Hinds is picking up rave reviews
May 8, 2003
Don't talk stardom with Belfast-born Ciaran Hinds and donít talk heart-throb status; he's made a name for himself as a quality actor but when it comes to his growing reputation as a screen sex symbol the 50-year-old greets the very idea with a laugh.
"I don't see myself following in the footsteps of Liam, Pierce and Gabriel. I'm not driven by ambition to be a star. I'm just a spinner of other people's stories.
"And I certainly can't imagine what women see in me. The only time I look in the mirror is when I wash my face in the morning, and all I see is this baggy-eyed, unshaven, pale-faced blob. I would have loved to look like Gary Cooper or Montgomery Cleft, but instead I got this.
"The other day I went into my local shop and the couple behind the counter said: 'When we see you on TV, you always look so nice and tidy and you dress up in those lovely clothes, but whenever you come in here you look so scruffy!' I had to plead guilty as charged, I'm afraid."
Hinds' next scene-stealing big-screen outing is in director Joel Schumacher's Veronica Guerin, yet another look at the murder on a Dublin street in l996 of the Sunday Independent investigative journalist who exposed the city's drug barons. He plays Guerin's snitch, and he walks off with all the honours.
Which is what he usually does when he's on screen. In even the smallest cameo roles, Hinds is the one you remember; and more and more Hollywood studios are remembering his performances and lining up the jobs.
In this latest Guerin bio the part of the dedicated journalist is played by Cate Blanchett, who has, like Hinds, been picking up rave reviews, even though she's actually an Australian!
Hinds was brought up in Belfast, the fifth child and only son of a doctor and a fine amateur actress, from whom he got his acting bug, and he studied law, briefly, at Queen's: "It was my law tutor who saw my instinct was towards acting and he suggested I transfer to English and drama."
He soon found himself at RADA in l960's London, doing what you'd expect good-looking young actors to do: It was a time of little money, all-night poker games and parties. I didn't have any family or responsibilities, so I had a lot of fun!"
His first acting job was with the famous Glasgow Citizens Theatre: "My first professional job was as the back end of the horse in Cinderella."
But it was a start; and Hinds soon found himself stealing scenes as Brian Keenan in Hostages, the sneering baddie Brian de Bois-Guilbert in Ivanhoe and the romantic hero Mr Rochester in Jane Eyre. He actually likes these costume dramas: "Any period bar the present I'll have a go at. The trouble with contemporary drama is that they have to put in all those dull sex scenes, and the story just stops; I'd rather get on with the plot, it's much more interesting."
A dedicated family man - his wife is Helene Patarot, the French-Vietnamese actress, and they have a daughter, Aoife - Hinds is finding his attitude to Hollywood is being tested to the full. He's certainly not into the glittering star scene: "I've never been ambitious or had any particular plans. I just touch wood that I'm working. As long as I'm earning enough money to get by on, enough to keep my family happy, that's all I need. The rest is a bonus."
Hollywood, though, clearly has other ideas; so the man who has already been seen alongside such stars as Helen Mirren, Julia Roberts, Patrick Stewart, Liam Neeson, Gabriel Byrne, Glenn Close and Ralph Fiennes can be sure of lots of offers flowing in his direction.