ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Most Well Known Extra in Hollywood - Tommy Flanagan

Updated on July 29, 2012

The man known as Tommy Flanagan is mainly a supporting actor, but more often than not, has barely uttered a word in the movies he appeared in. He has had an incredible career but many people just don’t know it. He has popped up in great movies since the early 90’s and has been in scenes with Mel Gibson, Val Kilmer, John Travolta, fellow Scots Robert Carlyle and Gerard Butler, Ice Cube, Colin Firth, Nicholas Cage, Russell Crowe, Michael Douglas and Clive Owen.

This may seem redundant seeing as he now has a major role in Sons of Anarchy as Chibs Telford, but Tommy has a history of popping up in great, big production movies.

Tommy was born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland. After a DJ gig one night and with a stroll home, Tommy was attacked and his face was cut at either side of his mouth then he was left alone to bleed. This was an uncalled for crime but Tommy never let it get the better of him.

Tommy in Braveheart
Tommy in Braveheart

He started his career in small bit parts, or even as one the most distinctive extras due to his noticeable scarring. He wasn’t taken seriously because of this and his skills were set aside in favour of playing the hired goon so to speak. Tommy landed the special role of Morrison in Mel Gibson’s Braveheart, starring alongside the man himself. Tommy had a couple of lines, but nothing much.

His next role in his journey as the iconic background villain, was Phillip Noyce’s The Saint with Val Kilmer. Here is a scene.

He went on to star as Nicholas Cage’s henchman in John Woo’s Face/ Off. By now Tommy has only made a face for himself and has become very recognisable. At this stage he seems to be everywhere and even stranger is that people are noticing him without actually realising it.

Tommy in Face/ Off
Tommy in Face/ Off

David Fincher was next to cast him in his thriller The Game with Michael Douglas. Flanagan played a crazed taxi driver trying to kill Douglas. Take a look.

Tommy in Sons of Anarchy
Tommy in Sons of Anarchy

Flanagan seems well versed at playing the bad guy and doesn’t seem to mind the typecasting. But I think he and his agent seem to realise that he simply can’t be the leading man with his scars and strong Scottish accent. He has the charisma, the screen confidence and the experience, but he has always known that work is wherever he could find it. But he certainly landed on his feet with his credentials so far.

Plunkett and Macleane
Plunkett and Macleane
Tommy in Gladiator
Tommy in Gladiator

He then stars in the British movie called Plunkett and Macleane alongside long time friend and fellow Scot Robert Carlyle, Johnny Lee Miller and Liv Tyler. This was only a stepping stone for Tommy though, as he would star alongside Russell Crowe in Ridley Scott’s Gladiator as Cicero. Tommy is certainly getting around.

It is unfortunate that he has hardly any lines or often none at all. But we can’t feel sorry for him with a list of work that he has already. But it still doesn’t end!

He starred alongside Gerard Butler in the TV miniseries Attila, and was the Irish Henchman in Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.

Tommy has definitely been a happy bunny to be in so many big pictures. Whether you say something or not, it surprises me how much I wouldn’t mind just being the guy in the background of every movie. The thing about this and I find it to be quite strange, is that no movie producer or director appears to have recognised him in anything else and cast him as if he was cast for the first time. He is so distinctive that once he is noticed in a scene, the focus of the viewer is on him trying to figure out who he is.

Tommy goes off to feature in Alien vs Predator in 2004, then amazingly the star studded Sin City the following year. I don’t remember him in that movie, but you probably don’t remember that John Cusack was in Stand by me as well. If you go back and watch it the chances are that you will spot him.

Tommy in Sin City
Tommy in Sin City

He then takes a stab at When a Stranger Calls and becomes a sadistic hitman named Lazlo Soot in Joe Carnahan’s Smokin’ Aces. He did go on to star in the straight to DVD sequel, but the original crew were not involved. After guest appearances in tv shows like Lie to Me, 24 and Detroit 187, he landed the role of his career in FX primetime show Sons of Anarchy about a gang of bikers and the realities within. It’s basically Soprano’s with Bikes. He has a speaking role and amazingly he’s Scottish throughout.

I do not own this clip nor claim to own it.

Tommy in Atilla
Tommy in Atilla
Tommy in 24
Tommy in 24

Flanagan has made a career of being in the background. God knows how much money you make being in the background. You are essentially an extra with targeted on screen time. You have a higher purpose than an extra sitting down, reading the newspaper or pretending to talk to someone. You are in a scene, and are supposed to be there.

I don’t know how this worked out for him. I like him a lot just because of this, and I hope that many of you start seeing him in the movies I have mentioned. As this man has been around, and has worked with directors the likes of Mel Gibson, John Woo, Ridley Scott, David Fincher, Paul W.S Anderson, Robert Rodriguez and Joe Carnahan. He has an impressive history, and now approaching 50, will he star in his role of a lifetime? We can only wait and see. I hope you do Tommy!

Do you recognize him?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Hayley 4 years ago

      Tommy is one of my favourite actors! I love him in Sons of Anarchy but I first saw him in Braveheart!

    • profile image

      Jeanna 4 years ago

      I love him he's the best he stood out to me in Braveheart and I've loved him ever since Sons of Anarchy is the best and I hope big things for Chibs this season!

    • Jo Larsson profile image

      Jo Larsson 4 years ago from Zürich, Switzerland

      Started watching sons of anarchy due to reading your blog. Truly awesome show and Tommy's performance is excellent. He's came a long way from Glasgow and didn't realise he'd been in so many films. Good blog :)

    • profile image

      gazza 2 years ago

      he's always been "the one with the scars, you know, you've seen him in a lot of movies", for me, until I started watching Sons of Anarchy ("ah, look! there's also the guy with the scars!") and really started apreciating him.

      He's also had a slightly better part in "Sunset Strip" (where he's just plain gorgeous), and a definitely better role in the almost-unkown, but still very valid, "Ratcatcher".

    • profile image

      lisa 2 years ago

      He is gorgeous. Seen him in lots of movies. With the accent...hes great. Hes from Glasgow. ..my family from a small town outdide Glasgow. Cathcart. He was so cute in Braveheart

    • profile image

      Angelique 2 years ago

      Charlie Angels Full Throttle

    • profile image

      Karla 2 years ago

      I remember him from "Gladiator" n "All About The Benjamin's". Both great movies n different sides of the film spectrum. Amazing actor n love him in all that he does. Can't wait for more!

    • profile image

      Danielle 2 years ago

      First saw him in Sons, but later recognized him in Braveheart. From there a gained a love and appreciation for him as an actor. Very talented (and gorgeous) man.

    • profile image

      Masala 2 years ago

      I've seen him in all of.

    • profile image

      Tammy 2 years ago

      I was glad to see this posted to Tommy Flanagan's Facebook page! Excellent hub!

    • profile image

      anne-marie 2 years ago

      i know him from childhood,we are all so proud of him!!!

    • profile image

      Danny 2 years ago

      He was in AVP, I watched it last night

    • profile image

      Mickey 2 years ago

      Braveheart!

    • profile image

      Brent 2 years ago

      I first saw him in Braveheart and then Gladiator. He's awesome on Sons

    • profile image

      Fd 2 years ago

      All about the Benjamins with Ice Cube and Eva Mendez

    • profile image

      OJ1993 2 years ago

      I saw him in

      All about the Benjamin's

      Alien versus predator

    • profile image

      OMG 2 years ago

      Gladiator, SOA

    • profile image

      Pash 2 years ago

      can't be a leading man with the scars and that strong Scottish accent....good God the man is beyond sexy!!!!!!!!! not all of us want the young pretty boys with no sexual appeal

    • profile image

      Polly 2 years ago

      saw him in Braveheart and Gladiator, he is so strikingly gorgeous, ruggedly handsome. To me, the scars only add to his good looks. Love him on SoA. Chibs is awesome

    • profile image

      Chibs 2 years ago

      What about his cocaine dealing?

    • profile image

      demetra rogers 21 months ago

      I first saw tommy in when a stranger calls. I loved it! The best part to me is near the end where he gets caught and looks at jill from the police car. Those brown eyes are unforgettable!

    Click to Rate This Article