Ben Chaplin

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Ben Chaplin
Benedict John Greenwood

(1969-07-31) 31 July 1969 (age 54)
Windsor, Berkshire, England
Alma materGuildhall School of Music and Drama
Years active1990–present

Benedict John Greenwood (born 31 July 1969),[1][2] better known as Ben Chaplin, is a British actor. He is best known for his roles in films, including The Truth About Cats & Dogs, Washington Square, The Thin Red Line, Birthday Girl, Murder by Numbers, Stage Beauty, The New World, The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep, Dorian Gray, Cinderella, Snowden, The Legend of Tarzan, and The Dig. His TV roles include Game On, Mad Dogs and The Nevers.

Early life[edit]

Chaplin was born on 31 July 1969 in Windsor, in the county of Berkshire, England, the son of Cynthia (née Chaplin), a teacher, and Peter Greenwood CBE, a civil engineer. He has one sister, Rachel, and one brother, Justin.[3][4]

Chaplin became interested in acting as a teenager, after acting in a theatrical production in his school years at the Princess Margaret Royal Free School. At the age of seventeen, he enrolled at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. He pursued his early acting career between odd jobs as an office worker, and for a while was employed as a statistician with the London Transport Authority.


Taking his stage name from his mother's maiden name,[5] Chaplin began his professional career performing in BBC television dramas in bit parts, and occasional cinema films.[6] In 1992, he appeared in his first major role, starring alongside Jason Flemyng in Bye Bye Baby for Channel Four. James Ivory and Ismail Merchant cast him as a servant in The Remains of the Day;[6] also in 1992, he appeared in Between the Lines (series 1, episode 1), and as the socially inept Con Wainwright in Feast of July (1995). Chaplin received good reviews as Tom Wingfield in Sam Mendes' stage production of The Glass Menagerie and was nominated for an Olivier award (1995) in London, and played the lead role of Matthew in the first series of the British sitcom Game On (BBC Two, 1995), and left after one series. Neil Stuke played the same role for the final two series.[7][8]

In the United States, he was cast by director Michael Lehmann as a photographer caught between two women (Uma Thurman and Janeane Garofalo) in the romantic comedy The Truth About Cats & Dogs (1996), a retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac. He next played fortune-hunting Morris Townsend in a retelling of Washington Square (1997), co-starring Jennifer Jason Leigh. The film received positive reviews, but was a box office failure. Chaplin next played Private Bell in Terrence Malick's remake of The Thin Red Line (1998). Meanwhile, after numerous delays, the apocalyptical horror film Lost Souls (2000), which was filmed in 1998, was finally released.

He appeared as a low-level bank clerk who purchases a Russian mail-order bride (Nicole Kidman) in Birthday Girl (2001). He next played opposite Sandra Bullock as her relatively inexperienced partner in an investigation into a series of killings in Murder by Numbers (2002). After co-starring opposite Michelle Yeoh in the Taiwan-made action film The Touch (2002), Chaplin played George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham in the romantic drama, Stage Beauty (2004), set in the world of British theatre in the 1660s. Chaplin next had a supporting role in Chromophobia (2005), a dark thriller about a bourgeois family coming apart at the seams, also starring Penélope Cruz, Ralph Fiennes and Ian Holm. He had a small role in The New World (2005), Terrence Malick's film about the affair between Pocahontas (Q'Orianka Kilcher) and Captain John Smith (Colin Farrell). In the comedic drama Two Weeks (2006), Chaplin was one of four siblings who return home to say goodbye to their ailing mother (Sally Field). Following a supporting role in the children's fantasy The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep (2007), Chaplin portrayed prominent English stage and film actor George Coulouris in Me and Orson Welles (2009), directed by indie filmmaker Richard Linklater.[9] He also appeared in the television miniseries World Without End (2012), where he portrayed Thomas Langley, adapted from the novel of the same name by Welsh author Ken Follett.

He received an Olivier Award nomination for Best Supporting Performer in The Glass Menagerie, and a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actor in The Retreat from Moscow. Recent theatre appearances include This Is How It Goes at the Donmar Warehouse in 2005, The Reporter at the National Theatre in 2007, and Farewell to the Theatre at the Hampstead Theatre in 2012. He appeared in Dates on Channel 4 in 2013, and recent film roles include the role of Cinderella's father in Cinderella (2015). He starred in Apple Tree Yard with Emily Watson in 2017.

In 2017, he appeared in the premiere production of Consent at the Royal National Theatre, London.[10] Chaplin starred in the Joe Penhall play Mood Music at The Old Vic Theatre. He starred in The Children Act (2017), adapted from the Ian McEwan novel of the same name. He starred in the BBC series Press with Charlotte Riley, as unethical tabloid editor Duncan Allen, a role which won him a number of positive reviews.


Film work
Year Title Role Notes
1993 The Remains of the Day Charlie, Head Footman
1995 Feast of July Con Wainwright
1996 The Truth About Cats & Dogs Brian
1997 Washington Square Morris Townsend
1998 The Thin Red Line Private Bell
2000 Lost Souls Peter Kelson
2001 Birthday Girl John
2002 Murder by Numbers Sam Kennedy
2002 The Touch Eric
2004 Stage Beauty George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham
2005 Chromophobia Trent
2005 The New World Robinson
2006 Two Weeks Keith Bergman
2007 The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep Lewis Mowbray
2008 Me and Orson Welles George Coulouris
2009 Dorian Gray Basil Hallward
2010 London Boulevard Billy Norton
2010 Ways to Live Forever Daniel MacQueen
2011 Twixt Poe
2014 War Book Gary
2015 Cinderella Ella's Father
2015 Little Boy Ben Eagle
2016 Snowden Robert Tibbo
2016 The Legend of Tarzan Captain Moulle
2017 The Children Act Kevin Henry
2019 Roads Paul
2021 The Dig Stuart Piggott
Television work
Year Title Role Notes
1990 Casualty Gareth Orell Episode: "A Reasonable Man"
1991 Soldier Soldier Fusilier Jago 2 episodes
1992 A Fatal Inversion Matthew Episode: "Episode One"
1992 Between the Lines Andy Spence Episode: "Private Enterprise"
1992 Performance Cyril Carter Episode: "After the Dance"
1993 Minder Conway Episode: "Uneasy Rider"
1993 The Return of the Borrowers Ditchley 4 episodes
1994 Class Act Carlos Episode: "Episode 4"
1995 Game On Matthew 6 episodes
1995 Resort to Murder Joshua Penny Miniseries
2011–2012 Mad Dogs (British) Alvo 5 episodes
2012 World Without End Sir Thomas Langley Miniseries
2013 Dates Stephen 3 episodes
2013 The Wipers Times Captain Frederick John Roberts Television film
2013 Doll & Em Ben Episode: "Six"
2013 Moonfleet Magistrate Mohune Miniseries
2014 The Secrets Philip Episode: "The Lie"
2015 The Book of Negroes Captain John Clarkson Miniseries
2015–2016 Mad Dogs (American) Joel 10 episodes
2017 Apple Tree Yard Mr X / Mark Costley 4 episodes
2017 Urban Myths Cary Grant Episode: "Cary Grant and Timothy Leary"
2018 Press Duncan Allen Miniseries
2020 The Letter for the King Black Knight 2 episodes
2021–2023 The Nevers Detective Frank Mundi Main cast
2023 Mrs. Davis Arthur Schrödinger 3 episodes


  1. ^ "Today in History". San Diego Union. 20 July 2009. Retrieved 14 September 2010.
  2. ^ Births, Marriages & Deaths Index of England & Wales, 1916–2005.; at
  3. ^ "Ben Chaplin Biography (1970–)". Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  4. ^ Wallace, Debra L (3 March 2002). "Question Time: Interview – Ben Chaplin: Britain's sexiest export". Sunday Mirror.
  5. ^ "From Los Angeles To Sutton Hoo — 10 Facts About Ben Chaplin From "Press"". Org. 6 July 2020.
  6. ^ a b "The truth about Ben: Unleashing charm on and off screen, Chaplin ponders big-time film fame". Archived from the original on 28 July 2018. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  7. ^ Gilbey, Ryan (14 January 2021). "Ben Chaplin: 'The last thing I wanted to be was the new Hugh Grant'". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 July 2021.
  8. ^ Fordy, Tom (28 February 2020). "It was crude and aggressively laddish, but Game On doesn't get enough credit". The Daily Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 20 July 2021.
  9. ^ "Ben Chaplin Biography". Archived from the original on 21 June 2015.
  10. ^ "Consent". National Theatre. 4 November 2016. Retrieved 8 April 2017.

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