Biography: A Liverpudlian actor who shot to fame with two memorable turns as John Lennon in the early 1990s, Ian Hart’s portrayals of the iconic Beatle in the heralded black-and-white character study short “The Hours and Times” (1991) and the engagingly speculative, music-infused drama “Backbeat” (1994) were roundly acclaimed.
Hart made his feature film debut in “No Surrender.” Ken Loach then cast him in the lead role in his Spanish Civil War-set drama “Land and Freedom.” That same year he garnered a best supporting actor honor at the Venice Film Festival for his turn as a brutal Protestant loyalist in “Nothing Personal.” He also starred in the comedy “The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down A Mountain” and in the independents “Loved Up” and “Clockwork Mice.”
Hart followed up with a turn as the gentle, supportive lover of a gay father (Martin Donovan) fighting for custody of his child in 1996′s “The Hollow Reed.” He then starred in “Michael Collins,” opposite Liam Neeson in Neil Jordan’s epic biopic. Jordan then cast Hart alongside Stephen Rea and Fiona Lewis in the black comedy “The Butcher Boy” and as a 50s gangster alongside Harold Pinter in “Mojo.” Hart went on to US features including Amos Poe’s New York-set “Frogs For Snakes” and Ted Demme’s Boston-based “Monument Ave.” He had a starring role in the drama “Still Waters Burn” and an appearance in the blockbuster thriller “Enemy of the State.”
Roles followed in Michael Radford’s “B. Monkey,” “The End of the Affair,” again directed by Neil Jordan, opposite Julianne Moore, and in Michael Winterbottom’s “Wonderland.” Hart would also be featured on American television, when the miniseries “Longitude” aired on A&E, and opposite Anne Marie Duff and Tom Hardy in Masterpiece Theatre’s production of “The Virgin Queen.” He then starred in “Strictly Sinatra” and “Aberdeen,” winning a Best Actor award at the Czechoslovakia Film Festival, the American comedy “Spring Forward” (Sundance Competition), and had a major role in “Best,” a biopic starring John Lynch as legendary Manchester United football star George Best.
Hart teamed up with Stephen Frears to play the pivotal role of the father in “Liam,” for which he received a BAFTA nomination. Hart tread the boards in the 2001 revival of Harold Pinter’s “The Homecoming” for which he won The Irish Times Best Actor Award. The actor starred alongside Ian Holm, portraying the character that Holm has originated in the premiere production. A role as a Professor of Dark Arts (“If you’re not a kid, you’re a wizard”) in “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” brought the actor to his widest audience to date. He went on to receive a Best Actor Award from the Tribeca Film Festival for his work in “Blind Flight,” in which he starred opposite Linus Roache.
Hart starred for two seasons in the dark F/X comedy series “Dirt,” as bi-polar tabloid photographer Don Konkey opposite Courteney Cox. In the UK he recently starred in the BBC miniseries “Five Daughters” for director Philippa Lowthorpe. He was last seen starring alongside Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte in the HBO series “Luck” for David Milch and Michael Mann. (Courtesy DirecTV, 2013)