David Dastmalchian

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

David Dastmalchian
Dastmalchian in 2023
Born (1975-07-21) July 21, 1975 (age 48)
EducationDePaul University (BFA)
Years active2002–present
Eve Leigh
(m. 2014)

David Dastmalchian (/dəsˈmɔːlən/[1] DUST-mal-chən; born July 21, 1975) is an American film, television, and stage actor. He has had supporting roles in a number of superhero franchises: he portrayed Thomas Schiff in The Dark Knight (2008), Kurt and Veb in the Ant-Man franchise, Abra Kadabra in the CW's The Flash, and Polka-Dot Man in The Suicide Squad (2021).[2][3]

He has also appeared in three of Denis Villeneuve's films: Prisoners (2013), Blade Runner 2049 (2017), and Dune (2021). Dastmalchian wrote and starred in the 2014 semi-autobiographical film Animals and produced and starred in the 2023 horror film Late Night with the Devil. He has also appeared in The Boogeyman and portrayed William Borden in Oppenheimer.

Early life[edit]

David Dastmalchian was born on July 21, 1975,[4][5] in Allentown, Pennsylvania,[5] to Priscilla and Hossein Dastmalchian. His father was an Iranian-American engineer who worked at engineering firm Black & Veatch.[6][7][8] He has two sisters and a brother. His parents divorced, which he described as "tumultuous", and both remarried. He was raised in Overland Park, Kansas, where he attended Shawnee Mission South High School from which he graduated in 1994, having been part of the drama club.[9][10] He described growing up in the Kansas City metropolitan area as "very traditional in one sense, and a conservative community that also had a rad, fringe, artistic, progressive tribe of people who were finding connectivity through the arts and the culture of KC and the surrounding suburbs."[11]

In his childhood, Dastmalchian developed vitiligo, for which he suffered ridicule from his peers.[12] Consequently, he experienced depression throughout his childhood. Growing up, he enjoyed football, theater, and comics. He would mow lawns, saving money to buy comics.[2][13][14] He studied at The Theatre School at DePaul University and graduated in 1999.[15][16][17][18] Prior to beginning his career as an actor, he dealt with a heroin addiction for five years. He wrote about his experiences in his screenplay, Animals,[10] and continues to advocate for mental health and substance abuse treatment programs.[19] Shortly after becoming sober, he worked at a seafood restaurant in Kansas City.[13] He was also briefly a fisherman in Alaska.[20]


Dastmalchian began his professional career in the mid-2000s in Chicago, working on stage and in commercials.[2] He has received acclaim for lead roles in Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie and Sam Shepard's Buried Child at Chicago's Shattered Globe Theatre.[21] He was involved with a number of Chicago theater companies and was an artistic associate at Caffeine Theatre.[22]

His feature film debut came in the late 2000s, as the Joker's deranged henchman, Thomas Schiff, in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight. His portrayal of Bob Taylor in Denis Villeneuve's Prisoners[23] received strong reviews. Richard Corliss of Time called Dastmalchian's performance "excellent – chatty, modest with some subtle telltale psychopathy" and The Guardian's Paul MacInnes likened his introduction as a new suspect to Kevin Spacey's entrance in Seven.[24]

In March 2014, Dastmalchian was awarded the Special Jury Prize for Courage in Storytelling at the South by Southwest Film Festival. He wrote and starred in the feature film Animals, directed by Collin Schiffli. Ashley Moreno of The Austin Chronicle credits Dastmalchian's screenplay with "present[ing] an authenticity often lacking in films about drug abuse."[25] Film Threat's Brian Tallerico similarly sings the praises of Dastmalchian's breakout performance, noting his ability to "capture that sense of self-loathing that comes through in the body language of an addict without overselling it."[26]

Other feature film appearances include starring roles in the psychological thriller The Employer,[27] the indie grindhouse hit Sushi Girl, the drama Cass (winner, San Diego Black Film Festival), Girls Will Be Girls 2012 (a sequel to the 2003 cult hit Girls Will Be Girls), Saving Lincoln, Virgin Alexander, Ant-Man, and Michel Franco's Chronic.

He has also appeared on television: in an eleven-episode arc as Murdoc, the nemesis of the title character in MacGyver; as Simon on the Fox sci-fi series Almost Human, in the episode "Simon Says"; as a chess expert and murder suspect on the CBS forensics procedural drama series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation; and as Oz Turner on the BBC drama series Intruders. Other television appearances include the FX sitcom The League, the Showtime crime drama series Ray Donovan, and NBC's medical drama ER.

Dastmalchian portrayed DC Comics villain Abra Kadabra in seasons 3 and 7 of The Flash.[28]

Dastmalchian later appears in the TV series Gotham portraying Dwight Pollard in the second season.

In 2017, he reunited with Villeneuve when he appeared in Blade Runner 2049. The following year he reprised the role of Kurt in the Ant-Man sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp.[29] In 2021, he appeared as Polka-Dot Man in The Suicide Squad,[30] a character with whom he said he connected on a personal level due to the childhood bullying he suffered as a result of his vitiligo.[12] Later that same year, he appeared in his third collaboration with Villeneuve when he portrayed Piter De Vries in Dune.[31] In 2023, Dastmalchian starred in the horror films Late Night with the Devil and The Boogeyman, as well as The Last Voyage of the Demeter. Also in 2023, he had a minor role as William L. Borden in Christopher Nolan's biopic epic Oppenheimer.

Dastmalchian is a comic book writer. He debuted his horror comic series Count Crowley in 2019 published by Dark Horse Comics.[32]

Personal life[edit]

Dastmalchian married artist Evelyn "Eve" Leigh[33] in 2014. They live in Los Angeles[34] with their two children.[2][22][35]


Denotes productions that have not yet been released


Year Title Role Notes Ref(s)
2008 The Dark Knight Thomas Schiff
2009 Horsemen Terrence
2012 1,000 Times More Brutal Antonio Scarafini Also known as Brutal [36]
Sushi Girl Nelson
2013 Saving Lincoln Major Eckert
The Employer James Harris
Prisoners Bob Taylor
2014 Animals Jude Also writer and producer
SXSW Film Festival – Special Jury Prize Winner
Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie Sergeant L. J. Ng
2015 Chronic Bernard
Ant-Man Kurt
2017 The Belko Experiment Lonny
Blade Runner 2049 Coco
2018 Ant-Man and the Wasp Kurt
Bird Box Whistling Marauder
A Million Little Pieces Roy
The Domestics Willy Cunningham
Relaxer Cam
All Creatures Here Below Gensan Also writer
2019 Madness in the Method The Witness
Jay and Silent Bob Reboot SWAT officer Cameo
Teacher James Lewis
2021 Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One Julian Day / Calendar Man Voice role
The Suicide Squad Abner Krill / Polka-Dot Man
Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two Julian Day / Calendar Man
Oswald Cobblepot / Penguin
Voice role
Dune Piter De Vries
2022 Weird: The Al Yankovic Story John Deacon Cameo
2023 Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania Veb
Late Night with the Devil Jack Delroy Also producer [39][40]
Boston Strangler Albert DeSalvo
The Boogeyman Lester Billings
Oppenheimer William L. Borden
The Last Voyage of the Demeter Wojchek
Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part Two The Flash / Barry Allen Voice role
TBA The Life of Chuck Post-production
Dust Bunny [42]


Year Title Role Notes
2008 ER Young Man 1 episode
2012 The League Morgue Worker 1 episode
2013 Ray Donovan English Teacher 1 episode
2014 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Lee Crosby 1 episode
2014 Almost Human Simon 1 episode
2014 Intruders Oz Turner 1 episode
2015 CSI: Cyber Logan Reeves 1 episode
2016 12 Monkeys Kyle Slade 2 episodes
2016–2021 MacGyver Murdoc Recurring role, 11 episodes
2017 Gotham Dwight Pollard 2 episodes, "Ghosts" and "Smile Like You Mean It"
2017, 2021 The Flash Abra Kadabra 2 episodes
2017 Twin Peaks Pit Boss Warrick 3 episodes[43]
Svengoolie Himself 2 episodes
2019 Reprisal Johnson Main role, 9 episodes
2021 What If...? Kurt (voice) Episode: "What If... Zombies?!"
2022 The Boulet Brothers' Dragula: Titans Himself Guest judge, episode 3
2024 The Rookie Ray Watkins Episodes: "The Vow" and "Secrets and Lies"
2024 Miracle Workers Ugulus Sleeze Episode: "H.O.A"
TBA Murderbot Gurathin Filming

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Role Artist
2012 "Constant Conversations" Passion Pit
2015 "Everyone's Summer of '95" Iron & Wine
2018 "Catch It" Iceage
"Dark Speed" Failure
"GALAKTIKON: Nightmare" Triton Brendon Small
2019 "Steve Jobs" Xia Xia Technique
2020 "Obsession" Puddles Pity Party
"Sword and Shield" Ken Andrews


Year Title Role Company Notes
1999–2000 To Live As Variously As Possible Larry Rivers TimeLine Theatre Chicago production
2005 Salome The Side Project Theatre
2007 Bach at Leipzig Johann Martin Steindorff, Georg Lenck (u/s) Writers' Theatre
2007 Othello Montano
2007 Suddenly, Last Summer George Holly Shattered Globe Theatre
2008 As You Like It Le Beau Writers' Theatre
2008 The Glass Menagerie Tom Wingfield Shattered Globe Theatre
2009 Buried Child Vince
2010 Hamlet, Prince of Puddles Claudius Bootleg Theater Los Angeles production


  1. ^ "2017 Planet Comicon Kansas City interview with actor David Dastmalchian". YouTube. May 9, 2017. Retrieved November 8, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d Couch, Aaron (July 17, 2018). "How 'The Dark Knight' Gave an Actor a Brighter Life". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  3. ^ Jones, Nate (August 19, 2021). "The Suicide Squad's David Dastmalchian Has Won the Character-Actor Lottery". Vulture. Retrieved August 31, 2021.
  4. ^ "How 'Ant-Man' Actor David Dastmalchian Overcame Drug Addiction". The Knightly Scroll.
  5. ^ a b "David Dastmalchian: "I have battled depression the majority of my life"". NME. August 26, 2021.
  6. ^ "Obituary for Hossein Dastmalchian | Johnson County Funeral Chapel & Memorial Gardens".
  7. ^ Hadadi, Roxana (October 29, 2021). "Dune Has a Desert Problem". Vulture. Retrieved November 16, 2021.
  8. ^ "David Dastmalchian Talks about his New Thriller, 'Teacher'". July 26, 2019.
  9. ^ "How 'The Dark Knight' Gave an Actor a Brighter Life". The Hollywood Reporter. July 17, 2018.
  10. ^ a b Niccum, Jon (May 9, 2015). "David Dastmalchian goes from addiction to 'Ant-Man' and beyond". The Kansas City Star. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  11. ^ "Overland Park's David Dastmalchian is savoring the fruits of his twisted labor". October 18, 2021.
  12. ^ a b Holland, Patrick (August 13, 2021). "Suicide Squad's David Dastmalchian and Polka-Dot Man share it a personal connection". CNET. Retrieved November 10, 2021.
  13. ^ a b "How David Dastmalchian went from 'The Dark Knight' to hanging with Stan Lee". March 23, 2022.
  14. ^ "How David Dastmalchian Landed 'Suicide Squad' with Help from 'Prisoners' and David Lynch". August 4, 2021.
  15. ^ "The Theatre School News". Theatre.depaul.edu. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
  16. ^ "David Dastmalchian | Theatre School News". blogs.depaul.edu. Retrieved August 21, 2021.
  17. ^ Samo, R. C. (July 2, 2019). "David Dastmalchian Talks about his New Thriller, 'Teacher'". FanboyNation Magazine. Retrieved March 8, 2020.
  18. ^ Dastmalchian, David [@Dastmalchian] (January 9, 2017). "@BrettDAnthony92 you name it! i have irish, english, iranian, italian, and on and on and on... imho we're all pretty much distant cousins" (Tweet). Archived from the original on November 26, 2020. Retrieved July 12, 2021 – via Twitter.
  19. ^ Marson, Andy (September 25, 2015). "From heroin to Hollywood: Kansas native shares story of addiction and recovery". Kansas Health Institute. Archived from the original on November 4, 2015. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  20. ^ "A face you won't forget, in movies big and small". Chicago Tribune. September 12, 2013.
  21. ^ "David Dastmalchian Theatre Credits and Profile". abouttheartists.com. Retrieved July 19, 2017.
  22. ^ a b "David Dastmalchian biography". Writers Theatre. February 2008. Retrieved November 10, 2021.
  23. ^ McNary, Dave (January 15, 2013). "'Prisoners' finds Dastmalchian". Variety. Archived from the original on August 21, 2013. Retrieved April 8, 2013.
  24. ^ Paul MacInnes. "Prisoners: Toronto 2013 – first look review". The Guardian. Retrieved January 9, 2016.
  25. ^ Moreno, Ashley (March 10, 2014). "SXSW Film Review: 'Animals'". The Austin Chronicle. Archived from the original on March 15, 2014. Retrieved January 9, 2016.
  26. ^ Tallerico, Brian (March 10, 2014). "Animals – Review". Film Threat. Archived from the original on February 4, 2015. Retrieved May 11, 2015.
  27. ^ Webster, Christopher (January 9, 2012). "Malcolm McDowell puts applicants through hell in THE EMPLOYER". Quietearth.us. Archived from the original on January 20, 2012. Retrieved April 8, 2013.
  28. ^ Bryant, Jacob (March 28, 2017). "'The Flash': David Dastmalchian Teases Abra Kadabra's Plans to 'Wreak Havoc'". Variety.
  29. ^ Moore, Rose (April 21, 2017). "Ant-Man & The Wasp: David Dastmalchian Confirmed to Return". Screen Rant.
  30. ^ Goldberg, Matt (April 29, 2019). "'The Suicide Squad' Casts David Dastmalchian as Outlandish Villain". Collider. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  31. ^ Couch, Aaron (October 26, 2021). "'Dune' Actor David Dastmalchian Reflects on His Life-Changing Year". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 27, 2022.
  32. ^ "David Dastmalchian's 'Count Crowley' Will Continue at Dark Horse Comics Following COVID Hiatus". Forbes.
  33. ^ "About". evelynleigh. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  34. ^ Murphy, Mekado (May 13, 2015). "With 'Animals,' David Dastmalchian Uses His Past to Rewrite His Future". The New York Times.
  35. ^ Metz, Nina (May 8, 2014). "Actor, screenwriter David Dastmalchian on his new film 'Animals'". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  36. ^ "1,000 Times More Brutal". AllMovie. Retrieved April 13, 2024.
  37. ^ Couch, Aaron (March 31, 2021). "'Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One' Sets Voice Cast (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  38. ^ Lane, Carly (May 19, 2021). "'Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two' Trailer Reveals Release Date for R-Rated Conclusion". Collider. Retrieved May 20, 2021.
  39. ^ Vivarelli, David (June 24, 2022). "'Dune' Actor David Dastmalchian to Star in 'Late Night With the Devil' (Exclusive)". Variety. Retrieved July 11, 2022.
  40. ^ Harvey, Dennis (March 23, 2023). "'Late Night With the Devil' Review: A '70s Chat Show Becomes Must-Unsee TV". Variety. Retrieved June 18, 2023.
  41. ^ "Justice League x RWBY Part 2 4K & Blu-ray Release Date, Special Features". August 24, 2023.
  42. ^ Nemiroff, Perri (December 1, 2023). "David Dastmalchian Joins Dust Bunny with Mads Mikkelsen & Sigourney Weaver". Collider. Valnet Inc. Archived from the original on December 8, 2023. Retrieved December 1, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  43. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 4, 2016). "'Twin Peaks' Reboot Adds Patrick Fischler & David Dastmalchian". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 8, 2016.

External links[edit]