Cliff Curtis

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For the MLB pitcher, see Cliff Curtis (baseball).
Cliff Curtis
Cliff Curtis.jpg
Curtis at the 2011 MIPCOM, in Cannes
Born Clifford Vivian Devon Curtis
(1968-07-27) 27 July 1968 (age 46)
Rotorua, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand
Nationality New Zealand
Ethnicity Māori
Occupation Actor
Years active 1991–present
Spouse(s) name unknown (m. 2009)
Children 2

Clifford Vivian Devon "Cliff" Curtis (born 27 July 1968) is a New Zealand actor whose screen roles include Whale Rider, Once Were Warriors, and Blow. His television work includes NBC series Trauma, and Body of Proof, and starring in ABC's Missing. Curtis is co-owner of independent New Zealand production company Whenua Films.[1] Ethnically Māori, his many character roles include having portrayed a range of ethnicities, including Latin American, Arab, and Indian characters.

Early life[edit]

Curtis, one of nine children, was born in Rotorua, in the North Island of New Zealand, and is the son of an amateur dancer.[2] Curtis is of Māori descent and his tribal affiliations are Te Arawa and Ngati Hauiti.[3]

As a boy he studied mau rākau, a traditional Māori form of taiaha fighting with Māori elder Mita Mohi on Mokoia Island, which nurtured his abilities as a performer in kapa haka. Curtis later performed as a breakdancer and then competitively in rock 'n' roll dance competitions. Curtis also sometimes impersonates Tim Cahill and is an avid Everton supporter. He received his secondary education at Western Heights High School, Rotorua.

New Zealand career[edit]

Curtis started acting in amateur productions of musicals Fiddler on the Roof and Man of La Mancha with the Kapiti Players and the Mantis Cooperative Theatre Company, before attending the New Zealand Drama School and Teatro Dimitri Scoula in Switzerland. He worked at a number of New Zealand theatre companies, including Downstage, Mercury Theatre, Bats Theatre, and Centre Point. His stage roles include Happy End, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Othello, The Cherry Orchard, Porgy and Bess, Weeds, Macbeth, Serious Money, and The End of the Golden Weather.

His first feature film role was a small part in Oscar-nominated Jane Campion film The Piano. He went on to win attention in Once Were Warriors, one of the most successful films released on New Zealand soil, and played a seducer in melodrama Desperate Remedies. In 2000 Curtis starred as family man Billy Williams in Jubilee, before playing father to the main character in international hit Whale Rider.

In 2004 with producer Ainsley Gardiner, Curtis formed independent film production company Whenua Films.[1] The goals of the company are to support the growth of the New Zealand indigenous filmmaking scene, and support local short filmmakers. He and Gardiner were appointed to manage the development and production of films for the Short Films Fund for 2005-06 by the New Zealand Film Commission. They have produced several shorts under the new company banner, notably Two Cars, One Night, which received an Academy Award nomination in 2005, and Hawaiki by director Mike Jonathan in 2006. Both short films circulated through many of the prestigious international film festivals like the Berlinale.

At the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, Miramax Films bought US distribution rights to their first feature film, relationship comedy Eagle vs Shark, directed by Taika Waititi. Waititi's follow-up feature Boy, also from Whenua Films, went on to become the highest grossing New Zealand film released on its own soil.[4]

International career[edit]

Curtis has appeared in films such as Three Kings, the Johnny Depp drug drama Blow, Martin Scorsese's Bringing Out the Dead, Sunshine and Live Free or Die Hard in 2007, Training Day, Collateral Damage, and Push in 2009.

In the NBC TV drama Trauma,[5] he played daredevil flight medic Reuben "Rabbit" Palchuck.

In M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender (released in 2010), he played Fire Lord Ozai.

Personal life[edit]

Curtis guards his personal life closely. He married in late 2009[6] in a lavish private ceremony at his home marae.

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role
1993 The Piano Mana
1993 Desperate Remedies Fraser
1994 Kahu & Maia
1994 Once Were Warriors Bully
1994 True Lies
1994 Rapa Nui Short Ears
1996 Chicken Zeke
1996 Mananui Mana
1998 Deep Rising Mamooli
1998 Six Days Seven Nights Kip
1999 Virus Hiko
1999 Three Kings Amir Abdulah
1999 Bringing Out the Dead Cy Coates
1999 The Insider Sheikh Fadlallah (as Clifford Curtis)
2000 Jubilee Billy Williams
2001 Blow Pablo Escobar
2001 Training Day Smiley
2001 The Majestic The Evil But Handsome Prince Khalid
2002 Collateral Damage Claudio El Lobo Perrini
2002 Whale Rider Porourangi
2003 Runaway Jury Frank Herrera
2004 Fracture Detective Franklin
2004 Spooked Mort Whitman
2004 Heinous Crime Pizza delivery man
2005 The Pool Husband
2005 River Queen Wiremu
2006 The Fountain Captain Ariel
2007 Sunshine Searle
2007 Fracture Detective Flores
2007 Live Free or Die Hard FBI Deputy Director Miguel Bowman
2008 10,000 BC Tic'Tic
2009 Push Hook Waters
2009 Crossing Over Hamid Baraheri
2010 The Last Airbender Fire Lord Ozai
2011 Colombiana Emilio Restrepo
2012 A Thousand Words Dr. Sinja
2013 The Last Knights Lt. Cortez
2014 The Dark Horse Genesis Potini

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1991 Under Cover Zip TV Film
1994 Hercules in the Underworld Nessus TV Film
1995 Mysterious Island Peter TV Series
1996 City Life Daniel Freeman TV Series
1998 The Chosen Father Tahere TV Film
2002 Point of Origin Mike Camello TV Film (HBO)
2004 Traffic Adam Kadyrov TV Mini-Series
2009–2010 Trauma Reuben 'Rabbit' Palchuk TV Series
2011 Body of Proof FBI Agent Derek Ames Recurring role
2012 Missing Agent Dax Miller TV Series
2014 Gang Related Javier Acosta TV Series

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Whenua Films". Whenua Films. Retrieved 2011-12-03. 
  2. ^ Haines, Leah (12 February 2006). "Cliff Curtis, the megastar with a mortgage". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  3. ^ ""Don't cry for me, Waititi" says Pita Sharples". Scoop. 2007-01-25. Retrieved 2011-12-03. 
  4. ^ "Wellington director’s feature to be the highest-grossing NZ production". Wellington.scoop.co.nz. Retrieved 2011-12-03. 
  5. ^ "''Cliff Curtis starred as daredevil flight medic Reuben "Rabbit" Palchuck...''". Nbc.com. 2010-07-14. Retrieved 2011-12-03. 
  6. ^ "Cliff Curtis' NZ wedding". The New Zealand Herald. 3 January 2010. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 

External links[edit]