Thewlis in 2008
20 March 1963
(m. 1992; div. 1994)
David Wheeler (born 20 March 1963), known professionally as David Thewlis (//), is an English actor, director, screenwriter, and author.
Thewlis rose to prominence for starring in the film Naked (1993), for which he won the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actor. His most commercially successful roles to date have been Remus Lupin in the Harry Potter film series (2004–2011) and Sir Patrick Morgan / Ares in Wonder Woman (2017). Other notable film appearances include Dragonheart (1996), Seven Years in Tibet (1997), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2008), War Horse (2011), The Theory of Everything (2014), Anomalisa (2015) and I'm Thinking of Ending Things (2020). He will appear in Avatar 3 (2024).
On television, Thewlis portrayed Cyrus Crabb in the ABC miniseries Dinotopia (2002) and V. M. Varga in the third season of Fargo (2017), with the latter earning him nominations for an Emmy Award, Critics' Choice Television Award, and Golden Globe Award. He provides the voice of the Shame Wizard in the Netflix animated sitcom Big Mouth (2017–present).
Thewlis was born David Wheeler in Blackpool on 20 March 1963, the second of three children of Maureen (née Thewlis) and Alec Raymond Wheeler. Both parents worked at his father's shop. As a teenager, he played in a rock band called QED and played lead guitar with a punk rock band called Door 66. He was educated at Highfield High School in Blackpool's Marton area. He later enrolled in the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, graduating in 1984.
Thewlis had a minor role in an episode of the 1980s sitcom Up the Elephant and Round the Castle. He also appeared in an episode of popular sitcom Only Fools and Horses (1985) as a friend of Rodney. His first professional role was in the play Buddy Holly at the Regal in Greenwich.
Thewlis's breakout role was Naked (1993; dir. Mike Leigh), as the main character, Johnny, a homeless, highly intelligent, embittered, rambling street philosopher, for which Thewlis was named Best Actor by the National Society of Film Critics (United States), the London Film Critics Circle, the Evening Standard, the New York Film Critics' Circle and the Cannes Film Festival. That same year, he appeared on television as a sexual predator named James Jackson in Prime Suspect 3, opposite Helen Mirren and Ciarán Hinds. Before that, his first television appearance was in Valentine Park.
During the 1990s, Thewlis appeared in a variety of films, mostly fantasy and period, including Restoration (1995), Black Beauty (1994), Total Eclipse (1995) with Leonardo DiCaprio, The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996), Dragonheart (1996), and Seven Years in Tibet (1997), opposite Brad Pitt. He was nominated for a British Independent Film Award for Divorcing Jack (1998), and played Clov in a television film of Samuel Beckett's Endgame (2000). Notable appearances also include Bernardo Bertolucci's Besieged (1998) and Paul McGuigan's Gangster No. 1 (2000), opposite Paul Bettany and Malcolm McDowell.
He auditioned for the role of Quirinus Quirrell in the Chris Columbus directed film Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, but the part went to Ian Hart. Despite missing out on the first film, he was cast in 2004 as Professor Remus Lupin in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. He did not have to audition as he was director Alfonso Cuarón's first choice for the role. Thewlis reprised the role in four other films in the series.
He appeared as an SS Commandant of a Nazi death camp and father of the main character in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, which was well received. Other credits include Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven (2005), Terrence Malick's The New World (2005), and The Omen (2006).
Thewlis played the late Dr. Michael Aris, husband of Nobel Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma, with Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh as Suu Kyi, in the biopic The Lady directed by Luc Besson. In 2012, he received an International Festival of Independent Cinema Off Plus Camera Award. In the same year, he also played in Separate We Come, Separate We Go, directed by Harry Potter co-star Bonnie Wright.
In June 2015, Thewlis was reported to be filming scenes for a Donald Crowhurst biopic, The Mercy, on the beach at Teignmouth, Devon, playing Donald Crowhurst's press agent, Rodney Hallworth, while Colin Firth is playing Donald Crowhurst. He also starred in Regression, a thriller released in autumn 2015. In September 2015, Thewlis starred as Inspector Goole in Helen Edmundson's BBC TV adaptation of J. B. Priestley's An Inspector Calls. In October 2015, he played King Duncan in the film Macbeth.
Thewlis portrayed Ares in Wonder Woman (2017), the DC Comics film featuring the character of the same name. He briefly reprised his role as Ares in Justice League (2017). That same year, he appeared as V. M. Varga, the main antagonist of the third season of Fargo. His performance was critically acclaimed, and earned him nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie, Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Movie/Miniseries, and Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film.
Thewlis has most recently starred in the 2020 Netflix film I'm Thinking of Ending Things, directed by Charlie Kaufman.
Thewlis directed Hello, Hello, Hello in 1995, for which he was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Short Film. He also wrote, directed and starred in the feature Cheeky (2003).
Thewlis married Welsh actress Sara Sugarman in 1992, and they divorced in 1994. He then had a brief relationship with English actress Kate Hardie. In 2001, he began a relationship with English actress Anna Friel. Their daughter, actress Gracie, was born in 2005. Thewlis and Friel split up in late 2010.
Thewlis married his second wife, a French artist whose name has not been publicly revealed, in 2017. They live in Sunningdale, Berkshire. He also owns a converted Victorian ballroom in the London district of Clerkenwell.
|1985||Up the Elephant and Round the Castle||Mugger||Episode: "A Taxing Problem" (Non-speaking role)|
|Only Fools and Horses||Stew||Episode: "It's Only Rock and Roll"|
|Radio Pictures||Jim Grams||Television film|
|1986||The Singing Detective||Second Soldier||2 episodes|
|1987–88||Valentine Park||Max||12 episodes|
|1989||A Bit of a Do||Paul Simcock||6 episodes|
|1990||Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit||Doctor||3 episodes|
|1991||Journey to Knock||Terry||Television film|
|Shrinks||Terry Slater||Episode 1.5|
|Screen One||Tim Shanks||Episode: "Filipina Dreamgirls"|
|1992||Black and Blue||Crematorium attendant||Television film|
|1993||Frank Stubbs Promotes||Mike Bence||Episode: "Striker"|
|Prime Suspect 3||James Jackson||Television film|
|1994||Dandelion Dead||Oswald Martin||4 episodes|
|1999||Love Story||Dealer||Television film|
|2001||Hamilton Mattress||Hamilton Mattress||Voice|
|2002||Dinotopia||Cyrus Crabb||3 episodes|
|2007||The Street||Joe / Harry Jennerson||Episode: "Twins"|
|2014||Family Guy||English Father||Voice|
Episode: "Chap Stewie"
|2015||An Inspector Calls||Inspector Goole||Television film|
|2017||Fargo||V. M. Varga||10 episodes|
|2018–19||Big Mouth||Shame Wizard||Voice|
|2019||The Feed||Lawrence Hatfield||10 episodes|
|2020||Barkskins||Claude Trepagny||10 episodes|
|2010||World of Warcraft: Cataclysm||Lord Darius Crowley|
- The Late Hector Kipling (2007)
Awards and nominations
- "Behind The Voice Actors - David Thewlis". Retrieved 5 February 2014.
- "David Thewlis profile at FilmReference.com". Film Reference.com. Retrieved 30 August 2007.
- Grice, Elizabeth (4 May 2005). "Anna has changed me for the better". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 30 August 2007.
- "Up the Elephant and Round the Castle(1983–1985) - Full Cast & Crew". IMDb.com. Retrieved 27 November 2014.
- Morris, Clint (9 June 2004). "Interview: David Thewlis". Movie Hole. Archived from the original on 26 September 2007. Retrieved 28 August 2007.
- "PICTURES: Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz on a Teignmouth film set". Archived from the original on 30 June 2015.
- Mendelson, Scott. "Gal Gadot Releases First 'Wonder Woman' Image While Warner Bros. Announces The Cast". Forbes.
- Osborn, Alex. "Wonder Woman: Harry Potter Actor David Thewlis Reportedly Cast as Villain Ares". IGN.
- Miller, Liz Shannon (26 May 2017). "'Fargo': David Thewlis on the Details and Delight of Playing a Bad Guy Who's 'Out and Out Foul'". Indiewire. Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation.
- Tallerica, Brian (21 June 2017). "Fargo Season-Finale Recap: The Great American Experiment". Vulture.com. New York City: New York Media.
- Ryan, Maureen (13 April 2017). "TV Review: Fargo Season 3 on FX". Variety. Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation.
- ISBN 9781416541219
- MacDonald, Marianne (26 September 2005). "Post-natal confession". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
- David Thewlis is the 'Anonymous' actor who's everywhere, Los Angeles Times, 12 January 2012.
- "Friel, David split after nine years". Digital Spy. 14 December 2010. Retrieved 26 December 2010.
- Gilbey, Ryan (29 May 2017). "'My brain was on fire': David Thewlis on Naked, Fargo and creeping out the Coens". The Guardian.
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