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Ben Chaplin Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Trivia (7) | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 31 July 1970London, England, UK
Birth NameBenedict John Greenwood
Height 5' 11" (1.8 m)

Mini Bio (1)

With charm to spare and dark, unassumingly handsome looks, British actor Ben Chaplin arrived on the Hollywood scene in smart and sexy fashion with the comedy The Truth About Cats & Dogs (1996). While his habit for avoiding mainstream artificiality in favor of small, intense, independent vehicles is quite intact, in retrospect it looks as if he has purposely avoided glossy Hollywood stardom in search of quality work.

The son of an engineer father (Peter) and drama teacher mother (Cynthia), Benedict John Greenwood was born and raised in Windsor, England, the youngest of four children. He first developed an interest in acting while appearing in a school play. He attended London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama, but did not conform well to the school's program layout and left after his first year to scout out the local theatre scene. A one-time statistician for the London Transport Authority during his fledgling years as a young actor, he made his TV debut in 1990. His first role of note occurred with a co-starring role in the TV-movie Bye Bye Baby (1992). This led to an introduction to film-making with a small part as a footman in the Merchant Ivory period drama The Remains of the Day (1993) starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. After a breakthrough playing a social misfit in the film Feast of July (1995) and a show-stopping, offbeat role in the BBC TV series Game On (1995), Hollywood quickly took notice and he was offered the role of the photographer who gets caught between two women in The Truth About Cats & Dogs (1996) co-starring Uma Thurman and Janeane Garofalo.

Just as in acting school, he was unwilling to conform to the Hollywood system and immediately sought out work on the London stage. Following theatre roles in "The Neighbour" (1993) and "Peaches" (1994), he earned winning reviews and an Olivier Award nomination for his compelling portrayal of Tom Wingfield opposite theatre legend Zoë Wanamaker in "The Glass Menagerie" on the London stage.

Quite in demand by this time for films he appeared alongside Jennifer Jason Leigh and Albert Finney in Washington Square (1997), Agnieszka Holland version of the Henry James novel that had previously appeared on screen as The Heiress (1949) starring Montgomery Clift and winning Olivia de Havilland the Academy Award for Best Actress of 1949. This period piece failed achieve its predecessor's financial success or critical praise, but Ben did receive kudos for his touching performance in the role of Private Bell in Terrence Malick much-admired remake of The Thin Red Line (1998).

Since then Ben has concentrated on risk-taking and quality rather than on mainstream filming. In the exorcist-themed Lost Souls (2000) he played an atheistic crime writer deemed to become Satan himself; played a modest bank clerk who tangles with a Russian mail-order bride (Nicole Kidman) in Birthday Girl (2001); portrayed Sandra Bullock's rookie partner in the crimer Murder by Numbers (2002); and melded beautifully into a number of period pieces such as The Touch (2002), Stage Beauty (2004), The New World (2005) and Me and Orson Welles (2008).

The dark-eyed, thick-browed, soulful-eyed actor also showed off his transatlantic appeal on stage after making his 2003 Broadway debut in "The Retreat from Moscow" and earning a Tony nomination in the process. Recent filming has included a prime role in yet another portrait of Dorian Gray (2009).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Trivia (7)

Was originally going to resume his role as Matthew Malone in Game On (1995) but pulled out after being offered the role in The Truth About Cats & Dogs (1996).
Olivier Award nomination, Best Supporting Performer for "The Glass Menagerie" (Donmar Warehouse Production).
Born and raised in England.
Graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Was nominated for Broadway's 2004 Tony Award as Best Actor (Featured Role - Play) for "The Retreat from Moscow."
His longtime companion, actress Embeth Davidtz reportedly left Harvey Keitel for him while the couple were filming Feast of July (1995). They have since split up.
West End, London: Acting in Neil LaBute's new play "This Is How It Goes". [July 2005]

Personal Quotes (2)

When you arrive in L.A. as an Englishman you might as well be on the moon. People just don't understand you if you speak too fast and most people there think you're Australian. Ordering was incredibly complicated. I was speechless.
I'd like to keep working on both sides of the Atlantic. But settling down is not something I can really compute as I've lived out of a bag since I was 17. Being an actor is well paid but it's a bit like being a circus traveler. There's no base except for where your friends and family are. Wherever I settle, I know I can't spend a lot of time there so I have to grab the bits of time that I have at home, when I can, and just enjoy them. But it's a transient existence.

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