Robert Carlyle OBE (born April 14, 1961) is an acclaimed BAFTA and Screen Actors Guild Award-winning Scottish film actor.
Carlyle was born in Maryhill, Glasgow, the son of Elizabeth, a bus company employee, and Joseph Carlyle, a painter and decorator. He was raised by his father after his mother left when he was four years old. Carlyle enrolled in acting class at the Glasgow Arts Centre at the age of 21.
Carlyle is a graduate of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. In 1991, he and four friends founded an acting company and guest starred in The Bill. He first came to the attention of the public as murderer Albie Kinsella in an episode of Cracker opposite Robbie Coltrane (in which he killed the character, DCI David Bilborough, played by Christopher Eccleston). He soon landed the role of Highland policeman Hamish Macbeth in the eponymous BBC comedy-drama.
In 1996 and 1997, he appeared in what are arguably the two most high-profile roles of his career to date: that of the psychopathic Francis Begbie in Trainspotting and Gaz, the mild-mannered leader of a group of amateur male strippers, in The Full Monty.
Other memorable roles include the senior Malachy McCourt (father of author Frank McCourt) in the 1999 film adaptation of McCourt's first memoir, Angela’s Ashes, the villainous Renard in the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough, a cannibalistic soldier in Ravenous, the gay lover of Father Greg in Priest and Adolf Hitler in Hitler: The Rise of Evil. Carlyle played the part of Don Harris, one of the main characters in 28 Weeks Later. Most recently, he plays the lead role as a marine engineer, attempting to save London from total devastation in the disaster film Flood, released in 2007. 1997 saw Carlyle star with Ray Winstone in Face which was released finally in 2002 on DVD. Carlyle is also rumoured to be the next Doctor in the popular BBC drama series, Doctor Who.
Known for his commitment to roles, Carlyle has often altered his lifestyle and physical appearance to better understand a character. Examples include: Before playing a homeless character in Antonia Bird’s Safe, he went to live in the Waterloo area of London where the film was set; For his role as a bus driver in Ken Loach’s Carla’s Song, he passed the test for a PCV licence (a licence to drive a bus with passengers) in a Glasgow Leyland Atlantean bus; For the role of Hitler, he listened to all the works of Richard Wagner, Hitler's favorite composer. As a result, Carlyle is now a committed fan. For 28 Weeks Later in the rage virus consumption scene, Carlyle banged his head against a toughened glass window so hard and so often during shooting that he suffered splitting headaches for about three days.
Carlyle is the Patron of School For Life Romania, Charity No.1062953.
- 99-1 (1994)
- Cracker- "To Be A Somebody" (1994)
- Hamish Macbeth (1995 - 1998)
- Looking After Jo Jo (1998)
- Hitler: The Rise of Evil (2003) (as Adolf Hitler)
- Gunpowder, Treason & Plot (2004) (as King James I)
- Human Trafficking (2005) (Emmy Award nomination Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie)
- Class of '76 (2005)
- Born Equal (2006)
- The Last Enemy (2008)
- 24: Exile (2008)
- Stargate Universe (2009-2011) (Dr. Nicholas Rush)
- Once Upon a Time (2011-present) (Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold)
- Silent Scream (1990)
- Riff-Raff (1990)
- Tender Blue Eyes (1992)
- Safe (1993)
- Being Human (1993)
- Priest (1994)
- Go Now (1995)
- Trainspotting (1996)
- Carla's Song (1996)
- The Full Monty (1997)
- Face (1997)
- Plunkett & Macleane (1999)
- Ravenous (1999)
- The World Is Not Enough (1999)
- Angela's Ashes (1999)
- The Beach (2000)
- There's Only One Jimmy Grimble (2000)
- To End All Wars (2001)
- The 51st State (2001)
- Once Upon a Time in the Midlands (2002)
- Black and White (2002)
- Hitler: The Rise of Evil (2003)
- Dead Fish (2004)
- The Mighty Celt (2005)
- Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing and Charm School (2005)
- Eragon (2006)
- 28 Weeks Later (2007)
- Flood (2007)
- Stone of Destiny (2008)
- The Tournament (2008)
- I Know You Know (2008)