Tom Cullen is a Welsh actor, writer and director best known for his roles in Weekend and the hit TV series Downton Abbey. In this biography, the actor tells his story in his own words.

TOM CULLEN BIO: AGE, EARLY LIFE

Tom Cullen was born on July 17, 1985 (Tom Cullen age: 33) in Aberystwyth, Wales. He was raised in the towns of Llandrindod Wells and Cardiff alongside his two siblings, Joseph and Ruth. Cullen completed his secondary education at Llanishen High School in Cardiff. In 2009, he graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, also receiving a First Class Honours degree for the year he spent in the Central School of Speech and Drama.

TOM CULLEN BIO: EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW ON HIS ACTING ROOTS

In March 2019, Tom Cullen sat down for an exclusive interview with uInterview at the South by Southwest Film Festival. He talked about the “strange little town” in Wales where he grew up and discussed how he originally got into acting. “My parents moved from London to this theatre company – I think that’s where they met, I’m not really sure,” he told uInterview exclusively. “But they were both kind of regional theater actors; they did a lot of theater education, and then they both directed and helped with these community plays. And I grew up in a rehearsal room in many ways. And seeing them work and being around actors was so imprinted on my development as a kid and I’ve always, always wanted to do it.”

Cullen told uInterview about the defining moment in his life when acting went from his passion to his career path. “I went to a school that wasn’t very encouraging of that kind of stuff and … I felt like I couldn’t become an actor,” he explained. “And then I was about 23 and it kind of came back to me, and I was like, ‘You know what? I’m really gonna go for this.’ And [I] went for it, and that’s where it all started.”

Check out the full interview below.

TOM CULLEN BIO: ACTING CAREER

While at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cullen took a momentary respite from his education to participate in the films Daddy’s Girl and Watch Me. Both movies went on to win a BAFTA Cymru, an award specifically for works filmed, produced, and/or made in Wales. Cullen also acted onstage in productions of Gorgio, Assembly, A Good Night Out in the Valleys and The Sanger.

In 2008, Cullen and Alexander Vlahos wrote and produced a short film called Naughties. The two then co-founded the Welsh company Undeb Theatre, which allowed Cullen to direct his own full-length play, Kingfisher, and others beginning in 2010.

In 2011, Cullen also starred in the film Weekend as Russell, a lonely lifeguard who finds love in a younger man about to leave the country. This role garnered Cullen much critical acclaim, including a British Independent Film Award for most Promising Newcomer. The picture received additional awards at the British Independent Film Awards and at the Nashville Film Festival, in addition to nominations worldwide.

Other films in Cullen’s repertoire include  Desert Dancer (2014) and The Last Days on Mars (2013). The former depicts the life of an outlawed Iranian dancer, while the latter is a science fiction take on the first manned attempt to reach Mars. Aside from movies, Cullen held a recurring role as Anthony Foyle on the smash-hit television series Downton Abbey between 2015 and 2016. In 2016, his acting on the show earned him the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.

Cullen also co-stars with his girlfriend Tatiana Maslany in The Other Half (2016). They play a couple struggling through their obstacles together. While Cullen’s character is still mourning the disappearance of his brother, Maslany’s character suffers from bipolar disorder. Cullen both starred in and produced this project.

In an exclusive interview with uInterview, Cullen and Maslany sat down to discuss the film and their relationship. “There’s a real emotional rawness to the film, which – as an actor – is a really scary place to go to,” Cullen told uInterview. He described how hard it was to “strip everything away” for this role but how comforted he felt by the people around him. “A lot of it was really difficult,” he said, “but it was great to work with friends in a safe environment. Which means you can go to quite difficult places.” Check out the video at the top of this page for the full interview.

In addition to larger acting jobs, Cullen has had minor roles in a number of TV movies and miniseries. These include two episodes of Pen Talar in 2010 and one of Black Mirror (2011). In 2012, Cullen played the protagonist in the miniseries World Without End, then acted as Joe Rose in the three-part series The Trials of Jimmy Rose (2015). In 2016, Cullen acted with Gemma Arterton and Idris Elba in the movie 100 Streets and in Mine opposite Armie Hammer.

Cullen attained higher-profile television roles beginning in 2016 as the star of The Five. The next year, he acted with Liv Tyler and Kit Harington on the BBC show Gunpowder. For two years afterwards, Cullen starred as Landry in Knightfall, a History Channel television series.

TOM CULLEN BIO: EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW ON ‘PINK WALL’

Cullen’s first directing role came in 2018 with the movie Pink Wall, which featured Maslany along with Jay Duplass. According to Screen Daily, this movie tells the “story of a couple’s struggles with the pressures of gender expectations and the conflict between life and ambition.” The film received a 71% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Cullen talked with uInterview exclusively about Pink Wall in March 2019. “It is six scenes, and each scene is a year of this couple’s relationship,” he explained. “And it’s told in an alinear structure, and the film is designed like memory. When we look back on our experiences, and especially relationships, I think what we do is we juxtapose different moments in order to build our emotional landscape and our emotional story.”

Cullen went on to describe his vision for the movie and how it might be received by viewers. “I wanted the film to be experiential,” he told uInterview. “The audience would hopefully leave … feeling like they kind of experienced a relationship and witnessed a relationship. And the writing process was very much about me making as honest a movie as I possibly could.”

On the subject of acting alongside and directing his girlfriend in Pink Wall, Cullen had nothing but positive things to say. “Working with Tatiana was just awesome,” he said. He discussed how much of their work is done together, listing five projects they created together around the filming of Pink Wall. “We did a short film together – because I’m also an actor – and we did a music video together, and we did a film together, and then I directed her,” he told uInterview. “I just want to work with the best people. And she is one of the best actors, I think, of her generation, and so the fact that I get to work with her is just joyous.”

Check out the full interview below.

VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: Tom Cullen Discusses His Directorial Debut Film ‘Pink Wall’ At SXSW 2019

TOM CULLEN BIO: DATING, PERSONAL LIFE, GIRLFRIEND, QUOTES

Tom Cullen has been in a relationship with actress Tatiana Maslany since 2011, when he met her on the set of World Without End. The pair did not present themselves together in public until the Toronto International Film Festival of 2012 but now live together in Toronto, Ontario.

“From an egotistical point-of-view, I’m always interested in roles that push me as a person. I’m interested in humans as animals and as products of society. I’m interested in pursuing roles that allow me to push against my own walls, my own constraints as a human being and to find out where I’m capable of going. In real life, I’m not very good at feeling emotions, so I like to do it through my work. I’m interested in doing things that challenges me.”

“I think their initial attraction is that they recognize there is a big whole in their stomachs, and they’re two people who are in pain, and they recognize that pain in each other,” Cullen told uInterview exclusively. “So with they do is they offer up each other a chance of something better, and redemption, and it works for a while. But I think human nature is that things begin to unfurl and unfold and that’s where the film moves through. And you see these two people in pain trying to make a better life together.”

 

Updated by Jen Curran, June 2019

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