Jeremy Irvine

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Jeremy Irvine
Jeremy Irvine 2011.jpg
Irvine in August 2011.
Born Jeremy William Fredric Smith
July 1990 (age 24)
Gamlingay, Cambridgeshire, England
Occupation Actor
Years active 2009–present

Jeremy William Fredric Smith[1][2][3] (born July 1990), better known as Jeremy Irvine, is an English actor.

In late 2011, Irvine starred as the leading character in the epic war film War Horse, which was nominated for six Academy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, and five BAFTAs. The film became a box office success and turned Irvine into an overnight film star. He also earned widespread critical acclaim for his role in the independent film Now Is Good, leading critics to list him among Hollywood's fastest-rising stars.[4][5] He received critical praise by earning a reputation as a method actor after he went for two months without food and performed his own torture scene stunts in the film adaptation of The Railway Man.[6]

In 2012, Irvine portrayed Pip in the adaptation of Charles Dickens's Great Expectations. In 2014, he starred in A Night in Old Mexico and the film adaptation of the novel The World Made Straight. He starred in the 2015 film The Woman in Black: Angel of Death and will play Percy Bysshe Shelley in the upcoming biopic Mary Shelley's Monster.

Early life[edit]

Irvine was born and raised as the first of three boys, in Gamlingay, Cambridgeshire.[4][7] His mother, Bridget, is a politician in local government, and his father, Chris Smith, is an engineer.[8] Irvine also has a younger brother, Toby Irvine, a child actor who portrays the young Pip in Great Expectations.[9] Irvine's stage name comes from his grandfather's first name.[10] He applied to the British Army at the age of 19, but was rejected after lying about his type 1 diabetes on his application.[11] He started acting at the age of 16.[12] He played Romeo along with other main roles in plays whilst attending Bedford Modern School in Harpur, Bedfordshire,[3][13][14][15] followed by a run with the National Youth Theatre.[16]

After completing a one-year foundation course at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA),[17][18] Irvine spent two years posting his CV through letterboxes in an effort to get acting work.[19] He almost gave up acting for good just before he got his big break in War Horse. In an interview with CBS News while promoting Great Expectations, he described this as the lowest point of his life and revealed that he considered taking a different career path: "I'd kind of hit rock bottom and really did think this was stupid and I just wasted three or four years of my life. My dad wanted me to get a job being a welder. At the company he was at, he was an engineer. I was very very close to doing that."[20]


Irvine taught at an acting school that has since closed. He played Luke in the television series Life Bites[14][21] and appeared in the Royal Shakespeare Company's 2010 production of Dunsinane.[16][22][23] He was quoted in Interview Magazine, saying: "My friends all took the mick out of me for Dunsinane saying, 'You're gonna be the tree'. Indeed, in my first scene, I was waving two branches."[24] In June 2010, he was cast in the lead role of the 2011 Steven Spielberg film War Horse.[16][25][26] The film was an adaption of Michael Morpurgo's novel, also entitled War Horse.[16][27][28][29][30][31] Spielberg revealed that he had been looking for an unknown actor for War Horse, stating: "I looked at hundreds of actors and newcomers for Albert – mainly newcomers – and nobody had the heart, the spirit or the communication skills that Jeremy had."[32] The audition lasted for two months with Irvine auditioning several times a week.[33]

Irvine was asked to read a section of the War Horse script on camera in order to check his West Country accent.[34] In an attempt to prepare himself for the role of Albert, Irvine took up weight training and gained approximately 14 pounds (6.4 kg) of muscle. He also underwent two months of intensive horse riding.[35] He spent so much time recreating the Battle of Somme scene in the film that he ended up contracting trench foot.[36] For his work in War Horse, he was nominated for the London Film Critics' Choice Award for Young British Performer Of The Year and Empire Award for Best Male Newcomer.[37]

In April 2011, Variety reported that Irvine had been cast as Pip in a 2012 film adaptation of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.[38][39] In October 2011, The Hollywood Reporter announced that he was set to play the young Eric Lomax in the film production of The Railway Man.[40] In January 2013, Variety reported that he was one of three candidates for the lead role in a film based on the novel Divergent, but lost out on the role to Theo James.[41] In February 2013, Variety stated that he had been cast in a film based on the novel The World Made Straight. Also in 2013, he was cast as Daniel Grigori in the film Fallen, based on the young adult series of the same name.[42]

On 12 August 2014, Deadline reported that Irvine had been cast as Percy Bysshe Shelley in the upcoming biopic Mary Shelley's Monster. The film has been described as "a story of youth that transcends time, a gothic romance, a love triangle that involves a dark passenger".[43][44]

Personal life[edit]

Irvine has had diabetes mellitus type 1 since the age of six[45] and was involved in trials with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) to test an artificial pancreas,[22][46] a form of automatic glucose meter attached to a portable insulin pump.[45] The tests took place at Addenbrooke's Hospital with the University of Cambridge during 2005 and 2007.[47][48] Irvine introduced his experiences with diabetes to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall during a visit to the Cambridge Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility on 8 February 2012.[48][49][50][51] He was again present with the Duchess on 31 January 2013 at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust's inpatient adolescent ward, after she had become president of the JDRF in 2012.[52][53][54]

Irvine avoids the spotlight and tries to maintain privacy, once saying that "I realised very quickly that I didn't want to be famous, so I don't go to Mahiki, I just go down the pub with all my mates".[55] When asked about his rising fame, he said: "When War Horse came out, I had maybe a month of people stopping me in the street, then it died down. I try to ignore all that and pretend none of it exists. We're only acting. The work my mum does, a lot of it is re-housing homeless people, that's a real job. I play make-believe and dressing up for a living!"[56] In an interview with the Daily Mail to promote War Horse, he described his ideal life: "There's nothing nicer than coming back to your village, where people like my mum's friends take the mick out of me. I prefer that to the craziness of Hollywood."[57] He is also well known for turning down big teen franchise films and has been described as Hollywood's most wanted actor.[58][59][60]



Year Title Role Notes
2011 War Horse Albert Narracott Nominated – London Film Critics' Choice Award for Young British Performer of the Year
Nominated – Empire Award for Best Male Newcomer
2012 Now Is Good Adam
2012 Great Expectations Pip
2013 The Railway Man Young Eric Lomax
2014 A Night in Old Mexico Gally
2014 Beyond the Reach Ben
2015 The Woman in Black: Angel of Death Harry Burnstow
2015 The World Made Straight Travis Shelton
2015 Fallen Daniel Grigori
2015 Stonewall Danny
2015 Mary Shelley's Monster Percy Bysshe Shelley


Year Title Role Notes
2009 Life Bites Luke 12 episodes


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  3. ^ a b "OBM chosen for Steven Spielberg's new film". Bedford Modern School. 24 June 2010. Archived from the original on 2 April 2012. Retrieved 26 July 2010. Jeremy Irvine (known as Jeremy Smith at BMS) .. attended Bedford Modern School between 2000 
  4. ^ a b "Jeremy Irvine". The Hollywood Reporter. 2 November 2011. 
  5. ^ "Film Review: Now Is Good starring Dakota Fanning & Jeremy Irvine". Sugarscape. Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  6. ^ "Irvine: I lost two stone for role". Irish Independent. 22 January 2013. 
  7. ^ Smith, Nigel M. (22 December 2011). "'War Horse' Breakout Jeremy Irvine". A SnagFilms Co. Retrieved 10 February 2012. 
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  10. ^ Vineyard, Jennifer (29 December 2011). "Jeremy Irvine on War Horse, Great Expectations, and Changing His Last Name From 'Smith'". New York Media LLC. Retrieved 2 January 2012. My grandfather passed away while I was looking for a stage name, so I took his first name, and that seemed to be a quite nice solution. 
  11. ^ Steele, Francesca (1 December 2012). "Jeremy Irvine: A young workaholic with great expectations". London: The Independent. Retrieved 15 February 2013. 
  12. ^ McLean, Craig (29 November 2012). "Jeremy Irvine: Great Expectations film is like Dickens meets Bourne". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 15 February 2013. 
  13. ^ "Disney calls for Jeremy". Biggleswade Chronicle. 9 July 2009. Retrieved 5 February 2010. 
  14. ^ a b Knowles, Keeley (8 July 2009). "Teen actor's chance of Disney fame". Bedfordshire on Sunday. Retrieved 5 February 2010. 
  15. ^ "Hollywood beckons for former Bedford schoolboy". Bedford Today. 21 June 2010. Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  16. ^ a b c d "Exclusive: War Horse Cast Announced". Empire. 17 June 2010. Retrieved 19 June 2010. taking the lead (or the reins) is young actor Jeremy Irvine, who has earned his stripes with both the National Youth Theatre and the RSC 
  17. ^ "Jeremy lands TV job with Disney". Biggleswade Chronicle. 3 June 2009. Retrieved 5 February 2010. 
  18. ^ "The First Word: Jeremy Irvine’s Going It Alone" (5). The Drama Student Magazine. 23 January 2010. Retrieved 5 February 2010. 
  19. ^ Everett, Amy (10 May 2012). "Jeremy Irvine: 'I Had No Work For Two Years!'". Entertainment Wise (Giant Digital). Retrieved 21 August 2012. I went to drama school straight out of school, then just started putting CVs through letter boxes really, for about two years… and didn't get any work for two years! 
  20. ^ ""Great Expectations" star Jeremy Irvine almost gave up acting before his big break". CBS News. 31 October 2013. 
  21. ^ Wilde, Crystal (2 July 2009). "The daughter of a South Woodford pastor has landed a starring role hit Disney Channel show 'Life Bites'". This is Local London (Newsquest Media Group). Retrieved 5 February 2010. will star ... in the second series of 'Life Bites.' … along side … Jeremy Irvine and Connor Panayi 
  22. ^ a b Walsh, Fergus (5 February 2010). "'The pump has been really liberating'". BBC News. Retrieved 5 February 2010. 
  23. ^ "Cast list". Dunsinane. What's On. Royal Shakespeare Company. Retrieved 5 April 2010. English army … Jeremy Irvine 
  24. ^ Cohn, Alison S. (5 January 2012). "Jeremy Irvine" (interview). Interview Magazine (Brant Publications). Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
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  26. ^ Brooks, Xan (9 August 2010). "Steven Spielberg skips Clinton wedding to meet Dartmoor pigs". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 13 August 2010. 
  27. ^ Bamigboye, Baz (18 June 2010). "A belter, but is Glee star Lea Michele ready to be a Funny Girl?". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 19 June 2010. Irvine has been cast as Albert Narracott 
  28. ^ "Steven Spielberg announces War Horse cast". BBC News Online. 18 June 2010. Retrieved 19 June 2010. with theatre actor Jeremy Irvine in the lead role. 
  29. ^ Child, Ben (18 June 2010). "Steven Spielberg unveils cast for War Horse adaptation". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 19 June 2010. Jeremy Irvine to make his film debut in lead role 
  30. ^ Montagne, Sophie (18 June 2010). "Cast announced for War Horse film". Horse and Hound. Retrieved 19 June 2010. Young theatre actor Jeremy Irvine will play the lead role of Albert 
  31. ^ "Europe's finest join up for 'War Horse'". The Independent (London). 19 June 2010. Retrieved 19 June 2010. Jeremy Irvine … has landed the main part of Albert 
  32. ^ Kitchener, Shaun (2012-01-09). "Steven Spielberg Compares War Horse Jeremy Irvine To Christian Bale". Entertainment Wise (Giant Digital). Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  33. ^ Lampert, Nicole (13 January 2012). "'It feels like a dream!'". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 21 August 2012. 'After each audition I would phone up my agent and we would agree it was great audition experience. That’s all we thought it was – we never even discussed me getting the role.' 
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  35. ^ Galloway, Stephen (29 December 2011). "How to Become a Star In 1 Easy Lesson: 'War Horse's' Jeremy Irvine" (Q&A). Hollywood Reporter. 
  36. ^ Thompson, Paul (20 December 2011). "Method acting: War Horse star Jeremy Irvine reveals he suffered trench foot during filming of World War One epic". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
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  39. ^ White, James (15 April 2011). "Jeremy Irvine Meeting Great Expectations". Empire. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  40. ^ Miller, Daniel (31 October 2011). "'War Horse' Star Jeremy Irvine to Play Young Colin Firth in 'The Railway Man'". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  41. ^ Kroll, Justin (8 January 2013). "'Divergent' converging on male lead". Variety. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  42. ^ McNary, Dave (7 February 2013). "Thesp trio on 'Straight' line". Variety. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  43. ^ "'Game Of Thrones' Sophie Turner Set For 'Mary Shelley’s Monster' Opposite Jeremy Irvine, Taissa Farmiga". Deadline. 12 August 2014. 
  44. ^ "'Game of Thrones' Star Sophie Turner Joins 'Mary Shelley's Monster' With Jeremy Irvine & Taissa Farmiga Also Attached to Star". Movie Web. 
  45. ^ a b "Jeremy Smith" (Video interview). Patient interviews. Diabetes Research Networking; National Health Service. Retrieved 5 February 2010. 
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  47. ^ Walsh, Fergus (5 July 2007). "Artificial pancreas for diabetics". BBC News. Retrieved 5 February 2010. 
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  49. ^ Addenbrooke's Hospital (9 February 2012). "HRH Duchess of Cornwall visits clinical research facility". Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Retrieved 20 February 2012. 
  50. ^ Southwell, Fae (9 February 2012). "War Horse star meets Duchess of Cornwall" (TV news segment). BBC Look East. Retrieved 20 February 2012. 
  51. ^ "Video & Slideshow: Prince Charles and Duchess of Cornwall visited Cambridge yesterday". Cambridge News. 8 February 2012. Retrieved 20 February 2012. 
  52. ^ Nice, Emily (7 February 2013). "Actor joins Duchess to show support for diabetes charity". Cambridge News. Retrieved 15 February 2013. 
  53. ^ O'Neill, Natalie (1 February 2013). "Diabetic teenager shares life story with Duchess of Cornwall and Hollywood star Jeremy Irvine". Edgware & Mill Hill Times (Newsquest). Retrieved 15 February 2013. 
  54. ^ "Charles and Camilla visit University College Hospital cancer centre". London24. 31 January 2013. Retrieved 15 February 2013. 
  55. ^ Bentley, David (10 December 2012). "Great Expectations star Jeremy Irvine reveals 'acting masterclass' with Colin Firth in The Railway Man - but says he doesn't want fame". Coventry Telegraph. Retrieved 28 June 2013. 
  56. ^ "Rising star Irvine not seeking fame". Yahoo! Movies. 27 November 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2013. 
  57. ^ Bamigboye, Baz (11 March 2011). "The theatrical dark horse who found himself picked for an epic movie". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 28 June 2013. 
  58. ^ "Jeremy Irvine: ‘I Decided Early That I Didn’t Want To Be Famous’". Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  59. ^ "Rising star Irvine not seeking fame - Yahoo Movies UK". 27 November 2012. Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  60. ^ McLean, Craig (29 November 2012). "Jeremy Irvine: Great Expectations film is like Dickens meets Bourne". The Daily Telegraph (London). 

External links[edit]