Edward John Speleers
7 April 1988
|Eragon, Downton Abbey|
Edward John "Ed" Speleers (born 7 April 1988) is an English actor and producer. He is best known for playing the title role in the 2006 film Eragon, as well as starring in the TV series Downton Abbey. Speleers has been nominated for both the Saturn Awards, as Best Young Actor, and the British Academy Film Awards, for a short film he co-produced.
Speleers was born at St Richard's Hospital, Chichester, West Sussex, England. His parents divorced when he was three, with his mother residing in Spain and his father in London. He has two older half brothers. While still in school, Speleers performed in school productions such as A Midsummer Night's Dream and Richard III. In addition to acting, Speelers wrote a play that was performed at Eastbourne College, in Sussex, where he attended. Extraordinarily controversial, Retribution dealt with the subject of paedophilia and was met with stunned reactions. Speelers completed his education in 2006.
Speleers' first professional role in 2006 was the lead in 20th Century Fox's screen version of Christopher Paolini's hit book Eragon. Before landing the role of Eragon, he auditioned for various roles, including Peter Pevensie in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which he lost to William Moseley. His next role, in 2008, was Jimmy Penwarden on the British prime time series Echo Beach. He also appeared in the comedy Moving Wallpaper and an episode of Moving Wallpaper: The Mole, which many saw as a parody of Echo Beach.
2009 saw Speleers tackle the role of Robin Cecil Byng in the Japanese television miniseries Jiro Shirasu: Man of Honor, which highlighted the intermediary between American and Japanese negotiators at the conclusion of World War II. The next year, Speleers played the role of Jason Grint in the made-for-television fantasy-adventure film Witchville and starred in director Aimee Powell's short film Deathless. Continuing with short films in 2011, Speleers appeared in director Marion Pilowski's short The Ride and Julian Gilbey's short A Lonely Place to Die.
In 2012, Speleers starred as Jamie in Andy de Emmony's comedy horror film Love Bite, alongside Jessica Szohr and Timothy Spall. He cast in the film A Dead Man in Deptford, based upon Anthony Burgess' novel of the same name, but the film was never completed. That same year Speelers was cast in the recurring role of Jimmy Kent in the award winning Masterpiece Theatre series Downton Abbey.
The short film Turncoat (2013), from Dark Matter productions, featured Speleers as Nathan Reese. He then starred as Sam in 2014's thriller Plastic, which was written and directed by Julian Gilbey for Gateway Films. Production was shot in Britain, Miami and Brunei from January 2013. On 12 March 2014 it was reported that Speleers was among five actors being considered for a lead role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but was cut during the casting process.
In 2015, Speleers had a small role in the BBC's historical drama mini-series Wolf Hall as Edward Seymour, brother of Henry VIII's third wife Jane Seymour. He also played a leading role in the direct-to-DVD werewolf horror film Howl, as a young train conductor overseeing the final London train. That same year, Speleers guest starred in the BBC One six-part mini-series Partners in Crime, an adaptation of two of Agatha Christie's novels, which focused on crime-solving couple Tommy and Tuppence Beresford. Speleers appeared in three episodes based on the story N or M?, in the role of Carl Denim. He went on to portray Greg in director Omer Fast's psychological thriller Remainder.
In 2016, he played the role of Slean in ITV's epic fantasy drama television series from, Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands. He had a supporting role in Disney's fantasy adventure sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass from director by James Bobin. The following year he starred in the biopic Breathe, opposite Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy. The film, actor Andy Serkis' directoral debut, follows the experiences of paraplegic Robin Cavendish, who is recognized as having helped pioneer the development of wheelchairs equipped with mechanical lungs.
Speleers and fellow Downton Abbey guest star Maria Doyle Kennedy were confirmed to appear in season four of Starz's time-travel drama series Outlander in late 2017, with Speleers set to portray Irish smuggler and pirate Stephen Bonnet. The series is produced by Ron Moore (Battlestar Galactica) and based upon Drums of Autumn, the fourth book in Diana Gabaldon's best-selling Outlander series.
In 2018, Speleers starred in the dark comedy-horror film Zoo, which centers on a couple in crisis and attempting to reconcile during a zombie pandemic. He went on to feature in Lars Von Trier's psychological thriller The House That Jack Built, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. On August 20, 2018, Speleers made his stage premiere in the play Rain Man, portraying the lead role of Charlie Babbitt. The play, based upon the film of the same, name, was directed by Jonathan O'Boyle and has toured various theatres throughout the United Kingdom.
In 2017, Speleers was a producer on Barnaby Blackburn's short film Wale. The film, which centers on racial prejudices in Britain today, was nominated for an Academy Award in 2018 in the Live Action Short Film category.
|2011||A Lonely Place to Die||Ed||Julian Gilbey|
|2012||Love Bite||Jamie||Andy De Emmony|
|2016||Alice Through the Looking Glass||James Harcourt||James Bobin|
|2017||Breathe||Colin Campbell||Andy Serkis|
|2018||The House That Jack Built||Ed (Police Officer 2)||Lars von Trier|
|2019||For Love or Money||Johnny||Mark Murphy|
|2010||Deathless||John Ray||Aimee Powell|
|2011||The Ride||Student||Marion Pilowsky|
|2012||Metamorphosis: Titian 2012||Acteon||Luke White|
|2013||Turncoat||Nathan Reece||Will Gilbey|
|2008||Moving Wallpaper||Ed Speleers||4 episodes|
|Moving Wallpaper: The Mole||1 episode|
|Echo Beach||Jimmy Penwarden||12 episodes|
|2009||Jirō Shirasu: Man of Honour||Robin Cecil Byng||1 episode|
|2010||Witchville||Jason Grint||Television film|
|2012-2014||Downton Abbey||James "Jimmy" Kent||17 episodes|
|2015||Wolf Hall||Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset||4 episodes|
|Agatha Christie's: Partners in Crime||Carl Denham||3 episodes|
|2016||Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands||Slean||12 episodes|
|2018||Outlander||Stephen Bonnet||Recurring role, 7 episodes|
|2018||Rain Man||Charlie Babbitt||The Classic Screen to Stage Theatre Company|
|2016||Battlefield 1||Daniel Edwards|
Awards and Nominations
|2007||Saturn Award||Best Young Actor||Eragon||Nominated|
|2014||Screen Actors Guild Award||Best Ensemble Cast (Television Drama)||Downton Abbey||Nominated|
|2015||Screen Actors Guild Award||Best Ensemble Cast (Television Drama)||Downton Abbey||Won|
|2016||Screen Actors Guild Awards||Best Ensemble Cast (Television Drama)||Downton Abbey||Won|
|2019||BAFTA||British Short Film||Wale||Nominated|
|Saturn Awards||Best Guest-Starring Performance on a Television Series||Outlander||Nominated|
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