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Joshua Leonard

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Joshua Leonard
Leonard in 2016
Joshua Granville Leonard

(1975-06-17) June 17, 1975 (age 49)
  • Actor
  • writer
  • director
Years active1999–present
(m. 2015)

Joshua Granville Leonard (born June 17, 1975) is an American actor, producer, writer, and director, known for his role in The Blair Witch Project (1999). He has since starred in films such as Madhouse (2004), The Shaggy Dog (2006), Higher Ground (2011), The Motel Life (2012), Snake and Mongoose (2013), If I Stay (2014), The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014), 6 Years (2015), and Unsane (2018).

Early life[edit]

Leonard was born in Houston, Texas, the son of Joann, an author, and Robert Leonard, a theater professor at Pennsylvania State University.[1] He was raised in State College, Pennsylvania.[2] Leonard obtained his GED and at age 16 travelled to Chiapas, Mexico, where he taught at an elementary school and volunteered at an anthropological institute.[2] Leonard then spent time in Seattle and London, where he developed an interest in photography, before settling in New York City at age 19.[2]


In 1997, Leonard auditioned for and landed one of the three principal roles in the found footage horror film The Blair Witch Project.[3] Although he reportedly only earned an initial salary of $500, the experience proved rewarding in other ways as the film combined acting and photography. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Leonard has since appeared in numerous films and television shows as an actor, including HBO's television film Live from Baghdad, the drama film Things Behind the Sun directed by Allison Anders, the comedy film The Shaggy Dog with Tim Allen, the drama film Men of Honor with Robert De Niro and Cuba Gooding, Jr., and the psychological thriller film Bitter Feast with Larry Fessenden.[3]

In 2009, he starred in the Independent Spirit Award-winning film Humpday, for which he won Best Actor at the Gijón International Film Festival. Leonard has also appeared on the acclaimed HBO series Hung and the Showtime series United States of Tara. Leonard directed the short film The Youth in Us, which was shown at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. Art documentary Beautiful Losers followed, winning the Grand Jury Prize at CineVegas in 2008. He has also directed music videos for many popular acts, such as Morcheeba, Harper Simon, and Fitz and the Tantrums, as well as teaching directing and acting at The New York Film Academy, UC Irvine, and Academia Internacional De Cinema in São Paulo, Brazil. In 2011, Leonard starred in Vera Farmiga's directorial debut drama film Higher Ground, playing a religious man at odds with his wife (Farmiga).[4] He also co-wrote, directed and starred in The Lie, a devilish morality tale adapted from the story by acclaimed author T. C. Boyle. The project co-starred Mark Webber, Jess Weixler, and Jane Adams, and was well received by audiences and critics.

Leonard next appeared alongside Dakota Fanning in The Motel Life (2012).[5] The following year, he starred alongside Carol Kane and Natasha Lyonne in the dark comedy film Clutter,[6] and co-starred in the sports film Snake and Mongoose. In 2014, Leonard co-starred in the drama film If I Stay, directed by R. J. Cutler and based on the novel of the same name by Gayle Forman.[7] Leonard was then cast in the third season of A&E's drama-thriller series Bates Motel as James Finnigan, a psychology professor and a love interest for Norma Louise Bates.[8] In 2015, he had a co-starring role in the romantic drama film 6 Years, directed by Hannah Fidell, which premiered at South by Southwest.[9] In December 2015, it was reported that Marisa Tomei and Timothy Olyphant would star in the Leonard-directed drama film Behold My Heart.[10]

Personal life[edit]

In January 2015, Leonard announced his engagement to actress Alison Pill.[11] They were married on May 24, 2015, in Los Angeles.[12] Their daughter, Wilder Grace Leonard, was born on November 19, 2016.[13]



Year Title Role Notes
1999 The Blair Witch Project Himself
The Blur of Insanity Staley
2000 In the Weeds Adam
Men of Honor Timothy Douglas Isert
2001 Things Behind the Sun Todd
Cubbyhouse Danny Graham
2002 Deuces Wild "Punchy"
2003 Down with the Joneses Pete Jones
Two Days Bill Buehl
Scorched Rick Becker
2004 Madhouse Clark Stevens
Larceny Nick Peters
2005 Shooting Livien Robby Love
A Year and a Day Malcolm
2006 The Death and Life of Bobby Z Partygoer #1
Hatchet Ainsley Dunston
The Shaggy Dog Justin Forrester
2007 Country Remedy Darryl
2008 Quid Pro Quo Mr. Knott
Prom Night Bellhop
20 Years After Michael
Expecting Love Ian Everson
2009 Humpday Andrew
2010 Bitter Feast J.T. Franks
The Freebie Dinner Party Guest
2011 Higher Ground Ethan Miller
Shark Night Robert "Red" Allyjah
The Lie Lonnie Also writer and director
2012 The Motel Life Tommy Locowane
2013 Clutter Charlie Bradford
Snake and Mongoose Thomas Greer
2014 Among Ravens Ellis Conifer
If I Stay Denny Hall
The Town That Dreaded Sundown Deputy Clayborn Foster
WildLike Ted
The Ever After Christian
2015 6 Years Mark
2016 Teenage Cocktail Tom Fenton
2018 Unsane David Strine
Dark Was the Night Director and writer
2019 Depraved Polidori
2020 Four Good Days Sean
Fully Realized Humans Elliot Also director, writer, producer and editor
2021 Bliss Cameron
The Same Storm Doug Salt
2022 The Drop Joshua Also co-writer
TBA Two Eyes Bryce Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
2000 Sacrifice Jason Television film
The Outer Limits Andy Larouche Episode: "Gettysburg"
2002 Live from Baghdad Mark Biello Television film
2004 NYPD Blue Todd Garvin Episode: "Divorce, Detective Style"
CSI: NY Matt Paulson Episode: "A Man a Mile"
2005 CSI: Miami Jim Markham 3 episodes
2006 Numbers Roy Mitchell Episode: "Guns and Roses"
Bones Nate Gibbons Episode: "The Headless Witch in the Woods"
2009 Hung Pierce 3 episodes
2010 United States of Tara Ricky Episode: "The Truth Hurts"
2011 Criminal Minds Lyle Donaldson Episode: "Today I Do"
2012 The Finder Derek Towers Episode: "The Great Escape"
The Producer Mike Cabot Unsold pilot
Touch King Roadie Episode: "Kite Strings"
2012–13 The Mob Doctor Scott Parker 2 episodes
2014 True Detective Mitch Episode: "Who Goes There"
2014, 2016–17 Scorpion Mark Collins 6 episodes
2015 Down Dog Young Jimmy Wood Television film
2015–16 Togetherness Dudley 6 episodes
2015 Bates Motel James Finnigan 6 episodes
2016 Heartbeat Max Elliot 7 episodes
2017 Startup Rance Recurring role
2020 MacGyver Martin Bishop Episode: "Fire + Ashes + Legacy = Phoenix"
TBA Tattered Hearts Television film

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
2000 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Best Supporting Actor The Blair Witch Project Nominated
Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Favorite Actor - Newcomer Nominated
2005 Independent Film Festival of Boston Short Film: Narrative The Youth in Us Won
Palm Springs International ShortFest Best Live Action Under 15 Minutes Won
2009 Gijón International Film Festival Best Actor Humpday Won
2010 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Best Supporting Actor Bitter Feast Nominated
2011 Asheville Cinema Festival Best Narrative Feature Film The Lie (2011 film) Won
Sundance Film Festival Best of Next! Nominated
2012 VC FilmFest - Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival Best Ensemble Acting - Narrative Feature Sunset Stories Won
2018 Transatlantyk Festival: Lodz Section "New Cinema" Behold My Heart Nominated
Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Best Supporting Actor Unsane Nominated
2020 Tribeca Film Festival Best Narrative Feature Fully Realized Humans Nominated
Florida Film Festival Best Narrative Feature Nominated


  1. ^ "Joshua Leonard Biography (1975-)". FilmReference.com. Retrieved February 17, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Donnelly, Joe (July 7, 2009). "Joshua Leonard: The Man Behind (Ahem) Humpday". LA Weekly.
  3. ^ a b "AFM: First Image from Bitter Feast". Dread Central. November 7, 2009.
  4. ^ Cox, Gordon (June 3, 2010). "Leonard, Irwin, Murphy, Butz get 'Higher'". Variety.
  5. ^ Jagernauth, Kevin (February 28, 2011). "Joshua Leonard Joins 'Motel Life' With Dakota Fanning, Emile Hirsch & Stephen Dorff". Indiewire. Archived from the original on December 10, 2015. Retrieved February 17, 2016.
  6. ^ Brooks, Brian (March 20, 2012). "Joshua Leonard, Carol Kane, Natasha Lyonne To Star In Indie 'Clutter'". Deadline Hollywood.
  7. ^ Yamato, Jen (October 23, 2013). "Joshua Leonard Joins 'If I Stay'; 'Project X's Thomas Mann Lands 'Barely Lethal'". Deadline Hollywood.
  8. ^ "Joshua Leonard Checks Into 'Bates Motel'; Gbenga Akinnagbe Books 'The Following'". Deadline Hollywood. December 2, 2014.
  9. ^ Kilday, Gregg (June 12, 2014). "Taissa Farmiga, Ben Rosenfield Starring in Hannah Fidell's New Feature". The Hollywood Reporter.
  10. ^ Hipes, Patrick (December 8, 2015). "Marisa Tomei & Timothy Olyphant Topline Joshua Leonard-Helmed Indie 'Behold My Heart'". Deadline Hollywood.
  11. ^ Leon, Anya (January 4, 2015). "Alison Pill Engaged to Joshua Leonard". People.
  12. ^ Kimble, Lindsay (May 25, 2015). "Alison Pill Marries Joshua Leonard – See the Bride's Sweet Yellow Wedding Gown". People.
  13. ^ Juneau, Jen (November 25, 2016). "Joshua Leonard and Alison Pill Welcome Daughter Wilder Grace". People. Retrieved November 30, 2016.

External links[edit]