Cobie Smulders Jack Reacher Star Biography Filmography Sexy Photos

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Her given name is Jacoba Francisca Maria Smulders, but everybody calls her Cobie. Cobie’s mother and father are English and Dutch, respectively, and she was born in Vancouver, so she’s Canadian and proud of it. Perhaps her Canadian-ness has something to do with her charm: Cobie comes across as totally genuine, with little of the carefully presented glossy exterior that seems so prevalent in Hollywood.

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Cobie’s birthday was April 3, 1982, which makes her 34 at present, with an interesting road already traveled and many signs that the next stretch will be even more interesting. She didn’t start out to be an actress; she hoped to become a marine biologist or a doctor. However, while she was in high school drama attracted her enough to get parts in several school plays – and the attention of a modeling agency.

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Rather amazingly, she continued her education even while taking modeling jobs in Western Europe and Japan – and graduated with honors in 2000; she was even voted “most respected” by her senior year classmates. Of her early years as a model, Cobie tells stories about living with six or eight other girls in New York, stacked in bunk beds and living in “absolutely filthy” surroundings since no one cared to clean.

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She wound up being the oldest (at the age of seventeen) in many cases, and serving as reluctant den-mother on many occasions. Cobie has told interviewers that modeling is definitely not the glamorous business that people who only see the final photos may think, and she decided that it was not the career she wanted.  “I did it for about two years,” she said, “and then I realized how much I didn’t like it.”  She turned back to acting because it involved actually performing and thinking as opposed to just being a face and a body draped in designer clothes.cobie-smulders-jack-reacher-star-biography-filmography-sexy-photos67

Commuting from Vancouver to Los Angeles to audition for roles didn’t phase Ms. Smulders; she jokes that “… it’s only three hours – on a plane . . .” but she drove the whole distance on most occasions.  Her first TV role was a small part in Jeremiah, a Showtime sci/fi series, and the first steady role was in the ABC series Veritas: The Quest, which ran for only one season in 2003.  Cobie also has an acting credit from The L Word, a Showtime series about lesbians and their lives and loves in West Hollywood.

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Cobie still marvels at her good fortune in landing a major role in How I Met Your Mother. That long-running comedy series aired on CBS from 2005 to 2014, garnering 28 Emmy nominations and winning nine of them. As Robin Scherbatsky, a news anchorwoman with complicated relationships, she co-stars with Neil Patrick Harris and Josh Radnor. Robin is, like Cobie herself, a Canadian with dual U.S./Canadian citizenship; she credits CBS with facilitating that paperwork.

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Just before the final episode aired, she told one interviewer, “I’ve landed in this place of, like, sublime gratitude. Anytime I start to get sad about this show [ending] I think about just how long we have been on the air, and now I’m just walking out there into the unknown.” That wasn’t entirely true, however; Cobie was already deep into the role of Agent Maria Hill in The Avengers franchise, with Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, the Iron Man.

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About Maria, Cobie says, “I kind of like the idea that she’s this woman in a man’s world,” and she gives much of the credit to director and screenwriter Josh Whedon for making the characters, including her own, interesting and believable. “Not only is it a really fun visual movie-going experience” . . . “it’s not just guys hitting things and things blowing up, there’s a story.”

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That particular story is ongoing for Cobie, starting with Marvel’s The Avengers released in 2012, then Captain America:  The Winter Soldier in 2014 and Avengers: Age of Ultron in 2015.  As the movies stack up, Robin has grown into a key element in the story line and Cobie couldn’t be more delighted. Amongst all the other benefits of her role, it helps keep her in top shape. She gets to do a bit of violence, though for the most part she’s behind the scenes orchestrating the actions of her super-hero co-stars.cobie-smulders-jack-reacher-star-biography-filmography-sexy-photos

As a fairly remarkable side-note, when she was only 25 Cobie was diagnosed with ovarian cancer which had also spread to lymph nodes. Numerous surgeries and two years later she was declared cancer-free, and in the meantime she kept right on working; most of her fans had no idea of the situation until she went public in an interview with Women’s Health. The experience taught her, she said, “. . . to take advantage of life and enjoy myself and not get so stressed out.”

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During that ‘meantime’ Cobie racked up a good handful of diverse roles. In 2012 she was Claire “the monorail girl” in Grassroots, and in 2013 she played Jo, the neighbor -with-a-secret in the film adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ novel Safe Haven. Also in that same year Cobie co-starred with Vince Vaughn and Chris Pratt as Emma, girlfriend of the guy who fathered 533 children – as a sperm donor – in the film Delivery Man.

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Just to keep her hand in, so to speak, Cobie also had the part of Wonder Woman in the animated film The Lego Movie, released in February 2014. Sadly, her character didn’t get much action but Cobie was plenty busy with her role as Maria Hill in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which was released in April of 2014.  Her third Avengers film, Age of Ultron, was released in May 2015, and that same month another of her films was released – Results.

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In Results Cobie plays a fitness trainer, and the scoop is that she was several months pregnant when filming took place – in a Texas summer yet – and audiences had no idea.  She jokes, “I’m a grower, not a shower,” and said she was careful to avoid over-doing. Her character Kat works at a gym owned by Trevor (Guy Pearce) whose training methods differ from hers, but the real problem is that there’s an unresolved personal issue between them.

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Reviewers tended to feel that her talents were wasted, so the ‘results’ were mixed as far as Cobie is concerned. However, barely two months later in July the movie Unexpected was released, with Cobie starring as Samantha Abbott, a Chicago inner-city high school teacher whose unexpected pregnancy and that of her star student coincide to create a dramatic comedy with totally unexpected consequences.

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Right alongside that came the premiere of Intervention, an Indie film that has gotten positive reviews with only a limited release.

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And now, folks, she’s teamed up with Tom Cruise (the King of Sequels) to make Jack Reacher:  Never Go Back – the sequel to Jack Reacher (2012), the film made from one of Lee Childs’ many Reacher novels. Never Go Back is based on another of those, and critics differ about the performance by Cruise, but he gets a lot of credit. So does Cobie, as the victim of a government cover-up that has her arrested for unknown crimes.

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Reacher is an ex-military guy who just wants to live his life in (relative) peace but gets caught up in dire and deadly situations when he tries to exonerate his old friend Major Susan Turner, who has taken over Jack’s position as head of an internal military police organization.

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Rather than supervising super-heroes, Cobie as Major Turner gets to be a badass good guy, like Reacher himself, with no super powers, just well-placed fists and considerable stamina and agility. She’s obviously delighted with the role:  “It was really fun to be in a movie where you had to fight for your life at every opportunity.”

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It would seem that Cobie Smulders is very good at fighting for her life, having survived a real life-and-death struggle with cancer. Fighting and running from bad guys in movies is surely a piece of cake, and we can expect to see more of her winning ways in the near future. Never Go Back opens in the UK on October 20 and in the US on the 21st.

Films

Year Title Role Notes
2004 Walking Tall Eye candy
2004 Ill Fated[28] Mary
2005 The Long Weekend Ellen
2006 Escape[citation needed] Psychotic brunette Short film
2006 Dr. Miracles[29] Mrs. Peterson Short film
2007 The Storm Awaits[30] Anabella DeLorenzo Short film
2009 The Slammin’ Salmon Tara
2012 The Avengers Maria Hill
2012 Grassroots Clair
2013 Safe Haven Carly Jo Wheatley
2013 Delivery Man Emma
2014 The Lego Movie Wonder Woman Voice
2014 They Came Together Tiffany
2014 Captain America: The Winter Soldier Maria Hill
2015 Unexpected[31] Samantha Abbot
2015 Results Kat
2015 Avengers: Age of Ultron Maria Hill
2016 The Intervention Ruby
2016 Jack Reacher: Never Go Back Major Susan Turner Post-Production
TBA Why We’re Killing Gunther Filming
TBA Literally Right Before Aaron Post-Production
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Haley Bennett Biography Filmography Sexy Photos

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When The Magnificent Seven hit theatres last month, much of the movie-going public got a good look at Haley Bennett for the first time. When Girl on the Train opens in theatres this week they’ll get an even better look, and the prediction is that the reaction will be “Looks good. Looks really good.” It’s been a fairly long and bumpy road to this point, but the small town girl has definitely hit the big time.

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Though Haley was born in Fort Meyers, Florida on January 7, 1988, she was just a toddler when she moved with her father and older siblings to Ohio. For the record, her Mom still lives in Florida but the rest of her family never left Ohio. The family moved all around that state, to mostly rural locations and small towns where she got her primary education – and learned to hunt and shoot with her Dad.

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Haley has been practicing since she was ten years old, as far as acting goes. She was in the cast of just about every play performed in the various schools she attended in Ohio, and just after graduating from high school in 2006, she did what about a million kids before her have done:  moved to Los Angeles, following what was in her case a rather ephemeral dream.

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Haley told Interview Magazine that she didn’t have any specific goals; she knew that small parts in school plays weren’t enough to get her recognized and chose an acting school from the Yellow Pages hoping to overcome an extreme case of stage fright.  She told one interviewer, “I was so terrified before an audience that I would break out in these ugly red hives, and my lips would quiver at the sight of a word or a song.”

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Something worked, obviously. In 2007, after only a few months she had impressed her acting coach enough to be introduced to agents, one of them got her to audition for a film called Music and Lyrics – and the door was open, if only part-way. She played Cora Corman, a ditzy young pop star (and yes, she sang) and her co-stars were Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore.  Not a bad intro for a total unknown, and Haley still rhapsodizes about working with those two leading lights.

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Music and Lyrics was part of a three-picture deal with Warner Bros. so in 2008 Haley appeared in two more films, neither of which got much notice one way or the other. College featured Haley as one of three party girl co-eds and she doesn’t talk about it much. The other film, The Haunting of Molly Hartley, starred Haley as a teenager caught up in a deal with the Devil, and it wasn’t a really good deal for Haley, either. Both films bombed with the critics, but provided more of the experience she was determined to acquire.

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Also in 2008, Haley had a bit part in Marley and Me, starring Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson and a yellow Labrador named Marley who basically stole the whole show. In 2009 she starred in a short film directed by Shekhar Kapur called Passage, which got positive critical reviews but little notice from the public. From there she moved on to star in The Hole, another fantastical horror story, but this one received good reviews from both critics and audiences.

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Just to make sure there would be plenty of diversity in her resume, or because she was still in the ‘finding myself’ process (which according to Haley will continue indefinitely) in 2010 she joined the cast of Kaboom, a film directed by Gregg Araki that reportedly won the very first Queer Palm ever awarded, for its “contribution to lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender issues” at the Cannes Film Festival.

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Next up was Arcadia Lost, in which she starred with Nick Nolte and Carter Jenkins; the cast and crew got a rare and wonderful chance to tour some of the most untrammeled spots in Greece, but the movie didn’t make it at the box office.  That was in 2010, and then there’s a gap in the record where Haley did a lot of almost-got-it auditions; she says that too often even if a casting director said he wanted her, the lack of a bankable name lost her a lot of roles she’d yearned for. It was not until 2014 that she starred in yet another horror movie, as the heroine Justine in Kristy.

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Kristy didn’t make huge headlines either, but Haley got a lot of great reviews for her part; one critic remarked that she made her character “. . .  as real as anyone could hope for. A lesser actor wouldn’t be able to make the performance both entertaining and believable.” That statement seems to apply to most if not all of her subsequent roles, and is borne out in her next project, an independent film called Lost in the White City. Her performance was considered “standout” by critics, though the film did not get much recognition as it was “. . . aimed at a more open-minded audience.”

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Also in 2014, which was quite a busy year for Haley, she had a minor role in Things People Do, which got positive critical reviews but never played to a wide audience. She also got on board in a film by Terrence Malick and Warren Beatty that has just now been completed; she considers both Malick and Beatty to be ‘mentors’ and we can expect more from that quarter.

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Her next break, though not a huge role, was in The Equalizer, directed by Antoine Fuqua, which starred Denzel Washington as the man with a mysterious and violent past who means to put it all behind him until he’s confronted with injustice that he’s compelled to rectify. Haley says her role as what she calls “a Russian woman in the face of adversity” was a big change for her, but her capacity for getting into the role no matter what it may be is increasingly obvious to those who watch.

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Amongst other projects in 2015, Haley starred in a Russian/American heavy duty sci-fi/action thriller called Hardcore Henry; that film was better received in Russia than in other areas, but kudos went to the actress in her role as one of the bad guys. By this time Haley’s name had become more familiar, especially to those in the business of finding the right actor/actress for a particular role. The one that ultimately pushed Haley into the limelight is a classic example.

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When Haley auditioned for the role of Emma Cullen, the single woman in a cast of high-profile male actors (The Magnificent Seven) she jokingly claims what clinched her selection was the pie she baked and brought to the final tryout. She got no special treatment from director Antoine Fuqua, who says that he saw her potential before casting her in The Equalizer.

attends the 'Kaboom' Photo Call held at the Palais des Festivals during the 63rd Annual International Cannes Film Festival on May 15, 2010 in Cannes, France.

Fuqua stated that Haley Bennett exemplified the qualities he wanted in his female lead. He says she was fully capable of portraying a woman with no lack of feminine qualities along with a plentiful supply of tough. Her line in the movie when a fellow townsman asks her how come she was the one who got the disparate group of gunslingers together to save the town: “Because I’m the only one who had the balls to do it.” And so she did.  And they did. Good ole Western, updated.

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And on she goes, with Girl on the Train coming to theatres this week (October 7). Haley co-stars with Emily Blunt and Luke Evans; she’s Megan Hipwell, the vision that Emily as Rachel Watson keeps seeing from her commuter’s seat on the train. Rachel creates a fantasy around Megan and her husband Scott, who appear to have an idyllic life – but then Rachel is caught up in the real life of Megan and Scott, which is nothing like the fantasy.

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Haley has a great story about her casting for the role of Megan:  she read the novel by Paula Hawkins while she was filming The Magnificent Seven and loved it, then only week’s later director Tate Taylor asked her to audition for Girl on the Train. Haley says when she went to meet him he let her ride a four-wheeler around in the woods on his property. At one point she was stuck on a hill with no way to go but full speed ahead and straight down.  She said, “I think that’s when he decided he was going to hire me.”

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So full speed ahead is about par for the course, but as opposed to straight down it looks like Haley is heading full speed in the opposite direction. She has two more big projects in the works; one in Warren Beatty’s Rules Don’t Apply, which is due out November 23. She co-stars with Beatty, Candace Bergen, Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen and others in an audacious film about the Hollywood of the 1950s and Howard Hughes, to whom the rules really didn’t apply.

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Far as Haley is concerned, they do apply when it comes to hard work, perseverance and dedication to what she hopes will be a long career as an actress. Considering the state of current affairs, that seems a very likely proposition and her rapidly-growing multitude of fans will be cheering her on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emilia Clarke Biography, Filmography, sexy photos

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It seems almost everyone who knows of Emilia Clarke – and that’s everyone who watches Game of Thrones and a whole lot who don’t – know her as the exiled, haughty blonde queen ‘across the Narrow Sea’, Daenerys Targaryen.

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The HBO series has caught on like the proverbial house on fire, and she’s now a familiar face and figure with her own persona that’s an integral part of the ongoing story. There’s more to her story, however, than Game of Thrones.

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It may be a bit of a stretch to claim a three-year-old was seized by a ‘passion’ for acting but that’s the report about Emilia Clarke. Her father’s job as a theatre sound engineer had him working backstage at a production of Show Boat, Emilia’s Mum took her to see it and the rest is history – in the making, as it were. In fact, a good bit of childish exuberance comes through both in her acting roles and in her interviews; it’s part of what makes her so appealing to so many fans.

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Emilia’s birthplace was in London, on October 23, 1986, but the family including her older brother moved to the Berkshire countryside and she attended St. Edward’s School of Oxford from 2000 to 2005. She had her first acting roles in two plays produced at that school, then went on to the Drama Centre London, a well-regarded institution where she got ten more stage roles under her belt and onto her resume.

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During that time she also participated in a short ‘student’ film where her budding abilities were quite obvious. In that film she was a teenager in a turbulent relationship with a married man, and she’s very, very believable. She’s also impressive in two 2009 guest appearances on Doctors, the BBC drama, in which she plays a rebellious teenager called Saskia defying a protective Dad, both of them fixated on the girl’s mother who abandoned them when Saskia was ten years old.

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Her first full-length film, in 2010, was a made-for-TV science fantasy flick called Triassic Attack, (or was it Jurassic?) and it was not what she would call a winner. Emilia played the part of a rebellious teenager again, this time in a small American town where a native Indian tribe’s ancient lands are about to be desecrated and a lot of dinosaur bones get animated to drive away the intruders. Emilia got better reviews than the film did, and she figures it was good experience (especially since she got to spend time in Bavaria for the filming.)

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Emilia has a talent for drama, no question about that. In 2013 she starred as Holly Golightly in Richard Greenburg’s adaptation of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The play ran at the Cort Theatre on Broadway and co-starred Cory Michael Smith. It got mixed but generally poor reviews, mostly due to its somber atmosphere as opposed to the lighter version popularized by Audrey Hepburn in 1961.

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However as compensation the audience was treated to a vision of Emilia and Cory Michael in a bathtub with only a few bubbles in the way of costume. Critics called the baring of bodies ‘unnecessary’ and some professed shock that the British actress seemed to have no qualms. Others pointed out that a lot more skin was shown in episodes of Game of Thrones, and Emilia agreed – she wasn’t worried at all.

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So it’s unsurprising that when she filmed Terminator: Genisys in 2015 with Arnold Schwarzenegger and had to get mostly naked again, she had no problem with that either. Fifth in the Terminator saga, Genisys stars Emilia as Sarah Connor alongside Schwarzenegger, Jai Courtney and Jason Clarke (no relation). Much has been made of the movie’s advertising poster that featured a close-up view of Emilia’s posterior: she told reporters that the shot was taken without her knowledge, but she considers it a compliment, so no worries.

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Reviewers were not terribly kind to the film’s plot, but gave credit to the actors overall. Talking about making the movie, Emilia commented that the worst parts were trying to drive the Brink’s Truck and learning to handle heavy weapons (shooting at adversaries “over and over and over” on re-takes). As for the more romantic scenes, “Naked in a harness was fun – doing stunts, that was good. That was interesting.”

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Certainly her experience on Thrones gives her an edge, since she’s been playing the super-tough Daenerys for six seasons or more than five years now. What with dragons and other fearsome perils in most every episode, Emilia has to stay on her toes and in top shape, which she appears to be doing quite well indeed.

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Still, this energetic and enthusiastic young actress has taken on other projects as well. Me Before You was released in June of this year; plot-wise it’s about as far from terminators and thrones as one can get.

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In this one Emilia gets a chance to be more of what she thinks of as her ‘real self’ – a bubbly optimistic young woman who takes on the care of a quadriplegic played by Sam Claflin.

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Sam, as William Traynor, is a wealthy young daredevil whose motorcycle accident leaves him paralyzed and deeply embittered. Louisa Clark (Emilia) is a small town English girl who’s looking for a way to help her much less than wealthy family. “Lou felt like such a perfect extension of me,” said Emilia of her role. Far from the kick butt persona she’s perfected as Daenerys, Louisa is innocently cheerful and upbeat – and of course eventually she persuades Sam to share at least some of her optimism.

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Emilia Clarke is a fairly complex person at her current age of almost-thirty; she’s the girl next door – and she was voted “Sexiest Woman in the World” by Esquire Magazine last year (2015). She’s the Mother of Dragons and keeps getting nominated for Emmys for that role – and she’s seldom recognized on the street without the long blond wig that defines Daenerys. If you watch her interviews, she’s funny and self-effacing and full of herself all at the same time.

26 Jan 2012 --- Emilia Clarke --- Image by © Williams + Hirakawa/Corbis Outline

26 Jan 2012 — Emilia Clarke — Image by © Williams + Hirakawa/Corbis Outline

 

It appears that Miss Clarke has plenty of options in her future, and it will be fun to see what she gets up to next. From latest reports, it will not be another Terminator role, but it will be another season of Thrones, and she told Glamour Magazine that if she had her way, Daenerys will end up Queen of the whole shebang -she and her three Dragons. It may well come to pass.

Matt Bomer, Magnificent 7 Filmography Biography, Photos

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We all know that actors and actresses are often judged on and applauded for their sex appeal as much or more than for their ability to portray ‘real people’, with all the gamut of emotions that real people exhibit. We all know this sort of judgment isn’t fair but we do it anyway, or most of us do. How satisfying when someone comes along who makes it easy for us – someone with powerful sex appeal and a huge talent to go with it. It’s fair to say that Matt Bomer is one of those.

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At this point that last statement will be news to most people; Bomer hasn’t gained a huge reputation and his name isn’t usually first in the credits listings. In fact it’s interesting that all but one of the awards he’s won or been nominated for are for supporting roles – and this could be a major clue in putting together a description of his career so far, and his appeal to fans of all descriptions.

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Matt Bomer was born in Webster Groves, Missouri but the family moved to Spring (a suburb of Houston), Texas by the time he started school and that’s where he spent his growing-up years through high school. Matt’s father, John O’Neill 1V, was a draft pick for the Dallas Cowboys; we don’t know much about his Mom, Elizabeth aka Sissi, only that she must have been supportive of Matt’s early interest in acting.

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His first thespian experience was in Houston’s non-profit Alley Theater, while he was still in high school, and he went straight from there to the Carnegie Mellon University (of drama) in Pittsburgh, PA. Graduating in 2001 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree he went straight on to New York, reportedly working in several minor stage roles until he ‘joined the soaps’.

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Matt got a part in two episodes of All My Children in 1970; that role got him into a much longer gig with Guiding Light, a long-term and well-loved soap opera in which his character, Ben Reade, was one of the major players. Ben was a ‘disturbed’ young man who gained a whole lot of fans along the way – even though he turned out to be a murderer he endeared himself to the hearts of the GL audience. The episode where he strips down to white briefs has been cherished by countless fans – and was probably the first time mass audiences got a good look at his way-better-than-average body.
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Matt’s next move was to a Fox TV supernatural series called Tru Calling in which he played the love interest of a psychic named Tru Davies, a med student in financial straits who takes a job in a morgue and discovers that she has strange powers of changing or preventing events such as murder and suicide.

Luc (Matt) was her photographer boyfriend in 14 episodes during the series’ first season, then he was killed, script-wise, in 2004.

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Following that death, he went on to various small roles, appearing briefly in another soap, North Shore and in 2005 a film with Jodie Foster called Flight Plan in which he was a (gorgeous) flight attendant. Next, in 2006 he had a starring role along with Jordana Brewster and R. Lee Ermey in a total reversal of roles, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. This was a prequel to the original 2003 Massacre and it got only mediocre reviews; most every cast member got dismembered anyway.

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In 2007 Matt had a starring role in what would be a short-lived TV series called Traveler. During an interview after that show he made the comment that he had nothing against any particular media, just hoped that writers and producers would “. . . continue to work on projects that kind of challenge artists and hopefully affect people in a positive way.” That quote could be a motif of sorts for his choice of roles in the years since then.

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Also in 2007, “spy guy” became Matt’s new moniker when he took on the role of Bryce Larkin in another TV series, this time NBC’s Chuck; that one ran for five seasons with the Bryce character getting killed off not once but twice. There’s still a possibility for another resurrection, if the show’s producers should come up with further story ideas for the comedy/drama of CIA agents, a mysterious and sinister computer program called Interface and scads of nefarious undercover activities.  Bomer came away from that with an even larger fan base, plus some training in martial arts.

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Now we come to the stage where Matt’s career took a notable turn upward; with his starring role in White Collar as a charismatic and talented con artist named Neal Caffrey opposite co-star Tim DeKay as Peter Burke, a hard-working FBI agent. The series ran on USA Network from 2009 to the end of 2014 and was nominated for several major awards, with Matt nominated for several of his own and winning that of 2015 Favorite TV Character Actor based on his performance as Neal.
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White Collar got 100% ratings on Rotten Tomatoes through its entire run, and Matt Bomer was voted TV’s Sexiest Man in 2011 by entertainment website BuddyTV Somewhat ironically it was also in 2011 that Matt got married to Simon Hall, and it was during a 2012 award ceremony for Matt’s work in the campaign against HIV/AIDS that he first announced to the public that he is gay and in a long-term relationship that includes three surrogate children. That information came as little surprise to many, but definitely disappointed a lot of adoring female fans.

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Again, not too surprisingly it didn’t seem to faze anybody as far as his acting career goes; he has told interviewers that it’s a great relief to “. . . live with integrity and not have some strange split psychology . . .” of being one person in public and another at home. He said it wasn’t really by choice that he played ‘straight’ roles for ten years, and is very grateful for the far greater tolerance that prevails in the current day and age.

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Back to 2011 to fill in some gaps:  Matt co-starred with Cheyenne Jackson (of 30 Rock) at the NYC Eugene O’Neill Theatre presentation of 8, Dustin Lance Black’s play about two of the central litigants in the Proposition 8 trial regarding California’s attempt to ban gay marriage.  He was also featured as Henry Hamilton, a 105-year-old man, in a sci-fi thriller called In Time. The film got mixed and rather ho-hum reviews; Matt’s character Henry Hamilton dies nobly early on, having given his ‘life time’ to a young man (Justin Timberlake as Will.)

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From comments made in various interviews, Matt’s 2012 role as stripper Ken in Magic Mike was a bit of a break-through; his comedic talent as well as his superb physique made the role a cinch – even though he said, “It was like a stripper boot camp. We embarrassed ourselves in our own rehearsal room.” But, he continued, the group “manned up together to get it done,” Matt didn’t know at the time that he would be returning to ‘boot camp’ as a seasoned pro, in the 2015 sequel, Magic Mike XXL.

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Before that, however, Matt had a supporting role in Space Station 76 (2014) and a small part in Akiva Goldsman’s adaptation of Mike Helprin’s novel Winter’s Tale, also released in 2014. Neither film made box office news, but as Matt says, it’s not all about money; doing good work is what’s important and he always tried to do his best work whatever the role or the situation.

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For his role as Felix Turner in The Normal Heart, Matt lost about 40 pounds – and as he says, gained an immense respect for the people who tried to deal with and publicize the tragedy of  AIDS to the gay community, which was mostly not ‘out’, and to the government. The critically acclaimed HBO movie was powerfully moving for most of its viewers; Matt said that he read the play as a confused teenager and it changed his entire world view. He won a Golden Globe as Best Supporting Actor for that performance.

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It’s hard to keep track . . . but we note that starting in 2014, Matt has been appearing in the highly rated TV drama/horror series American Horror Story. He was a male prostitute named Andy who got killed off in Season 1, and a major character named Donovan throughout Season V. As of now the rumor is that he’ll be showing up in Season 6 but no details have yet been released.

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The Nice Guys, released in May this year, gave Matt a chance to show some different colors, as he says, and admitted that it was fun playing the bad guy and doing his own stunts, with co-stars Russell Crowe and Bryan Gosling. He said “. . . anytime you get a chance to play a cold-blooded, borderline robotic assassin who comes in the visage of John Boy from The Waltons . . . that’s gotta be funny.” He thinks it was, and so do his cohorts in the film.

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As yet another in his list of diverse roles, Matt’s latest is to reach theatres this weekend (September 23rd) with a comparative lack of fanfare. A remake of the classic Western, this one directed by Antoine Fuqua, the film has Matt in a supporting role as The Magnificent Seven ride again. The movie will also feature Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio and Haley Bennett, along with (in this case) bad guy Peter Sarsgaard.

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From minor supporting actor to star to minor supporting actor to co-star . . . Matt Bomer has swooped and soared. We will see him next, according to all reports, as the iconic actor Montgomery Clift in an HBO biopic now in production. Monty Clift is an honorarium to the actor’s life and death; it will include his rise to stardom and his deterioration in what his acting teacher called “… the longest suicide in Hollywood history.”

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Matt says he feels a certain kinship with Clift, and has since he first saw the actor onscreen and thought he “looked just like my brother”.  The two bear a remarkable resemblance physically, but whereas Clift’s sexual preferences had to be kept secret, which undoubtedly contributed to his failing mental and physical health, Matt’s have been accepted – and even if not, he’s up to the challenge, and we say hooray.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stanley Kubrick Biography Filmography

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There’s nothing like an eccentric and reclusive genius to rouse curiosity and admiration in the general public, and when the reputation is accompanied by an enormous amount of diverse and often contradictory data, the individual in question becomes a mystery that needs to be solved.  Well, that’s not going to happen here and probably nowhere else, since Stanley Kubrick died in 1999. The fact that much of the work he wanted to do was never completed, and so, is part of the intrigue, but what did create is legendary in the world of movie history.

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Born July 26, 1928 of Jewish immigrant parents in Manhattan, New York, Stanley was reportedly far from a star pupil as a youngster. His father, a physician named Jacob Leonard and his mother, Sadie Gertrude both believed in his native intelligence and tried sending him to an uncle in Pasadena for a change of scenery that might sharpen his learning curve. He was 12 years old at the time; the change didn’t have much effect on his grades or his attitude towards school.

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Other efforts definitely did; at least two of Jacob’s early attempts to spark his son’s interest were very successful indeed. When introduced to the game of chess, Stanley took it for his own; he became a highly skilled player and chess became one of the trademarks in his later films. However it was the gift of a camera for his 13th birthday that undoubtedly set the boy on his path to fame, fortune and notoriety.

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After several years of traveling around the city of New York and other spots, taking pictures of whatever interested him, Stanley sold some photos to Look Magazine and got a foot in the door of that popular publication. Taking pictures and going to movies at every opportunity over the next few years convinced him that making a film of his own was the way to go. He put together a few documentaries starting with The Day of the Fight in 1951, continuing with Flying Parade and The Seafarers in 1952.

Fear and Desire

Fear and Desire

Kubrick’s earliest feature film was Fear and Desire, made in 1953. He raised money from investors – and by using his chess skills to hustle unwary players in Central Park. Fear and Desire is most interesting in that it was written, produced, directed, filmed and edited by him alone, on a miniscule budget that would not make a short commercial today.

The film became available on DVD in 2013, though the story goes that Kubrick hated it and made an effort to remove all copies from circulation during his later years. Every Kubrick fan ought to catch it if only to appreciate the ‘opening scene’ in his cinematic career. CinePassion called the film, “. . . Kubrick’s lugubrious, arresting, disavowed, feature debut . . .”.

His next effort, Killer’s Kiss in 1955, was praised for its inventive and unusual camera work but didn’t go over well at the box office. Undeterred, he teamed up with producer James Harris to make The Killing, his first full-length film with professionals hired to do some of what Kubrick was in the habit of doing himself. However he argued with his crew, and in fact threatened to fire Lucien Ballard, the man hired as cinematographer, who was a pro and a good 20 years older than the then-27-year-old Kubrick.

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The Killing didn’t get much acclaim either, partly due to its last-minute promotion, running as second feature to a Western called Bandido. However it has since been re-discovered as one the best films of Kubrick’s early career. It also got the attention of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and one of the company’s executives called on the Kubrick/Harris team to be writers, producers and directors for a new film that ended up being Paths of Glory.

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Filmed in Munich in 1957 and starring Kirk Douglas, Paths of Glory was the first of Kubrick’s films to be a commercial success, though it was banned for some time in France due to its less-than-salutatory depiction of the French military forces. The movie is based on an anti-war novel written in 1935 and it was about as unsentimental as Kubrick could make it – which is also one of his trademarks, and one reason for the conflicting opinions of his work.

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Following that success, Kirk Douglas asked Kubrick to take over direction of another film in which he (Douglas) had the starring role – Spartacus, which would also be a winner at the box-office and in critics’ circles. During production there was plenty of strife on the set in addition to scripted battles. Douglas and Kubrick fought over creative control – not to mention the director cutting the star’s lines to almost nothing in the first half hour of the film.

Disputes notwithstanding, Spartacus won four Academy Awards and even though Kirk and Stanley never worked together again, it was clear to Kubrick, “. . . the youngest director in Hollywood history to helm an epic”, and to the rest of Hollywood’s moguls that Stanley Kubrick a director was capable of great things.

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Not a man to back down from challenges, he next tackled what would become a successful and highly controversial project, Lolita, starring James Mason, Sue Lyon, Shelley Winters and Peter Sellers. Filming Lolita in 1960-61 required a move to London, mostly to get away from the censors in Hollywood. Based on Vladimir Nabokov’s novel, the plot involves a middle-aged professor and a 13-year-old girl – pedophilia in most books – but the vast majority of Nabokov’s eroticism had to be cut out and/or camouflaged with comedy, which got the final edition past American and European censors.

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The role of Quilty in Lolita also showcased the wildly diverse acting talents of Peter Sellers, which, in turn, won the actor, not one, but three roles in Kubrick’s next film, Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. This was a black comedy and political satire that had Sellers cast in three very different roles, starring along with George C. Scott and Sterling Hayden. Dr. Strangelove received a lot of criticism at the time, in 1964, but it also won a lot of major awards, a pattern that would come to define Kubrick’s work.

That film was also shot in England, due to “technical and political” difficulties; it is interesting that Dr. Strangelove was nominated for four Oscars and did not win any, but it won numerous British film awards including the BAFTA for ‘Best British Film’ and ‘Best Film From Any Source’ and the British Hugo Award as well as various other international kudos. In response to the New York Times critic who said the film showed “. . . contempt for our whole defense establishment”, Kubrick responded that he was a satirist with enough optimism to make a joke, even a brutal joke.

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During the next few years Kubrick was involved in several projects that never quite made it to completion – including the epic about Napoleon Bonaparte that he is said to have considered his lifelong goal – it was not until 1968 that his next ground-breaking film came out. 2001:  A Space Odyssey remains one of the great Science Fiction classics of all time.

In close collaboration with Arthur C. Clarke, author of the novel by the same name, Kubrick wrote the screenplay – but won the only Oscar of his career for his visual special effects. It was his work on 2001 that later inspired rumors that he was involved in faking the first moon landing in 1969, a conspiracy theory that is still very much alive today.

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Many critics rate 2001 as Kubrick’s finest production ever, and omniscient computer HAL has become a sort of icon for cinematic depictions of artificial intelligence. Literally volumes have been written about ‘”he meaning of Kubrick’s Space Odyssey” but there is a general consensus that it is a masterpiece; it’s not certain whether Kubrick would agree.

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After that marathon of painstaking research and technical perfectionism, Kubrick launched his next project as one that could be made with minimum time and money; A Clockwork Orange was the result.

Based on the novel by Anthony Burgess, the film was in part an exploration of the 1960s perceived ‘degeneration of youth’ with its violence and sexual freedom.

Again a dark satire with comedic undertones – as opposed to a comedy with dark undertones – the movie was a critical and financial success. However when it was first released in Great Britain, Kubrick actually received death threats after “copycat crimes” were reported based on scenes in the film. He personally took it out of distribution in the UK, and it was not shown there legally again until after his death.

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By the 1970s Kubrick’s reputation as an outstanding director was confirmed beyond any doubt; he could make a film about anything that captured his interest. Barry Lyndon, completed in 1975, was another divergence from the norm; it went for three hours and at a leisurely pace that put many movie-goers off but ultimately worked exactly right for what Kubrick was trying to do. Ryan O’Neal was probably the perfect choice – Kubrick’s, of course – for the title role of an ambitious but not terribly bright young Irishman.

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Again Kubrick had to move locations during filming; he was reportedly made a target by members of the IRA, and had to pack up and move from Ireland back to England to complete his 18th century epic. Barry Lyndon also underlined the director’s radical perfectionism; one scene with O’Neal required 150 takes before Kubrick was satisfied. However in later discussions the actor had nothing but praise for Kubrick’s methods, and stuck with it for the year it took to complete because he felt part of “something great”. The film was not a commercial success upon release, but has since gained great acclaim.

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From historical drama to supernatural horror may be quite a leap, but Kubrick made it with bells and chills on when he made his own version of Stephen King’s novel The Shining. Filming took much longer than anticipated, as was usual for Kubrick’s films, and the cast was subject to his trademark endless repeat takes, but the 1980 film is now considered a horror classic.

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The Shining, starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall and a very young Danny Lloyd in his first acting job, was intended to be scary; it most certainly was, and is. Nicholson outdid himself as the writer going mad from a combination of his own demons and the one lurking in the Overlook Hotel; even with Kubrick’s meticulous scene-setting, some of Nicholson’s ad-libbed remarks and actions made the film an even more intense experience for theatre-goers.

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Novelist Stephen King did not like Kubrick’s interpretation of his book and his characters; he re-wrote the screenplay, which was aired as a mini-series in 1997. Regardless of intentions good or bad, Kubrick’s movie is the one destined for cinema history books; King’s version basically flopped.

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The same year that The Shining came out, Kubrick began working with two novelists who had written books about the Vietnam War; he wanted to make his own war/anti-war movie, to be as brutal and realistic as the real thing. In that he succeeded, but Full Metal Jacket was partially eclipsed by Platoon, a similarly themed film directed by Oliver Stone, which was released a year before Kubrick’s film came out in 1987.

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Most viewers will not be aware that the entire film was made in the disused docklands and a derelict iron works in East London, which are now London’s financial center, and not 20 miles from Kubrick’s home at the time. Aside from the mostly unscripted, now-famous maniacal speech to new recruits delivered by R. Lee Ermey as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, Full Metal Jacket is about the consequences of war. The message is both horrifying and thought-provoking, not just for audiences but even for the actors involved. Kubrick has said that the film was his answer to Rambo – meaning films that over-simplify and glorify war in general.

The Story Behind Gunnery Sergeant Hartman’s Speech

The final project of Stanley Kubrick’s career was yet another topical leap, this time to the exploration of sexual mores, marriage and reality versus sexual fantasies. Eyes Wide Shut, starring one of Hollywood’s most viewable couples, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, does not qualify as pornography – far from it in fact. The most scathing reviews cited a total lack of ‘titillation’, but much of that is due to censors.

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Kubrick had reportedly just finished final editing when he died before the film was released. He had kept all of the production strictly under wraps, and of course that fostered nearly hysterical speculation about a ‘Kubrick porn film’, which did not materialize. Eyes Wide Shut, according to Kubrick himself, was meant to be a psychological drama; he has been quoted as saying it was his best film ever. As always, critics’ opinions differ, but all agree that if nothing else the film is “Kubrickesque”. For fans, that’s all the recommendation needed.

I do art book reviews. On my blog is the complete list of art books I've reviewed, with pictures for easy reading.

It must be noted that another of Kubrick’s projects, one he had worked on since the early 1970s, was another science fiction film titled A.I. Artificial Intelligence or just A.I. It was finally released, ironically enough, in 2001 by director Steven Spielberg. Kubrick had gone to Spielberg in 1995 with his pre-production notes; it was his contention that the subject matter and special effects were closer to Spielberg’s “sensibilities” than Kubrick’s.

Director (16 credits)



Both men were busy with other projects, but when Stanley Kubrick died unexpectedly in March of 1999, Spielberg went ahead with production, sticking as closely as possible to Kubrick’s vision, and when the film came out the credits showed it was dedicated to Stanley Kubrick. A.I. has since been described as a combination of Kubrick’s cold detachment and Spielberg’s warmhearted optimism.

What’s really fascinating is that in a later interview, Steven Spielberg told interviewers that the critics had it all wrong. He said the reverse was true; all the “sweetest” parts were Stanley’s; the “dark center” of the movie was all his. Stanley, of course, was not around for comment but it certainly makes us wonder what else we might have missed in Kubrick’s long and complicated career.

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One of Kubrick’s cast in Full Metal Jacket, in an interview long after the film was released, made the statement about Kubrick that what he expected from an actor was “. . . show up,  know your lines and don’t bump into the furniture.” He surely expected more from them than most directors – and almost to a man, or woman, many rate the experience of working with Kubrick as the high point of their careers.

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The bottom line would seem to be that Stanley Kubrick always has been and will remain an enigma, a complex individual who brought us a great deal of entertainment and probably some enlightenment, depending on how his films are interpreted. He left quite a legacy for movie buffs and critics to ponder, and since he used each film as ‘experience’ for the next, better film, we can only wish he’d stayed around longer.

Jack Huston Biography Filmography Images

Jack Huston Biography Filmography Images...

From Spartacus to Ben Hur is not a dramatic role change, but for Jack Huston the changes that went on between those two films are . . . well, dramatic. The man won’t turn 34 until December, yet he has a list of acting credits that includes scores of roles from villain to hero and darn near everything in between. Actually, maybe it’s not so surprising when you consider Jack’s immediate ancestry.

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Jack Huston comes from an impressive line of actors, directors and titled folk and he can trace his lineage back to Britain’s first Prime Minister, Robert Walpole. He was definitely born on December 7, 1982 in England, though if you want to quibble, the actual birth may have taken place in either London or in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, depending on the source of different reports.

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At any rate he’s got drama in his blood; his parents are Tony and Margot Lavinia, American actor/writer/director and English Lady (with the capital L), respectively. There is also a marquess or two, at least one Marchioness and a Rothschild in his family tree, but word has it that he decided to be an actor at the age of six, after starring as Peter Pan in a school production.

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Other than his attendance at the small prestigious Hurtwood House sixth form college in Surrey, not much is mentioned about Jack’s early training for his acting career.

Son of  Tony Huston and Lady Margot Lavinia Cholmondeley.
Grandson of John Huston.
Great-grandson of Walter Huston.


His first appearance on screen was in the television production of Spartacus in 2004, where he had the role of Flavius. Maybe that was a portent of things to come, but between then and now Jack has played an amazing variety of roles, some small and some large, all notable.

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The first big screen appearance was a non-starring role in Factory Girl (2007), a semi-documentary set in 1960s New York when Andy Warhol’s “Factory” loft was the meeting point for artists of all sorts. Next of note was Shrooms in 2008, in which he played Jake, a central character in the midst of a wildly hallucinogenic camping trip in Ireland.

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In 2009 Jack was Wulfric, a Viking fighting with Viking weapons against an extraterrestrial menace in Outlander; the film is a minor cult classic. Also that year he played Shamus in Shrink, a film about a confounded psychiatrist with Hollywood clientele which got mixed but mostly positive reviews due more to the cast than the plot, which also included Kevin Spacey and Robin Williams.

 

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2010 was a busy year for Jack, with major roles in Hemingway’s Garden of Eden and Boogie Woogie and a brief appearance as Royce King in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. Garden of Eden featured Jack as writer David Bourne, and some critics were quite scathing in reference to the director (John Irving) but gave credit to Jack’s performance. In Boogie Woogie he was Jo Richards, one of a very motley crew in London’s 1960s international art scene.

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Also in 2010 Jack took on the role of Richard Harrow in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire; he ended up staying for four years and 24 episodes, becoming a central character through his almost uncanny ability to ‘feel’ the part. Harrow, a sniper in WW1, comes back with his face badly disfigured. Jack wears a tin mask over the damaged half through the entire five seasons of the series, and “stole the show during every scene” according to The Daily Beast. Jack said, “I feel like when I put that mask on, I transform.” The show won two Golden Globe awards, in large part due to Jack’s portrayal of a lost soul.

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While he was still working on Boardwalk Empire, Jack also had major roles in several lesser-known films including Mr. Nice, Parade’s End, Not Fade Away, Love, Marilyn, Night Train to Lisbon, Two Jacks, Wilde Salome, The Hot Potato, and a TV presentation of Miss Austen Regrets. When he took on the role of Jack Kerouac in Kill Your Darlings (2013) the name Jack Huston was beginning to ring a lot more bells in the halls of Hollywood and elsewhere. That character (Kerouac) was portrayed  with skill and sensitivity as the slightly older and more cynical writer in his association with young Allen Ginsberg, who was played by Daniel Radcliffe.

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That same year Jack had a relatively minor role in American Hustle, a film that got eleven Oscar nominations and a lot of other awards; critics applauded loudly, specifically for the performers. Huston  didn’t make star billing but made a powerful impression as the character Pete Musane. He then co-starred with Alan Alda and Scott Eastwood in The Longest Ride,  and with Brit Marling in Posthumous, both of those films garnering even more solid praise from both critics and the general audience.

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This year so far, three films have been released with Jack Huston in the credits. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies got him another villain role which he performed admirably; in Hail, Caesar his character  was described as ‘cad in cab’ – not a headliner but memorable all the same. And then there was Ben Hur, and times they certainly are a’changing.

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Most everyone knows the story of Judah Ben Hur from the 1959 Biblical epic version starring Charlton Heston in the title role, which garnered 11 Academy Awards. As one reporter has remarked, “It’s a ballsy move to remake Ben Hur.” Director Timur Bekmambetov clearly thought so too, and the movie, which came out last week, has gotten radically mixed reviews – but everyone seems to have a strong reaction, either for or against. Regardless, the role of Judah Ben Hur is a great big boost to Jack Huston’s volatile career.

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As he has mentioned in several interviews, Jack prefers character actor roles; he said of his Ben Hur performance that is was “. . . was very much my own interpretation.” He deeply admires the work of Heston and that of many retired or bygone actors, but his goal is to put his own personal spin on the characters he plays, whether they be minor or major, courageous or cowardly, saint or sinner.

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In Jack’s interpretation of the prince betrayed by his brother and forced into slavery, Judah Ben Hur is not just an angry man out for vengeance; he’s also a boy turning into a man  – and of course experiencing some of the most dramatic conflicts a man can face in the world as it was when Jesus Christ was going about his ministry. That unforgettable chariot race is just the culmination of quite authentic violence.

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Yes, Jack really did drive those horses, and yes, it would be easy to get yourself killed in many of the action shots. In fact he told Entertainment Weekly, “It’s like NASCAR [the speed]. The first day, you’re completely convinced you’re going to die.” Those leather costumes aren’t just for show, either; they’re crucial as protection, “. . . so you don’t shred off your privates.”

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Win, lose or draw, as far as Jack Huston is concerned chariot racing is just another challenge he enjoys meeting. And as for where he’s going from here, we’re waiting for news on that front but according to all reports it will be far from the sand and sweat of his recent job. He’ll be the face of Italian shoe brand Tod’s for the upcoming 2016-17 men’s autumn/winter campaign. He has also completed two new films, The Yellow Birds and Above Suspicion, both set for release in 2017.

MISS AUSTEN REGRETS

Back in April Jack was voted “CinemaCon Rising Star of the Year” based largely on his Boardwalk Empire performance. We hope his future includes a lot of those good ‘character’ roles that will allow plenty of scope for his considerable talent.