Ben Whishaw

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Ben Whishaw
Ben Whishaw.png
BornBenjamin John Whishaw
(1980-10-14) 14 October 1980 (age 33)
Clifton, Bedfordshire, England, UK
Alma materRoyal Academy of Dramatic Art
Years active1999–present
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Ben Whishaw
Ben Whishaw.png
BornBenjamin John Whishaw
(1980-10-14) 14 October 1980 (age 33)
Clifton, Bedfordshire, England, UK
Alma materRoyal Academy of Dramatic Art
Years active1999–present

Benjamin John "Ben" Whishaw[1] (born 14 October 1980) is an English actor. He is known for his stage role as Hamlet; his roles in the television series Nathan Barley, Criminal Justice, and The Hour; and film roles including Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, I'm Not There, Bright Star, Brideshead Revisited, and Cloud Atlas. He played the role of Q in the James Bond film Skyfall.[2]

Early life[edit]

Whishaw was born and raised in Clifton, Bedfordshire, the son of Linda (née Hope), who works in cosmetics, and Jose Whishaw, who works in information technology.[3] He has a fraternal twin brother, James, and was a member of the Bancroft Players Youth Theatre at Hitchin's Queen Mother Theatre. He attended Henlow Middle School and then Samuel Whitbread Community College where first rose to prominence during collaborations with their offshoot theatre company, Big Spirit. He graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 2003.[4]


Whishaw was involved in many productions with Big Spirit, perhaps most notably If This is a Man (also performed as The Drowned & The Saved), a piece devised by the company based on the book of the same name by Primo Levi, a survivor of Auschwitz concentration camp. It was adapted into a physical theatre piece by the group and taken to the 1995 Edinburgh Festival, where it garnered five-star reviews and great critical acclaim.

Whishaw with Judi Dench in Peter and Alice, at the Noël Coward Theatre in May 2013

As the lead in Trevor Nunn's 2004 production of Hamlet at the Old Vic, he received highly favourable reviews and was nominated for the Olivier Award for Best Actor and the Ian Charleson Award. The role was shared with Al Weaver in an unusual arrangement that saw Whishaw playing all nights except for Mondays and matinées. Nunn is reported to have made this arrangement due to the youth of the two actors playing the lead, to relieve some of the pressure on each. It was Whishaw, however, who featured most prominently in the marketing materials and in the majority of reviews.

Whishaw's film and television credits include Layer Cake and Chris Morris's 2005 sitcom Nathan Barley, in which he played a character called Pingu. He was named "Most Promising Newcomer" at the 2001 British Independent Film Awards for My Brother Tom, and in 2005 he was nominated as best actor in four award ceremonies for his portrayal of Hamlet. He also played Keith Richards in the Brian Jones biopic Stoned. In the spring of 2005, Whishaw received lots of attention for his role as a drug dealer in Philip Ridley's controversial stage play Mercury Fur.

In Perfume, Whishaw played Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, a perfume maker whose craft turns deadly. The film was released in Germany in September 2006 and in America in December 2006. In the same year, Whishaw worked on Pawel Pawlikowski's abandoned The Restraint of Beasts.[5] Whishaw appeared as one of the Bob Dylan reincarnations in I'm Not There in 2007, in the BBC's Criminal Justice in 2008, in a new adaptation of Brideshead Revisited, and in a stage adaptation of The Idiot at the National Theatre called ...some trace of her.[6]

At the end of 2009, he starred in Cock, a new play by Mike Bartlett at the Royal Court Theatre.[7] In 2009 he also starred as the poet John Keats in the film Bright Star. In February 2010, Whishaw made a successful off-Broadway debut at MCC Theater in the American premiere of the awarding-winning play The Pride by Alexi Kaye Campbell. He played Ariel in Julie Taymor's 2010 film adaptation of The Tempest, and was featured in The Hour, a BBC Two drama series.[8]

In 2012, Whishaw appeared as Richard II in the television film Richard II, a part of the BBC Two series The Hollow Crown, for which he received the British Academy Television Award for Leading Actor.[9]

Also in 2012, he appeared as part of the ensemble cast of the science-fiction drama film Cloud Atlas.

Whishaw appeared in the 23rd James Bond film, Skyfall, in the role of Q.[10] He portrayed a younger Q than in previous films; Peter Burton and Desmond Llewelyn both received the role when they were in their forties, while Llewelyn and John Cleese played the role into their eighties and sixties, respectively.

In spring 2013, Whishaw starred on stage alongside Judi Dench in the world premiere of Peter and Alice, a new play by John Logan inspired by the lives of Alice Liddell and Peter Llewelyn Davies.[2][11] From October 2013 through February 2014 he again appeared on stage in the revival of Jez Butterworth's Olivier-award-winning play Mojo, also starring Rupert Grint, Brendan Coyle, Daniel Mays and Colin Morgan.[12] He was nominated for a WhatsOnStage Award for Best Actor[13] for both roles.

Whishaw's upcoming film projects include the independent film Lilting, to be released in the UK and the US in 2014;[14] Suffragette, a story of the early feminist movement written by Abi Morgan and also starring Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep;[15] The Lobster, an upcoming romantic science fiction thriller from Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos; the role of Herman Melville in Ron Howard's In the Heart of the Sea;[16] and the role of Freddie Mercury in an upcoming biopic.[17] He is also expected to return as Q in the 24th James Bond film, to be released in fall 2015.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Whishaw prefers not to discuss his personal life, saying: "For me, it's important to keep a level of anonymity. As an actor, your job is to persuade people that you're someone else. So if you're constantly telling people about yourself, I think you're shooting yourself in the foot."[19] In 2011, he told Out magazine: "As an actor you have total rights to privacy and mystery, whatever your sexuality, whatever you do. I don't see why that has to be something you discuss openly because you do something in the public eye. I have no understanding of why we turn actors into celebrities."[20]

In August 2013, a representative for Whishaw confirmed that he entered into a civil partnership with Australian composer Mark Bradshaw in August 2012.[21][22]



1999Trench, TheThe TrenchPte. James Deamis
1999Escort, TheThe EscortJay
2001BabyLittle JoeShort film
2001My Brother TomTomBritish Independent Film Award for Most Promising Newcomer
Sochi International Film Festival Award for Best Actor
2002Spiritual RampageShort film
2003Ready When You Are Mr. McGillBruno
2003Booze Cruise, TheThe Booze CruiseDaniel
200477 BedsIshmaelShort film
2004Enduring LoveSpud
2004Layer CakeSidney
2005StonedKeith Richards
2006Perfume: The Story of a MurdererJean-Baptiste GrenouilleBambi Award for Best Film – National (shared with Bernd Eichinger and Tom Tykwer)
Nominated – British Academy Film Award for Rising Star
Nominated – European Film Award for Best Actor
2007I'm Not ThereArthurIndependent Spirit Award for Best Cast
2008Brideshead RevisitedSebastian Flyte
2009The InternationalRene Antall
2009Bright StarJohn Keats
2009Love HateTomShort film
2010Tempest, TheThe TempestAriel
2012Cloud AtlasCabin Boy
Robert Frobisher
Store Clerk
2013LiltingRichard[23]World premiere January 16, 2014, Sundance Film Festival[24]
2013Beat[25]UnknownShort film
2013The Zero TheoremDoctor 3
2013Days and NightsEric[23][27]
2014MercuryFreddie Mercury
2015The Lobster
2015In the Heart of the SeaHerman Melville[28]Filming[29]
2015Bond 24Q


2000Black CabRyan1 episode
2000Other People's ChildrenSully4 episodes
2005"Nathan Barley"Pingu6 episodes
2008Criminal JusticeBen Coulter5 episodes
International Emmy Award for best actor
Royal Television Society Award for Best Actor
Nominated – British Academy Television Award for Best Actor
2011–2012Hour, TheThe HourFreddie LyonMain Cast;
Nominated - Broadcasting Press Guild Best Actor (2013)
2012Richard IIRichard II of EnglandNominated- Broadcasting Press Guild Best Actor
British Academy Television Award Leading Actor


2003His Dark MaterialsBrother JasperNational Theatre
2004HamletHamletOld VicIan Charleson Award Third Prize 2005
Nominated – Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor
Nominated – South Bank Sky Arts Award for Breakthrough Artist
Nominated – Evening Standard Award for Outstanding Newcomer
Nominated – What's On Stage Theatregoers Choice Awards for Best Actor
2005Mercury FurEliotPaines Plough
2006Seagull, TheThe SeagullKonstantinNational Theatre
2007Leaves of GlassStevenSoho Theatre
2008...some trace of herPrince MyshkinNational Theatre
2009CockJohnRoyal Court Theatre
2010The PrideOliverLucille Lortel Theatre
2013Peter and AlicePeter Llewelyn DaviesNoël Coward TheatreNominated – WhatsOnStage Award for Best Actor[30]
2013MojoBabyHarold Pinter TheatreNominated – WhatsOnStage Award for Best Actor[31]


2006Look Back in AngerJimmy Porter

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Births, Marriages & Deaths Index of England & Wales, 1916-2005.; at
  2. ^ a b Kellaway, Kate (17 March 2013). "Ben Whishaw: 'I feel I'm always in the dark' – interview". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  3. ^ Curtis, Nick (29 April 2004). "My Hamlet Fears". The Evening Standard. Retrieved 8 September 2010. 
  4. ^ [1] . RADA
  5. ^ Dawtrey, Adam (20 September 2007). "Pawel Pawlikowski takes on Stalin". Variety. 
  6. ^ [dead link] [2]. Royal National Theatre.
  7. ^ Bishop, Caroline (14 August 2009). "Whishaw in Royal Court Autumn". Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  8. ^ [3]. BBC.
  9. ^ "2013 Television Leading Actor". Retrieved 4 August 2013. 
  10. ^ "Ben Whishaw Cast as Q in New James Bond Film Skyfall". BBC News. 25 November 2011. 
  11. ^ "Ben Whishaw to Star Alongside Dame Judi Dench". 18 July 2012. 
  12. ^ Spencer, Charles (14 November 2013). "Mojo, Harold Pinter Theatre, review". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  13. ^ [4] WhatsOnStage Awards
  14. ^ "Sundance: Strand Releasing Acquires Hong Khaou's 'Lilting'". Variety. 5 February 2014. 
  15. ^ "Ben Whishaw and Brendan Gleeson Join Suffragette". 20 February 2014. 
  16. ^ "Real adventure that inspired Moby-Dick lures film directors". 7 September 2013. 
  17. ^ "Ben Whishaw confirmed to play Freddie Mercury in biopic". 10 December 2013. 
  18. ^ "Skyfall Writer John Logan Talks Bond 24: 'Build On What We Did On Skyfall, But Make It Its Own Unique Animal'". 18 January 2014. 
  19. ^ Rampton, James (26 October 2012). "Ben Whishaw on playing Q in Skyfall: 'I don't even have a computer'". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved 20 August 2013. 
  20. ^ McLean, Gareth (27 March 2011). "Ben Whishaw: Mysterious Skin". Out. 
  21. ^ Griffiths, Charlotte; Sanderson, Elizabeth (3 August 2013). "Bond star 'marries' his gay partner - and they are both 'so happy and proud'". MailOnline (London). Retrieved 4 August 2013. 
  22. ^ Sieczkowski, Cavan. "James Bond Actor Officially Comes Out, Reveals He's Married". Huffington Post. 
  23. ^ a b [5]
  24. ^ [6] Sundance Film Festival
  25. ^ [7] . 59 Productions
  26. ^ [8]
  27. ^ [9] Twitter: Christian Camargo
  28. ^ "Real adventure that inspired Moby-Dick lures film directors". 7 September 2013. 
  29. ^ [10] Twitter: Ron Howard
  30. ^ [11] WhatsOnStage Awards
  31. ^ [12] WhatsOnStage Awards

External links[edit]