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Whatever Happened To The Cast Of Braveheart?

The action-drama feature film "Braveheart" is filled with the staple ingredients for success: Romance, war, brotherhood, and courage, all set against the backdrop of Scotland's natural craggy beauty. The film is majestically epic Hollywood fare, and it cemented itself as a juggernaut of late 20th-century cinema, ranking at number 80 on The Hollywood Reporter's "Top 100 Movies of All Time."

Loosely based on the true story of William Wallace (Mel Gibson), who fought for Scotland's freedom from the tyrannical rule of England's King Edward I (Patrick McGoohan), the movie took liberties with the historical facts of Wallace's life: Caroline White of the Times ranked it second on a list of the most historically inaccurate films of all time. However, it still resonated with audiences and per Box Office Mojo, the film earned $213 million at the global box office.

Intensely quotable, "Braveheart" offered Wallace's now-famous war cry, "They may take our lives, but they will never take our freedom!" The movie won five Academy Awards (including best picture and best director) and launched Mel Gibson's star power beyond his acting roles, giving him credibility as a director as well. The film's cast includes seasoned actors like McGoohan and James Cosmo, as well as Brendan Gleeson in his Hollywood leading role debut as Wallace's best friend, Hamish, and future "Sons of Anarchy" star Tommy Flannagan. Let's take a look at where the cast of "Braveheart" is now.

Angus MacFadyen (Robert the Bruce)

Although Robert the Bruce is heralded in Scottish history, he left behind a complicated legacy. "Braveheart" characterizes the not-yet crowned Scottish king as a betrayer of William Wallace until he has second thoughts and takes up the mantle of Wallace's fight for freedom. Scotland native Angus MacFayden portrays Robert the Bruce as a conflicted leader, and the actor exudes onscreen charisma.

MacFayden has worked steadily in the years since "Braveheart," including big screen roles in "Cradle Will Rock" and "The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood," as well as starring in a 6-episode arc as Julian on the hit Showtime series, "Californication." In 2019, the actor reprised his "Braveheart" role in "Robert the Bruce" — a film he co-wrote and starred in as the titular king. Alas, this "Braveheart" sequel-of-sorts did not fare as well as its predecessor, and according to Box Office Mojo, the film earned under $24,000 at the box office. Upon the movie's release, IndieWire compared it unfavorably to "Braveheart" and said it needed "maybe even a smidgen of the smirking charm that allowed Gibson to leverage the First War of Scottish Independence into a vanity project for the ages."

In 2021, MacFadyen took on another legendary role, playing Superman's father, Jor-El on Season 1 of "Superman & Lois," the story of a now-married Clark Kent (Tyler Hoechlin) and Lois Lane (Elizabeth Tulloch), who have returned to Smallville to raise a family.

Peter Hanly (Prince Edward)

In "Braveheart," the smarmy Prince Edward makes a great foil for the over-the-top heroism of William Wallace — he is a villain audiences love to hate. Irish actor Peter Hanly didn't play Prince Edward as a one-dimensional, mustache-twirling villain, though. His interpretation of the prince has nuance and layers — a young man who wants to impress his abusive father and longs to prove his worth as a future king.

After his rise to fame with "Braveheart," Hanly continued to act on screen, mostly in British television roles. The actor starred as Ambrose Egan in the BBC Ireland television series "Ballykissangel" (a show which also starred Colin Farrell), and had a recurring role as a school inspector on the BBC's "Roy." Although his Hollywood trajectory ebbed, Hanly took a number of roles on the Irish stage, starring in Dublin's Gate Theater productions of "Glengarry Glen Ross" and as George Tessman in a version of Henrik Ibsen's "Hedda Gabler" rewritten by Irish playwright Brandon Friel and, as Variety noted, injected with Irish humor. Peter Hanly has been married to Irish stage actress Jennifer O'Dea since 2000: According to Independent.ie, the couple met at a 1996 Christmas party, and have been together ever since.

Brendan Gleeson (Hamish)

As William Wallace's best friend Hamish in "Braveheart," Brendan Gleeson is fiercely loyal, funny, and exuberant. Before the movie's release, the actor played Michael Collins in the Irish television film, "The Treaty." However, "Braveheart" put Brendan Gleeson on the Hollywood map, and since then, he's had one of the most prolific careers of the film's cast.

In 1998, Gleeson confirmed his acting chops when he starred as Martin Cahill, the doomed Dublin crime boss in John Boorman's "The General." Co-starring roles in films like "The Tailor of Panama" followed, and Gleeson appealed to younger audiences as the wild Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody in the "Harry Potter" franchise. Among other projects, the actor also starred in the television series, "Mr. Mercedes," based on the novel by Stephen King.

In 2022, Gleeson reunited with his "In Bruges" costar Colin Farrell and director Martin McDonagh, for the film, "The Banshees of Inisherin." According to Deadline, the movie received a 15-minute standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival. Gleeson spoke to The Guardian about his career, which he began at 34, saying, "I really did think that the professional stage was for other people. I'm not sure why, it just felt as if it was a little ... exotic. And I would go then to plays and think ... 'I could do better than that.'" The actor shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.

Patrick McGoohan (King Edward I)

In "Braveheart," King Edward I, also known by the moniker "Longshanks," set the bar for all future cinematic royal villains. 21st-century on-screen baddies like Tywin Lannister would likely have never come to fruition without the masterfully evil performance of Patrick McGoohan as William Wallace's adversary. In a review of "Braveheart" for the Los Angeles Times, critic Peter Rainer praised the actor's performance, writing that "McGoohan is in possession of perhaps the most villainous enunciation in the history of acting."

According to the website Historic UK, the real-life King Edward was given the nickname "Longshanks" due to his tall stature: The king stood at 6 feet, 2 inches, which was abnormally tall for the time. However, McGoohan's subtle, cold, and cruel performance makes the moniker feel more nefarious. At the time of filming, McGoohan had forty years of Hollywood films and television shows under his belt.

McGoohan first graced the screen in the 1955 U.S. television detective drama, "The Vise," before he starred on the 1960s hit television show "The Prisoner," and co-starred as Judge Noose in "A Time to Kill." In his last film role, the actor provided the voice for Billy Bones in the 2002 animated feature, "Treasure Planet." McGoohan died on January 13, 2009, at the age of 80.

Tommy Flanagan (Morrison)

Although Scottish actor Tommy Flanagan appeared in several small television roles in the early 1990s, "Braveheart" stands as his big-screen debut. The actor played Morrison, William Wallace's brother-in-arms, and the groom who must hand his wife over to a British lord for the horrific rite of prima nocta. Flanagan doesn't have many lines in the film, but he carries the sorrow of his character through his facial expressions. Since his debut, the actor has appeared in over 70 features and television shows, including "Gladiator," "Sin City," and "Smokin' Aces."

However, the actor is probably most well-known for his long run as Filip "Chibs" Telford on both "Sons of Anarchy" and its spin-off, "Mayans M.C." The actor's facial scars became a focal point for his character as well — "Chibs" is Scottish slang for knives, and the Sons of Anarchy member received his battle badges in a knife fight. Flanagan, on the other hand, received his scars as the victim of a violent attack. The actor spoke to The Herald Scotland about his traumatic experience, saying, "I was attacked. They tried to mug me for my jacket and my record boxes, and I said no, and one guy jumped on my back, slashed my face, stabbed me, cut me to bits. I nearly died." Flanagan also portrayed antagonist and Incite, Inc. head of security Martin Connells (and his android double) in Season 3 of HBO's science fiction mind-bender, "Westworld."

David O'Hara (Stephen the Irishman)

Stephen, the hilarious Irishman in "Braveheart," brought needed levity to William Wallace's warriors, joining the Scotsmen in their fight solely based on their mutual hatred of the English. However, David O'Hara, the actor who played him, isn't Irish ... he's Scottish. O'Hara played many Irish characters throughout the 1990s and 2000s, like Martin MacDuff in "The Devil's Own." However, per IMDb, the actor was born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, and The Scotsmen lists the actor's role as Patrick "Fitzy" Fitzgibbon in "The Departed" as one of the most memorable Hollywood performances by a Scottish actor.

Fans of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" may recognize O'Hara as Ministry of Magic employee Albert Runcorn who Harry Potter disguises himself as to sneak into the Ministry. O'Hara shines in character actor roles, and his early years in the theater have given him the confidence to tune out critics. In 1992, the actor told The Herald Scotland in response to criticism about his Glaswegian accent in a Shakespearean production, ”I don't care or mind what they [critics] say about me. Of course, it can still get to you. But now although I still read them avidly, I just think, 'och, half of youse don't know what you are talking about, anyway.'" O'Hara has also appeared extensively on television, most notably in a multi-episode arc on "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." as Alistair Fitz.

Gerard McSorely (Cheltham)

As the English Lord Cheltham, Gerard McSorely barely appears in "Braveheart," yet his character is vital to the storyline: Cheltham is second in command to Lord Talmadge at the Battle of Stirling Bridge. If fans of the film don't recognize the character's name, that's because it's never uttered. However, Cheltham's scene proves memorable. Cheltham is sent by his commander to give negotiating terms to the Scottish lords in hopes that they'll abandon the battle. Alas, William Wallace utters some choice words, the gathered Scottish warriors laugh at Cheltham, and the English are badly beaten in battle.

In the decades since the release of "Braveheart," McSorely has developed an extensive resume as a character actor in both Irish cinema and Hollywood films. The actor starred as bereaved father Michael Gallagher in "Omagh" and appeared alongside "Braveheart" costar David O'Hara in "Some Mother's Son." McSorely's a recognizable face, although many fans may not know his name. In 2018, the actor starred in "Penance," a film about the 1916 Irish Easter Uprising, which was shot in both English and Gaelic (per Variety).

James Cosmo (Campbell)

In "Braveheart," actor James Cosmo plays Campbell, an ideal father: He loves his son Hamish fiercely and treats William Wallace like a son as well. Although Campbell is older than most of the warriors fighting for Scotland's freedom, there's no place he'd rather be than alongside his son on the battlefield. Cosmo plays the character as a fleshed out, layered man –- Campbell is not just the brutish force he displays, but loyal and compassionate too. In lesser hands, Campbell may have played as a caricature, but Cosmo connects with his audience. The actor's talents have been honed by the phenomenal career he's built: per IMDb, the actor has amassed over 221 screen credits.

In the years since "Braveheart," Cosmo has played many iconic, fatherly figures. He portrayed Father Christmas in "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" and, in an interesting call back to "Braveheart," the elder Robert the Bruce in "The Outlaw King." Most fans will also recognize Cosmo as Lord Commander Jeor Mormont, the father of Ser Jorah (Iain Glen) and the original leader of the Night's Watch on "Game of Thrones." Cosmo also stars as Howard, an elderly man who finds unlikely romance and forgiveness in "My Sailor, My Love." Cosmo gushed about the role in an interview with The Moveable Fest, saying he "just felt at home and that's when good work comes."

Brian Cox (Argyle Wallace)

The presence of Brian Cox in "Braveheart" is brief — as Argyle Wallace, he only appears in a handful of scenes. However, it's Argyle, the uncle of a young William Wallace (James Robinson), who sets the future hero on his path. Argyle has seen his share of battles, as his facial scars and missing eye prove, yet he is educated and refined. He teaches William multiple languages, and how to use his intellect before his fists. Cox lends authentic wisdom to Argyle, and his character stands out among many stellar roles.

Cox has spent decades carving out an impressive career in Hollywood. The Scottish actor has appeared in action blockbuster hits like "The Bourne Supremacy" and independent thrillers such as "Last Moment of Clarity." The actor even costarred in the goofy comedy "Super Troopers 2." Cox has a versatility that has enabled his long and successful career that spans both film and television. Cox plays Logan Roy, the ruthless leader of a successful media empire, on the HBO hit, "Succession." In an exclusive interview with Looper.com, Cox spoke about what playing Logan Roy means to him. "I'm a bit possessive about Logan, so I have to constantly bow to the deference of the writers: 'Oh, you want to take him there, do you? Okay, we'll go there.' I don't always agree with it, but it's not my job," he said.

Catherine McCormack (Murron)

"Braveheart" was only Catherine McCormack's second feature film (she debuted in Anna Campion's thriller "Loaded"), and it helped launch her career. As Murron MacClannough, William Wallace's one true love, McCormack shares genuine onscreen chemistry with Mel Gibson, and Murron's tragic end propels Wallace forward in his mission. As Brian Logan of The Guardian noted, "only after her [McCormack] second movie, Mel Gibson's 'Braveheart,' did the maelstrom of celebrity threaten to engulf her."

The actress had a flood of Hollywood roles after "Braveheart," which included a part in "Spy Game" opposite Brad Pitt, and "28 Weeks Later," the sequel to Danny Boyle's critically-acclaimed zombie apocalypse film, "28 Days Later." McCormack has become more selective in her film roles since, appearing in independent fare like François Girard's period drama, "The Song of Names."

McCormack sat down with The Stage to discuss her early professional success, and her reluctance to live in the limelight. She said, "It's all quite seductive, being paid to sit by a pool in LA while you wait to be called to an audition. I was in my 20s and I did enjoy it at the time, but it never felt entirely real. And I wasn't massively keen on being stuck with supporting roles that didn't test me as an actress."

Sophie Marceau (Princess Isabelle)

In "Braveheart," Princess Isabelle is trapped in a loveless marriage to Prince Edward and is sympathetic to William Wallace's cause. Wallace trusts Isabelle, and sees echoes of Murron in her looks and personality. The two share a brief romance, and Wallace's unjust demise devastates the princess. Sophie Marceau, the French actress who portrays Princess Isabelle, began her film career in France at the age of 13. "Braveheart" propelled the actress to international stardom.

After the global success of the movie, Marceau sat down and spoke with South Coast Today. She told the publication, "To make a career, you depend on so many things, on so many people. You cannot decide just yourself tomorrow 'I'm going to be a star in America, or in France,' or whatever. No. It's nothing to do with that. And it takes a long time, you know, just to make films. The thing is not to become famous. I don't care about becoming famous."

Marceau has continued to grow her film career in France, and has appeared in several Hollywood movies as well. She starred as Elektra King opposite Pierce Brosnan in the James Bond film, "The World is Not Enough," and can also be seen in the French Amazon Original movie, "I Love America."

Mel Gibson (William Wallace)

Long before he directed and starred in "Braveheart," Mel Gibson was a bona fide movie star, The successful "Lethal Weapon" franchise and "Mad Max" films made Gibson a recognizable celebrity, but "Braveheart" propelled him into the stratosphere as a serious filmmaker. As William Wallace, Mel Gibson was able to execute his directorial vision for the character, and as an actor, he displayed the tough, romantic, and comedic sides of Wallace.

Until 2006, Gibson seemed to embody the life of a man who "had it all," and seemed universally loved — in 1985, he was even People Magazine's first Sexiest Man Alive. However, controversy soon surrounded the star when anti-Semitic and racist remarks made by Gibson came to light.

Despite this, he has continued to find work in Hollywood –- both as a director and as an actor. "Hacksaw Ridge," Gibson's fifth directorial effort, earned Gibson nominations for best directing and best picture Academy Awards. As an actor, Gibson has stayed busy as well, co-starring in films like "Father Stu."