Michael McElhatton (born 12 September 1963) is an Irish actor and writer best known for playing the role of Roose Bolton in the HBO series Game of Thrones. He joined the series as a guest star in the second season, and continued to play this role until season 6, promoted to a regular cast member from the fifth season onwards.
McElhatton was born in 1963 in Terenure, a suburb in the south of Dublin, He began studying acting at Terenure College, a school known for its drama tradition, and afterward spent eight years in London where he graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1987. McElhatton returned to Ireland in the early nineties, where he began his acting career mainly in theatre and television. He appeared in a short film titled The Loser in 1990. In 1996, he was directed by John Carney in the film November Afternoon, in which he plays the main character. In the late nineties and early 2000s, McElhatton appeared in numerous series and TV films in Ireland, working with various film directors, including Paddy Breathnach and Conor McPherson for roles in I Went Down (1997), Saltwater (2000), Blow Dry (2001), and The Actors (2003). Between 2000 and 2002, McElhatton gained fame from appearing in the situation comedies Paths to Freedom and Fergus's Wedding. In addition to acting, he also took on the role of screenwriter, writing the screenplay for all of the episodes. The character of Rats in Paths to Freedom, which he wrote and starred in, became popular with the public and allowed it to be adapted into an entire feature film in 2003 (Spin the Bottle). As his career went on, McElhatton continued playing minor characters in films by directors such as Lenny Abrahamson, John Boorman and Kari Skogland. McElhatton also appeared in Perrier's Bounty (2009) and Death of a Superhero (2011).