John Hannah biography

John Hannah

Date of Birth: April 23, 1962

"Fame is horrible.

You'd have to be a moron to like it. The worst thing is the paranoia of people staring at you, it makes you think you've got a bogey on your nose, or something. Or if you have a row with your wife in public, if you're anonymous people still see the same thing, but there's something about people knowing who you are when you're not at your best."

The youngest of three children, John Hannah was born in East Kilbride, Scotland.

He attended Claremont High School in East Kilbride and went on to an apprenticeship as an electrician. "It suddenly occurred to me that I wasn't enjoying what I was doing as an electrician. I was trying to figure out something else I could do and there was nothing.

Then a guy at work suggested I went to drama school and it just seemed a good idea.  I wasn't thinking of becoming an actor. I just wanted some time to figure out what I wanted to do. Then I started doing it and really enjoyed it." He ended up at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow. After graduating in 1985, he headed to London and found that to mention any one of his defining characteristics—being unemployed, being Scottish, being an actor—was enough to put off potential landlords.

What turned things round for him was a little funeral scene in Mike Newell's Four Weddings and A Funeral. As Matthew, the gay character who recites an Auden poem, Hannah would always be remembered.

Hannah is also well known in the UK to TV fans as forensic pathologist McCallum, whose inhalations of formaldehyde in the autopsy room invariably leads him a-sleuthing. As well, he starred in the BBC's short lived Out of the Blue, the smart Nick in John Strickland's Faith, and Harry in Chris Newby's surreal film, Madagascar Skin.

Following FWAAF, Hannah became the welcome object of much meeting and greeting in America, where one remarkably fortuitous encounter resurrected Sliding Doors, whose writer-director Peter Howitt, an acting pal of Hannah's, had seen his initial financial backing evaporate.  At a meeting with venerable American filmmaker Sydney Pollack, Hannah related the sad fate of Howitt's screenplay.

Pollack read it, loved it and they were off.

Playing a happy, talkative charmer who wins the heart of Gwyneth Paltrow, Hannah said later it was the hardest role he'd ever done because the character didn't come naturally for him.

Summer 1999 saw him in a Hollywood blockbuster; The Mummy, an action flick in which Hannah appeared in with top-billed Brendan Fraser, did suprisingly well, Hannah returned for the sequel.

He also landed a role in Norman Jewison's The Hurricane as one of the three Canadian activists who aid in the release of Ruben Carter.

He then played Robert Dalgety in the ABC-TV drama series MDs (2002), but the show only lasted one season.

Hannah has been married to actress Joanna Roth since 1996. They live in London's East End.


The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor(2008)
The Last Legion(2007)
Ghost Son (2006)
Male Mail (2004)
I Accuse (2004)
I'm with Lucy (2002)
Before You Go (2002)
The Mummy Returns(2001)
The Hurricane(1999)
The Intruder(1999)
The Mummy(1999)
Pandaemonium (1999)
So This Is Romance? (1998)
Sliding Doors(1998)
Resurrection Man (1998)
The James Gan (1997)
The Innocent Sleep (1996)
Romance and Rejection (1996)
Madagascar Skin (1995)
The Final Cut(1995)
Four Weddings And A Funeral(1994)
Harbour Beat (1990)

John Hannah Filmography


John Hannah Photo