostility from his fellow officers, and Considine exuded upright trustworthiness in the role. His portrayal of Hunter’s moral struggle was a realistic and affecting one as the character navigated a tricky path around his colleagues’ lies and cover-ups. Ultimately, the discovery of a dark conspiracy ended up costing Hunter dearly, and Considine made sure the audience felt every moment.
The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher
Considine is superb as real-life 19th century DI Jack Whicher in this short run of feature-length period crime dramas. Whicher was an acclaimed officer and one of the first to make up Scotland Yard’s historical Detective Branch, until his reputation was publicly derailed by a case he was later vindicated over. That investigation – involving the murder of a three-year-old boy – was the subject of Kate Summerscale’s celebrated novel of the same name. Screenwriter Neil McKay (Appropriate Adult) adapted it for ITV, and Helen Edmundson then kept Whicher alive for two further fictionalised instalments. Considine is a great fit as the brilliant detective worn down by seeing the very worst of people. He’s totally believable as the modest and methodical Whicher, whose meticulous approach garners results. Forget flashy ego-driven maverick detectives, we need more like Considine’s morally steady man on TV.