Archive for the ‘Oscar nominee’ tag
Born Angelina Jolie Voight on the 4th of June, 1975, in Los Angeles, California; Angelina is the youngest of two children to actors Marcheline Bertrand and Jon Voight. Her parents separated a year after she was born and she was primarily raised in New York by her mother. With the soon-to-be actress having a somewhat tempestuous relationship with her father, Angelina has credited her interest in acting to her childhood experiences with her mother, though she made her debut film appearance in her father’s poorly received comedy Lookin’ to Get Out released in 1982. Angelina pursued her interest in the profession in her early teenage years when she began studying at the Lee Strasbourg Theatre Institute in 1986, making several stage appearances during her studies. She also briefly considered a career as a funeral director during her more troubled years; with the young actress collecting knives and experimenting with self-harm when she was 16 years old, before achieving some success as a professional model.
Angelina found success as a model across the globe; working in London, Los Angeles, and New York, earning the attentions of the music industry with the teenage model appearing in numerous music videos for the likes of Lenny Kravitz, Meatloaf, and the Rolling Stones. With her passion for acting reignited, Angelina enrolled at the MET theater company in Los Angeles to pursue a career as an actress. After appearing in a couple of shorts by Secretary director Steven Shainberg in 1993, Angelina quickly made her film debut as an adult in the low-budget sci-fi thriller, Cyborg 2 (1993).
After making numerous appearances in low-profile genre films, including Hackers (1995) with Johnny Lee Miller, and Playing God (1997) with David Duchovny, Angelina earned her first taste of critical acclaim with television biopic Gia (1998) portraying doomed model Gia Carangi. She was nominated for an Emmy for her performance and won a Golden Globe award, planting her firmly on the Hollywood map. More high profile roles soon followed with Angelina starring opposite Billy Bob Thornton in romantic drama Pushing Tin (1999), and Denzel Washington in crime thriller The Bone Collector (1999), before making her breakthrough performance in Girl, Interrupted (1999). She won an Oscar for her performance and quickly established herself as one of Hollywood’s highest earning stars with a string of blockbuster hits.
BOX OFFICE QUEEN
With Gone in 60 Seconds (2000) opposite Nicolas Cage, highly anticipated video-game adaptation Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), action comedy Mr and Mrs Smith (2005), and roles in animated hits Shark Tale (2004), and Kung Fu Panda (2008) grossing over $100 million each in America alone, Angelina became a certified box office star. Though she has starred in her fair share of box office flops, including Original Sin (2001) with Antonio Banderas and Thomas Jane, and Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004) with Jude Law, Angelina has remained one of cinema’s biggest draws, and has endeavoured to balance more challenging dramatic work with box office blockbusters. She earned a second Oscar nomination for her performances in Clint Eastwood’s Changeling (2008), and has recently lit up the box office with blockbusters Wanted (2008), Salt (2010), and The Tourist (2011) with Johnny Depp. She will next be seen in the animated sequel Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011).
However, Angelina’s most fulfilling work has been away from the big screen with the actress using her celebrity status to raise awareness for humanitarian causes across the world. She has visited many third world countries and conflict zones including Sierra Leone, Namibia, Darfur, and Haiti, and has made numerous donations from her own fortune. She has made public speeches at fundraising events including World Refugee Day, and in 2001 was named a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN. She has been awarded the Citizen of the World award, and a Global Humanitarian award for her prolific charity work.
Aside from her highly-publicized estrangement from her father, Angelina has been the subject of controversy with her love life too, earning a reputation as a wild child. At her first wedding, to actor Johnny Lee Miller (1996-1999), Angelina had written the groom’s name on her shirt in her own blood, and the star has professed that she wore a vial of her spouse’s blood during her marriage to second husband Billy Bob Thornton (2000-2003). Her current relationship to actor Brad Pitt has also been the subject of obsessive media speculation with Angelina rumored to have been the cause for the dissolution of Brad’s marriage to actress Jennifer Aniston. Angelina has 3 adopted children; Maddox (adopted 2002) from Cambodia, Zahara Marley (adopted 2005) from Ethiopia, and Pax Thien (adopted 2007) from Vietnam. She also has three biological children with Brad; Shiloh Nouvel (born 2006), and twins Vivienne Marcheline and Knox Leon (born 2008). Angelina is currently represented by United Talent Agency.
Acting is empowering – try acting today at London Academy
Born William Bradley Pitt on 18th December, 1963 in Shawnee, Oklahoma, Brad is the eldest of three children to counselor Jane, and truck company owner William Alvin Pitt. Having moved to Missouri shortly after his birth, Brad studied at Kickapoo High School in Springfield, where he first discovered a passion for acting; performing in numerous school productions. He went on to study journalism at the University of Missouri, but soon realized his true calling was in the arts with the teenager acting with the Sigma Chi fraternity. Brad abandoned his studies shortly before he was due to graduate and moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career in 1986.
Brad soon found work as an extra, making minor appearances in numerous films and television series’. His debut came in 1987 with the burgeoning actor appearing in the likes of Hunk, No Way Out, and Less Than Zero with Robert Downey Jr. That same year he landed a recurring role on television soap Dallas (1987-1988), and proceeded to guest star in popular television fare including 21 Jump Street (1988), and Wes Craven’s Freddy’s Nightmares (1989). Brad continued to land small roles in film and television, until he found his breakthrough role in Ridley Scott’s acclaimed crime drama Thelma & Louise (1991). The film was a box office smash and Brad’s supporting performance as a hitchhiker soon earned him the attentions of Hollywood’s top producers, and the affections of female audiences around the world who quickly became enamored with his chiseled looks.
BIG SCREEN BREAKTHROUGH
Following Thelma & Louise’ success, Brad found himself in consideration for lead roles; earning his leading man status as the titular Johnny Suede in the 1991 musical comedy. However, Brad was keen to avoid being typecast and strived to establish himself as a talented actor, with his acclaimed performance as a serial killer in Kalifornia (1993) being an indicator of the diverse roles that would define his career. Brad sealed his A-list status in 1994 with Interview with the Vampire, sharing leading man duties with Tom Cruise, and Edward Zwick’s Legends of the Fall for which he earned his first Golden Globe nomination. Brad’s career went from strength to strength, with the actor collaborating with director David Fincher in acclaimed thriller Se7en (1995), and earning his first Oscar nomination and Golden Globe win for his performance in Twelve Monkeys (1995) opposite Bruce Willis. A couple of misfires soon followed with the underwhelming The Devil’s Own, and Seven Years in Tibet in 1997, but Brad would soon be back on the path to superstardom with the release of dark fantasy Meet Joe Black (1998) reaffirming his heartthrob status, and a reunion with Fincher for Fight Club in 1999.
FIGHT CLUB AND BEYOND
Though it disappointed at the box office, Fight Club became a cult smash and revived Brad’s career. More high profile genre films followed with The Mexican (2001), Spy Game (2001), and a guest appearance on Friends (2001), before Brad appeared in Steven Soderbergh’s ensemble blockbuster Ocean’s Eleven (2001) that saw the actor begin a long-standing friendship with actor George Clooney. Between appearances in 2 Ocean’s sequels; Twelve (2004), and Thirteen (2007), Brad’s screen profile skyrocketed with lead roles in blockbusters Troy (2004), and action comedy Mr & Mrs Smith (2005) becoming box office hits. He has since reunited with Clooney once more for the Coen’s Burn After Reading (2008), and earned rave reviews for his performances in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2008), David Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) which earned the actor his second Oscar nomination, and Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds (2009). He will next be seen in The Tree of Life (2011).
Brad has also had success as a producer, with his company Plan B Entertainment producing the likes of The Departed (2006), A Mighty Heart (2007), The Time Traveller’s Wife (2009), Kick-Ass (2010), and Eat. Pray. Love (2010) amongst others.
Brad has had several high profile relationships with actresses Juliette Lewis, and Gwyneth Paltrow, and was previously married to actress Jennifer Aniston (2000-2005). His marriage to Jennifer became the cause of immense media speculation amid rumours that Brad became close to co-star Angelina Jolie whom he met whilst filming Mr & Mrs Smith in 2005, and the couple divorced shortly after. Brad’s relationship with Angelina has become one of the most talked about in Hollywood, the couple have 3 children; Shiloh Nouvel (born 2006), and twins Vivienne Marcheline and Knox Leon (born 2008), and in 2006 Brad legally adopted Angelina’s 3 adopted children Maddox Chivan, Zahara Marley, and Pax Thien. He has also accompanied Angelina on some of her humanitarian visits, and co-established the Jolie-Pitt Foundation to raise funds and awareness for humanitarian causes. Brad was also active in relief efforts during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, funding housing projects and encouraging film production in the area. He is currently represented by Creative Artists Agency.
Acting is a showcase for many talents – try acting today at London Academy
Born Thomas Cruise Mapother IV on July 3rd, 1962, in Syracuse, New York, Tom is the third of four children to teacher Mary Lee and electrical engineer Thomas Cruise Mapother III. Raised as a Catholic, Tom had a difficult childhood; he suffered from dyslexia and had a difficult relationship with his father whom Tom has publicly criticized for his strict, abusive parenting. Tom and his family moved regularly when he was a child, living in places like New York and Ontario. Whilst living in Ontario, Tom studied at Henry Munro Middle School where he developed a passion for hockey and had his first taste of acting, appearing in a school production of IT that was filmed for Canadian television. His parents separated when he was 12 years old and he moved to New Jersey with his mother. He later briefly attended a Franciscan seminary to pursue a life as a Catholic priest, before attending New Jersey High School to develop his burgeoning acting talent.
In his late teens, Tom moved to New York City and soon earned his first acting part with a small role in Endless Love (1981). Bigger parts were on the horizon though and Tom quickly earned more substantial roles in the military drama Taps (1981), and Francis Ford Coppola’s The Outsiders (1983) before he found his breakthrough role in 1983’s Risky Business. That film was a breakout hit with Tom earning a Golden Globe nomination for his star-making performance. His first bona-fide blockbuster was yet to come though with Tom sealing his A-list status in Tony Scott’s hugely popular action thriller Top Gun (1986). The film was a worldwide success, grossing over $350 million and transforming Tom into one of Hollywood’s most popular actors. He hasn’t looked back since playing on his screen charisma and demonstrating his natural acting talent in both big budget blockbuster fare and high profile dramas.
TOM CRUISE – SUPERSTAR
With acclaimed performances in The Colour of Money (1986), and Rain Man (1988), it was only a matter of time before Tom would earn the attentions of Hollywood’s major awards; with his performance as a paraplegic Vietnam veteran in Oliver Stone’s acclaimed drama Born on the Fourth of July (1989) he earned his first Golden Globe award and his first Oscar nomination. The star reunited with Tony Scott for the Nascar thriller Days of Thunder (1989) before demonstrating consistent success in the varied likes of A Few Good Men (1992), The Firm (1993), and Interview with the Vampire (1994). However, Tom was destined for bigger, more crowd-pleasing things with the release of TV adaptation Mission Impossible (1996) setting the actor on course to being Hollywood’s most bankable star. With further Oscar nominations and Golden Globe wins for his turns in Jerry Maguire (1997), and Magnolia (1999), and box office smashes Mission Impossible 2 (2000), Minority Report (2002), The Last Samurai (2003), Collateral (2004), and War of the Worlds (2005), Tom became known as Hollywood’s proven sure thing at the box office.
However, he fell out of favour with the public thanks to some highly-publicized bizarre behavior on The Oprah Winfrey Show and his often outspoken remarks regarding his Scientologist beliefs culminating with Paramount studios refusing to renew their partnership with the actor in 2006. Tom has publicly apologized for some of his more controversial comments and has still proven to be a box office draw with Mission Impossible III (2006) grossing almost $400 million worldwide, but his latest non-franchise releases have underwhelmed with both Valkyrie (2008), and Knight and Day (2010) underperforming at the box office. He will next be seen in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011).
Tom has also had success as a producer with many of his blockbuster releases being produced by his own company, Wagner/Cruise Productions, including the Mission Impossible franchise and The Last Samurai as well as the more independent-minded releases Narc (2002) and Shattered Glass (2003).
Tom previously had high profile relationships with co-stars Rebecca De Mornay (Risky Business), and Penelope Cruz (Vanilla Sky, 2001), and has been married 3 times; to Mimi Rogers (1987-1990), Nicole Kidman (1990-2001), and Katie Holmes (2006-present). He shares two adopted children with Kidman; Isabella Jane (born 1992), and Connor Cruise (born 1995), and has a biological daughter, Suri (born 2006) with current wife Katie Holmes. Tom has been nominated for 3 Oscars and 7 Golden Globes, and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He is currently represented by Creative Artists Agency.
Acting is a showcase for many talents – try acting today at London Academy
Born John Christopher Depp II on 9th June 1963 in Owensboro, Kentucky, Johnny is the youngest of four children to waitress Betty Sue Palmer and civil engineer John Christopher Depp. Johnny had a somewhat turbulent childhood; his family frequently moved when he was a child, eventually settling in Miramar, Florida. His parents divorced when he was 15 years old. He studied at Miramar High School but he dropped out shortly after his parents divorce. Unfortunately the young teen occasionally found himself in trouble with the law thanks to his recreational drug and underage alcohol use.
A PASSION FOR MUSIC
As a teen, Johnny also discovered a passion for music. He taught himself to play the guitar and performed around Florida’s club circuit with local rock band, The Kids. He achieved moderate success with this band including opening for Iggy Pop. Johnny later moved to Los Angeles where he met his wife, Lori Allison, who introduced him to actor Nicolas Cage. Identiying Johnny’s potential as an actor, Nicolas helped the young man land his first role in Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street in 1984 marking the start of what would be a varied and successful career.
With his matinee idol looks, it wasn’t long before Johnny got his first acting break. After a few low-profile leads and bit-parts in the likes of Platoon (1986), he landed his breakthrough role on the television series 21 Jump Street in 1987, a mere 3 years after his acting debut. Starring in 80 episodes, 21 Jump Street made Johnny a star, with the actor instantly becoming a favorite among teen audiences. However, he resented his newfound status and was keen to shake his teen reputation with increasingly unique roles. His desire to challenge himself lead him to director Tim Burton who cast Johnny as the titular Edward Scissorhands in his 1990 film. The film was a critical and commercial success, earning Johnny his first Golden Globe nomination and marking the start of a string of collaborations between the director and star.
JOHNNY DEPP AND DIRECTOR TIM BURTON
Johnny continued to impress with a slew of diverse roles including performances in Benny and Joon (1993), acclaimed drama What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? (1993), crime biopic Donnie Brasco (1997), and Terry Gilliam’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998), but it was his work with Burton that largely defined his early career with the actor earning another Golden Globe nomination for his work in Ed Wood (1994), and box office success with a starring turn in Sleepy Hollow (1999). The duo’s collaborations would prove to be even more prolific in the 2000’s with the releases of box office hits Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), Corpse Bride (2005), Sweeney Todd (2007), and Alice in Wonderland (2010), the latter of which made over $1 billion at the worldwide box office.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN
Johnny’s most iconic role however,would be under a different director, with the actor appearing as Jack Sparrow in the Disney adventure Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003). The film was a box office smash, and for the first time in his career, Johnny became a blockbuster star earning him a legion of new admirers, a Golden Globe nomination, and his first Oscar nomination. It transformed him into one of cinema’s most popular actors, which he swiftly capitalized on with yet more acclaimed performances in Finding Neverland (2004); for which he earned his second Oscar nomination, and crime biopic Public Enemies (2009). He reprised the role of Jack Sparrow for the back-to-back sequels Dead Man’s Chest (2006), and At World’s End (2007), and has recently reunited with Pirates director Gore Verbinski for children’s animation Rango (2011). He will next be seen in the highly anticipated Pirates sequel On Stranger Tides (2011).
Johnny’s drug and alcohol use frequently resurfaced early in his acting career, and a few arrests for violence and destruction of property earned the actor a reputation as one of cinema’s bad boys. His passion for music has also continued to play a major part in his life with the star forming another band, P, and performing on recordings by Oasis and Shane McGowan. Johnny has had several high profile relationships, but has only been married once; to Lori Allison (1983-1985). He has previously dated Kate Moss, and actresses Jennifer Grey, and Winona Ryder, whose name he has famously tattooed on his arm. He is currently in a relationship with Vanessa Paradis whom he has dated since 1998 and shares 2 children; daughter Lily-Rose (born 1999), and son Jack (born 2002). Johnny is currently represented by United Talent Agency.
Acting is a showcase for many talents – try acting today at London Academy
Born Anne Jacqueline Hathaway on 12th November, 1982, in Brooklyn, New York, Anne is the second of three children to actress Kate McCauley and lawyer Gerald Hathaway. Though she was born in Brooklyn, Anne spent much of her childhood in Milburn, New Jersey after her parents moved there when she was only 6 years old. Raised as a Catholic, she initially wished to pursue life as nun, though her mother’s career meant that she also developed an interest in acting; appearing in numerous school plays whilst studying at Milburn High School. Her high school performances were well reviewed, with a Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Award being a solid indicator of her future success. Anne abandoned her pursuit of becoming a nun at the age of 15 after her brother came out as a homosexual and instead set her sights on an acting career; earning a place at the Barrow Group Theatre Company.
With her Barrow membership and an acclaimed performance as a soprano with the All Eastern US High School Honors Chorus, Anne’s television acting debut was not to be far behind and she won her first role in the Fox drama series Get Real in 1999. The series was ultimately short-lived, airing only 13 episodes, and Anne returned to New York to graduate high school and further her education by enrolling at New York University to study English. Her next acting break would prove to be far more successful however, landing the lead role in Disney’s The Princess Diaries in 2001.
The Princess Diaries proved to be a huge success, making Anne a star in the process and a firm favorite with family audiences. Roles in Nicholas Nickelby (2002), Ella Enchanted (2004), The Princess Diaries 2 (2004), and animated fairytale Hoodwinked (2005) further boosted her status as one of Hollywood’s most popular young actresses. However, Anne strived for more dramatically challenging roles and sought to shake her family-friendly image by playing against type in more adult-oriented fare.
Her first adult performance came with the misfiring, straight-to-dvd drug drama Havoc in 2005, but her breakthrough role came later that year when she was cast in Ang Lee’s critically acclaimed drama Brokeback Mountain starring opposite Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal as the latter’s estranged wife. The film firmly planted Anne on Hollywood’s A-list and the actress soon found herself headlining high profile studio productions including The Devil Wears Prada (2006) starring opposite Meryl Streep, big-screen television revival Get Smart (2008), and Jonathan Demme’s well-received drama Rachel Getting Married (2008), for which she earned Best Actress nominations at the 2009 Oscar and Golden Globe awards. She has since appeared in a wide range of different films including the comedies Bride Wars (2009) and Valentine’s Day (2010), fantasy epic Alice in Wonderland (2010), and romantic drama Love and Other Drugs (2011), which earned the actress her second Golden Globe nomination. She can currently be heard in the children’s animation Rio (2011), and will next be seen in the romantic drama One Day (2011), and Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated The Dark Knight Rises (2012).
Anne has appeared in numerous stage productions including a production of Twelfth Night at the Delacorte Theatre in New York, and co-hosted the 83rd Annual Academy Awards with actor James Franco. She has also used her celebrity status to support numerous charities including the Step Up Women’s Network, and The Human Rights Campaign.
Anne has largely tried to keep her private life out of the limelight, however her relationship with Italian real estate developer Raffaello Follieri hit the headlines in 2008 when Follieri’s charity organization was investigated by the IRS. Anne ended the relationship shortly afterwards and Follieri himself was eventually arrested for fraud. Anne has also revealed that she suffered from depression as a teenager. She is currently in a relationship with actor Adam Shulman, and is represented by Creative Artists Agency.
Acting can be one of many talents– try acting today at London Academy
Born Maggie Ruth Gyllenhaal in New York City, New York, on 16th November, 1977, Maggie is the eldest child of screenwriter Naomi Foner and director Stephen Gyllenhaal, and the older sister of actor Jake Gyllenhaal. With her parents striving to further their careers, Maggie moved with her family to Los Angeles when she was 2 years old. Like Jake, Maggie was surrounded by her parents’ contempories as a child and developed an early interest in acting, making her film debut at the age of 15 in her father’s film Waterland in 1992. She studied at Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles, graduating in 1995, before enrolling at Columbia University to study literature. Whilst at Columbia, Maggie would make more infrequent film appearances including TV movie The Patron Saint of Liars (1998), and her father’s comedy Homegrown (1998). She graduated in 1999 and went on to study acting at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London before seeking out professional acting roles in independent productions.
Maggie soon landed her first professional acting job with small roles in The Photographer and John Waters’ Cecil B. DeMented in 2000. Around the same time she made her stage debut in a production of Closer at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, before appearing opposite her brother Jake in his breakthrough performance in Donnie Darko (2001). Maggie’s breakthrough would soon follow with the actress earning rave reviews for her lead performance in Steven Shainberg’s black comedy Secretary (2002), starring as a recently appointed secretary embarking on a sado-masochistic affair with her boss. She was nominated for numerous awards for her performance including a Golden Globe and an Independent Spirit Award, and became a fixture on the independent film circuit. Maggie’s star continued to rise as she balanced supporting roles in mainstream productions with more critically acclaimed performances in independent dramas with Maggie appearing in the likes of 40 Days and 40 Nights (2002), George Clooney’s directorial debut Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002), Adaptation (2002) with Nicolas Cage and Meryl Streep, and Mona Lisa Smile (2003) with Julia Roberts.
SHERRYBABY AND BEYOND
Her next highly acclaimed performance didn’t come until 2006 when she starred in Sherrybaby as an ex-con desperately trying to reconnect with her young daughter after a lengthy jail term. Maggie once again earned rave reviews and a second Golden Globe nomination, and firmly established herself as a Hollywood A-lister. She followed Sherrybaby’s critical acclaim with numerous high-profile studio productions that retained a more independent spirit; including Oliver Stone’s 9/11 drama World Trade Center (2006), and the Will Ferrell dramedy Stranger Than Fiction (2006). Her most high profile role came 2 years later when she replaced Katie Holmes in Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed Batman sequel, The Dark Knight (2008) which went on to gross over $1 billion worldwide. She has since appeared in Sam Mendes’ road movie Away We Go (2009), and country music drama Crazy Heart (2009) for which she earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
Maggie has often been outspoken regarding her political stance and has publicly denounced America’s invasion of Iraq. She featured in the Artists United to Win Without War campaign and has made public appearances for the American Civil Liberties Union. She also filmed a commercial for the Rock the Vote campaign and supported John Kerry and Barack Obama in the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections respectively.
Aside from acting, Maggie has also had some success as a model featuring in ad campaigns for the likes of Reebok and Agent Provocateur. Maggie is currently married to actor Peter Sarsgaard, whom she has dated since 2002 and wed in a private ceremony in Italy in 2009. The couple acted alongside each other on stage in a Broadway production of Anton Chekov’s Uncle Vanya in 2009, and have a daughter, Ramona, born in 2006. She is currently represented by Creative Artists Agency.
Acting can be one of many talents– try acting today at London Academy
Born Jacob Benjamin Gyllenhaal in Los Angeles, California, on 19th December, 1980, Jake is the youngest of two children to screenwriter Naomi Foner and director Stephen Gyllenhaal. His parents’ respective careers ensured Jake and his sister Maggie were frequently surrounded by filmmakers and both children developed an early interest in acting. Jake made his film debut at the age of 11; appearing opposite Billy Crystal in City Slickers in 1991. Jake made infrequent film appearances throughout his early teens, with roles in the family productions A Dangerous Woman, which was written by his mother and directed by his father, and the children’s film Josh and S.A.M. in 1993. His parents were keen that he experience a normal childhood however and encouraged him to take up working-class summer jobs and concentrate on his education. Jake attended Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles, graduating in 1998, and enrolled at Columbia University to study Eastern religions before dropping out two years later after some early acting success.
FIRST SUCCESS AND INDEPENDENT BREAKTHROUGH
Jake’s first film appearance after graduating from high school was in the independent comedy Homegrown in 1998 but his first taste of critical success came a year later with a starring role in Joe Johnston’s October Sky, a drama based on the true story of NASA engineer Homer Hickham Jr. His breakthrough was soon to follow when he was cast in Richard Kelly’s Donnie Darko in 2001. The film was a cult smash; earning rave reviews and a host of nominations including an Independent Spirit Award award for Best Male Lead. The film made Jake a cult star and he followed it with more-acclaimed performances in high-profile independent features including The Good Girl (2002) with Jennifer Aniston, and Moonlight Mile with Dustin Hoffman (2002). Shortly afterwards Jake made his stage debut appearing in a West End production of This Is Our Youth in the same year. Jake’s acting talent would soon see him headlining big budget blockbusters, with the actor making the leap from independent favorite to box office star two years later with a role in Roland Emmerich’s disaster film The Day After Tomorrow (2004).
BOX OFFICE STAR
That film proved to be a worldwide hit, grossing over $500 million dollars, and Jake soon found himself one of Hollywood’s most sought after young actors; quickly exchanging independent dramas for big budget studio productions. A year later he would seal his A-list status with a highly acclaimed performance in Ang Lee’s romantic drama Brokeback Mountain (2005). Starring opposite Heath Ledger as a homosexual cowboy, Jake was praised for his depiction of a man struggling to come to terms with his sexual orientation, earning an Oscar nomination and a BAFTA award for his performance. More acclaimed turns would follow with Jake appearing in films by such celebrated auteurs as Sam Mendes and David Fincher, in Jarhead (2005) and Zodiac (2007) respectively. Jake has continued to balance challenging dramatic roles with more mass market blockbuster fare having recently starred in Brothers (2009), action blockbuster Prince of Persia (2010), and the romantic comedy Love and Other Drugs (2011) for which he earned a Golden Globe nomination. He can currently be seen headlining sci-fi thriller Source Code (2011).
A democrat, Jake campaigned for John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election, and counts former president Bill Clinton as a friend of his parents. His political views have also affected his film choices with the actor appearing in war drama Rendition in 2007, which publicly criticized the American military’s terrorist interrogation methods. He frequently campaigns to raise awareness for environmental issues such as climate change and the Future Forests program.
A close friend of Brokeback Mountain co-stars Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams, Jake is godfather to their daughter, Mathilda. He briefly shunned the limelight after Heath’s tragic death and was said to have been devastated by the loss of his friend. Jake has had several high-profile relationships having dated actresses Reese Witherspoon and Kirsten Dunst for over 2 years, and has more recently been romantically linked to Natalie Portman and Taylor Swift. He is currently represented by Creative Artists Agency.
Acting is empowering – try acting today at London Academy
Born Robert John Downey Jr in Manhattan, New York on April 4th 1965, Robert is the youngest of two children to actress Elsie and director Robert Downey. Robert was destined to follow in their footsteps and made his debut acting appearance at the age of five in his father’s independent feature Pound (1970). His early passion for acting lead to him studying performing arts at the Stagedoor Manor in New York until his parents divorced in 1978 and he moved to California with his father. Whilst in California, Robert studied at Santa Monica High School where he performed in numerous school productions, and had a small role in another of his father’s films, Up the Academy, in 1980.
Robert moved back to New York in 1982, where he appeared in several off-Broadway stage productions including American Passion, until he was spotted by a talent scout and promptly moved back to California where he was cast in John Sayles’ Baby It’s You (1983). He began a relationship with fellow actress Sarah Jessica Parker whilst filming Michael Apted’s Firstborn in 1984 and moved back to New York shortly afterwards. From there, Robert’s career began to take off with the actor earning supporting roles in the likes of John Hughes’ Weird Science (1985) before landing a brief stint as a series regular on Saturday Night Live’s 1985-1986 season. However, his breakthrough role came in 1987 when he was cast in the Bret Easton Ellis adaptation Less Than Zero. Robert won rave reviews for his authentic portrayal of a drug addict and a string of more high-profile roles followed suit with appearances in Chances Are (1989), and Air America (1990) opposite Mel Gibson. Robert’s acting talent would soon be recognized with a spate of awards and nominations for his performance as Charlie Chaplin in Richard Attenborough’s Chaplin (1992) earning the star a BAFTA award and an Oscar nomination. Robert continued to perform to great acclaim with appearances in Robert Altman’s Shortcuts (1993), and Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers (1994), however his long-standing drug addiction would threaten to derail his career.
Robert’s career has long been plagued by his high profile substance abuse. He unsuccessfully attended rehab from as early as 1987, yet his struggle with addiction would define much of his early career; coming to a head in 1996 when the actor was arrested for speeding and possession. Following more arrests, he was sentenced to three years probation and was subsequently jailed for 4 months after failing to attend some mandatory drug tests. He continued to act between stints in rehab, including performances in The Gingerbread Man (1998), U.S. Marshals (1998), and Wonder Boys (2000), but his personal life met an all time low in 1999 when he was arrested for violating the terms of his probation and began serving a three year prison sentence. He was released the following year and soon landed a role in television drama Ally McBeal for which he was awarded an Emmy and a Golden Globe, but his troubles with the law were not yet over; with his character being written out of the series after yet another arrest. Robert announced his newfound sobriety in 2003 and finally made his big-screen comeback.
BIG SCREEN COMEBACK
Robert’s comeback has largely been credited to former co-star Mel Gibson who cast the actor in The Singing Detective (2003), yet his early acclaim eluded him until he was cast in Shane Black’s independent film noir Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005). From there Robert’s career went from strength to strength thanks to roles in George Clooney’s Good Night, and Good Luck (2005), and David Fincher’s Zodiac (2007). The turning point in his resurrected career came in 2008 when he was cast as Tony Stark in Marvel’s hugely successful Iron Man, making the actor a blockbuster star in the process. A role in Ben Stiller’s ensemble comedy Tropic Thunder (2008) earned him a second Oscar nomination, while Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes (2009) sealed his newfound reputation as a box office draw. Robert has recently continued his ascension to superstardom with a second performance as Tony Stark in Iron Man 2 (2010). He will next be seen in Guy Ritchie’s forthcoming Sherlock Holmes sequel and Marvel’s highly anticipated The Avengers.
Robert had a seven year relationship with actress Sarah Jessica Parker from 1984 to 1991, and has been married twice. He has a son, Indio Falconer Downey (born 1993) from his first marriage to Deborah Falconer (1992-1996), and is currently married to producer Susan Downey (2005-present), whom he met whilst filming Gothika in 2003. Robert has also performed on many film soundtracks and released a jazz album, The Futurist, in 2004. He is currently represented by Creative Artists Agency.
Acting is a showcase for many talents – try acting today at London Academy
Born Mark Robert Michael Wahlberg on June 5th, 1971 in Dorchester, Boston, Mark is the youngest of nine children to nurse’s aid Alma and delivery driver Donald Wahlberg. Mark had a troubled childhood; his parents divorced in 1982 when he was eleven, and his working class upbringing lead the young teen to a life of petty crime resulting in him dropping out of school at the age of 14. Mark quickly became involved with local street gangs and soon developed a drug addiction that often caught the attention of the local police. His troubles with the law continued with increasing frequency as he became involved in robberies and assaults culminating in an arrest for a racially charged attack on a Vietnamese man, leaving his victim blind in one eye. His conviction lead to a 50 day imprisonment at Deer Island penitentiary at the tender age of 16. When he finished his sentence, Mark vowed to clean up his act, and with the help of his brother Donnie (of New Kids on The Block fame), launched himself into a career in music.
Dubbing himself ‘Marky Mark’, Mark became a music sensation in 1991 with the release of his first album, Music for the People, and the certified Gold hit single ‘Good Vibrations’ which eventually made it to the top of America’s Billboard chart. Mark’s popularity and his penchant for displaying his muscular physique lead to further success with a Calvin Klein modeling contract and a fitness video. Controversy was not far behind though as Mark’s unsavoury past made headline news, and his ‘bad boy’ image eventually wore thin after being associated with another artist’s homophobic remarks. With disappointing sales of his sophomore album, Mark once again reinvented himself, this time turning his attention to acting.
A CAREER IN FILM
Mark’s celebrity status made his transition to acting a relatively easy one; after landing a role in TV movie The Substitute in 1993, Mark made his big-screen debut the following year in the Danny DeVito comedy Renaissance Man, before earning some early acclaim for his supporting turn in The Basketball Diaries; a role which recalled some of Mark’s own criminal experiences. However, Mark’s breakthrough performance didn’t come until 1997 when he was cast as Dirk Diggler in Paul Thomas Anderson’s acclaimed pornography drama Boogie Nights. From there, Mark’s screen career really took off with the actor earning leading roles in Hollywood blockbusters such as Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes and The Italian Job, and a string of collaborations with independent favourites James Gray and David O. Russell. His film career has not always been an easy one though, with the actor frequently being criticised as an inconsistent performer with his turns in box office flops The Happening and Max Payne particularly coming under fire. Mark’s greatest successes to date have been through his collaborations with such revered auteurs as Martin Scorsese and Russell; with his performance as Staff Sergeant Dignam in The Departed earning him an Oscar nomination and his acclaimed turn in The Fighter earning the star a host of rave reviews. Mark’s also had success as a producer, with his work on TV’s Entourage earning him multiple Emmy nominations, and the aforementioned The Fighter earning 7 Oscar nominations including Best Film.
Mark, a devout Catholic, largely credits his faith for his life turnaround and has expressed guilt and regret over the actions of his youth. He attends mass on a daily basis and has a rosary bead tattoo around his neck and over his heart. He has 4 children with his wife Rhea Durham, whom he has dated since 2001, and has used his celebrity status to establish The Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation as a means to raise funds for youth programs in inner city areas.
Acting opens doors and changes lives – try acting today at London Academy