David Thewlis

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David Thewlis
David Thewlis 2008.jpg
BornDavid Wheeler
(1963-03-20) 20 March 1963 (age 51)
Blackpool, Lancashire, England, UK
EducationHighfield High School
Alma materGuildhall School of Music and Drama
OccupationActor, author, film director, screenwriter
Years active1985–present
Spouse(s)Sara Sugarman (1992–93)
Partner(s)Anna Friel (2001–2010)
ChildrenGracie Ellen Mary Thewlis
ParentsAlec Raymond Wheeler
(father) (deceased)
Maureen Wheeler
(mother) (deceased)
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David Thewlis
David Thewlis 2008.jpg
BornDavid Wheeler
(1963-03-20) 20 March 1963 (age 51)
Blackpool, Lancashire, England, UK
EducationHighfield High School
Alma materGuildhall School of Music and Drama
OccupationActor, author, film director, screenwriter
Years active1985–present
Spouse(s)Sara Sugarman (1992–93)
Partner(s)Anna Friel (2001–2010)
ChildrenGracie Ellen Mary Thewlis
ParentsAlec Raymond Wheeler
(father) (deceased)
Maureen Wheeler
(mother) (deceased)

David Thewlis (né David Wheeler; born March 20 1963)[1] is an English actor of stage and screen. His most commercially successful role to date has been that of Remus Lupin in the Harry Potter film series. Other notable performances include his work in the films Naked (1993), Timeline (2003), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), The Omen (2006), The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2008), London Boulevard (2010) and War Horse (2011). He made his name known in 1993 with his performance of Johnny in Naked and with his performance of main antagonist King Einon in the 1996 film Dragonheart. He has also done voice work in the films James and the Giant Peach (1996) and The Miracle Maker (2000).

Early life[edit]

David, second of three children, was born David Wheeler in Blackpool, Lancashire, the son of Maureen (née Thewlis) and Alec Raymond Wheeler.[2] Both parents worked at his father's shop. As a teenager, he played in a rock band called QED, David played lead guitar with a punk rock band called Door 66, David was educated at Highfield High School, a state secondary school in Marton, Blackpool. He later enrolled in the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, graduating in 1984. [3]


David had a minor role in an episode of the 1980s sitcom Up the Elephant and Round the Castle. His first professional role was in the play Buddy Holly at the Regal in Greenwich.[3] David's first major film role was as the rambling street philosopher Johnny in Naked (1993; dir. Mike Leigh), for which he was named best actor by the National Society of Film Critics (United States), the London Film Critics Circle, the Evening Standard, the New York Film Critics' Circle and the Cannes Film Festival. The same year he appeared on television as a sexual predator named James Jackson in Prime Suspect 3, opposite Helen Mirren and Ciarán Hinds. Prior to this David's first television appearance was alongside Ken Jones in Valentine Park. Through the 1990s, David appeared in a variety of films, mostly fantasy and period, including Restoration (1995), Black Beauty (1994), Total Eclipse (1995) with Leonardo DiCaprio, The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996), Dragonheart (1996) and Seven Years in Tibet (1997) opposite Brad Pitt. He was nominated for a British Independent Film Award for Divorcing Jack (1998), and played Clov in a (2000) television film of Samuel Beckett's Endgame. Notable appearances also include Bernardo Bertolucci's Besieged (1998) and Paul McGuigan's Gangster No. 1 (2000), opposite Paul Bettany and Malcolm McDowell.

David auditioned for the role of Quirrell in the film Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, but the part went to Ian Hart. Despite missing out on the first film, in 2004, David was cast as Professor Lupin in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. He didn't have to audition as he was director Alfonso Cuarón's first choice for the role.[4] He reprised the role in four other films in the series.

David also appears as an SS Commandant of a Nazi death camp, father of the main character in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. Recent credits include Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven (2005), Terrence Malick's The New World (2005) and The Omen (2006). As a director, he was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Short Film for Hello, Hello, Hello (1995); he has also written, directed and starred in the feature Cheeky (2003). When researching for his role in Kingdom of Heaven, David went to the Hospitaller museum near his home, and the first thing he saw was a mannequin wearing the same costume that he wore in the film.[3]

He plays the late Dr. Michael Aris, husband of Nobel Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma, with Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh as Suu Kyi, in the biopic The Lady directed by Luc Besson.

David received a International Festival of Independent Cinema Off Plus Camera Award in 2012.

Personal life[edit]

Mulberry A/W 2001, Henry Bond's photograph depicts David with Anna Friel. The couple were reported to have been paid £50,000 to appear in the campaign.[5]

In 1992, David married director Sara Sugarman; they divorced in 1994. He then had a brief relationship with Bill Oddie's daughter Kate Hardie. In 2001, he began a relationship with actress Anna Friel, whom he met on a flight to Cannes. They have one child together.[6] Friel and Thewlis ended their relationship in late 2010, after almost a decade.[7]

David owns a converted Victorian ballroom in Clerkenwell. He also is often mistaken for fellow actor Rhys Ifans: "Twice a week, people come up to me and say, 'You were great in Notting Hill'. The public seem to think we are the same person."[3] David's ex-partner Anna Friel has been in a relationship with Rhys Ifans since 2011. David has also written a novel called The Late Hector Kipling, published by Simon & Schuster in 2007.[8]



Short & Curlies, TheThe Short & CurliesCliveShort film
Little DorritGeorge Braddle
1989ResurrectedKevin Deakin
1991Life Is SweetNicola's lover
Afraid of the DarkLocksmith
Tom Miller
1992Swords at TeatimeMichaelShort film
1993Trial, TheThe TrialFranz
1994Black BeautyJerry Barker
1995Total EclipsePaul Verlaine
RestorationJohn Pearce
Hello, Hello, HelloN/AShort film; directed and wrote
1996James and the Giant PeachEarthworm (voice)
DragonheartKing Einon
Island of Dr. Moreau, TheThe Island of Dr. MoreauEdward Douglas
1997American PerfektSantini
Seven Years in TibetPeter AufschnaiterBanned from entering the People's Republic of China.
1998Big Lebowski, TheThe Big LebowskiKnox Harrington
Divorcing JackDan Starkey
BesiegedJason Kinsky
1999Whatever Happened to Harold Smith?Nesbit
2000Miracle Maker, TheThe Miracle MakerJudas Iscariot (voice)
Gangster No. 1Freddie Mays
Beckett on Film – EndgameClov
2001Goodbye Charlie BrightCharlie's dad
2002D.I.Y. HardMan
2003CheekyHarry SankeyAlso directed and wrote
TimelineRobert Doniger
2004Harry Potter and the Prisoner of AzkabanRemus Lupin
2005Kingdom of HeavenHospitaller
All the Invisible ChildrenJonathan
New World, TheThe New WorldEdward Wingfield
2006Basic Instinct 2Roy Washburn
Omen, TheThe OmenKeith Jennings
2007Inner Life of Martin Frost, TheThe Inner Life of Martin FrostMartin Frost
Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixRemus Lupin
2008Boy in the Striped Pajamas, TheThe Boy in the Striped PajamasSS-Obersturmbannführer Ralph
2009Harry Potter and the Half-Blood PrinceRemus Lupin
Veronika Decides to DieDr. Blake
2010Mr. NiceJim McCann
London BoulevardJordan
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1Remus Lupin
2011Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
Lady, TheThe LadyMichael Aris
AnonymousWilliam Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley
War HorseLyons
2012Separate We Come, Separate We GoNormanShort film
2013RED 2The Frog
The Fifth EstateNick Davies
The Zero TheoremJoby
2014The Theory of EverythingDennis Sciama
Stonehearst AsylumMickey FinnPost-production
Queen and CountryBradleyPost-production
2015RegressionDr. RainesFilming


1985Only Fools and HorsesStewEpisode: "It's Only Rock and Roll"
Radio PicturesJim GramsTV film
1986Singing Detective, TheThe Singing DetectiveSecond SoldierEpisodes: "Lovely Days"
"Who Done It"
1987–1988Valentine ParkMax
1989Bit of a Do, AA Bit of a DoPaul SimcockEpisodes: "The White Wedding"
"The Dentist's Dinner Dance"
"The Angling Club Christmas Party"
"The Charity Horse-Racing Evening"
"The Crowning of Miss Frozen Chicken"
"The Registry Office Wedding"
SkulduggeryTonyTV film
1990Oranges Are Not the Only FruitDoctorTV mini-series
1991Journey to KnockTerryTV film
ShrinksTerry SlaterEpisode 1.5
Screen OneTim ShanksEpisode: "Filipina Dreamgirls"
1992Black and BlueCrematorium attendantTV film
1993Frank Stubbs PromotesMike BenceEpisode: "Striker"
Prime Suspect 3James JacksonTV film
1994Dandelion DeadOswald MartinTV mini-series
1999Love StoryDealerTV film
2001Hamilton MattressHamilton Mattress (voice)
2002DinotopiaCyrus CrabbTV mini-series
2007Street, TheThe StreetJoe
Harry Jennerson
Episode: "Twins"

Video games[edit]

2004World of WarcraftLord Darius Crowley
2010World of Warcraft: Cataclysm


Awards and Nominations[edit]

1993Cannes Film FestivalBest ActorNakedWon
Evening Standard British Film AwardBest ActorWon
London Film Critics Circle AwardBritish Actor of the YearWon
National Society of Film Critics AwardBest ActorWon
New York Film Critics Circle AwardBest ActorWon
1995BAFTA AwardBest Short Film
Shared with Helen Booth and James Roberts
Hello, Hello, HelloNominated
1998British Independent Film AwardBest Performance by a British Actor in an Independent FilmDivorcing JackNominated
2006Golden Raspberry AwardWorst Supporting ActorBasic Instinct 2 / The OmenNominated
2007Monte-Carlo Television FestivalGolden Nymph for Outstanding Actor – Drama SeriesThe StreetNominated
2008British Independent Film AwardsRichard Harris Award for Outstanding Contribution to British FilmWon
2009Scream AwardBest Ensemble
Shared with the entire cast
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood PrinceWon
2010Evening Standard British Film AwardsPeter Sellers Award for ComedyLondon BoulevardWon
2011Scream AwardBest Ensemble
Shared with the entire cast
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2Nominated


  1. ^ "Behind The Voice Actors - David Thewlis". Retrieved 2014-02-05. 
  2. ^ "David Thewlis profile at FilmReference.com". Film Reference.com. Retrieved 30 August 2007. 
  3. ^ a b c d Grice, Elizabeth (4 May 2005). "'Anna has changed me for the better'". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 30 August 2007. 
  4. ^ Morris, Clint (9 June 2004). "Interview: David Thewlis". Movie Hole. Archived from the original on 26 September 2007. Retrieved 28 August 2007. 
  5. ^ Vogue.co.uk
  6. ^ MacDonald, Marianne (26 September 2005). "Post-natal confession". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
  7. ^ "Friel, David split after nine years". Digital Spy. 14 December 2010. Retrieved 26 December 2010. 
  8. ^ ISBN 9781416541219

External links[edit]