Thewlis in September 2008
20 March 1963
Blackpool, Lancashire, UK
|Occupation||Actor, director, screenwriter, author|
(m. 1992; div. 1994)
|Partner(s)||Anna Friel (2001–2010)|
David Thewlis (born David Wheeler; born 20 March 1963) is an English actor, director, screenwriter, and author. He first rose to promience for playing Johnny Fletched in the film Naked (1993), for which he won the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actor. His most commercially successful roles to date have been of Remus Lupin in the Harry Potter film series and Ares in Wonder Woman (2017). Other notable film appearances include Dragonheart (1996), Seven Years in Tibet (1997), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2008), War Horse (2011), The Theory of Everything (2014) and Anomalisa (2015).
Thewlis has combined major motion picture work with prominent television roles, including portraying Cyrus Crabb in the ABC miniseries Dinotopia (2002) and V. M. Varga in the third season of Fargo (2017).
Thewlis was born David Wheeler on 20 March 1963 in Blackpool, Lancashire, the second of three children of Maureen (née Thewlis) and Alec Raymond Wheeler. Both parents worked at his father's shop. As a teenager, he played in a rock band called QED, and played lead guitar with a punk rock band called Door 66. He was educated at Highfield High School, a state secondary school in South Shore, Blackpool. Later, he enrolled in the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, graduating in 1984.
Thewlis had a minor role in an episode of the 1980s sitcom Up the Elephant and Round the Castle. He also appeared in an episode of popular sitcom Only Fools and Horses (1985) as a friend of Rodney. His first professional role was in the play Buddy Holly at the Regal in Greenwich.
Thewlis's breakout role was Naked (1993; dir. Mike Leigh), as the main character, Johnny, a highly intelligent, embittered, rambling street philosopher, for which Thewlis 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. That same year, he appeared on television as a sexual predator named James Jackson in Prime Suspect 3, opposite Helen Mirren and Ciarán Hinds. Before that, his first television appearance was in Valentine Park.
During 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. He was nominated for a British Independent Film Award for Divorcing Jack (1998), and played Clov in a television film of Samuel Beckett's Endgame (2000). Notable appearances also include Bernardo Bertolucci's Besieged (1998) and Paul McGuigan's Gangster No. 1 (2000), opposite Paul Bettany and Malcolm McDowell.
He auditioned for the role of Quirinus 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, he was cast in 2004 as Professor Remus Lupin in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. He did not have to audition as he was director Alfonso Cuarón's first choice for the role. Thewlis reprised the role in four other films in the series.
He appeared as an SS Commandant of a Nazi death camp and father of the main character in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, which was well received. Other credits include Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven (2005), Terrence Malick's The New World (2005), and The Omen (2006).
Thewlis played the late Dr. Michael Aris, husband of Nobel Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma, with Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh as Suu Kyi, in the biopic The Lady directed by Luc Besson. In 2012, he received an International Festival of Independent Cinema Off Plus Camera Award. In the same year, he also played in Separate We Come, Separate We Go, directed by Harry Potter co-star Bonnie Wright.
In June 2015, Thewlis was reported to be filming scenes for a Donald Crowhurst biopic, The Mercy, on the beach at Teignmouth, Devon, playing Donald Crowhurst's press agent, Rodney Hallworth, while Colin Firth is playing Donald Crowhurst. He also starred in Regression, a thriller released in autumn 2015. In September 2015, Thewlis starred as Inspector Goole in Helen Edmundson's BBC TV adaptation of J. B. Priestley's An Inspector Calls. In October 2015, he played King Duncan in the film Macbeth.
Thewlis directed Hello, Hello, Hello in 1995, for which he was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Short Film. He also wrote, directed and starred in the feature Cheeky (2003). Thewlis is also an author; his debut novel, The Late Hector Kipling, is a black comedy set in the art world and was published by Simon & Schuster in 2007.
In 1992, Thewlis married director Sara Sugarman; they divorced in 1994. He then had a brief relationship with Bill Oddie's daughter Kate Hardie. In 2001, he began a relationship with actress Anna Friel, whom he met on a flight to Cannes. They have one child together. Friel and Thewlis ended their relationship in late 2010.
Thewlis owns a converted Victorian ballroom in Clerkenwell. He is often mistaken for fellow actor Rhys Ifans (Friel's subsequent partner): "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."
|Short and Curlies, TheThe Short and Curlies||Clive||Mike Leigh||Short film|
|Little Dorrit||George Braddle||Christine Edzard|
|1989||Resurrected||Kevin Deakin||Paul Greengrass|
|1991||Life Is Sweet||Nicola's lover||Mike Leigh|
|Afraid of the Dark||Locksmith
|1992||Swords at Teatime||Michael||David Freeman||Short film|
|1993||Trial, TheThe Trial||Franz||David Jones|
|1994||Black Beauty||Jerry Barker||Caroline Thompson|
|1995||Total Eclipse||Paul Verlaine||Agnieszka Holland|
|Restoration||John Pearce||Michael Hoffman|
|Hello, Hello, Hello||N/A||Himself||Short film; directed and wrote|
|1996||James and the Giant Peach||Earthworm||Henry Selick||Voice|
|Dragonheart||King Einon||Rob Cohen|
|Island of Dr. Moreau, TheThe Island of Dr. Moreau||Edward Douglas||John Frankenheimer|
|1997||American Perfekt||Santini||Paul Chart|
|Seven Years in Tibet||Peter Aufschnaiter||Jean-Jacques Annaud|
|1998||Big Lebowski, TheThe Big Lebowski||Knox Harrington||Joel Coen|
|Divorcing Jack||Dan Starkey||David Caffrey|
|Besieged||Jason Kinsky||Bernardo Bertolucci|
|1999||Whatever Happened to Harold Smith?||Nesbit||Peter Hewitt|
|2000||Miracle Maker, TheThe Miracle Maker||Judas Iscariot||Derek W. Hayes
|Gangster No. 1||Freddie Mays||Paul McGuigan|
|Beckett on Film – Endgame||Clov||Conor McPherson|
|2001||Goodbye Charlie Bright||Charlie's dad||Nick Love|
|2002||D.I.Y. Hard||Man||Pat Holden|
|2003||Cheeky||Harry Sankey||Himself||Also directed and wrote|
|Timeline||Robert Doniger||Richard Donner|
|2004||Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban||Remus Lupin||Alfonso Cuarón|
|2005||Kingdom of Heaven||Hospitaller||Ridley Scott|
|All the Invisible Children||Jonathan||Ridley Scott
|New World, TheThe New World||Edward Wingfield||Terrence Malick|
|2006||Basic Instinct 2||Roy Washburn||Michael Caton-Jones|
|Omen, TheThe Omen||Keith Jennings||John Moore|
|2007||Inner Life of Martin Frost, TheThe Inner Life of Martin Frost||Martin Frost||Paul Auster|
|Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix||Remus Lupin||David Yates|
|2008||Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, TheThe Boy in the Striped Pyjamas||SS-Obersturmbannführer Ralph||Mark Herman|
|2009||Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince||Remus Lupin||David Yates|
|Veronika Decides to Die||Dr. Blake||Emily Young|
|2010||Mr. Nice||Jim McCann||Bernard Rose|
|London Boulevard||Jordan||William Monahan|
|Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1||Remus Lupin||David Yates|
|2011||Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2|
|Lady, TheThe Lady||Michael Aris||Luc Besson|
|Anonymous||William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley||Roland Emmerich|
|War Horse||Lyons||Steven Spielberg|
|2012||Separate We Come, Separate We Go||Norman||Bonnie Wright||Short film|
|2013||Red 2||The Frog||Dean Parisot|
|The Fifth Estate||Nick Davies||Bill Condon|
|The Zero Theorem||Joby||Terry Gilliam|
|2014||The Theory of Everything||Dennis Sciama||James Marsh|
|Stonehearst Asylum||Mickey Finn||Brad Anderson|
|Queen and Country||Bradley||John Boorman|
|2015||Regression||Professor Kenneth Raines||Alejandro Amenábar|
|Legend||Leslie Payne||Brian Helgeland|
|Macbeth||King Duncan||Justin Kurzel|
|Anomalisa||Michael Stone||Charlie Kaufman
|2017||Wonder Woman||Ares||Patty Jenkins|
|Justice League||Zack Snyder||Cameo|
|2018||The Mercy||Rodney Hallworth||James Marsh|
|2020||Avatar 2||TBA||James Cameron||Filming|
|1985||Only Fools and Horses||Stew||Episode: "It's Only Rock and Roll"|
|Radio Pictures||Jim Grams||Television film|
|1986||Singing Detective, TheThe Singing Detective||Second Soldier||2 episodes|
|1987–1988||Valentine Park||Max||12 episodes|
|1989||Bit of a Do, AA Bit of a Do||Paul Simcock||6 episodes|
|1990||Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit||Doctor||3 episodes|
|1991||Journey to Knock||Terry||Television film|
|Shrinks||Terry Slater||Episode 1.5|
|Screen One||Tim Shanks||Episode: "Filipina Dreamgirls"|
|1992||Black and Blue||Crematorium attendant||Television film|
|1993||Frank Stubbs Promotes||Mike Bence||Episode: "Striker"|
|Prime Suspect 3||James Jackson||Television film|
|1994||Dandelion Dead||Oswald Martin||4 episodes|
|1999||Love Story||Dealer||Television film|
|2001||Hamilton Mattress||Hamilton Mattress||Voice
|2002||Dinotopia||Cyrus Crabb||6 episodes|
|2007||Street, TheThe Street||Joe / Harry Jennerson||Episode: "Twins"|
|2014||Family Guy||British Father||Voice
Episode: "Chap Stewie"
|2015||An Inspector Calls||Inspector Goole||Television film|
|2017||Fargo||V. M. Varga||10 episodes|
|2004||World of Warcraft||Lord Darius Crowley|
|2010||World of Warcraft: Cataclysm|
|1993||Cannes Film Festival||Best Actor||Naked||Won|
|Evening Standard British Film Award||Best Actor||Won|
|London Film Critics' Circle||British Actor of the Year||Won|
|National Society of Film Critics||Best Actor||Won|
|New York Film Critics Circle||Best Actor||Won|
|1995||BAFTA Award||Best Short Film
(shared with Helen Booth and James Roberts)
|Hello, Hello, Hello||Nominated|
|1998||British Independent Film Award||Best Performance by a British Actor in an Independent Film||Divorcing Jack||Nominated|
|2006||Golden Raspberry Award||Worst Supporting Actor||Basic Instinct 2 / The Omen||Nominated|
|2007||Monte-Carlo Television Festival||Golden Nymph Award for Outstanding Actor – Drama Series||The Street||Nominated|
|2008||British Independent Film Award||Richard Harris Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Film||Won|
|2009||Scream Award||Best Ensemble
(shared with the entire cast)
|Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince||Won|
|2010||Evening Standard British Film Award||Peter Sellers Award for Comedy||London Boulevard||Won|
|2011||Scream Award||Best Ensemble
(shared with the entire cast)
|Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2||Nominated|
|2016||Alliance of Women Film Journalists||Best Depiction of Nudity, Sexuality, or Seduction
(shared with Jennifer Jason Leigh)
|2017||Primetime Emmy Award||Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie||Fargo||Nominated|
|2017||Critics' Choice Television Award||Best Supporting Actor in a Movie/Miniseries||Nominated|
|2017||Golden Globe Award||Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film||Nominated|
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