David Thewlis presenting The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas at the 2008 San Sebastian Film Festival.
Born David Wheeler
20 March 1963
Blackpool, Lancashire, UK
Occupation Actor, author, director, screenwriter Years active 1987–Present Spouse Sara Sugarman (1992–93) Partner Kate Hardie (??? – ???)
Anna Friel (2001–2010; 1 child)
David Thewlis (born David Wheeler; 20 March 1963) is an Award-winning English actor of stage and screen. His most commercially successful role to date has been that of Remus Lupin, in the Harry Potter film series. Other notable performances include his work in the films Timeline (2003), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), The Omen (2006), The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2008) and London Boulevard (2010). He made his name known in 1993 with his performance of Johnny in Naked - for which he won multiple awards - became known publicly for his performance of main antagonist Prince Einon in the 1996 film Dragonheart. He has also done voice work in the films James and the Giant Peach (1996) and The Miracle Maker (2000).
Thewlis, second of three children, was born David Wheeler in Blackpool, Lancashire, the son of Maureen (née Thewlis) and Alec Raymond Wheeler. Both of his parents worked at his father's shop, which sold toys in the summer and wallpaper and paint in the winter. As a teenager, he played in a rock band called QED, in which he, Cliff Ashcroft, Mark Fawl and Chris Swift wrote much of their own music and lyrics. QED played at some of the Blackpool hotels to earn money for equipment and their first recording session at Storm Studios in Blackpool. Later, Thewlis played lead guitar with a punk rock band called Door 66. As a musician he was "doing nicely, doing good" and did not want to be an actor. Thewlis was educated at Highfield High School (since renamed Highfield Humanities College), a state secondary school in Marton in the town of Blackpool in Lancashire in north-west England where his nickname, at least to his friends, was 'Sqwee'.
He enrolled in the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London only because his friends did. Thewlis graduated in 1984. When he went to register with the actors' union, he intended to use Wheeler as his stage name, but a "David Wheeler" already existed. His mother's maiden name was the first that came to mind.
His first acting job was in a play entitled Buddy Holly at the Regal in Greenwich. Thewlis' first major film role was as the rambling street philosopher Johnny in Naked (1993; dir. Mike Leigh), for which he was named best actor by the National Society of Film Critics (United States), the London Film Critics Circle, the Evening Standard, the New York Film Critics' Circle and the Cannes Film Festival. The same year he appeared on television as a sexual predator named James Jackson in Prime Suspect 3, opposite Helen Mirren and Ciarán Hinds. Prior to this Thewlis's first television appearance was alongside Ken Jones in Valentine Park.
Through the 1990s, Thewlis appeared in a variety of films, mostly fantasy and period, including Restoration (1995), Black Beauty (1994), Total Eclipse (1995) with Leonardo DiCaprio, The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996), Dragonheart (1996), and Seven Years in Tibet (1997), opposite Brad Pitt (because of this film, Thewlis is barred from entering China). He was nominated for a British Independent Film Award for Divorcing Jack (1998), and played Clov in a (2000) television film of Samuel Beckett's Endgame. Notable appearances also include Bernardo Bertolucci's Besieged (1998) and Paul McGuigan's Gangster No. 1 (2000), opposite Paul Bettany and Malcolm McDowell.
Thewlis auditioned for the role of Professor Quirrell in the film Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, but the part went to Ian Hart. Despite missing out on the first film, in 2004 Thewlis was cast as Remus Lupin in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban without having to audition, as he was director Alfonso Cuarón's first choice for the role. He accepted it on advice from Ian Hart, who told him that Lupin was "the best part in the book". He reprised the role in four other films in the series.
Recent credits include Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven (2005), Terrence Malick's The New World (2005) and The Omen (2006). As a director, he was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Short Film for Hello, Hello, Hello (1995); he has also written, directed and starred in the feature Cheeky (2003). When researching for his role in Kingdom of Heaven, Thewlis went to the Hospitaller museum near his home, and the first thing he saw was a mannequin wearing the same costume that he wore in the film.
In 2001, he began a relationship with actress Anna Friel, whom he met on a flight to Cannes. Friel had, coincidentally, starred in Sara Sugarman's 1999 film Mad Cows. They both starred in the 2003 film Timeline although they shared no scenes together.
Together they have one daughter, Gracie Ellen Mary Friel (born 9 July 2005). Thewlis noted that he was "excited" and "not at all scared" by fatherhood and that he loves children. If he was not an actor he would be a teacher as he believes "the most beautiful sound is a child laughing". During Friel's pregnancy he gave up smoking, began jogging and eating more healthily and lost weight. However the pair ended their relationship in late 2010.
Thewlis owns a converted Victorian ballroom in Clerkenwell. He also is often mistaken for fellow actor Rhys Ifans: "Twice a week, people come up to me and say, 'You were great in Notting Hill'. The public seem to think we are the same person." Friel's new partner is Rhys Ifans as of February 2011. Thewlis has also written a novel called The Late Hector Kipling, published by Simon & Schuster in 2007.
Awards and nominations
Thewlis has won the following awards for his work in Naked.
- Cannes Film Festival for Best Actor (1993)
- Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Actor (1993)
- London Film Critics Circle Award for British Actor of the Year (1993)
- National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor (1993)
- New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor (1993)
Thewlis has also received the following awards:
- British Independent Film Awards - Richard Harris Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Film (2008)
Other award nominations include:
- BAFTA Award for Best Short Film - Hello, Hello, Hello (1995)
- British Independent Film Award for Best Performance by a British Actor in an Independent Film - Divorcing Jack (1998)
- Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actor - Basic Instinct 2 / The Omen (2006)
- Monte-Carlo Television Festival for Golden Nymph for Outstanding Actor - Drama Series - The Street (2007)
Year Film Role Notes 1987 Road Joey The Short & Curlies Clive Short film 1988 Vroom Ringe Little Dorrit George Braddle 1989 Resurrected Kevin Deakin 1991 Life Is Sweet Nicola's lover Afraid of the Dark Locksmith
1992 Swords at Teatime Michael Short film Damage Detective 1993 The Trial Franz Naked Johnny 1994 Black Beauty Jerry Barker 1995 Total Eclipse Paul Verlaine Restoration John Pearce Hello, Hello, Hello N/A Short film; directed and wrote 1996 James and the Giant Peach Earthworm Voice Dragonheart King Einon The Island of Dr. Moreau Edward Douglas 1997 American Perfekt Santini Seven Years in Tibet Peter Aufschnaiter Banned from entering the People's Republic of China. 1998 The Big Lebowski Knox Harrington Divorcing Jack Dan Starkey Besieged Jason Kinsky 1999 Whatever Happened to Harold Smith? Nesbit 2000 The Miracle Maker Judas Iscariot Voice Gangster No. 1 Freddie Mays Beckett on Film – Endgame Clov 2001 Goodbye Charlie Bright Charlie's dad 2002 D.I.Y. Hard Man 2003 Cheeky Harry Sankey Also wrote and directed Timeline Robert Doniger 2004 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Remus Lupin 2005 Kingdom of Heaven Hospitaler All the Invisible Children Jonathan The New World Edward Wingfield 2006 Basic Instinct 2 Roy Washburn The Omen Keith Jennings 2007 The Inner Life of Martin Frost Martin Frost Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Remus Lupin 2008 The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas Ralf 2009 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Remus Lupin Veronika Decides to Die Dr. Blake 2010 Mr. Nice Jim McCann London Boulevard Jordan Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 Remus Lupin 2011 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 The Lady Michael Aris Anonymous William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley War Horse Lyons Post-production
Year Series Role Notes 1985 Only Fools and Horses Stew Episode 4.4: "It's Only Rock and Roll" Radio Pictures Jim Grams TV film 1986 The Singing Detective Second Soldier Episode 1.3: "Lovely Days" and 1.6: "Who Done It" 1987–1988 Valentine Park Max Appeared in nine episodes 1989 A Bit of a Do Paul Simcock Appeared in six episodes Skulduggery Tony TV film 1990 Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit Doctor TV serial 1991 Journey to Knock Terry TV film Shrinks Terry Slater Episode 1.5 Screen One Tim Shanks Episode 3.3: "Filipina Dreamgirls" 1992 Black and Blue Crematorium attendant TV film 1993 Frank Stubbs Promotes Mike Bence Episode 1.6: "Striker" Prime Suspect 3 James Jackson TV film 1994 Dandelion Dead Oswald Martin TV mini-series 1999 Love Story Dealer TV film 2000 Endgame Clov TV film 2001 Hamilton Mattress Hamilton Mattress TV film; voice 2002 Dinotopia Cyrus Crabb TV mini-series 2007 The Street Joe / Harry Jennerson Episode 2.1: "Twins"
- The Late Hector Kipling (2007)
- ^ a b "David Thewlis Biography (1963–)". Film Reference. http://www.filmreference.com/film/60/David-Thewlis.html. Retrieved 30 August 2007.
- ^ a b c d e f Grice, Elizabeth (4 May 2005). "'Anna has changed me for the better'". London: The Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2005/05/04/ftthewlis04.xml&page=1. Retrieved 30 August 2007.
- ^ Clint Morris (9 June 2004). "Interview : David Thewlis". Movie Hole. Archived from the original on 26 September 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20070926225458/http://www.moviehole.net/news/3764.html. Retrieved 28 August 2007.
- ^ MacDonald, Marianne (26 September 2005). "Post-natal confession". The Daily Telegraph (London). http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/3646815/Post-natal-confession.html. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
- ^ "Friel, Thewlis split after nine years". Digital Spy. 14 December 2010. http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/showbiz/news/a293164/friel-thewlis-split-after-nine-years.html?rss. Retrieved 26 December 2010.
Festival de Cannes (Cannes Film Festival) Prix d'interprétation masculine (Best Actor) 1980–1999
Michel Piccoli (1980) · Ugo Tognazzi (1981) · Jack Lemmon (1982) · Gian Maria Volonté (1983) · Alfredo Landa/Francisco Rabal (1984) · William Hurt (1985) · Michel Blanc/Bob Hoskins (1986) · Marcello Mastroianni (1987) · Forest Whitaker (1988) · James Spader (1989) · Gérard Depardieu (1990) · John Turturro (1991) · Tim Robbins (1992) · David Thewlis (1993) · Ge You (1994) · Jonathan Pryce (1995) · Pascal Duquenne/Daniel Auteuil (1996) · Sean Penn (1997) · Peter Mullan (1998) · Emmanuel Schotte (1999)
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