Paul Bettany

Paul Bettany

Infobox actor
name = Paul Bettany

caption =
birthdate = birth date and age|1971|5|27
birthplace = Harlesden, London, England
occupation =
yearsactive =
spouse = Jennifer Connelly (2003-present)

Paul Bettany (born May 27, 1971) is a BAFTA- and Screen Actors Guild Award-nominated English actor, who has starred as a wide range of characters in several diverse film genres.


Early life

Bettany was born in Harlesden, London, the son of Thane Bettany, an actor and drama teacher, and Anne Kettle, a stage singer and latterly school secretary. He has an older sister, Sarah, and a younger brother, Matthew. While Thane taught at the all-girls boarding school Queenswood School in Hertfordshire, the family had residence on the campus. [citeweb|url=|title=Tragedy, Drugs and a Dad Who Wanted to Have a Sex Change Op|publisher=Daily Mirror|author=Julie McCaffery|date=May 16, 2006|accessdate=2008-01-14]

Matthew died after a fall at Queenswood when he was only eight years old, which left the family grief-stricken. Soon after, Paul left home and went to live on his own in London, while his parents later divorced. He lived in a small flat and earned money by playing his guitar in the streets as a busker . After two years, he found a new job in a home for the elderly.


When Bettany was nineteen, he decided to be an actor, and he pursued that career with determination, studying at the London Drama Centre in Chalk Farm. He made his stage debut in Stephen Daldry's acclaimed West End revival of "An Inspector Calls" at the Aldwych Theatre, playing the part of Eric Birling. He also appeared in the Royal Shakespeare Company's productions of "Richard III", "Romeo and Juliet", and "Julius Caesar" (for which he received a Charleson Award nomination). When Bettany was 21 he appeared in a BBC production of Oliver as Bill Sykes.

After appearing in the finale of Sean Bean's series "Sharpe" as HRH The Prince of Orange at the Battle of Waterloo, he made his film debut with a small part in "Bent", a Holocaust drama which also featured Clive Owen, Jude Law, and Ian McKellen. He continued doing work in stage and television, these included Joe Penhall's "Love and Understanding", which played at London's Flatbush Theatre and then ran in Connecticut. His roles in the television productions "Killer Net" and "Coming Home" – during which he met and dated Emily Mortimer. He did his last theatre work in "One More Wasted Year" and "Stranger's House" at the Royal Court Theatre.

Bettany had become addicted to cocaine along the way. His drug problem reached its height during the filming of the miniseries "David Copperfield". After this he started to turn his back on drugs. He filmed several more movies, including his first leading role in "Gangster No. 1". The British Independent Film Awards nominated him for Best Actor, and the London Critics Circle nominated him for British Newcomer of the Year.

Back in Hollywood, Oscar-winning writer/director Brian Helgeland ("L.A. Confidential") was planning a new film called "The Sin Eater" (also known as "The Order"). He was impressed by Bettany's audition tape, though Bettany eventually decided to film "A Knight's Tale" instead. The studio executives were not impressed, but Helgeland was determined to cast him, even writing the part of Chaucer for him. "A Knight's Tale" would be Bettany's first big Hollywood production, and most American audiences would have their first look at Paul Bettany when he walked onscreen muddy and naked. "My buttocks entered the American market before I did," Paul joked on the movie's DVD commentary track.

He received critical acclaim for "A Knight's Tale", including winning the London Critics Circle Award for British Supporting Actor. After the movie wrapped, Helgeland, determined that Hollywood should recognize Bettany's talent, showed the audition tape to many of his peers, including Ron Howard, who promptly cast Bettany in "A Beautiful Mind". It was on that set that Bettany would befriend Russell Crowe and meet his future wife, Jennifer Connelly. Both were already in relationships, so they kept themselves only to friendship for about a year. Finally both single, they began dating. After "A Beautiful Mind", Bettany was offered the role of the brutal serial killer "The Tooth Fairy" in "Red Dragon", opposite Edward Norton and Anthony Hopkins. He turned down the role in favor of accepting a part with Stellan Skarsgård and Nicole Kidman in controversial director Lars Von Trier's "Dogville".

Bettany's next major project saw him starring alongside Russell Crowe in Peter Weir's "". His portrayal of surgeon and naturalist Stephen Maturin brought in more critical acclaim, including a BAFTA nomination, British Actor of the Year (London Critics Circle), and Best Actor ("Evening Standard").

On June 28, 2004, Bettany and thirteen other actors were included in the 2004 invitation to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. [ [ Academy Invites 127 to Membership ] ]

"Dogville" and "The Reckoning" were released in limited cinemas in 2004. In September of that year, Bettany made his leading-man debut in "Wimbledon", a romantic comedy with Kirsten Dunst. Reviews for the movie were somewhat lukewarm, but every critic had praise for Bettany's performance. The film's cast would also introduce him to Jon Favreau, playing his manager, a relationship that would return when Favreau cast him as the voice of Jarvis in Iron Man. In spring 2005, Bettany went to Vancouver to film "Firewall", a thriller starring Harrison Ford and Virginia Madsen, directed by Richard Loncraine ("Wimbledon"). He spent the autumn of 2005 filming "The Da Vinci Code", based on Dan Brown's bestselling novel and starring Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou. In the film he plays an Opus Dei monk called Silas. However, he was recently quoted in the "Sun" “I was brought up a Catholic. I’m lapsed. From the age of three I was with nuns. Now I’m an atheist.”

Bettany joined the New Line family fantasy "Inkheart", playing the part of a fire-eater named Dustfinger. [ [ Paul Bettany joins the fantasy INKHEART | Mania ] ]

In 2007, Bettany went to London to star in "There For Me", written by his best friend Dan Fredenburgh, and Doraly Rosen. [ [ Film Stars Come To Hanwell (from Ealing Times) ] ]

Personal life

On New Year's Day of 2003, Bettany married Jennifer Connelly in a ceremony attended by a small circle of friends and family. He moved to Brooklyn with Jennifer and her son Kai. The couple's own son, Stellan (named for Stellan SkarsgårdFact|date=July 2008), was born on August 5, 2003. Stellan's godfather is the actor Charlie Condou.

Awards and nominations

;2001 British Independent Film Awards
*Nominated, Best Actor for "Gangster No. 1";2001 Screen Actors Guild Awards
*Nominated, Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture for "A Beautiful Mind";2001 London Critics Circle
*Nominated, British Newcomer of the Year for "Gangster No. 1";2002 Chicago Film Critics Association Awards
*Nominated, Most Promising Performer;2002 London Critics Circle
*Won, British Supporting Actor of the Year for "A Knight's Tale";2004 London Critics Circle
*Won, British Actor of the Year for "";2004 Evening Standard British Film Awards
*Won, Best Actor for "The Heart of Me" and "";2004 Broadcast Film Critics Association
*Nominated, Best Supporting Actor for "";2004 BAFTA Awards
*Nominated, Best Actor in a Supporting Role for "";2004 Elle Style Awards
*Won, Best Actor;2004 GQ Men of the Year Awards
*Won, Actor of the Year;2005 Jordan Awards
*Won, Best Actor for "Wimbledon";2005 Empire Awards
*Nominated, Best British Actor for "Wimbledon"



External links

*imdb name|id=0079273|name=Paul Bettany
*Screenonline name|id=1191410|name=Paul Bettany biography and credits

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