Paul Bettany

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Paul Bettany
Born(1971-05-27) 27 May 1971 (age 42)
Shepherd's Bush, London, England
Years active1994–present
ReligionNone (Atheist)[1]
Spouse(s)Jennifer Connelly (m. 2003)
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Paul Bettany
Born(1971-05-27) 27 May 1971 (age 42)
Shepherd's Bush, London, England
Years active1994–present
ReligionNone (Atheist)[1]
Spouse(s)Jennifer Connelly (m. 2003)

Paul Bettany (born 27 May 1971) is an English actor. He first came to the attention of mainstream audiences when he appeared in the British film Gangster No. 1 (2000), and director Brian Helgeland's film A Knight's Tale (2001). He has gone on to appear in a wide variety of films, including A Beautiful Mind (2001), Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003), Dogville (2003), and the adaptation of the novel The Da Vinci Code (2006). He is also known for his voice role as J.A.R.V.I.S. in Iron Man (2008), Iron Man 2 (2010), The Avengers (2012), and Iron Man 3 (2013).

He has been nominated for various awards, including BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. Bettany is married to American actress Jennifer Connelly, with whom he has three children.

His commercially most successful films have been The Da Vinci Code which grossed US$758 million, A Beautiful Mind which grossed US$314 million, and The Tourist which grossed US$278 million worldwide.[2]

Early life[edit]

Bettany was born in Shepherd's Bush, London, the son of Anne (née Kettle), a stage singer, theatre teacher, and stage manager, and Thane Bettany, a dancer, actor, and drama teacher.[3] Initially, Bettany was raised Roman Catholic,[4][5] but later attended Methodist and Church of England congregations with his father as his father experimented with different Christian branches.[6] Bettany later became an atheist.[7] While his father taught at the all-girls boarding school Queenswood School in Hertfordshire, the family lived on the campus.[8] When Bettany was 16, his brother Matthew died at age 8 after falling onto concrete from a tennis pavilion roof at Queenswood.[9] Soon after, Bettany dropped out of school, left home, and went to live on his own as a street performer in London.[10] There, he lived in a small flat and earned money by playing his guitar in the streets as a busker.[10] His parents later divorced.[11] After two years, he found a new job in a home for the elderly.[10] After working there for a year, Bettany enrolled at the Drama Centre in London.[10]


In 1990 at the age of 19, Bettany began a three-year course at the Drama Centre London in Chalk Farm.[12] He made his stage debut in Stephen Daldry's acclaimed West End revival of An Inspector Calls at the Aldwych Theatre, playing the part of Eric Birling. He also appeared in the Royal Shakespeare Company's productions of Richard III, Romeo and Juliet, and Julius Caesar (for which he received a Charleson Award nomination). When Bettany was 21 he appeared in a BBC production of Oliver Twist, as Bill Sikes.

After appearing in the finale of Sean Bean's series Sharpe as HRH The Prince of Orange at the Battle of Waterloo, he made his film debut with a small part in Bent, a Holocaust drama which also featured Clive Owen, Jude Law, and Ian McKellen. He continued doing work in stage and television, these included Joe Penhall's Love and Understanding, which played at London's Bush Theatre and then ran in Connecticut. He had roles in the television productions Killer Net and Coming Home, during which he met and dated Emily Mortimer. He did his last theatre work in One More Wasted Year and Stranger's House at the Royal Court Theatre.

He filmed several more movies, including his first leading role in Gangster No. 1. The British Independent Film Awards nominated him for Best Actor, and the London Film Critics' Circle nominated him for British Newcomer of the Year.

Back in Hollywood, writer/director Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential) was planning a new film called The Sin Eater (also known as The Order). He was impressed by Bettany's audition tape, though Bettany eventually decided to film A Knight's Tale instead. The studio executives were not impressed, but Helgeland was determined to cast him, even writing the part of Chaucer for him. A Knight's Tale would be Bettany's first big Hollywood production, and most American audiences would have their first look at Paul Bettany.

He received critical acclaim for A Knight's Tale, including winning the London Film Critics Circle Award for Best British Supporting Actor. After the movie wrapped, Helgeland, determined that Hollywood should recognize Bettany's talent, showed the audition tape to many of his peers, including Ron Howard, who promptly cast Bettany in A Beautiful Mind.

After A Beautiful Mind, Bettany was offered the role of serial killer Francis Dolarhyde in Red Dragon, opposite Edward Norton and Anthony Hopkins. He turned down the role in favour of accepting a part with Stellan Skarsgård and Nicole Kidman in controversial director Lars von Trier's Dogville.

Bettany's next major project saw him starring again alongside Russell Crowe in Peter Weir's Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. His portrayal of surgeon and naturalist Stephen Maturin brought more critical acclaim, including a BAFTA nomination, British Actor of the Year (London Film Critics' Circle), and Best Actor (Evening Standard).

On 28 June 2004, Bettany and 13 other actors were included in the 2004 invitation to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.[13]

Dogville and The Reckoning were released in limited cinemas in 2004. In September of that year, Bettany made his leading-man debut in Wimbledon, a romantic comedy with Kirsten Dunst. The film's cast would also introduce him to Jon Favreau, playing his manager, a relationship that would return when Favreau cast him as the voice of J.A.R.V.I.S. in Iron Man. In spring 2005, Bettany went to Vancouver to film Firewall, a thriller starring Harrison Ford and Virginia Madsen, which reunited him with Wimbledon director Richard Loncraine. He spent the autumn of 2005 filming The Da Vinci Code, based on Dan Brown's best-selling novel and starring Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou. In the film, he played an Opus Dei monk named Silas.

In 2007, Bettany went to London to star in There For Me, written by his friends Dan Fredenburgh and Doraly Rosen.[14] In 2008, he appeared in the New Line Cinema family fantasy Inkheart, playing the part of a fire-eater named Dustfinger.[15] In 2009, he appeared as Charles Darwin in Creation, starring opposite wife Jennifer Connelly. In 2010, Bettany appeared alongside Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie in The Tourist and portrayed the archangel Michael in Legion, a movie based on God's vengeance against humanity. Bettany also starred in the 2011 films Priest and Margin Call.

He reprised his role as the voice of J.A.R.V.I.S. in 2010's Iron Man 2, 2012's The Avengers, 2013's Iron Man 3 and Disneyland's Innoventions attraction.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Bettany and Connelly at Toronto International Film Festival in 2009

On 1 January 2003, Bettany married actress Jennifer Connelly in Scotland whom he met while starring together in A Beautiful Mind.[17]

He moved to Brooklyn, New York, with Connelly and her son Kai. The couple's son, Stellan, named after actor Stellan Skarsgård, was born in 2003.[18] Stellan's godfather is the actor Charlie Condou. Their daughter, Agnes Lark, was born in 2011.[19]


Sharpe´s WaterlooPrince William of OrangeTV series
1998Coming HomeEdward Carey-LewisTV movie
Killer NetJoe HunterTV mini-series
The Land GirlsPhilip
1999Every Woman Knows a SecretRobTV mini-series
After the RainSteph
2000Kiss Kiss (Bang Bang)Jimmy
The Suicide Club (a.k.a. Game of Death)Shaw
David CopperfieldJames SteerforthTV movie
Dead BabiesQuentin
Gangster No. 1Young Gangster
2001A Knight's TaleGeoffrey Chaucer
A Beautiful MindCharles Herman
2002Euston Road"Y"Short
The Heart of MeRickie
2003Master and Commander: The Far Side of the WorldDr. Stephen Maturin
The ReckoningNicholas
DogvilleTom Edison
2004WimbledonPeter Colt
2006FirewallBill Cox
The Da Vinci CodeSilas
2008Iron ManJ.A.R.V.I.S.Voice only
The Secret Life of BeesT. Ray Owens
Broken LinesChester
2009The Young VictoriaLord Melbourne
CreationCharles Darwin
Iron Man 2J.A.R.V.I.S.Voice only
The TouristJohn Acheson
Margin CallWill Emerson
2012The AvengersJ.A.R.V.I.S.Voice only
2013BloodJoe Fairburn
Iron Man 3J.A.R.V.I.S.Voice only
MortdecaiJock StrappFilming
ShelterWriter, Director

Awards and nominations[edit]

2000British Independent Film Award for Best ActorGangster No. 1Nominated
2000London Film Critics' Circle Award for British Newcomer of the YearGangster No. 1Nominated
2001London Film Critics' Circle Award for Supporting Actor of the YearA Knight's TaleWon
2001Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Most Promising PerformerA Knight's TaleNominated
2001London Film Critics' Circle Award for Supporting Actor of the YearA Beautiful MindNominated
2001SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion PictureA Beautiful MindNominated
2003Evening Standard British Film Award for Best ActorMaster and Commander: The Far Side of the World and The Heart of MeWon
2003London Film Critics' Circle Award for British Actor of the YearMaster and Commander: The Far Side of the WorldWon
2003BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting RoleMaster and Commander: The Far Side of the WorldNominated
2003BFCA Critics' Choice Award for Best Supporting ActorMaster and Commander: The Far Side of the WorldNominated
2004Empire Award for Best British ActorWimbledonNominated
2004Jordan Award for Best ActorWimbledonWon
2006Glamour Awards Man of the YearWon
2008Black Reel Award for Best EnsembleThe Secret Life of BeesNominated


  1. ^ "Five Minutes With: Paul Bettany". BBC News. 17 November 2012. Retrieved 16 May 2013. 
  2. ^ "Worldwide Gross Total (unadjusted)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 20 August 2013. 
  3. ^ "Paul Bettany biography site". Retrieved 9 October 2010. 
  4. ^ Barton, Laura (12 May 2006). "When albino monks attack". The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 27 May 2010. "Bettany was himself raised as a Catholic,..." 
  5. ^ Carnevale, Rob (2006-09). "Paul Bettany The Da Vinci Code". BBC. Retrieved 27 May 2010. "I was born a Catholic and now I'm a lapsed Catholic." 
  6. ^ David Germain (May 15, 2006). "Pious killer: Bettany dons robes as monk assassin in 'Da Vinci'". Associated Press. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  7. ^ Adam Rutherford (12 February 2009). "Paul Bettany: Playing Darwin with Creation". The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 7 September 2009. 
  8. ^ Julie McCaffery (16 May 2006). "Tragedy, Drugs and a Dad Who Wanted to Have a Sex Change Op". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 14 Jan. 2008. 
  9. ^ Annabel Rivkin (March 24, 2006). "Paul's progress". Evening Standard. p. 29. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  10. ^ a b c d Mal Vincent (September 18, 2004). Daily Break. ""Wimbledon" serves as a change of pace". Virginia Pilot and Ledger-Star. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  11. ^ Standing, Sarah (May 28, 2009). "Rise of the strays (that's formerly straight, now gay)". Evening Standard. Retrieved 16 May 2013. 
  12. ^ Jamie Portman (September 17, 2004). "Wimbledon actor glimpses fame on set: Hollywood is grooming Paul Bettany as a major international star". Vancouver Sun. p. H1. 
  13. ^ Academy Invites 127 to Membership[dead link]
  14. ^ "Film Stars Come To Hanwell". 12 July 2007. Retrieved 9 October 2010. 
  15. ^ "Paul Bettany joins the fantasy INKHEART". Retrieved 9 October 2010. 
  16. ^ Goldman, Eric (12 April 2013). "Disneyland Introduces Their First Marvel Exhibit with Iron Man Tech". IGN. Retrieved 27 April 2013. 
  17. ^ Mark Armstrong (January 10, 2003). "Jennifer Connelly marries Paul Bettany". Retrieved February 12, 2013. 
  18. ^ Tim Adams (January 25, 2004). "'I'm just a blond actor, you know'". The Guardian. Retrieved February 12, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Jennifer Connelly, Paul Bettany Welcome Daughter Agnes Lark". People. 8 June 2011. 

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