Aden Young

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Aden Young
Born 1972
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Occupation Actor, Writer, Director, Editor
Years active 1991–present
Spouse(s) Loene Carmen (m. 2014)
  • Dutch
  • Chester

Aden Young (born 1972) is an Australian–Canadian actor. He is best known for his portrayal of Daniel Holden in the SundanceTV drama Rectify, for which he is nominated for a Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series 2015.[1]


As an actor[edit]

Young's first role was in Bruce Beresford's acclaimed film Black Robe (1991). They later teamed up for the third time with Mao's Last Dancer, based on the best-selling autobiography of Chinese ballet dancer Li Cunxin. Young portrays the Texan playboy who helps Li's defection to the West. Beresford stated that "he hasn't changed that much, he is a very accomplished actor... We picked up just where we left off. We always got along well; he's a very cooperative and thoughtful actor. Most of the actors who are well known and do lots of roles are incredibly good to work with".[2]

Metal Skin, Geoffrey Wright's 1994 examination of suburban hopelessness and revhead subculture, saw Young win an Australian Film Institute nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for a "powerful, brooding performance" as social misfit Psycho Joe whose "edgy, simmering personality threatens to boil over into madness ... Young's depiction of this unsettling metamorphosis is central to the film's success".[3]

Young attracted further attention for his performance in 1998's Under Heaven (aka In a Private Garden) starring Joely Richardson as a woman diagnosed with breast cancer.[4]

Young played Cate Blanchett's tortured lover Ejlert Lovborg in Andrew Upton's adaptation of Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen. After a 2005 debut season at the Sydney Theatre Company, the production was invited to the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York. The process of restaging the production in New York was filmed for the acclaimed documentary In the Company of Actors (2007).[5]

In period Australian bush western Lucky Country, released 2009, Young "spent a lot of time...chained inside a little wood locker"[6] as unlucky and evangelical English schoolteacher Nat, who as the film begins has suffered the recent loss of his wife in childbirth and must attempt to protect his home and children and survive the arrival of three gold hungry strangers, while fighting the debilitating onset of tetanus. A 'downright bizarre, blood smeared opus',[7] it received mixed reviews. It was released as Dark Frontier for US audiences in 2013.[8]

Young appeared as Charlotte Gainsbourg's husband on French/Australian/Italian co-production from director Julie Bertucelli, The Tree (2010) – the story of 8-year-old Simone who believes her dead father's spirit has taken up residence in a Moreton Bay fig tree on the family property.[9] The film was adapted from the book Our Father Who Art in the Tree by Australian author Judy Pascoe, and made its premiere on the closing night of the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.

In 2011 Young mimed Australian female indie supergroup Seeker Lover Keeper's hit song "Even Though I'm A Woman" in the music video directed by Natalie Van Dungen, and featured in the Jason Statham/Robert De Niro action film Killer Elite as American techno geek Meyer.

Young portrayed Dr. Frankenstein in the 2014 film adaptation of graphic novel I, Frankenstein.

In June 2012 Young was announced as the lead role of Daniel Holden in Rectify, the highly anticipated first scripted drama series for the Sundance Channel, created and written by actor Ray McKinnon. The series follows the Holden's life after he is released from 19 years on Death Row for the brutal rape and murder of his girlfriend as a teenager after DNA evidence casts doubts on his guilt.[10] The first season of the series was broadcast on television in 2013. Season 3 will air in the US in July 2015. Rectify was announced as a Peabody Award winner in April 2015 and Young is tipped for a possible Emmy Nomination[11] "The show hinges on the lead performance by Young, and it's a revelation. Watching him during the first two seasons inspired some of the same feelings as watching Bryan Cranston during the early days of "Breaking Bad" – the sense of something extraordinary in progress that could (or should) be a TV game-changer." ( Rectify scored 92 on MetaCritic's list of Best TV 2014.[12]

As a director[edit]

Directing was a "natural progression" for Young. Acclaimed short film The Rose of Ba Ziz, "a beautifully simple fable narrated by Hugo Weaving" (Andrew Urban),[4] is about a much-loved king who leaves his kingdom because he has an allergy and does not want the flowers that set it off to be destroyed. The film was made over five days on a shoestring budget of $700. "It's basically like a folk-fairytale parable", said St Kilda Film Festival director Paul Harris, "a series of stills that look like coloured postcards from the turn of the century... It has a very haunting quality to it. Conceptually, it's very unique and very endearing. I think it's got the ability to inspire filmmakers who are suffering from some kind of block about 'How do I go out and make films, how do I go out and compete with the big guys?' If you think just outside of the square you can really surprise and delight audiences.[4]

Young described his first film The Order as being "about a soldier who returns from the Vietnam War with the news that his best friend has died during the war and he chooses to inform the man's widow. By doing this onerous task he becomes haunted by an action that happened in his childhood and he believes that it might have started the course towards his friend's death".

Young has edited films and assisted veteran independent Australian filmmaker Paul Cox in various capacities since starring in Cox's film Exile in 1994.

He has also created music videos for Australian singer Loene Carmen.

Personal life[edit]

Young was born in Toronto, Canada. His mother is from Newcastle, where she trained as a nurse. His family left Toronto for Australia in 1981 when he was 9. The next decade was spent moving from town to town in New South Wales in search of the best medical care for his father Chip, who had contracted a mysterious lupus-like disease. Young attended Galston High and Australian Theatre For Young People as a teenager.[13]

Young adapted The Rose of Ba Ziz from the children's book written by his father Chip, a well-known CBC broadcaster in Canada and a children's author. "I was about to have my first son and thought that it would be a wonderful love letter from his grandfather". Aden has two sons, Dutch Bon (born 2007) and Chester Van (born 2011) with his longtime partner, actress/singer Loene Carmen. They married in Zebulon, Georgia while filming Season 2 of Rectify in 2014.[14]

A portrait of Young by artist James Powditch (entitled Once Upon A Time in the Inner West) was an Archibald Prize 2008 finalist, and he also features in 2012 Powditch artwork 'Beserk Warriors'.[4]


As actor[edit]


Year Title Role Notes
1991 Black Robe Daniel
1992 Over the Hill Nick
1993 Sniper Doug Papich
Love in Limbo Barry McJannet
Broken Highway Angel
Shotgun Wedding Jimmy Becker
1994 Exile Peter Costello
Metal Skin Joe
1995 Audacious Stanley
1996 Cosi Nick
River Street Ben
Hotel de Love Rick Dunne
1997 Paradise Road Bill Seary
1998 Under Heaven Buck
Cousin Bette Count Wenceslas Steinbach
1999 Molokai: The Story of Father Damien Dr. Kalewis
2001 The War Bride Charlie
Serenades Johann
2002 The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course Ron Buckwhiler
2004 Human Touch George
2005 The Bet Angus
2007 In the Company of Actors Himself/Eljert Lovburg
The Goat That Ate Time Narrator Short film; voice only
Flipsical Unknown Short film
2008 Salvation Gloria's Acolyte
2009 Lucky Country Nat Doole
Shot Open Dodek Short film
Mao's Last Dancer Dilworth
2010 Beneath Hill 60 Major North
The Tree Peter
Kissing Point Mark Logan Short film
2011 Killer Elite Meier
2013 Final Recipe Sean
2014 I, Frankenstein Dr. Victor Frankenstein
Frontera Sheriff Randall Hunt
2015 The Unseen Bob Longmore


Year Title Role Notes
2003 After the Deluge Young Cliff TV movie
2006 Two Twisted Patrick Dempsey/Clone Season 1, Episode 7: "Soft Boiled Luck"
2007 The Starter Wife Jorge Stewart 6 episodes
2011 East West 101 Kendrick Season 3, Episode 6: "Behold a Pale Horse"
Season 3, Episode 7: "Revelation"
2013–present Rectify Daniel Holden 3 seasons, 22 episodes
2014 Rake Joshua Season 3, Episode 3
The Code Randall Keats 4 episodes< 4 aired as of 13 Oct 2014
2015 The Principal - 4 episodes

As director/writer/editor[edit]

Year Title Credits Notes
Director Writer Editor
1998 The Order Yes Yes Yes Short film
2007 The Rose of Ba Ziz Yes Yes Yes Short film
Loene Carmen Nashville High Yes No Yes Music video
2009 Loene Carmen Mimic the Rain No No Yes Music video
Salvation No No Yes
Kalaupapa Heaven No No Yes Documentary film
2011 Waste Not No No Yes Documentary film

Awards and nominations[edit]



  • [2] "Killer Elite article"
  • ["Lights Brighter Behind Camera" The Australian by Sandy George, Film writer | 14 August 2007]
  • "Making A Short Film – Aden Young" by Dov Kornits, Film Writer 05/16/99
  • [3] "Archibald Finalists 2008"
  • [4]"Loene Carmen's Parallel Universe"
  • [5]"To The Point on Point" Senses of Cinema, Issue 53, Paul Cox dossier | 28 December 2009"
  • [6] "The Young And Restless" The Sunday Age by Peter Wilmoth | 24 April 1994]

External links[edit]