Jonathan Rhys Meyers

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Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Meyers in 2023
Born
Jonathan Michael Francis O'Keeffe

(1977-07-27) 27 July 1977 (age 46)
Dublin, Ireland
Occupations
  • Actor
  • singer
  • musician
  • model
Years active1994–present
Spouse
Mara Lane
(m. 2016)
Children1

Jonathan Rhys Meyers (born Jonathan Michael Francis O'Keeffe;[1] 27 July 1977) is an Irish actor. He is known for his roles in the films Michael Collins (1996), Velvet Goldmine (1998), Titus (1999), Bend It Like Beckham (2002), Alexander (2004), Match Point (2005), Mission: Impossible III (2006) and his television roles as Elvis Presley in the biographical miniseries Elvis (2005), for which he won a Golden Globe Award and earned a Primetime Emmy Award nomination, as King Henry VIII in the historical drama The Tudors (2007–10), which earned him two Golden Globe Award nominations, and in the NBC drama series Dracula (2013–14) as the title character. He also starred as Bishop Heahmund, a character inspired by the Catholic Saint of the same name, in the History Channel television series Vikings.[2][3]

Meyers has continued to star in other films, such as Albert Nobbs in 2011. In 2013, Meyers appeared as the villain Valentine Morgenstern in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, based on Cassandra Clare's novel, City of Bones; he appeared in the 2015 film Stonewall, directed by Roland Emmerich; in 2017, he starred in The 12th Man; and in 2018 he won the Best Actor award at the Manchester Film Festival for his starring role in Damascus Cover.[4] In 2020, he was listed as number 44 on The Irish Times’ list of Ireland's greatest film actors.[5]

Meyers has been the face of several Hugo Boss advertising campaigns.[6] He has also been involved in several charitable causes, including the Hope Foundation and the children's charity Barretstown. Meyers is married to Mara Lane, and they have one son together.

Early life[edit]

Meyers was born on 27 July 1977 in Dublin, Ireland the first of four boys for Geraldine (née Myers; 1957–2007) and folk musician John O'Keeffe, and brought up in County Cork.[7][1] His family is Catholic,[8] and his three younger brothers are professional musicians.[9] He attended North Monastery Christian Brothers School.[10]

After being expelled from North Monastery for truancy, he spent much of his time working and socialising in pool halls. Casting agents looking for Irish boys to appear in War of the Buttons spotted him at a Cork pool hall, the Victoria Sporting Club, and invited him to audition.[11] Although passed over for War of the Buttons, the casting agents encouraged him to pursue a career in acting.[1]

Career[edit]

Early work (1994–2004)[edit]

Taking on the name Rhys Meyers because he thought his real name O'Keeffe was boring,[12] his first acting role came in the film, A Man of No Importance (1994). In 1996, he appeared in Michael Collins, as the Anti-Treaty IRA sniper who kills the title character. He played a David Bowie-inspired glam rock star in Velvet Goldmine (1998). In 1999, he appeared in Ride with the Devil as psychopathic Bushwhacker Pitt Mackeson, and in Titus as the sadistic Goth prince Chiron. He starred as Steerpike in the BBC's Gormenghast (2000); played a dedicated girls' football coach in Bend It Like Beckham (2002); played in Vanity Fair (2004) opposite Reese Witherspoon; and co-starred in 2004 in Oliver Stone's epic Alexander in which he played Cassander.[13]

Breakthrough with Match Point and The Tudors (2005–2017)[edit]

Meyers with Natalia Vodianova at the premiere of Belle du Seigneur in 2013

The following year Meyers starred in Woody Allen's drama Match Point (2005), for which he received a Chopard Trophy at the Cannes Film Festival, and in the CBS 4-hour mini-series Elvis (2005) as Elvis Presley alongside Randy Quaid as Colonel Tom Parker, but did not sing for his role in the miniseries.[14] The latter earned him an Emmy[15] nomination and a Golden Globe win.[16] In 2006, he appeared in Mission: Impossible III.

He starred in the CBC/Showtime co-production The Tudors (2007) as Henry VIII. He was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Television Drama in 2007 for the role.[17]

Subsequent projects include August Rush (2007). In 2008, he appeared in The Children of Huang Shi, and in 2010, Shelter and From Paris with Love.[18]

In 2011, he starred as Solal in Belle du Seigneur, an English language film adaptation of Albert Cohen's novel Belle du Seigneur. The film was released in Russia on 29 November 2012 and in France on 19 June 2013 after premiering at the Champs Elysees Film Festival.

In 2013, Meyers was cast as Dracula in NBC's television series Dracula alongside Oliver Jackson-Cohen and Jessica De Gouw.[19] It was also announced in May 2013 that Meyers was to participate in the recording of his brothers' album entitled Blossom, which was released on 21 April 2014.

On 23 October 2014, he received The Irish Post Legend Award at the London Hilton on Park Lane in recognition of his remarkable achievements in Film & Television over the previous 20 years.[20]

In 2017, He starred in the movie Black Butterfly and was nominated for Best supporting Actor at the Madrid International Festival. Meyers later reunited with Michael Hirst and starred as Bishop Heahmund in the television series Vikings.[21]

Independent films and varied roles (2018–present)[edit]

Meyers played the lead in the spy thriller Damascus Cover, based on the novel by Howard Kaplan.[22] It premiered on 23 September 2017, at the Boston Film Festival and was released on July 20, 2018 by Vertical Entertainment.[23] he won the best actor award at Boston and Manchester International Festival[24]

Meyers portrays Patrick Pearse, a political activist and one of the leaders of the bloody 1916 Irish Easter Rising, in the centennial commemoration biopic film The Rising, written and produced by Kevin McCann.[25]

In 2020, Meyers played in Edge of the World, a biographical picture of the British explorer Sir James Brooke, as well as the lead role in the movie American Nights, a neo-noir thriller co-starring Emile Hirsch, Paz Vega, and Jeremy Piven.

In 2021, he started as Shiro in Yakuza Princess, a Brazilian action thriller film directed by Vicente Amorim based on the graphic novel Samurai Shiro by Danilo Beyruth. He also starred in the horror-thriller Hide and Seek.

In 2022, he starred in The Good Neighbour and Wifelike.

In 2023, he starred in the thriller "Disquiet" with Rachelle Goulding. Meyers also starred in the hijacking thriller film 97 Minutes, directed by Timo Vuorensola.[26]

Music[edit]

A self-taught singer and guitarist, Meyers has appeared in a number of musical roles. His first such role was as "Brian Slade" in Velvet Goldmine; two of the songs he sang ("Baby's on Fire" and "Tumbling Down") are on the film's soundtrack. He sang briefly in the television mini-series version of The Magnificent Ambersons, performed in studio scenes of the miniseries Elvis and played the flute in Gormenghast.[citation needed]

In the 2007 music drama August Rush, he performed on-screen as singer-songwriter Louis Connelly and is credited for four songs on the soundtrack – "Break", "Moondance", "Something Inside" and "This Time". Of the four, "This Time" and "Break" were considered in the Best Original Song category of the 80th Academy Awards. "This Time" was not released as a single but peaked at number 84 in the Canadian Hot 100.

Upcoming projects[edit]

In 2022, it was revealed that he would be joining the cast of the thriller Altitude.[27]

Personal life[edit]

Mara Lane and Jonathan Rhys Meyers in 2019

Relationships and family[edit]

For a year in the late 1990s, Meyers dated his Velvet Goldmine co-star, Toni Collette.[28]

From 2004 until 2012, he was in a relationship with Reena Hammer, daughter of makeup artist Ruby Hammer.[29][30]

On 20 November 2007, his mother, Mary Geraldine O'Keeffe, died at Mercy University Hospital, Cork, aged 51, following a short, undisclosed illness.[31]

On 30 June 2011 it was reported that he was taken to hospital by ambulance after a suspected suicide attempt. In 2016, a second attempt was suspected when paramedics, responding to an emergency call, found him slumped on the floor. However, a source denied that Meyers intended to take his own life.[32]

During 2016, he married Mara Lane.[33] Their son was born in December 2016.[34] In September 2017, Lane revealed that she had miscarried a second child.[33][35]

In 2019, Meyers credited his family, and fatherhood in particular, with making him the happiest he has ever been: "Once you have your first child, you become the past. We're all busy giving out to ourselves and driving ourselves forward. A child gives you a new perspective on life."[36]

In 2022 he listed his Nichols Canyon home in Los Angeles for sale. It was reported that the home had previously been listed for sale and was made available as a rental property until 2012 when it was listed for $1.6 million and again in 2018 it was offered for $1.795 million. The 2022 listing has the home for sale at $1.85 million.[37]

Issues with alcohol[edit]

In 2007, Meyers' representative confirmed that Meyers had entered an alcohol-treatment programme.[38][39]

In November 2007, he was arrested at Dublin Airport for intoxication and disturbing the peace.[40][41]

In 2009, he was detained in Paris by French police for allegedly assaulting an airport lounge employee while drunk.[40]

In 2010, at John F. Kennedy International Airport, he verbally abused and used racist language against airline staff and officials, who had refused him access to the boarding area after he had become intoxicated in the first-class lounge. He was banned by United Airlines as a result.[40][42]

His representative confirmed Meyers was receiving treatment again in 2010.[43] In November 2011, he was ordered by a French court to pay restitution of €1,000 and was given a judgment of a suspended sentence for public intoxication 24 months earlier.[44]

After his wife suffered a miscarriage in 2017, Meyers relapsed at Dublin Airport.[33]

In 2018, he broke his sobriety on a flight, resulting in a dispute with his wife at Los Angeles International Airport.[45] In an interview with Larry King later that year, Meyers addressed the incident, stating "... I shouldn't drink. It doesn't suit me and I had been sober for a long time." He insisted that he had learned his lesson and was sober again.[46]

Meyers crashed his car in Malibu, California, in November 2020. Responding police discovered he was intoxicated after a field test was performed and he was charged with two drunk driving offences. Court documents obtained by TMZ showed that he received a $500 fine and an order to attend alcohol and counselling programmes as part of his agreeing to the court's plea deal. He was further ordered to undergo a 12-month summary probation with no jail time, provided that he did not break the law during that period.[47]

Honours[edit]

On 5 October 2008, Meyers received an Honorary Patronage from the Trinity College Philosophical Society in Dublin.[48]

In 2014, he was honoured at The Irish Post Awards by the presentation of the Legend Award for his contributions to the film and entertainment industry.[49]

Charity work[edit]

In February 2008, Meyers was named the ambassador for the Hope Foundation, a charity formed in his native Cork to support the street children of Calcutta.[50][51]

He is also an ambassador for the Irish children’s charity Barretstown which supports children affected by serious illness. In 2019, he and fellow actor Aidan Gillen helped launch Barretstown's new Press Play campaign which aimed to raise additional funds to serve more children and their families.[52][53]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role(s) Director(s)
1994 A Man of No Importance First Young Man Suri Krishnamma
1996 Michael Collins Denis "Sonny" O'Neill (Collins' Assassin) Neil Jordan
Killer Tongue Rudolph Alberto Sciamma
The Disappearance of Finbar Finbar Flynn Sue Clayton
1997 The Maker Josh Minnell Tim Hunter
Telling Lies in America Kevin Boyle Guy Ferland
1998 Velvet Goldmine Brian Slade Todd Haynes
The Governess Henry Cavendish Sandra Goldbacher
The Tribe Adam Stephen Poliakoff
B. Monkey Bruno Michael Radford
1999 The Loss of Sexual Innocence Nic (aged 16) Mike Figgis
Ride with the Devil Pitt Mackeson Ang Lee
Titus Chiron Julie Taymor
2001 Happy Now? Mark Wraith Philippa Cousins
Prozac Nation Noah Erik Skjoldbjærg
Tangled Alan Hammond Jay Lowi
2002 Bend It Like Beckham Joe Gurinder Chadha
2003 The Tesseract Sean Oxide Pang Chun
I'll Sleep When I'm Dead Davey Graham Mike Hodges
Octane The Father Marcus Adams
The Emperor's Wife Chamberlain Julien Vrebos
2004 Vanity Fair Capt. George Henry Osborne Mira Nair
Alexander Cassander Oliver Stone
2005 Match Point Chris Wilton Woody Allen
2006 Mission: Impossible III Declan Gormley J. J. Abrams
2007 August Rush Louis Connelly Kirsten Sheridan
2008 The Children of Huang Shi George Hogg Roger Spottiswoode
A Film with Me in It Pierce 2 Ian Fitzgibbon
2010 From Paris with Love James Reese Pierre Morel
Shelter Reverend Christian Moore/Adam Sabre/David Bernberg/Wesley Crite Måns Mårlind & Björn Stein
2011 Albert Nobbs Viscount Yarrell Rodrigo García
2012 A Grand Affair Solal Glenio Bonder
2013 The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Valentine Morgenstern Harald Zwart
Another Me John Moffatt Isabel Coixet
2015 Stonewall Trevor Roland Emmerich
2016 London Town Joe Strummer Derrick Borte
2017 The Shadow Effect Reese Obin & Amariah Olsen
Black Butterfly Jack Brian Goodman
Holy Lands David Amanda Sthers
Damascus Cover Ari Ben-Sion/Hans Hoffmann Daniel Zelik Berk
The 12th Man Sturmbannführer Kurt Stage Harald Zwart
2018 The Aspern Papers Morton Vint Julien Landais
2019 Awake John Doe/Michael Winslow Aleksandr Chernyaev
2021 Edge of the World James Brooke Michael Haussman
Yakuza Princess Shiro Vicente Amorim
American Night John Kaplan Alessio Della Valle
The Survivalist Ben Grant Jon Keeyes
Hide and Seek Noah Blackwell Joel David Moore
2022 The Good Neighbour Robert Graetz Stephan Rick
Wifelike William Bradwell James Bird
Dangerous Game: The Legacy Murders Kyle Sean McNamara
2023 Ambush Miller Mark Burman
97 Minutes Alex Timo Vuorensola
Food Fight Charlie Rexal Ford
Mercy Sean Quinn Tony Dean Smith
Disquiet Sam Michael Winnick
TBA The Rising: 1916 Patrick Pearse Kevin McCann
TBA Operation Blood Hunt Murphy Louis Mandylor
TBA Clean Up Crew Alex Jon Keeyes
TBA Run Orson Reed Steven C. Miller
TBA Altitude TBA Mark Fienberg

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1996 Samson and Delilah Young Samson Television film
2000 Gormenghast Steerpike Complete four-part BBC series (each episode one hour)
2002 The Magnificent Ambersons George Amberson Minafer Television film
2003 The Lion in Winter King Philip II Television film
2005 Elvis Elvis Presley Television film
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
Satellite Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
2007–2010 The Tudors King Henry VIII 38 episodes
Golden Nymph Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series
Irish Film and Television Award for Best Actor on Television
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama (2008–09)
Nominated—Golden Nymph Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series (2009–11)
Nominated—Irish Film and Television Award for Best Actor on Television (2009–11)
2013–2014 Dracula Dracula / Alexander Grayson 10 episodes
Nominated—People's Choice Award for Favorite Actor in a New TV Series
2016 Roots Tom Lea 3 episodes
2017–2019 Vikings Heahmund[54] 17 episodes

Discography[edit]

Musical contributions to films
Year Soundtrack Song Ref.
1998 Velvet Goldmine Tumbling Down [55]
Baby's on Fire
2007 August Rush Break [56]
This Time
Something inside
Moondance

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Group Award Result Notes
1999 London Critics Circle Film Awards British Newcomer of the Year Nominated Velvet Goldmine
2002 Venice Film Festival Canal Grande Award for the Best Young Promising Actor Won The Magnificent Ambersons
2005 Satellite Awards Outstanding Actor in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television Won Elvis
2005 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie Nominated Elvis
2005 Cannes Film Festival Outstanding Newcomer Won Match Point
2006 GQ UK Men of the Year Awards / Lab Series Man of the Year Won
2006 Golden Globes Awards Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television Won Elvis
2008 Monte-Carlo Television Festival Outstanding Actor – Drama Series Won The Tudors
2008 Irish Film and Television Awards Best Actor in a Lead Role in Television Won The Tudors
2008 Golden Globe Awards Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama Nominated The Tudors
2009 Monte-Carlo Television Festival Outstanding Actor – Drama Series Nominated The Tudors
2009 Irish Film and Television Awards Best Actor in a Lead Role in Television Nominated The Tudors
2009 Golden Globe Awards Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama Nominated The Tudors
2010 Irish Film and Television Awards Best Actor in a Lead Role in Television Nominated The Tudors
2010 Monte-Carlo Television Festival Outstanding Actor – Drama Series Nominated The Tudors
2011 Monte-Carlo Television Festival Outstanding Actor – Drama Series Nominated The Tudors
2011 Irish Film and Television Awards Best Actor in a Lead Role in Television Nominated The Tudors
2014 People's Choice Awards Favorite Actor in a New TV Series Nominated Dracula
2017 Madrid International Film Festival Best Supporting Actor Nominated Black Butterfly
2017 Boston Film Festival Best Actor Won Damascus Cover
2018 Manchester Film Festival Best Actor Won Damascus Cover

References[edit]

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  4. ^ Haring, Bruce (29 September 2017). "Final John Hurt Film, 'Damascus Cover', Tops Boston Film Fest With Six Awards". Deadline. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
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  24. ^ "Schedule". Boston Film Festival. Archived from the original on 12 September 2017. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
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  27. ^ Kay, Jeremy. "Jonathan Rhys Meyers hot air balloon thriller 'Altitude' boards 13 Films AFM slate". Screen. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
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  50. ^ "Rhys Meyers to help Calcutta children". 18 February 2008. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  51. ^ "Rhys Meyers takes charity lead role". irishexaminer.com. 19 February 2008. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  52. ^ "Aidan Gillen & Jonathan Rhys Meyers Launch Major Barretstown Fundraising Campaign". IndulgeMe. 27 January 2019. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  53. ^ "'I'm much happier than I have ever been' – Jonathan Rhys Meyers on the joy of fatherhood". independent. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  54. ^ "Jonathan Rhys Meyers on His New 'Vikings' Role – And Why It Kept Him Away From His Pregnant Wife And Unborn Son". February 2017. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 2 February 2017.
  55. ^ Velvet Goldmine, F F R R (Universal Music), 30 November 1998, retrieved 14 April 2020
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External links[edit]