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Tobias Menzies Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (2) | Mini Bio (1) | Trivia (27) | Personal Quotes (32)

Overview (2)

Born in London, England, UK
Height 6' 1" (1.85 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Tobias was born in London. He graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in 1998 and began his acting career in popular UK series such as Foyle's War (2002), Midsomer Murders (1997), and Casualty (1986). He also appeared in the controversial drama A Very Social Secretary (2005). He is best known to international audiences as Marcus Junius Brutus in the television series Rome (2005).

He had a major film role in The Low Down (2000) with Aidan Gillen and featured in the 2006 reboot of the James Bond franchise, Casino Royale (2006). 2007 sees him appearing as William Elliot in ITV's production of Jane Austin's classic book, Persuasion (2007) and as Derrick Sington in the Channel 4 drama The Relief of Belsen (2007).

On stage, his credits include the young teacher Irwin in Alan Bennett's The History Boys and Michael Blakemore's West End production of Three Sisters for which he was nominated for the Ian Charleson Award. He was a critically acclaimed Hamlet in Rupert Goold's Hamlet at the Royal Theatre.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: ceramicpiece

Trivia (27)

He attended Stratford-upon-Avon College's Year-out drama course in 1993-94.
He was educated in the Steiner system, which includes movement, singing and musical instruments every day.
Tobias attended Frensham Heights School.
Was an expert swordsman.
Tobias has been a tennis enthusiast since he was a child.
Has a younger brother named Luke.
Tobias was born in North London and is the son of a teacher and a BBC producer.
Tobias was drawn to acting after frequently attending theater productions with his mom as a teen.
Tobias appeared in Any Human Heart (2010) with future Outlander (2014) co-stars Sam Heughan and Stanley Weber, but he had no screen time with either actor.
He has worked with Charles Dance in Foyle's War (2002), Secret State (2012), The Door (2011), Game of Thrones (2011) and Underworld: Blood Wars (2016).
Tobias Menzies, the self-described dreamy kid who grew up in Canterbury playing tennis, zips through London on a Triumph Bonneville motorcycle. "I had to ride a motorbike as a character for the BBC crime drama The Shadow Line (2011). I got the bug and did the full bike test.".
One of his first auditions was for the lead role eventually played by Ewan McGregor in Moulin Rouge! (2001).
Tobias became friends with Sally Hawkins when they were students at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. They performed a comedy skit as Laurel & Hardy. Tobias portrayed Stan Laurel and Sally played Oliver Hardy in a fat suit.
Both Tobias and his Eternal Law (2012) costar, Samuel West have played the role of William Elliot in different adaptations of Jame Austen's Persuasion.
In Casino Royale (2006) he was M's (Judi Dench's ) sidekick. He played Hamlet to rave notices in Northampton in 2005 but he only got a three-week run because he had to get back to filming Rome (2005). That series was his big break, but even then he wasn't its out-and-out star.
He is a distant relative of botanist Archibald Menzies (1754-1842).
Tennis, not acting was Tobias's first love. He wanted to be a professional tennis player, not an actor, and still unwinds with tennis.
He is a supporter of Arsenal FC.
Tobias displayed his guitar-playing ability in two films, ten years apart, The Low Down (2000) and Forget Me Not (2010).
His favorite authors include Karl Ove Knausgard and Alain De Botton.
Ciarán Hinds, Tobias's co-star in Rome (2005) and future Game of Thrones (2011), reunites with him in The Terror (2018).
Tobias and his frequent co-star Charles Dance both portrayed author Ian Fleming in different productions, Dance in Goldeneye (1989), Tobias in Any Human Heart (2010).
Tobias co-starred in the feature film The Low Down (2000) with future Game of Thrones (2011) co-star Aidan Gillen.
His mother was a follower of the infamous "love guru," Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. She took Tobias and his baby brother, Luke, to India where they lived six months at a time in an ashram.
Tobias' father, Peter Menzies, was a BBC radio producer. His mother, Gillian (Simpson) Menzies, was an English literature and drama teacher,.
The name "Menzies" is Scottish and according to Tobias, was originally pronounced "Mingis.".
His parents divorced when Tobias was six years old.

Personal Quotes (32)

On being drawn into acting after frequently attending theater productions with his mother as a teen - The world seemed bigger, richer, watching things unfold in those rooms. In drama, you see other versions of life: 'Oh, that's what it would be like to be that!' Something obviously was stirring in me.
When I started acting, I found a place and a release which I didn't find in my own life.
Regarding working with Keira Knightley in the play, The Children's Hour - Being around that level of fame has been quite an eye-opener. We went to a girls' school during rehearsals to work with a drama group. There were 150 children in the playground and they started screaming. I'm sure it wasn't me! There was a volume and intensity about it that was so peculiar, it was animal. Keira deals with that pretty well. Would I want that? Absolutely not. Then again, do you want recognition that allows you to do the work you want to do? Of course.
On the auditioning process - It's 90 percent humiliation, isn't it? Just going in and kind of crashing and burning and also doing things that you look back and go, Why on earth was I being seen for that? I was just so wrong. I remember auditioning for Moulin Rouge! (2001), the part that Ewan McGregor played. I was so young, I was literally just out of college. But they were just doing that sort of mass casting, just ring up everyone and put them on tape. And I had to sing and dance and it was just ridiculous. What was I doing in that room? Terrible! I tried so hard, it was so terrible!
[On his Outlander (2014) rape scene with Sam Heughan] It was about trying to get the tone right. I was keen for it to be as psychological as possible. I just didn't want it to feel sensational. If you're going to have Jack rape Jamie, you have to really earn that, really get to a place where that scene is within the realm of the story. Sam and I didn't talk a lot [while shooting those scenes]. We would sort of kept to ourselves between shots. But again, one of the good things is how we had been working together for a year so we had a fair amount of trust.
I've been really lucky to have had a variety of roles, and I don't think I'm in danger of being typecast as the romantic lead. I think there's honor in working as constantly as you can. That isn't easy. And I'm no matinee idol.
Comparing the characters he's portrayed in Rome (2005), Game of Thrones (2011) and Outlander (2014); Brutus was a boy in a man's world- a study in weakness, moral indecision. Edmure is buffoonish-well-meaning but slightly inept. Frank and Jack are fully capable men but flawed in different ways. They're both formed by War. Frank has been through the Second World War, and Jack is going through this bloody Jacobite insurgency. One turns to the light, the other turns to the dark.
I love small theaters because they're intimate, and you can have a very easy rapport with the audience. Everyone's in the same room.
On how the cast of the 2011 production of The Children's Hour with Keira Knightley and Elizabeth Moss loosened up: The cast plays volleyball in the auditorium. We have a piece of rope lengthwise across the seats. We played all through rehearsal so we've just kept it up.
On the difficulties of portraying the savagery of Black Jack Randall on Outlander (2014) - It would be a lie to say that I go home and shake it off. But it's what excites me as an actor when I see it and when I manage to do it myself, when there's lots of shades within the colors of the characters. It's true to life, isn't it? Nothing is one thing or the other. Jack is one of life's interesting contradictions. He does have some personal insight, he gets people and how they work but he chooses to abuse those rather than comfort them or reassure them.
On playing the romantic lead in Forget Me Not (2010), a romantic comedy with a dark tinge; I've not played a romantic lead before and it did feel like uncharted territory, but it's a very small film so I don't think this is going to make me a superstar.
Do I think the West End relies too heavily on star names? Yes, I do, and it can result in miscasting and sub-standard stuff. Not always, but occasionally.
I'm largely interested in people who are just great actors, and they're not necessarily hugely famous.
I live or die by how well I act.
I love haggis. Haggis, neeps, and tatties.
I wouldn't be seen dead in a kilt.
On filming in Scotland - It is just an incredibly beautiful country. I've had the luck through filming to be taken to amazingly beautiful bits of it and allowed to just hang out in those places. The few times that the rain has stopped and the sun does come out, it is God's own country. That's been a pleasure. We've been basing ourselves in Glasgow, and there are very warm people here and we've been very welcomed. It's been one of the real bonuses of this job to get to hang out here.
On his Outlander (2014) look as Black Jack Randall - I wear a wig to play Jack, and I remember on my first day of filming him, I spent my whole day trying to blow and push wisps of hair out of my face without ruining takes. Never had long hair before. It seemed like a total nightmare. I could just never get the hair totally out of my face, it was distracting. The 1740s costumes are very constraining. You're very, very conscious of what you're wearing at all times compared to how we dress now. Trying to get on and off horses with long swords was also interesting, especially trying to make it look like you've done it many times before.
[on fandom on Outlander (2014) and Game of Thrones (2011)] I think it is essentially a creative and fun dialogue between the fans who feel ownership over this material and the people who are making it. I'm all for that. Personally, I don't troll through the forums and try to steer clear because there is enough pressure on you already. And I suppose you want to come to it as unaffected as possible. But it is a great benefit to have such a large and rich group of people who are enthusiastic about it and who are looking forward to it. That's definitely a positive.
[On a role he'd like to portray in the future] I don't think the show ever played in America, but there was a famous bandit, a highwayman, in England, called Dick Turpin (1979). When I was a kid there was a show about the adventures of this highwayman. I remember being obsessed by him. So I wouldn't mind having a go at Dick Turpin.
[On what meal he'd cook for a romantic dinner] Oooh... I think it might have to be just a very delicious, very classic Italian type of dish - a carbonara. When I was working on the show, Rome (2005) in Rome the main lesson I learned from eating out there is they have very little amounts of sauce - amazing sauce - but they use small quantities, an amazing bottle of wine, and a salad. I'm a bit of a rabbit. I love an amazing salad.
[On his favorite pastime/hobby] Tennis. Playing tennis. I spent most of my childhood on a tennis court. It was my grand passion.
[On his favorite TV show] favorite all time is The Wire (2002). It's a great piece of storytelling in recent times. I'm watching Wolf Hall (2015). I've heard tell and have meant to catch up on Transparent (2014).
[on his favorite song/band] It might have to be Neil Young, "Old Man."
[on playing Black Jack Randall on Outlander (2014) ] I never regarded Black Jack as someone who didn't have tender feelings somewhere.
[on why he wanted to be part of Outlander (2014)] Because it is incredibly bold, goes to a rich array of places, and the characters are very vivid. There is a strong female audience, but I think it has quite broad appeal. It has everything in it. It has time travel, adventure, history, romance, battles. I imagine if we get it right, it will have something for everyone and be unlike anything else. It is a big genre buster. It crosses a lot of different streams.
[It seems fitting for the kinds of characters you're attracted to, in which you take these people and really humanize them, warts and all.] That's what's interesting about humans, we're always a massive contradiction. There's a lot more to everyone, isn't there? What I'm interested in doing is making the character more three-dimensional, big or small, because that's what's both great and infuriating about people. Everyone has a family. Everyone comes from somewhere. So it's harder to demonize someone when you see them with their family, as you do with Black Jack in this most recent episode. You have to engage with Jack the sibling, which is always complicated. That's one of the benefits of doing a television drama over a long period of time -you get to explore these little contradictions. And one of the benefits of doing the TV show from the books is we can fill in the gaps, and color in more of the characters.
[I heard a story about how you first decided to become an actor, and it involved a trip to the bathroom?] [Laughs.] Yeah, really early on, when I was young, we went and saw a production of The Wind in the Willows in a theater. At the intermission, I went to the toilet, and in the urinal next to me was the actor playing Badger. I didn't quite know why he was in the urinal meant for the audience, and not backstage, I'm not quite sure about that, but there was something thrilling about seeing someone I had looked up to on the stage, and then seeing him beside me having a piss. There was something really about that which stayed with me. It seemed a little bit of magic in a way, this sort of mythical figure breaking through and just being there. And that was the first time I engaged with the idea of wanting to be an actor, and also being a person.
[When asked which historical figure's he like to hook-up with, Tobias Menzies didn't even think twice before saying Marilyn Monroe] She seemed like the most gorgeous, sex kitten-ish, bundle of joy.
[Regarding Black Jack Randall's explosive and controversial anger after the death of his brother on Outlander (2014)] In the script we had the brother die. We have the death scene of the brother, and [writer Ira Steven Behr] had Jack break down. We were working on it and working on it and filming it, but in a way I felt like everyone's seen that scene, and it felt a little bit clichéd, arguably. We want to see his emotion, but in a way that's odder, and so we actually ended up shooting a version where the brother dies, and you see that land with Jack and then Jack beats the body of the brother with his fists. He takes out his rage and loss in violence. Right at the end is a very vivid flash of who Jack is, and who we haven't seen in the episode.
[on working with the writers on Rome (2005)] I had a lot of involvement with the script process and obviously as an actor I would say I found that beneficial. You know what feels or sounds believable, and that sort of veritas is often missing from TV dramas. Scripts can be slick and structured, but do they always contain the truth?
[Regarding his costumes for Rome (2005)] I'm not sure that I had the legs for togas. I think James Purefoy had the best legs, good calves. I'm not sure I ever want togas to come back into fashion.

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