Carice van Houten

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Carice van Houten
Carice van Houten by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Van Houten in 2015
BornCarice Anouk van Houten
(1976-09-05) 5 September 1976 (age 42)
Leiderdorp, Netherlands
  • Actress
  • singer
Years active1997–present
Partner(s)Guy Pearce (2015–present)

Carice Anouk van Houten (Dutch pronunciation: [kaːˈris aːˈnuk fɑn ˈɦʌutə(n)];[1] born 5 September 1976) is a Dutch actress and singer. She was born to writer and theatre-radio producer Theodore van Houten in Leiderdorp, Netherlands. Her younger sister Jelka is also an actress. She was exposed to the performing arts at an early age and studied at the Maastricht Academy of Dramatic Arts and the Kleinkunstacademie Theaterschool in Amsterdam. Her first leading role in the television film Suzy Q (1999) won her the Golden Calf for Best Acting in a Television Drama; two years later, she won the Golden Calf for Best Actress for Undercover Kitty (2001).

She gained widespread recognition for her performance in Black Book (2006), the most commercially successful Dutch film to date, for which she won her second Golden Calf for Best Actress, in addition to nominations from the Chicago Film Critics Association, the European Film Academy, and the Online Film Critics Society. She was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress for Valkyrie (2008), and won her fourth and fifth Golden Calf Awards for Best Actress for The Happy Housewife (2010) and Black Butterflies (2011). Her other notable English-language performances include Repo Men (2010), Black Death (2010), and Brimstone (2016).

Since 2012, Van Houten has received international recognition for her role as Melisandre on the HBO television series Game of Thrones (2012–present), for which she has been nominated for two Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.[2][3] After meeting Australian actor and musician Guy Pearce on the set of Brimstone in 2015, she gave birth to their first child the following year.

Early life[edit]

Van Houten was born on 5 September 1976 in Leiderdorp, Netherlands. Her mother, Margje Stasse, is on the board of Dutch educational TV, and her father, Theodore van Houten (9 August 1952 – 7 April 2016), was a writer and broadcaster. She was brought up watching silent films; in an interview she professed to prefer playing scenes without dialogue.[4] She has a younger sister, Jelka van Houten, who is also an actress. Her paternal grandmother was Scottish.[5] Van Houten went to the St. Bonifatiuscollege (high school) in Utrecht, where she played the leading role in Hugo Claus' Tijl Uilenspieghel, directed by Ad Migchielsen. Van Houten studied briefly at the Maastricht Academy of Dramatic Arts but continued her professional education after one year at the Kleinkunstacademie in Amsterdam.[6]

Acting career[edit]

Van Houten played her first leading role in Martin Koolhoven's TV film Suzy Q. She won a Golden Calf for her part as Suzy. She also won the Pisuisse Award and the Top Naeff Award for her stage acting and another Golden Calf for her part as the kitten that becomes a woman in Undercover Kitty (2001). The first time she could be seen in cinemas in the U.S. was when Martin Koolhoven's AmnesiA (2001) got a small theatrical release. Van Houten won a Golden Calf for her performance as Rachel Stein in Black Book (2006)[7] at the Netherlands Film Festival. Black Book's director Paul Verhoeven said about her in a television interview: "Never in my life I have worked with an actress this talented", and when asked to compare her with Sharon Stone he said "Carice can really act".[8] The international press was also enthusiastic about her role in Black Book.[9]

In December 2006, Van Houten withdrew from a theatre production of Alex van Warmerdam due to personal reasons. According to a theatre spokesman it was because of a work overload.[10]

Carice's first English spoken film was Dorothy from French director Agnès Merlet.[citation needed]

In 2008 she starred in the non-commercial short movie Zingen in het donker (English: Singing in the dark), a drama on domestic violence. She appeared in the magazine Vanity Fair in the issue for March 2008, photographed by Wayne Maser.[11]

In 2008, Van Houten had a role opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in Body of Lies but her scenes did not make the final cut of the movie.[12]

On 4 October 2008 filming began on From Time to Time directed by Julian Fellowes. It is based on the children's literature classic The Chimneys of Green Knowe by Lucy M. Boston. Van Houten stars as Maria Oldknow.[citation needed]

In April 2009, it was announced that Van Houten would star in Black Death by British director Christopher Smith and in the Dutch film Komt een vrouw bij de dokter (English title: Stricken), based on the novel of the same name by Ray Kluun. She also starred in the science fiction thriller Repo Men.[13]

In July 2011, Van Houten was cast as the priestess Melisandre in the second season of HBO's fantasy TV series Game of Thrones.[14]

In 2012, Van Houten appeared in Antony and the Johnsons' "Cut the world" video, which was directed by Nabil Elderkin[15] and also starred Willem Dafoe and Marina Abramović.[16]

In November 2012, the video for "Particle of Light", the second single from her album, See You on the Ice, debuted on YouTube. It was written by Howe Gelb of Giant Sand.[citation needed]

In May 2015, she played Annika Van Houten (Milhouse's cousin) in The Simpsons episode "Let's Go Fly a Coot". She was cast specifically because of her last name.[citation needed]

In 2016, she played the role of Leni Riefenstahl in Race.[citation needed]

In 2016 she appeared in Brimstone, her fourth collaboration with director Martin Koolhoven. Other cast members are Dakota Fanning, Kit Harington and Guy Pearce.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Van Houten is friends with fellow Dutch actress Halina Reijn, whom she has known since 1994.[17] They worked together in the movies Black Book and Valkyrie. In 2013, the two published a book together called Anti Glamour, a (mock) style guide and a celebration of their friendship,[18] as well as a candid look into the unglamourous back-stage side of their lives.[19] Although the two occasionally kiss on camera,[20] and have joked about being lesbians, there is no actual romantic involvement.[17]

Van Houten has stated that Hollywood makes her unhappy: "I have seen Hollywood, and although I have nothing against it, it's not my kind of life. My agent is shocked that I want to stay in Europe," adding, "If Hollywood offers me a great part, of course I'll take it, but I just don't want to live there".[21]

She dated Sebastian Koch whom she met on the set of Blackbook.[22]

In March 2016 she announced she was expecting her first child with Guy Pearce in late 2016.[23][24] On 29 August 2016, Van Houten and Pearce announced the birth of their son, Monte Pearce.[25]

She is a lifelong fan of Laurel and Hardy and in June 2016 she called in to The Ross Owen Show on Black Sky Radio to talk about her love of the comedy duo.[26]


Year Film Role Notes
1997 3 ronden Emily
1998 Ivory Guardians unknown
1999 Suzy Q Suzy
2001 Storm in mijn hoofd Peaseblossom / Titania
2001 AmnesiA Sandra
2001 Undercover Kitty Minoes
2002 The Wild Boar Pandora
2003 Father's Affair Monika
2005 Black Swans Marleen
2005 Lepel Miss Broer
2005 Bonkers Lis
2006 A Thousand Kisses Samarinde
2006 Black Book Rachel Stein / Ellis de Vries
2007 Love is All Kiki Jollema
2008 Dorothy Mills Jane van Dopp
2008 Valkyrie Nina Schenk Gräfin von Stauffenberg
2009 Stricken Carmen
2009 From Time to Time Maria Oldknow
2010 Repo Men Carol[27]
2010 The Happy Housewife Lea
2010 Black Death Langiva
2010 Satisfaction
2011 Intruders Susanna
2011 Black Butterflies Ingrid Jonker
2011 Vivaldi Julietta
2012 Jackie Sophie
2012 Family Way Winnie de Roover
2013 The Fifth Estate Birgitta Jónsdóttir
2016 Race Leni Riefenstahl
2016 Brimstone Anna
2016 Incarnate Lindsay Sparrow
2018 I Am Not a Bird Ines Filming
2018 Domino Filming


Year Title Role Notes
1997 Het Labyrint Mariek Television series
1999 Suzy Q Suzy Television film
2000 Goede daden bij daglicht: Op weg Carola Television film
2001 De acteurs Ellie Television series
2002 Luifel & Luifel Roos Episode: "De Krottenkoning"
2004 Russen José Machielsen Episode: "De zevende getuige"
2004 Kopspijkers Georgina Verbaan Episode: "Dance-4-Life"
2006 Koppensnellers Georgina Verbaan Episode: "1.16"
2009 Gewoon Hans Herself Television film
2010 In therapie Aya 3 episodes
2011 Human Planet Narrator Dutch dubbing
2012–present Game of Thrones Melisandre of Asshai Main Role; 28 episodes
2015 The Simpsons Annika van Houten (voice) Episode: "Let's Go Fly a Coot"
2016 Robot Chicken Melisandre, Sharon, Mama Bear (voices) Episode: "Triple Hot Dog Sandwich on Wheat"


Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
1999 Golden Calf Award Best Acting in a Television Drama
Suzy Q
2002 Golden Calf Award Best Actress
Undercover Kitty
International Children's Film Festival Best Actress Won
Carrousel international du film de Rimouski Won
2005 Golden Calf Award Best Actress
Black Swans
2006 Golden Calf Award Best Actress
Black Book
Rembrandt Award Best Actress Won
Chicago Film Critics Association Award Best Actress Nominated
European Film Award Best Actress Nominated
German Film Award Best Actress Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Award Best Breakthrough Performance Nominated
Saturn Award Best Actress Nominated
2008 Rembrandt Award Best Actress
Love is All
Saturn Award Best Supporting Actress
2010 Rembrandt Award Best Actress
Golden Film Award Best Actress Won
Fangoria Chainsaw Award Best Supporting Actress
Black Death
2011 Rembrandt Award Best Actress
The Happy Housewife
Golden Film Award Best Actress Won
Golden Calf Award Best Actress Won
2012 Rembrandt Award Best Actress
Black Butterflies
Golden Film Award Best Actress Won
Golden Calf Award Best Actress Won
Tribeca Film Festival Best Actress in a Narrative Feature Film Won
Golden Film Award Best Actress
Rembrandt Award Best Actress Nominated
2013 Rembrandt Award Best Actress
Family Way
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series[29]
Game of Thrones
2015 Nominated
2016 Nominated
2017 Golden Calf Award Best Supporting Actress


  1. ^ In isolation, the surname is pronounced [vɑn ˈɦʌu̯tə(n)].
  2. ^ "Zwartboek beste film aller tijden – Nieuws" (in Dutch). Retrieved 25 November 2010.
  3. ^ "Carice – vijfde Gouden Kalf" [Carice – Fifth Golden Calf] (in Dutch). NOS (Dutch Broadcast Foundation). 1 October 2011. Archived from the original on 3 April 2017. Retrieved 3 April 2017. Actrice Carice van Houten heeft vanavond voor de vijfde keer een Gouden Kalf gewonnen. Het is nog nooit eerder voorgekomen dat een Nederlandse actrice vijf Gouden Kalveren won.
  4. ^ Van Houten, Carice (5 April 2013). "College Tour". College Tour (Interview) (in Dutch). Interviewed by Twan Huys. Amsterdam: NTR. 3:00 minutes in. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  5. ^ Slater, Lydia (5 March 2010). "Euro star: Carice van Houten". London Evening Standard.
  6. ^ Biography for Carice van Houten. Retrieved 25 November 2006.
  7. ^ Winnaars Gouden Kalveren 2006 Archived 12 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine., 6 October 2006. Retrieved 7 October 2006.
  8. ^ De Wereld Draait Door Archived 13 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine., 7 September 2006
  9. ^ Stigter, Bianca (4 September 2006). "Carice van Houten slaat in als een bom" [Carice van Houten hits like a bomb] (in Dutch). NRC newspaper. Archived from the original on 7 January 2008. Retrieved 7 October 2006.
  10. ^ ANP (6 December 2006). "Carice van Houten trekt zich terug uit voorstelling". (in Dutch). Retrieved 17 December 2006.
  11. ^ Van Houten Archived 11 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine. (February 2008) in the magazine Vanity Fair. Retrieved on 13 December 2008.
  12. ^ Carice van Houten uit Hollywood-film geknipt. 18 September 2008.
  13. ^ "Repo Men Madness! Six Interviews, Seven Clips, Plus B-Roll". Dread Central. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  14. ^ Hibberd, James (19 July 2011). "'Game of Thrones' casts sorceress Melisandre and Stannis Baratheon". Retrieved 19 July 2011.
  15. ^ Film, Nabil Elderkin's website lists the video. Video at vimeo. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  16. ^ News, webpage, 6 August 2012. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  17. ^ a b "Carice van Houten 'afgewezen' door Halina Reijn" [Carice van Houten 'turned down' by Halina Reijn] (in Dutch). De Telegraaf. 14 December 2013. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  18. ^ "Beroemdemeidenlol: het 'stijlboek' van Van Houten en Reijn" [Famous chicks' fun: Van Houten and Reijn's 'style guide'] (in Dutch). NRC newspaper. 14 November 2013. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  19. ^ "'Anti glamour': Halina Reijn & Carice van Houten" (in Dutch). De Wereld Draait Door. 8 November 2013. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  20. ^ "Carice van Houten en Halina Reijn zoenen voor fotoshoot Linda" [Carice van Houten and Halina Reijn kiss for fotoshoot in Linda] (in Dutch). 19 November 2013. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  21. ^ ANP (5 July 2007). "Carice van Houten wordt ongelukkig van Hollywood" [Carice van Houten is unhappy with Hollywood]. (in Dutch). Archived from the original on 21 September 2008. Retrieved 5 July 2007. (English translation at van Houten is unhappy with Hollywood)
  22. ^ Will Lawrence (24 May 2013). "'Flashback Friday: Carice van Houten". Wonderland Magazine. Retrieved 4 Oct 2018.
  23. ^ "Guy Pearce and Carice van Houten Expecting First Child – Moms & Babies – Celebrity Babies and Kids - Moms & Babies -". Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  24. ^ Natalie Stone (19 March 2016). "'Game of Thrones' Star Carice van Houten Is Pregnant". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  25. ^ Birth announcement, 29 August 2016.
  26. ^ "Carice Van Houten on The Ross Owen Show".
  27. ^ "Carice is de vrouw van Leonardo en Jude???". 28 September 2007. Archived from the original on 15 October 2007. Retrieved 28 September 2007.
  28. ^ "Carice van Houten – See You on the Ice (CD, Album)". Discogs. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
  29. ^ Nolfi, Joey (14 December 2016). "SAG Awards nominations 2017: See the full list". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 14 December 2016.

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