Archive for the ‘Top 100 Australian Actors’ tag
Hugh Michael Jackman was born on October 12, 1968 in Sydney. His parents are from England, his father is Chris Jackman and mother is Grace Watson. Jackman has four older siblings; Ian, Ralph, Sonya and Zoe. After his parents divorced he continued to live with his father and siblings in Australia while his mother left them to go back to England. He also has a half sister from his mother’s new family.
Jackman went to University of Technology Sydney and earned a Bachelor Degree in Communications with a Journalism major. His interest in acting led him to enroll in the Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts. Soon after he graduated he was offered a role in “Corelli”, an Australian TV drama series.
Amongst Jackman’s movie success stories is the role of Wolverine in X-Men. Jackman also portrayed Wolverine in the sequels; X2: X-Men United, X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. He gained much interest while doing these movies, and contributed to making X-Men one of the biggest box office draws.
In other roles, Jackman was in Kate & Leopold, co-starring Meg Ryan, for which he received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor. Back in the action genre, Jackman starred in Van Helsing, which unfortunately was not a box office hit despite its big budget. Peter Lyman was another character portrayed by Jackman in the mystery movie Scoop co-starring Scarlett Johansson. Jackman’s acting skill was exposed once again when he starred in The Fountain, playing three different roles alongside the star Rachel Weisz. A role in the movie Swordfish brought him the chance to meet his childhood idol, Olivia Newton John, with Jackman co-starring as Olivia’s husband alongside John Travolta and Halle Berry.
His love for theatre continues to draw Jackman back to the stage. As a lead actor in The Boy from Oz, performed on Broadway he earned himself a Tony Award in 2004. We also can enjoy his voice as a talented actor and singer for Flushed Away and Happy Feet, the animated movies.
Jackman married Debora-Lee Furness, his costar in Corelli. The couple adopted two kids; son is Oscar Maximillian Jackman and daughter is Ava Eliot Jackman. While his stardom earns him worldwide recognition, he enjoys simple life and acts as other normal fathers.
Together with his wife and close friend John Palermo, Jackman established the production house; Seed Productions. The company aims to stimulate and to promote local movie productions and talented actors in Australia.
Jackman is not only a charismatic actor with an outstanding voice but he also has a big heart, and is actively involved in humanitarian acts. He gives out small loans for prospective entrepreneurs in less developed countries and participates in the Global Poverty Project together with Donna Karan, Lisa Fox and his wife Debora-Lee. Jackman also contributes to Broadway fundraisers to fight AIDS, along with his Broadway costar, Daniel Craig.
With all of these stories, it is not surprising to find the fact that Hugh Jackman was chosen by People Magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World from the year 2000 until 2004!
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Chris Hemsworth, with his 6’3” stature and clear blue eyes, is a young Australian actor about to carry the weight of one of Marvel’s biggest movies, Thor. Born on the 11th of August in 1983 and raised in Melbourne, Australia, he is the middle of two other brothers. He moved to Phillip Island with his parents Leonie and Craig Hemsworth and continued his education at Heathmont Secondary College. He at one point, before embarking on an acting career, was working on his aunt and uncle’s farm in an indigenous area of the Northern Territory.
In 2004, he tried for a spot as the character Robbie Hunter on the long running Australian soap Home and Away. He lost that role but was offered to play the son of the principal at the school, Kym Hyde. With over 127 episodes under his belt and a Most Popular New Male Talent Logie in 2005, he left Home and Away to pursue a Hollywood career. It was only six weeks into his stint in Hollywood that he earned a role in the movie Ca$h, with Sean Bean. He played a man, down on his luck financially, who comes across a suitcase of money. After it’s spent, the owner of the suitcase wants repayment, whatever the cost. Although this was his first movie in Hollywood it would be the thriller A Perfect Getaway that would be in theatres first. He plays a minor role as a hitch-hiker in the film that starred the likes of Milla Jovovich, Steve Zahn and Timothy Olyphant. It was his opening role as George Kirk, the short-lived father of James T. Kirk in J.J. Abram’s re-imagining of Star Trek, that would win the hearts and minds of Hollywood and start to build a name for himself. As Stephen Milburn Anderson, the director of Ca$h, said “Here’s a guy who is young, has the right look, is a very good actor and, let’s face it, he’s beautiful. So I say, we need to get this guy in.” Almost prophetic on Chris’s quick rise.
He has finished work on the Joss Whedon horror The Cabin in the Woods which he will star in. The film was directed by Drew Goddard, the screen writer for the J.J. Abram’s presented film Cloverfield. But because of financial woes at MGM the film is having troubles with a release date. MGM’s financial trouble is also having an effect on the remake of the 1984 film Red Dawn. He is signed to play Jed Eckert, played by Patrick Swayze in the original, one of the two brothers who lead a young guerrilla group against an invading army. The portrayal of China as the aggressor, rather than the Soviets as it was in the 1984 film, has stirred some controversy in some of the Chinese papers, citing that it demonstrates an ongoing fear and mistrust that America has for China. One film guaranteed to see the silver screen is Marvel’s Thor. It will be Chris’s biggest movie to date where he’ll play the arrogant warrior Thor who re-starts an ancient war through his actions. It’s set for a release in 2011.
He has two brothers, Luke and Liam, who are older and younger than Chris respectively. He dated Home and Away co-star Isabel Lucas before splitting when they both turned to a career in Hollywood. Arriving in L.A., Liam and Chris both stayed in the guest house of their agent William Ward before finding their own place. Ironically, after Liam was written out of the script of Sylvester Stallone’s movie The Expendables, he was offered the role of Thor, but lost that to his brother Chris in May of 2009. There have been rumours on set that Chris didn’t get along with co-star, and Hollywood veteran, Anthony Hopkins. He met his current wife, Spanish actress Elsa Pataky, through mutual representatives and married in a small ceremony in Indonesia, three months after making their relationship public. There is a seven year difference between her and him.
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Hugo Wallace Weaving’s life had a very nomadic start. He was born on the 4th of April, 1960, in Ibadan, Nigeria. A year later his family, of English origins, moved back to England before heading to Melbourne, Australia, than Johannesburg, South Africa before
heading back to England. He finally immigrated permanently to Australia in 1976 where he attended Sydney’s Knox Grammar School, the same school as Hugh Jackman, Adam Garcia, Andrew Johnston and radio host John Laws. The reason for his roaming beginning was mainly due to his father’s, Wallace Weaving, early involvement in the computer industry. His mother, Anne, meanwhile was a tour guide in Nigeria and a former teacher. Hugo is the middle of three children, with an older brother and younger sister that both work in Australia. He graduated from the National Institute of Dramatic Art in 1981.
His first major role was as English Captain, Douglas Jardine, in the miniseries Bodyline (1984). He followed this with a lot of Australian productions including Bangkok Hilton (1989) with Nicole Kidman, and Proof (1991). He would acquire international recognition in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994), and an award for Best Actor at the Montreal Film Festival for The Interview (1998). It was in 1999 that his role as Agent Smith in The Matrix advanced his international fame. This role has often been described as one of the greatest sci-fi villains of the
21st century. He would go on to be in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings (2001-2003) as Elrond, an Elf Lord. He would team up with Cate Blanchett to do the Australian drama Little Fish and then again allow himself to be directed by the Wachowski Brothers in V for Vendetta (2006). He has also leant his voice to a few movies including Michael Bay’s Transformers as Megatron, which caused a bit of controversy, and Zack Snyder’s Legend of the Guardians. Although he has made a name for himself in film he feels more comfortable on stage, often collaborating with the Sydney Theatre Company, which is now run by Cate Blanchett and her husband, Andrew Upton. He will return to the screens as fictional Nazi, Red Skull in Captain America: The First Avenger, and may yet revive his role as Elrond in the Peter Jackson helmed The Hobbit.
PERSONAL LIFE AND AWARDS
Although he has been with his partner Katrina Greenwood for 25 years they have never married, he stated that it was because during the 1990’s he was petrified of getting married. Even so, they have had two children together, Harry in 1989 and Holly in 1993. His brother, Simon Weaving, is a writer, producer and director on a number of short Australian films, whilst his sister had a brief stint in the 1980’s as a singer in Paris, rounding out the family entertainment line, his niece is on the soap series Home and Away in Australia. He is an active ambassador for the Australian animal rights group Voiceless and also proclaims himself as a pesco-vegetarian, which is someone who eats fish but no other meat. To date he does not drive, the reason being that when he was 13 years old he was diagnosed with epilepsy and although he has not had an episode in years he fears that he has come too far in life to now get behind the wheel. He has been a recipient of many awards and award nominations, especially for his part in The Matrix and The Lord of the Rings, and has been nominated seven times by the AFI, winning three times for Best Actor in a Lead Role. To date his films have grossed over $7 billion worldwide.
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Mia Wasikowska (pronounced van-shee-kof-ska) is a diminutive rising actress in Hollywood. Standing only 5’4”, her presence on screen has been praised by both directors and actors for its real-world quality. Born on the 14th October, 1989, and raised in Canberra, Australia, she comes from an artistic family of photographers and artists. Her mother, Marzena Wasikowska, is a Polish immigrant who was commissioned to photograph her experience of growing up in Australia, while her father, John Reid, is also a photographer and a collagist. Mia, with her older sister and younger brother, travelled around Europe whilst their parents were involved in a number of galleries. In between her schooling hours she also aspired to be a prima ballerina, but by the age of fourteen the pressure of body image and the gruelling 35 hour training week took its toll and she quit. Although hesitant about acting and performing, the ability to explore life’s imperfections drew her down the path of acting.
A Sydney based agency in 2004 took her on board giving Mia her first opportunity to act on-screen for two episodes in the Australian hospital drama All Saints. She followed this with Suburban Mayhem and Rogue with Radha Mitchell and Sam Worthington, and beat out two hundred other actresses for the film September, with director Peter Carstairs who gave her the role on the spot after her audition. Her Hollywood break came in the HBO series In Treatment where she played the suicidal teen Sophie opposite regular Gabriel Byrne. The publicity for her role gained her a small part in the Daniel Craig film Defiance. That Evening Sun was a film that director, Scott Teems, originally wanted played by all southern Americans actors, but without any suitable actresses he relented and allowed Mia to audition. With only two hours to prepare she nailed the accent and earned the role, but even more so the audition was done on the same day as her live reading for Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland reimagining, which she also earned. Her last released film was the indie comedy The Kids Are Alright with Mark Ruffalo, Annette Bening and Julianne Moore.
With such a myriad of films under her belt she has opportunities and choices with her future career. With Robin Wright Penn and Holly Hunter as idols and inspirations for her desire to be in films and the likes of Gillian Armstrong’s My Brilliant Career and Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Three Colours trilogy as the inspiration for her choice of films it’s no wonder she has declined to audition for David Fincher’s remake of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, while opting to do Gus Van Sant’s Restless as opposed to Robert Redford’s Conspirator. She’ll be taking on the title role in Cary Fukunaga’s movie, Jane Eyre, and will later be involved in Arthur Miller’s Hollywood remake of his play A View From The Bridge. There has also been speculation over her involvement in John Hillcoat’s The Wettest Country In The World with Shia LaBeouf and South Korean’s director Park Chan-wook’s film Stoker.
Recently Forbes had listed her one of the highest grossing stars for 2010. Her films took in over $1.03 billion that year, thanks largely to the success of Alice In Wonderland. Earlier in her career though she had earned a Young Actor’s AFI Award nomination for her work in Suburban Mayhem. Later. in 2008, she would win an Australians in Film Breakthrough Award for her performance in the film In Treatment. Most deservedly though she earned a nomination for Best Supporting Female from the Independent Spirit Award in 2009 for her role in That Evening Sun, but lost to Mo’Noique for her role in Precious.
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Isabel Lucas is an Australian actress who, with her bohemian style, has used her building media profile to raise awareness of a number of global issues. Born on the 29th of January, 1985, to parents Beatrice and Andrew Lucas, she was raised until ten years old in Melbourne, Victoria, before heading to Jabiru in Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory of Australia. Her father was a commercial pilot while her mother was a Swiss born special-needs teacher. Isabel spent 6 months in Lucerne, Switzerland, with her mother’s sister, Hilde. Returning she lived in Cairns in Queensland where she attended St. Monica’s College. She also studied drama at both the Victorian College of Arts and Queensland University of Technology. Because of her nomadic lifestyle she has managed to learn both French and German, thanks largely to her mother. It was in 2003 that her acting career would start.
She finished school in 2003, but in that same year was found in a market in Port Douglas by agent Sharon Meissner who pursued her for modeling. Isabel refused but did say that she enjoyed drama at school. She originally auditioned for the role of Kit Hunter in the Australian soap Home & Away, but lost out to actress Amy Mizzy. However, the casting crew was so impressed with her that they created the role of Tasha Andrews for her and she debuted on screen in July 2003. She was with the show until 2006 doing 5 day a week, 12 hour shooting days. When she left the show she did not immediately pursue acting but instead gave her attention to a number of charities and causes. When she did return to acting she auditioned for Daybreakers (2009), a science-fiction horror film by Australian film makers Peter and Michael Spiering, and acted alongside, Willem Dafoe, Ethan Hawke and Sam Neill.
She appeared in an episode of Steven Spielberg and Tom Hank’s The Pacific which aired in 2010. So impressed with her small role, Spielberg asked her agent if she could do a reading for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009). Although she only had a screen time of about five minutes her profile rose considerably with the release of the film. She had a small role in The Waiting City (2009) with Joel Edgerton and Radha Mitchell, both Australians. Keeping with the Australian movies she has been in The Wedding Party (2010) which premiered at the Melbourne International Film Festival in July 2010. It was tagged as Australia’s answer to Love Actually. She was also in the remake of Red Dawn, playing Erica, but financial hardships in the last year or so at MGM has seen it shelved. However, with a new $500 million cash injection at MGM it may yet get a theatrical release. It also stars Australian, and ex-boyfriend of Isabel’s, Chris Hemsworth. A movie slated for release in 2011 is the fantasy-action film Immortals where she’ll play Athena, goddess of warfare, wisdom and justice. It will also star Henry Cavill and Mickey Rourke.
CHARITIES AND CAUSES
She promised David Rostovich that if she earned the part in Daybreakers she would join him on his planned Japanese anti-whaling project. A group that included actress Hayden Panetierre arrived in Taiji, Japan, and sought to paddle out with surfboards to intercept the whaling boats. They were forced back and had to flee Japan before being arrested. To date, Isabel Lucas still has a warrant out for her arrest in Japan for trespassing. The move grabbed a lot of media attention back in America, and would be the start of the Oscar winning documentary The Cove (2009). After leaving Home and Away in 2006, she spent time working with PlanetArk, Seeing Eye Dogs Australia and signed on as an ambassador for World Vision and the World Wildlife Fund. She also volunteered to work with OzQuest in Namibia in August. A group who sought to improve the water situation in villages. She has leant her time to a number of causes including Greenpeace and PETA-where in 2010 she was voted by PETA as Australia’s sexiest vegetarian.
She has been linked with a number of actors which included Chris Hemsworth, Jared Leto, Joel Edgerton and Adrian Grenier. Now she is with Australian musician Angus Stone who she has tried to keep a low profile with. The media makes a lot of her being with other actors, most notably Shia Lebeouf, whom she was in accident with whilst filming Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009). Afterwards the writers adapted the script to accommodate Shia’s injured hand which required surgery.
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Mary Roxburgh gave birth to Richard on the 23rd January, 1962; the youngest of six. He grew up in Albury, New South Wales, Australia. His father John was an accountant which may explain why he studied economics at the Australian National University in Australia’s capital city, Canberra. He became disillusioned with the idea and instead pursued acting, something that grabbed his attention when he was 15 when he spent a summer reading Death of a Salesman. He applied to the National Institute of Dramatic Arts, and failed on his first attempt, something he attributes to the fact that he wrote his own piece. He earned a position on his second attempt and graduated in 1986 before heading to the Belvoir St Theatre where acclaimed actors such as Cate Blanchett, Geoffery Rush and David Wenham have all performed and mastered their art.
Richard Roxburgh is best known in Hollywood for his portrayal of villains most notably as the Duke of Monroth in Moulin Rouge! (2001). Prior to that though he hit his stride as an actor for his stage performance of Hamlet in 1994-95. The cast included both Cate Blanchett and Geoffery Rush, and earned Richard critical acclaim as well as a Sydney Theatre Critics’ Circle Award for Best Performance by a Lead Actor. Such was the toll on his body that before opening night in Adelaide he got shingles forcing him out of the production. It was also in 1995 that he earned fame playing real-life controversial detective Roger Rogerson in the TV mini-series Blue Murder (1995). He also was in his first film, Billy’s Holiday. He won an Australian Film Institute (AFI) Award for Best Actor for the film Doing Time for Patsy Cline (1997), and finally grabbed America’s attention as Hugh Stamp, a henchman, in Mission: Impossible II (2000). His villainous exploits continued in Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge! (2001), The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003) – which with its chaotic planning and in-house fighting that caused star Sean Connery to quit Hollywood – and Van Helsing (2004), with Hugh Jackman as the title character and Richard as Dracula.
His directorial debut was the 2005 film Romulus, My Father with Eric Bana and Kodi Smit-Mcphee. Before he starred in Australian director Alieter Grierson’s Sanctum (2011), which had James Cameron as excutive producer and used his revolutionary 3D technology, Richard portrayed Australian ex-Prime Minister Bob Hawke in a telemovie of the same name. He was on stage with Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett and John Bell in the Sydney Theatre Company’s production of Uncle Vanya in 2010. He will next be seen in the UK and New Zealand produced film Ice with Stephen Moyer and Sam Neill, a film expected to be released in 2011.
He won an AFI award in 1997 for Doing Time for Patsy Cline and a Logie – Australia’s version of an Emmy in America – for Most Outstanding Actor when he played Roger Rogerson in Blue Murder (1995). He has been nominated a number of times at the AFI, most notably for Best Director for Romulus, My Father, which went on to win Best Actor for Eric Bana, Best Supporting Actor for Marton Csokas, a Young Actor’s Award for Kodi Smit-Mcphee and Best Film.
One of his most publicised relationships was with Miranda Otto after they meet on the set of Doing Time for Patsy Cline in 1997 and dated for a few years, but the difficulties of sustaining the relationship caused it to end in 2000. He meet Italian actress Silvia Colloca on the set of Van Helsing and they married in September 2004. Their first son, Raphael Jack Domenico Roxburgh, was born on the 10th February 2007 and was followed by their second son, Miro Gianni David Roxburgh, in October 2010.
He is managed by Lindy King, the woman who split from the renowned group Peters, Fraser and Dunlop in 2007 and with other rogue agents started their own company United Agents.
With his diverse abilities and accolades, especially in Australia, we may see Richard Roxburgh lose the antagonist cloak and become an actor whose performances speak of all his talents.
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David Wenham is the youngest of seven children of parents Kath and Bill Wenham. He came into this world on 21st September, 1965 and grew up in the western suburb of Sydney, Marickville. Born into a Catholic family he gained an education at the Christian Brothers High School, where his ability to impersonate was noticed early on and even encouraged by some of the teaching Brothers. His impersonation of ex-Prime Minister Gough Whitlam is reportedly quite infamous. His parents fully supported his desire for theatre, often giving him subscriptions and play tickets. It was further nurtured when a particular Brother had had enough of Wenham’s antics and suggested he do Saturday drama classes which he relished. After High School he was knocked back by NIDA before attending University of Western Sydney, Theatre Nepean. Before making money in acting he was an insurance salesman as well as a bingo caller at the Marickville Town Hall, a job that Russell Crowe also performed before his break.
David Wenham’s first big break came in the stage production and subsequent movie The Boys (1998). He played a terrifying psychopath fresh out of prison; a role that had even some of the cast, such as Toni Collette, intimidated by him. He did many bit parts on Australian TV shows from A Country Practice and Sons and Daughters to an Australian sex symbol in the ABC show Sea Change (1998-99), as Diver Dan before his image did a roundabout turn from The Boys psychopath role. He has given his talents to many Australian productions such as Better Than Sex (2000), Russian Doll (2001) with Hugo Weaving and again showed his versatility as an actor when he played junkie Johnny a.k.a. Spit, in the crime-comedy Gettin’ Square (2003) with Sam Worthington.
Although he has never helmed the lead role in a big Hollywood movie his roles have been vital enough to give himself a name in the entertainment industry. He had a tiny role in Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge! (2001), before he donned a sword belt to play Faramir in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003). He trained rigorously for Zack Snyder’s 300 (2006) where it is interesting to note that his character in 300, Dilios, was the only survivor of the Battle of Thermopylae, and his character Faramir was the lone survivor of the battle of Osgiliath in The Lord of the Rings. Before re-teaming with Snyder for Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole (2010), he did Michael Mann’s Public Enemies (2009) where he played Harry ‘Pete’ Pierpont, mentor and friend of Johnny Depp’s John Dillinger.
On Australian television he was seen in Killing Time (2010), about Australian lawyer Andrew Fraser who was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment for his knowledge of a large shipment of cocaine coming into Australia. Whilst in prison his charcter helped convict serial killer Peter Dupas for the unsolved murder of Mersina Halvagis.
With his celebrity status, especially within Australia, David Wenham applies himself to a number of charity events throughout any given year, but there are two favourite organisations that he is heavily involved in. One is as an ambassador for Greenpeace’s Ancient Forest Guardians, who are respected people such as politicians, artists, musicians and actors dedicated to the protecting and saving ancient forests from destruction. The second bit of work is a reflection of his Catholic upbringing where he is heavily involved in The Wayside Chapel, in the King’s Cross area of Sydney. It’s an area of nightclubs, strip joints, drugs and a mass eclectic mixture of people from all walks of life. The Wayside Chapel provides food, clothing, counselling, referrals for treatment and a cup of coffee and a chat if needed.
Wenham has been in a long term relationship with his partner Kate Agnew since 1994. They had their first child in 2002, a little girl named Eliza Jane, who was followed by Millie, again a girl, in November 2008.
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Jacqueline Ruth Weaver, most commonly known as Jacki Weaver, was born on 25th May, 1947, in Hurstville, Sydney, Australia. Her mother, Edith, was a Northern England immigrant who married Arthur Weaver, a solicitor. From a young age their daughter showed a desire and almost a need to act. There are a number of carrying stories how Jacki found her way to into the industry. One is about her winning a cruise ship talent contest at the age of 2 1/2. Another is about her being kicked out of Brownies for sneaking off to watch an Esther Williams festival and lastly an elocution teacher she had at the age of nine simply stated that she was born to act.
After finishing school at Hornsby Girls’ High School she desired to be a pop star releasing a cover of ‘Something’s Got a Hold on Me’ which was disastrous, selling a mere 159 copies. But her talents would shine on stage and her fame would be increased not just from her skill as an actress but from her numerous and often capricious relationships as well.
Jacki Weaver’s career is an interesting one not for the roles she has played but for when she was playing them. Her first role was in Stork (1971), one of the first commercially successful films of the Australian cinema revival, or New Wave films. She then was in Alvin Purple (1973), the most successful Australian film at the time, taking the box office record from They’re a Weird Mob (1966). In Alvin Purple she had the casting title of ‘Second Sugar Girl’, a role where she appeared in the nude when persuaded with $500 by director Tim Burstell. She was also in Peter Weir’s Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975), which was one of the first Australian films to gain an international audience, and Caddie (1976) again with Jack Thompson after they played opposite each other in Petersen (1974). She did few other films before she left the screen for 15 years which was Cosi (1996). She returned to film for the acclaimed movie Animal Kingdom (2010), by David Michôd, playing the psychotic matriarch of a Melbourne crime family. She would earn an Oscar nomination in 2011 for her role and squarely put herself back in Hollywood’s mind after 48 years in the business. What is interesting about her film career is that it has seemed to follow the rise of creative Australian film talents, with the likes of Peter Weir, Tim Burstell and George Miller in the 1970’s and in the 80’s. She again gives her skill to the emerging Australian scene now which sees the likes of David Michôd, Joel and Nash Edgerton and others from Blue Tongue Films and Australia.
As noted as she was on-screen and stage, her private life has often made the headlines. Before Paris Hilton was famous for being famous, Jacki Weaver could have claimed that title. Her first stage appearance was in Cinderella at age 15. From there she started a relationship with Bryan Davies, a TV star and pop singer. Following that she met David Price whom she married after one date when she was only 18. She even did a spread in Women’s Weekly where in the same edition she talked about her relationship with Bryan Davies and her up-coming marriage to David Price in separate articles. The marriage ended after two years when she had an affair with an English fellow, John Walters, who was 30 years her senior, her resultant son, Dylan, made headlines for being born out of wed lock in 1970. Her marriage was one filled with amphetamines, so much so that she fell asleep next to ex-PM Gough Whitlam at a black tie event. She swore off drugs after finding herself on a cliff face believing she could fly. Her son saved her with the words, “don’t be ridiculous, there’s no way you can fly.” He was four.
Her most lasting relationship was with Richard Wherrett, a theatre director. Although he was a homosexual they had a relationship that lasted until his death in 2001 from hepatitis C, it was one filled with love on both sides and one could argue of kindred spirits. The relationship did end at one point in the early days; she then was with boom operator Max Hessener whom she met on the set of The Removalists (1975). She left Max while he was away in England for producer Phil Davies. Four years after that break up she met media personality Derryn Hinch and they had a marriage that lasted 12 years. He won her over when she was performing in Adelaide with a $5,000 ad declaring his love for the play and for her. She was called to the bedside of Richard Wherrett – leaving a boyfriend in Paddington to do so – as he lay dying, she stayed with him for weeks and through his death. She met South African actor Sean Taylor in 2002 on the ironic named theatre production Soul Mates and have married since.
She was sexually abused from the ages of 7 to 11 by a family friend who baby-sat for the family. She then claims that she was sexually active at 12. Although a number of people would look at that abuse and connect it to her long list of sexual partners/relationships, she doesn’t, these days, worry about that part of her past. Although it did affect her during her 20’s, where she thought about physically harming him, he is now dead. She, meanwhile, is about to start a revival of her film career… much like the Australian film industry around her.
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Antonia Collette, commonly known as Toni, was born on the 1st of November, 1972. This unique looking actress with her wide smile and diverse acting abilities has gathered a huge following in Hollywood. She grew up in Glebe, Sydney, till she was six before she moved to what was then the start of a sprawling suburb of western Sydney, Blacktown. Her father, Bob Collette, was a truck driver and her mother, Judy, a customer-service representative. She grew up with two younger brothers, Ben and Christopher, and had a very tom-boyish upbringing, something that still seems to come through today. From an early age she had an ability to act. This was evidenced when, at the age of eleven, she convinced doctors to have her appendix taken out even though there was nothing wrong with it. She left Blacktown Girls High School when she was 16 and pursued acting at NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Arts) where she only stayed for 18 months before stepping into films.
Her first film was with Russell Crowe and Anthony Hopkins in Spotswood (1992), a role which earned her a nomination for best supporting actress award by the AFI (Australian Film Institute). It’s reported that Russell Crowe took her out, got her drunk, smoked pot, and even went so far as to hold her hair when she got sick from it all… and this all before she was 18 (the legal drinking age in Australia). 1994 saw the release of Muriel’s Wedding, which needed a performance by a very talented actress to show the terrible turmoil hidden behind the cheerful facade of Muriel. Toni Collette won the role and had to gain 40 pounds in seven weeks but her performance earned her an AFI for Best Actress and a Golden Globe nomination.
She did her first Broadway performance in the production of The Wild Party which earned her a Tony nomination but forced her to turn down a role in Bridget Jones’s Diary. However, this allowed her to be in M. Night Shymalan’s The Sixth Sense (1999) with Bruce Willis. A role that earned her an Academy Award nomination and brought her real international attention. One of her other big films is the record breaking indie, Little Miss Sunshine (2006). It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2006 and was picked up for a then record breaking $10.5 million distribution right by Fox Searchlight Productions. The film went on to gross over $100 million world-wide, making it one of the most successful independent films of the mid-2000’s. She now stars in the Showtime comedy-drama The United States of Tara, which is in its third season and produced by Steven Spielberg and Oscar winning writer Diablo Cody. Next, she will be in the 2011 remake of Fright Night.
One of her dreams when growing up was to sing and have an album released which she achieved in 2006 with Toni Collette & The Finish’s album Beautiful Awkward Pictures. They then lent their musical talent to the Al Gore production Live Earth in Sydney in 2007 to combat climate issues. She involves herself in a lot of charity causes – everything from UNICEF to Doctors Without Borders and she is also a very active supporter of PETA and animal rights.
She married Dave Galafassi in January of 2011, and gave birth to daughter, Sage Florence, on the 9th January, 2008. She is expecting another child soon and announced her pregnancy on the 25th October, 2010. She is represented by Lindy King at London’s United Agency Pty Ltd and is managed by the Australian renowned business Shanahan Management Pty Ltd.
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Jack Thompson was born as John Hadley Payne on 31st August, 1940 to a father who was a merchant seaman and a mother who died when he was 4. Due to World War II his father left him and his brother David in the care of their aunt who sent them to the Lakes House boarding school in Narrabeen, Sydney. There he met his future adoptive brother Peter Thompson, who is still today one of Jack’s closest friends, and Peter’s parents John and Pat Thompson. John, a senior feature writer for the ABC radio and producer, enthralled the young Jack about the Northern Territory and Arnhem Land, which prompted him to leave Sydney Boys High School at 14 and pursue jack-a-rooing in the outback. At 20, he joined the Army to get a science degree and spent 6 years in the medical corps before leaving to pursue an Arts degree at Queensland University. There he was a part of the drama society while working with an experimental amateur theatre group called Paginate Players and teaching classes at the Twelfth Night Theatre. At one point he made the decision to try acting full time with encouragement from his adoptive father John. When the decision was made, John said to him, “remember … lilies that fester stink worse than weeds”.
Jack Thompson has often been labelled Australia’s first leading man, and his rise is often credited with the parallel rise of the emerging New Wave Australian film. After 28 auditions and cleaning countless rooms at the Menzies Hotel he landed a role on the daytime soap Motel. He was then seen in Spyforce from 1971 to 1973 playing a civilian intelligence operative in the South Pacific during World War II. His first film, the first of over 70, was Wake in Fright (1971). A film often labelled as one of Australia’s “lost” movies for its disappearance and unavailability after its cinematic release. Breaker Morant (1980) earned him Best Supporting Actor at the Cannes Film Festival; the first time an Australian won an award at that famed festival. From here many said he could have forged a path much like Mel Gibson but the Hollywood scene was not something he sought. That shows in his performance in The Sum of Us (1994) with Russell Crowe. Coincidentally Russell’s first ever spoken line on TV or film was when he was 6 on Spyforce. In 1997 he was personally asked by Clint Eastwood to be a part of the cast of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and popped up in John Woo’s Broken Arrow (1996), The Assassination of Richard Nixon (2004), and Baz Luhrmann’s Australia (2008). He’ll be gracing the screens again with Guy Pearce and Katie Holmes, in the Matthew Robbins and Guillermo del Toro written, re-make of the horror film Don’t be Afraid of the Dark (2011). Along the way though he has missed out on roles like Schindler’s List and turned down the lead in John Carpenter’s The Thing.
He reacquainted himself with his father, Harold, after 42 years. The second wife of Harold never wanted their child, a disabled boy, to know of Harold’s other children, and so a chasm of guilt seemed to grow. Unfortunately Harold passed away 12 months after seeing his son, Jack. Jack himself has two sons. Patrick, his eldest is from his marriage to Dorothy Hall in 1963 that lasted five years. His other son, Billy, was born in 1990 to his long time partner Leona King. His relationship with Leona King is an interesting one, as her sister, Bunkie, was also a part of Jack’s life. They famously had a three-way relationship between them that lasted 15 years before Bunkie left.
AWARDS AND HONOURS
Jack Thompson has been the recipient of a number of awards for his acting and contributions to film. In 1974 he won Best Actor by the AFI (Australian Film Institute) for Petersen (1974). He won the same award in 1975 for Sunday Too Far Away and Breaker Morant in 1980. He won a Living Legend award from the Inside Film Awards in 2005. On the 9th June 1986 he was awarded an Order of Australia for his contribution to film.
Jack Thompson is a man whose life and roles reflect the quintessential, archetypal manner of an Australian actor and its film industry.
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