He played Blackbeard in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and provided the voice of Tai Lung in Kung Fu Panda. He is remembered for his role as Lovejoy and for playing Bishop Waleran in The Pillars of the Earth.
He grew up wanting to follow his father into professional soccer, but was encouraged by his high school teacher to take up acting instead.
He played a Russian negotiator in an episode of The West Wing with Martin Sheen.
He attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in his youth, gaining experience as an actor.
His father is the Scottish footballer Harry McShane.