Benjamin John Whishaw
14 October 1980
Clifton, Bedfordshire, England
|Alma mater||Royal Academy of Dramatic Art|
|Partner(s)||Mark Bradshaw (2012–present)|
Benjamin John Whishaw (born 14 October 1980) is an English film, television and theatre actor. After winning a British Independent Film Award for his performance in My Brother Tom (2001), Whishaw was nominated for an Olivier Award for his portrayal of the title role in a 2004 production of Hamlet. This was followed by television roles in Nathan Barley (2005), Criminal Justice (2008) and The Hour (2011–12) and film roles in Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006), I'm Not There (2007), Brideshead Revisited (2008) and Bright Star (2009). For Criminal Justice, Whishaw received an International Emmy Award and received his first BAFTA Award nomination.
In 2012, Whishaw played the title role in a BBC Two adaptation of Richard II, broadcast as part of The Hollow Crown series of William Shakespeare adaptations, for which he won the British Academy Television Award for Best Actor. The same year, he starred as Q in the James Bond film Skyfall (2012), going on to reprise the role in Spectre (2015) and the upcoming No Time to Die (2021). He has voiced Paddington Bear in Paddington (2014), its sequel Paddington 2 (2017) and the followup television series. His other film roles in the 2010s have included Cloud Atlas (2012), The Lobster (2015), Suffragette (2015), The Danish Girl (2015), and Mary Poppins Returns (2018). Whishaw received a third BAFTA Award nomination for the leading role in London Spy (2015) and, for his portrayal of Norman Scott in the miniseries A Very English Scandal (2018), won the British Academy Television Award for Best Supporting Actor, the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film and the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie.
Whishaw was born in Clifton, Bedfordshire, and was brought up there and in Langford. He is the son of Linda (née Hope), who works in cosmetics, and Jose Whishaw, who works in sports with young people. He has a fraternal twin, James.
His mother is of English ancestry, while his father is of French, German and Russian descent. The family's original surname was not Whishaw but Stellmacher, a German occupational name for a cartwright. Whishaw's paternal grandfather, born Jean Vladimir Stellmacher changed his name to John Victor Whishaw after World War II where he served as a British spy in the German army. He was born in Istanbul in 1922 to a Russian mother and German father.
Whishaw was a member of the Bancroft Players Youth Theatre, at Hitchin's Queen Mother Theatre. He attended Henlow Middle School and then Samuel Whitbread Community College in Clifton. He graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 2003.
Whishaw was involved in many productions with Big Spirit Youth Theatre, including If This Is a Man (also performed as The Drowned & The Saved), a piece devised by the company based on the book of the same name by Primo Levi, a chemist, writer, and survivor of Auschwitz concentration camp. It was adapted as a physical theatre piece by the group and taken to the 1995 Edinburgh Festival, where it garnered five-star reviews and great critical acclaim.
As the lead in Trevor Nunn's 2004 production of Hamlet at the Old Vic, Whishaw received highly favourable reviews, was nominated for the Olivier Award for Best Actor, and received third prize at the Ian Charleson Awards. The role was shared with Al Weaver in an unusual arrangement. Whishaw played all nights except for Mondays and matinées. Nunn is reported to have made this arrangement due to the youth of the two actors playing the lead, to relieve some of the pressure on each.
His film and television credits include Layer Cake and Chris Morris's 2005 sitcom Nathan Barley, in which he played a character called Pingu. He was named "Most Promising Newcomer" at the 2001 British Independent Film Awards for My Brother Tom. In 2005 he was nominated as best actor in four award programs for his portrayal of Hamlet. He also played Keith Richards in the Brian Jones biopic Stoned. In the spring of 2005, Whishaw received much attention for his role as a drug dealer in the world premiere of Philip Ridley's controversial stage play Mercury Fur.
In Perfume, Whishaw played Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, a perfume maker whose craft turns deadly. The film was released in Germany in September 2006 and in America in December 2006. In the same year, Whishaw worked on Paweł Pawlikowski's abandoned The Restraint of Beasts. Whishaw appeared as one of the Bob Dylan reincarnations in I'm Not There in 2007, in the BBC's Criminal Justice in 2008, in a new adaptation of Brideshead Revisited, and in a stage adaptation of The Idiot at the National Theatre called ...some trace of her.
At the end of 2009 he starred in Cock, a new play by Mike Bartlett at the Royal Court Theatre, about a gay man who falls in love with a woman. In 2009 he also starred as the poet John Keats in the film Bright Star. In February 2010, Whishaw made a successful off-Broadway debut at MCC Theater in the American premiere of the awarding-winning play The Pride by Alexi Kaye Campbell. He played Ariel in Julie Taymor's 2010 film adaptation of The Tempest, and was featured in The Hour, a BBC Two drama series.
In 2012 Whishaw appeared as Richard II in the television film Richard II, a part of the BBC Two series The Hollow Crown. He received the British Academy Television Award for Leading Actor. Also in 2012, he appeared as part of the ensemble cast of the science-fiction drama film Cloud Atlas, adapted from the novel of the same name.
Whishaw appeared in the 23rd James Bond film, Skyfall, in the role of Q. He portrayed a younger Q than in previous films; Peter Burton and Desmond Llewelyn both received the role when they were in their forties, while Llewelyn and John Cleese played the role into their eighties and sixties, respectively. In addition, he was teamed a fourth time with Daniel Craig after they starred in the films The Trench, Enduring Love, and Layer Cake.
In spring 2013, Whishaw starred on stage alongside Judi Dench in the world premiere of Peter and Alice, a new play by John Logan, inspired by the lives of Alice Liddell and Peter Llewelyn Davies. From October 2013 to February 2014 Whishaw appeared on stage in the revival of Jez Butterworth's Olivier-award-winning play Mojo, also starring Rupert Grint, Brendan Coyle, Daniel Mays and Colin Morgan. He was nominated for a WhatsOnStage Award for Best Actor for both roles. In the summer of 2015 he appeared as Dionysos in Euripides' tragedy Bakkhai at the Almeida Theatre in London.
In 2015, Whishaw co-starred in The Lobster, a romantic science fiction drama from Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos; appeared in Suffragette, a story of the early feminist movement written by Abi Morgan and also starring Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Meryl Streep and his The Hour co-star, Romola Garai; reprised his role of Q in Spectre, the 24th Bond film, and played author Herman Melville in Ron Howard's In the Heart of the Sea.
In 2017 Whishaw reprised his role as Paddington Bear in Paddington 2. In 2018, he portrayed Norman Scott in the BBC One miniseries A Very English Scandal, opposite Hugh Grant as parliamentarian Jeremy Thorpe, and also starred as Michael Banks in Mary Poppins Returns.
For several years, Whishaw refused to answer questions about his personal life, saying: "For me, it's important to keep a level of anonymity. As an actor, your job is to persuade people that you're someone else. So if you're constantly telling people about yourself, I think you're shooting yourself in the foot." In 2011, he told Out magazine: "As an actor you have total rights to privacy and mystery, whatever your sexuality, whatever you do. I don't see why that has to be something you discuss openly because you do something in the public eye. I have no understanding of why we turn actors into celebrities."
Whishaw entered into a civil partnership with Australian composer Mark Bradshaw in August 2012. In 2014, he publicly discussed his coming out, saying that it was a tense experience for him but "everyone was surprisingly lovely."
|1999||The Trench||Pte. James Deamis|
|2001||Baby||Little Joe||Short film|
|My Brother Tom||Tom|
|2002||Spiritual Rampage||Short film|
|2003||Ready When You Are Mr. McGill||Bruno|
|The Booze Cruise||Daniel|
|2004||77 Beds||Ishmael||Short film|
|2006||Perfume: The Story of a Murderer||Jean-Baptiste Grenouille|
|2007||I'm Not There||Arthur|
|2008||Brideshead Revisited||Sebastian Flyte|
|2009||The International||Rene Antall|
|Bright Star||John Keats|
|Love Hate||Tom||Short film|
|Cloud Atlas||Cabin Boy
|The Zero Theorem||Doctor 3|
|Days and Nights||Eric|
|2015||The Muse||Edward Dunstan||Short film|
|The Lobster||Limping Man|
|The Danish Girl||Henrik|
|In the Heart of the Sea||Herman Melville|
|2016||A Hologram for the King||Dave|
|2017||Paddington 2||Paddington Bear||Voice|
|Family Happiness||Short film|
|2018||National Theatre Live: Julius Caesar||Brutus|
|Palo Santo||Palo Santo Hologram||Short film|
|Mary Poppins Returns||Michael Banks|
|The Personal History of David Copperfield||Uriah Heep|
|2021||No Time to Die||Q||Completed|
|2000||Black Cab||Ryan||Episode: "Work"|
|Other People's Children||Sully||4 episodes|
|2005||Nathan Barley||Pingu||6 episodes|
|2008||Criminal Justice||Ben Coulter||5 episodes|
|2011–12||The Hour||Freddie Lyon||12 episodes|
|2012||Richard II||Richard II of England||Television film|
|2014||Playhouse Presents||Ezra||Episode: "Foxtrot"|
|2015||London Spy||Danny||5 episodes|
|2017||Queers||Perce||Episode: "The Man on the Platform"|
|2018||A Very English Scandal||Norman Scott||3 episodes|
|2019–20||The Adventures of Paddington||Paddington Bear||Voice|
|2020||Fargo||Rabbi Milligan||7 episodes|
|2021||This Is Going to Hurt||Adam Kay||8 episodes|
|2003||His Dark Materials||Brother Jasper||Royal National Theatre|
|2005||Mercury Fur||Elliot||Paines Plough at the Menier Chocolate Factory|
|2006||The Seagull||Konstantin||Royal National Theatre|
|2007||Leaves of Glass||Steven||Soho Theatre|
|2008||...some trace of her||Prince Myshkin||Royal National Theatre|
|2009||Cock||John||Royal Court Theatre|
|2010||The Pride||Oliver||Lucille Lortel Theatre|
|2013||Peter and Alice||Peter Llewelyn Davies||Noël Coward Theatre|
|Mojo||Baby||Harold Pinter Theatre|
|2016||The Crucible||John Proctor||Walter Kerr Theatre|
|2018||Julius Caesar||Brutus||Bridge Theatre|
|2019||Norma Jeane Baker of Troy||Marilyn Monroe||The Shed|
|2006||Look Back in Anger||Jimmy Porter|
Awards and nominations
- List of British actors
- List of Royal National Theatre Company actors
- List of Royal Academy of Dramatic Art alumni
- "Ben Whishaw". Biography.com. 15 May 2018. Archived from the original on 4 September 2018. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
- Iley, Chrissy (24 March 2019). "The Interview: actor Ben Whishaw on coming out, being a twin and life inside the 007 circus". The Times. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
- In love with Hamlet, Dylan, Keats . . . Archived 3 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine, Marianne Gray, The Spectator, 28 October 2009
- Stellmacher, Ingrid; Foster, Patrick (23 October 2015). "Bond star Ben Whishaw reveals that his grandfather was a British spy with a double identity". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 15 October 2018. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
- "RADA: The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art – Student". rada.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 3 March 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
- 'On the scent of the elusive Mr Whishaw' - The Guardian 23 December 2006
- Vanessa Thorpe. "Ben Whishaw: impish star steals the show, even from James Bond | Observer profile | Culture". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
- Spencer, Charles (5 March 2005). "A vicious kick in the guts". The Daily Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
- Dawtrey, Adam (20 September 2007). "Pawel Pawlikowski takes on Stalin". Variety. Archived from the original on 29 December 2008. Retrieved 19 April 2008.
- [dead link] "...some trace of her". Archived from the original on 28 August 2008. Retrieved 28 July 2008.. Royal National Theatre.
- Bishop, Caroline (14 August 2009). "Whishaw in Royal Court Autumn" Archived 19 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine. officiallondontheatre.co.uk. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
- "Cock at the Royal Court, review". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 22 January 2018. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
-  Archived 13 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine. BBC.
- "2013 Television Leading Actor". awards.bafta.org. Archived from the original on 9 July 2013. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
- "Ben Whishaw Cast as Q in New James Bond Film Skyfall". BBC News. 25 November 2011. Archived from the original on 14 August 2018. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
- Kellaway, Kate (17 March 2013). "Ben Whishaw: 'I feel I'm always in the dark' – interview". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 24 October 2013. Retrieved 18 March 2013.
- "Ben Whishaw to Star Alongside Dame Judi Dench". 18 July 2012. Archived from the original on 27 October 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
- Spencer, Charles (14 November 2013). "Mojo, Harold Pinter Theatre, review". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 23 January 2018. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
-  Archived 9 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine WhatsOnStage Awards
- "Ben Whishaw stars in Almeida's Greek season' - whatsonstage.com". 12 March 2015. Archived from the original on 3 April 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
- "Sundance: Strand Releasing Acquires Hong Khaou's 'Lilting'". Variety. 5 February 2014. Archived from the original on 22 June 2017. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
- "Ben Whishaw and Brendan Gleeson Join Suffragette". 20 February 2014. Archived from the original on 21 February 2014. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
- "Real adventure that inspired Moby-Dick lures film directors". 7 September 2013. Archived from the original on 16 December 2016. Retrieved 11 December 2016.
- "Skyfall Writer John Logan Talks Bond 24: 'Build On What We Did On Skyfall, But Make It Its Own Unique Animal'". 18 January 2014. Archived from the original on 21 February 2014.
- Geisinger, Gabriella (11 November 2020). "Bond movie No Time to Die pushed back to April 2021". Digital Spy. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
- Rampton, James (26 October 2012). "Ben Whishaw on playing Q in Skyfall: 'I don't even have a computer'". The Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 2 September 2013. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
- McLean, Gareth (27 March 2011). "Ben Whishaw: Mysterious Skin". Out. Archived from the original on 4 June 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2012.
- Sieczkowski, Cavan. "James Bond Actor Officially Comes Out, Reveals He's Married". Huffington Post. Archived from the original on 10 November 2013. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
- Selby, Jenn (4 August 2014). "Ben Whishaw on the 'courage' it takes to come out as gay". The Independent. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
- "Beat". Archived from the original on 23 July 2013. Retrieved 3 March 2013. . 59 Productions
-  Archived 24 April 2013 at the Wayback Machine teenagefilm.com
-  Archived 29 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine hamiltonhodell.co.uk
-  Twitter: Christian Camargo
-  Archived 25 May 2015 at the Wayback Machine wearecolony.com
- Dave McNary (22 April 2015). "Documentary 'Unity' Set for 12 August Release with 100 Star Narrators". Variety. Archived from the original on 1 September 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
- "Hugh Grant and Brendan Gleeson Join Paddington 2". ComingSoon.net. 18 October 2016. Archived from the original on 19 October 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
- Press Release (14 February 2020). "STUDIOCANAL AND NICKELODEON ANNOUNCE GLOBAL DEAL FOR ALL-NEW "PADDINGTON" TELEVISION SERIES". Paddington.com. Archived from the original on 15 February 2019. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
- Thorne, Will (18 July 2019). "Jack Huston, Jason Schwartzman, Ben Whishaw Among 12 Joining 'Fargo' Season 4 Cast". Variety. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
- Otterson, Joe (14 June 2020). "Ben Whishaw to Star in BBC Two, AMC Series 'This Is Going to Hurt'". Variety. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
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