Paddy Considine has a filmography that a lot of British actors would kill for. Not only has he starred in some of the best British films and TV shows of the last two decades, he’s also thrown in Hollywood blockbusters, as well as starring in two instalments of Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s ‘Cornetto trilogy’. Add to that appearing in music videos for the likes of Arctic Monkeys and Coldplay and breaking into the world of writing and directing, and you could say Considine has been a pretty busy guy since his debut in A Room for Romeo Brass in 1999.
Brass was Considine’s first film with long-time collaborator Shane Meadows as well as being his first appearance on the big screen. A fragile, unnerving and unpredictable character who ranges from the downright ridiculous to the scary, playing Morell gave Considine the chance to really show what he was capable of. It obviously worked, because after roles in the likes of 24 Hour Party People and In America, Considine once again teamed up with Meadows to co-write and star in Dead Man’s Shoes.
A dark and twisted film shot on a very small budget, Dead Man’s Shoes could have fairly easily slipped into the ether of forgotten British thrillers if not for Considine’s impassioned and unsettling performance as Richard, alongside the wonderful Toby Kebbell in his first film role. A disaffected soldier who returns to his hometown and begins wreaking vengeance on a group of men who mistreated his younger brother, Richard still stands out to this day as one of Considine’s most powerful performances. Despite the gore, brutality, and bleakness of the crimes he commits, Considine ensures you never turn your back on him, and no matter how many times you watch it, the performances and tragic storyline never lose their impact.
Dead Man’s Shoes was an unbelievable bolster for Considine’s career, with the following year seeing him star alongside Russell Crowe, Renee Zellweger, and Paul Giamatti in Cinderella Man, a real life rags-to-riches tale in which Considine stars as the alcoholic and embittered Mike Wilson. But now that he’d had a taste of Hollywood, along came a British film that would offer him a relatively small yet hugely funny comedy role.
Edgar Wright’s Hot Fuzz, set in a small village’s police station, saw Considine paired up with Rafe Spall as two lazy, belligerent detectives. Scarcely away from their desks where they’re only ever seen smoking and eating, the ‘Andys’ are the characters who go out of their way to make everyone else’s life hard. Hot Fuzz also gave Considine the opportunity to star in one of the best British ensemble casts of recent years, formed of the likes of Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jim Broadbent, Olivia Colman, Martin Freeman, Steve Coogan, Bill Nighy, and Bill Bailey. Even opposite Pegg and Frost, Considine and Spall managed to steal their scenes from under their feet.
That same year saw Considine leap back into Hollywood as the out-of-his-depth Simon Ross in The Bourne Ultimatum. A juicy supporting role, Considine looked just as comfortable in a serious role opposite Matt Damon as he did a useless, stupid detective in the West Country. The breadth of roles increased even more, with Considine playing the utterly ridiculous Graham in Richard Ayoade’s Submarine. The love interest of Sally Hawkins’ timid Jill, Graham is supposed to be ‘exotic’ and simply irresistible. Instead, he’s really just a loser with a pretty incredible ego and a transatlantic accent.
Then came Considine’s biggest leap to date – into the world of directing. Also written by him, Tyrannosaur gave an unflinching look at anger and domestic violence, as a charity shop worker tries to reach out to a vulnerable man while hiding an awful secret of her own. Teaming up with Hot Fuzz co-star and the ever sublime Olivia Colman, Considine’s directorial debut was pitch perfect and widely acclaimed, gifting him a BAFTA and a stack of awards for Colman.
But behind the scenes, something was troubling Considine. He started to visit an acting coach as he had begun to lose faith in himself as an actor. He’d got a reputation for being intense and sometimes distant. He was struggling to speak to people or even leave the house on some days. Life was becoming difficult, as he sat in constant fear that something bad was going to happen to him and his family. Then, in 2011, came the diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome, something that Considine said made complete sense to him. A while after this, a specialist told him that he may in fact have Irlen syndrome, another condition linked with autism. Happily, since the diagnosis, things have eased slightly for Considine.
2013 to the present day has seen Considine star in a roster of great British films. Once again he teamed up with Pegg and Wright for their final ‘Cornetto’ instalment The World’s End. Perhaps not quite as universally-lauded as Hot Fuzz, The World’s End still boasted the enviable ensemble of Pegg, Frost, Considine, Martin Freeman, and Eddie Marsan, as well as a pretty outrageous storyline. A small town story of the potential apocalypse, World’s End sees the cast battle blue gunk-filled aliens in their old favourite pubs.
Following in Cillian Murphy and Tom Hardy’s footsteps, Considine then took on a role in the BBC’s wildly successful Birmingham-based drama Peaky Blinders. The creepy Father John Hughes once again showed Considine’s knack for the darker side, an unnerving and pretty vile character by all accounts. Then came the wonderful Armando Iannucci’s The Death of Stalin, a supporting role for Considine but a hilarious performance nonetheless.
2018 sees Considine return to writing and directing, but this time also taking on the lead role of his film. Journeyman has already receiving glowing reviews worldwide, with our very own Tori describing it as “a film waiting ringside to deliver a heavy, gut-wrenching blow”. The story of a boxer who suffers a life-changing head injury, Journeyman looks sure to cement Considine in our hearts as one of the most passionate and versatile British actors around today.