Stapleton in 2013
14 June 1977 |
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Sullivan Stapleton (born 14 June 1977) is an Australian actor who is best known for his roles in the SKY (BSkyB)/Cinemax/HBO television series Strike Back and the 2010 Sundance Film Festival selection Animal Kingdom.
Stapleton played the lead role, Greek leader Themistocles, in the film 300: Rise of an Empire (2014). He was honored on 24 October 2013 with a Breakthrough Award at an exclusive Australians in Film Benefit Dinner held in Los Angeles.
Life and career
Stapleton was born in Melbourne, Victoria. He was eight years old when he and his younger sister, actress Jacinta Stapleton, six at the time, joined an acting and modelling agency. The idea first came to their aunt who signed her kids with the agency. She then asked her nephew and nieces if they would like to join and their mother signed them in.
His picture caught the attention of a director who then invited him to be in his short film (about high school dropouts at a party where girls were dying, without the graphic violence). Pleased by his performance, the director qualified him as gifted and encouraged him to pursue acting.
Stapleton received training at Melbourne's St. Martin's Theater. He studied drama and theater at Sandringham Secondary College (in Sandringham, Victoria, Australia). He launched his career in Australia. He got his actors' union card at the age of 9 (in 1986) and at the age of 11 he started working in ads. His first onscreen acting performance was in the 1994 Australian TV-movie Baby Bath Massacre as Adrian.
Between acting jobs, Stapleton did several types of work: modeling, cleaning animal cages in a pet shop, working as a grip (taking care of the camera equipment) in a considerable number of films and TV productions (The Elephant Princess, Rush, Tangle) in front and behind the camera, working on building sites, and assisting carpenters.
Before landing a role as Josh Hughes in Australia's soap opera Neighbours in 1998, he appeared in a string of little-seen features and homegrown dramas. Other outstanding works include Justin Davies in the Australian televised serial The Secret Life Of Us (between 2003 and 2005), Fearless in the motion picture December Boys (released in 2007), special agent Wilkins in the mainstream feature, The Condemned (an American action film distributed in 2007). But it was with his performance in the Academy Award-winning film Animal Kingdom, which premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, that he made an international breakthrough.
When Animal Kingdom won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival interest in him sparked on two continents and his career has taken him across the globe. He made his second appearance in the Underbelly (series), an Australian true crime drama television series. This time he was the lead character, Colin McLaren in Underbelly Files: Infiltration, an endurance test and the first challenging shoot of his career. Previously he played Pat Barbaro in Underbelly (TV series) (episode Suffer the Children) in 2008.
Sullivan Stapleton had a two and a half years relationship with Australian actress Carla Bonner. They split in 2007. He first met with Australian television personality Jo Beth Taylor in Melbourne (in 2004). She found him on Facebook and the two reconnected in 2010. Their first appearance together as a couple was at the 2010 Kodak Inside Film Awards Red carpet (14 November 2010) at Sydney City Recital Hall, Angel Place. The relationship ended a few months before September 2011.
- 300: Rise of an Empire (2014) – Themistocles
- Gangster Squad (2013) – Jack Whalen
- The Hunter (2011) – Doug
- Animal Kingdom (2010) – Craig Cody
- Centre Place (2009) – James Ballintyne
- The Bloody Sweet Hit (2007) – Carl
- December Boys (2007) – Fearless
- The Condemned (2007) – Special Agent Wilkins
- Everything Goes (2004) – Jack
- The Forest (2003) – Max
- Darkness Falls (2003) – Officer Matt Henry
- City Loop (2000) – Dom
- Witch Hunt (1999) – Craig Thomas
- Amy (1997) – Wayne Lassiter
- River Street (1996) – Chris
- Baby Bath Massacre (1994) – Adrian
- Strike Back: Shadow Warfare (2013) – Damien Scott
- Strike Back: Vengeance (2012) – Damien Scott
- Strike Back: Project Dawn (2011) – Damien Scott
- Underbelly Files: Infiltration – Colin McClaren/Cole Goodwin
- Up Close with Carrie Keagan (2010) – Himself
- Moving Pictures Live! (2010) – Himself
- Lowdown (2010) – Oliver Barry
- Sea Patrol (2009) – Geoff Kershaw
- Carla Cametti PD (2009) – Matt Brodie
- Satisfaction (2007–2009) – Josh
- Rush (2008) – Yuri
- Canal Road (2008) – Jack Logan
- Underbelly (2008) – Pasquale "Pat" Barbaro
- McLeod's Daughters (2006) – Drew Cornwell
- Little Oberon (2005) – Martin
- The Secret Life of Us (2003) – Justin Davies
- Blue Heelers (1996–2003) – Gethin Fox
- My Brother Jack (2001) – Young Joe
- Something in the Air (2000) – Wayne Taylor
- Green Sails (2000) – Infante
- Stingers (1999) – Matt Wilmott
- Pigs Breakfast (1999)
- State Coroner (1997, 1998) – Bullbar Benson / Darren Pyke
- The Genie from Down Under 2 (1998) – Surfer
- Neighbours (1998) – Josh Hughes
- Raw FM (1998) – Bucky
- Halifax f.p. (1998) – Hamish
- Good Guys Bad Guys (1997) – Paul Morello
Awards and nominations
- 2013 Australians in Film Breakthrough Award 
- 2010 Nominated Australian Film Institute Best Supporting Actor 
- Sullivan Stapleton comment on Facebook thread on 10 February 2013.
- (28 August 2013), 'Next big thing' Sullivan Stapleton and Jacki Weaver to be honoured at Australians in Film reception. "News Limited", Australia
- Neighbours Newspaper and Magazine Articles
- "Sullivan Stapleton Biography". TV Guide. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
- Enker, Debi (10 February 2011). "How a little LA interest goes a long way". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
- "Sullivan Stapleton Biography". Yahoo! Movies. Yahoo!. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
- Groves, Don (5 November 2012). "Stapleton breaks out after Animal Kingdom". Special Broadcasting Service. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
- Dennehy, Luke (18 September 2011). "A chance to build his career". Herald Sun. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
- Starpulse.com biography
- Digital Spy
- "Jo Beth Taylor found new love Sullivan Stapleton on Facebook". News.com.au. 15 November 2010. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
- (26 August 2013), Jacki Weaver and Sullivan Stapleton tapped for top award from Australians in Film. "Variety", Los Angeles
- (27 October 2010), David Michôd's 'Animal Kingdom' Dominates The Australian Film Institute Award Nominations. "Indiewire", Los Angeles