Owen Cunningham Wilson
November 18, 1968
Owen Cunningham Wilson (born November 18, 1968) is an American actor. He has had a long association with filmmaker Wes Anderson with whom he shared writing and acting credits for Bottle Rocket (1996), Rushmore (1998), and The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), the last of which earned him a nomination for the Academy Award and BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay. He has also appeared in Anderson's The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004), The Darjeeling Limited (2007), Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), and The French Dispatch (2021). Wilson also starred in the Woody Allen romantic comedy Midnight in Paris (2011) as unsatisfied screenwriter Gil Pender, a role which earned him a Golden Globe Award nomination. In 2014 he appeared in Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice, and Peter Bogdanovich's She's Funny That Way.
Wilson is also known for his career as a comedic actor and member of the Frat Pack, which included starring roles in such comedies as Shanghai Noon (2000), Zoolander (2001), Starsky & Hutch (2004), Wedding Crashers (2005), You, Me and Dupree (2006), How Do You Know (2010), The Big Year (2011), and The Internship (2013). He is also known for the family films Marley and Me (2008), and the Night at the Museum film series (2006–2014). He voices Lightning McQueen in the Cars film series (2006–present), the title character in Marmaduke (2010) and Reggie in Free Birds (2013). He stars as Mobius M. Mobius in the Marvel Cinematic Universe series Loki (2021–present) streaming on Disney+.
Wilson's accolades include an Oscar and BAFTA nomination for Best Original Screenplay (for The Royal Tenenbaums), a Golden Globe and two SAG acting nominations (for Midnight in Paris and The Grand Budapest Hotel) and an Independent Spirit Award (for Inherent Vice).
Wilson was born in Dallas, the middle child of three sons of photographer Laura Cunningham Wilson (born 1939) and Robert Andrew Wilson (1941–2017), an advertising executive and operator of a public television station. His brothers Andrew and Luke are also actors. Wilson's parents are of Irish descent. After getting expelled for cheating in geometry, he attended New Mexico Military Institute. He later attended the University of Texas at Austin, where he pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, but did not graduate. While in college, he met and was roommates with director and frequent collaborator Wes Anderson.
1994–1999: Early films and breakthrough
Wilson made his film debut acting in the Wes Anderson short film Bottle Rocket (1994) which was later expanded into the feature-length film Bottle Rocket (1996) which Wilson co-wrote with Anderson. Wilson also acted opposite his brother Luke Wilson. David Hunter of The Hollywood Reporter praised the film describing it as, "A marvelous debut film for its director, writer and lead actors, Bottle Rocket is propelled by a fresh approach to the caper genre". That same year he had a supporting role in the Ben Stiller directed black comedy The Cable Guy (1996) starring Jim Carrey. Wilson played Leslie Mann's date in the film. In 1997 he had a role in the adventure thriller Anaconda and executive produced the James L. Brooks comedy As Good as It Gets.
In 1998 Wilson had roles in the science fiction disaster film Armageddon and the independent drama film Permanent Midnight. He also reunited with Anderson co-writing the script for Anderson's next two directorial films, Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums, for which they garnered an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. While Wilson did not act in Rushmore he appears briefly in a photograph in the film. Wilson then landed a role in The Cable Guy, directed by Ben Stiller, an early admirer of Bottle Rocket. After appearing in supporting roles in 1999 he acted in horror film The Haunting, The Minus Man, in which his future girlfriend, singer Sheryl Crow, was a co-star.
2000–2006: Film stardom
Wilson starred in the 2000 comedy action film Shanghai Noon alongside Jackie Chan. The film grossed nearly $100 million worldwide. His fame continued to rise after starring alongside Ben Stiller and Will Ferrell in the 2001 film Zoolander. Gene Hackman reportedly took notice of Wilson's performance in Shanghai Noon and recommended the actor to co-star in the 2001 action film Behind Enemy Lines. Also in 2001, Wilson and Anderson collaborated on their third film, The Royal Tenenbaums, a financial and critical success. The film earned the writing team an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
Wilson returned to the buddy-comedy genre in 2002 with the action comedy I Spy, co-starring Eddie Murphy. The big-screen remake of the same-named television series did not perform well at the box office. He made a cameo appearance in the Girl Skateboards video Yeah Right! in 2003. He then reunited with Chan to make Shanghai Knights (2003), and co-starred in the film remake of the 1970s television series Starsky & Hutch (2004). Due to his busy schedule as an actor and an ongoing sinus condition, Wilson was unavailable to collaborate on the script for Wes Anderson's fourth feature film, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. The 2004 film was ultimately co-written by filmmaker Noah Baumbach. However, Wilson did star in the film as Bill Murray's would-be son, Ned Plimpton; it was a role written specifically for him. In 2004, he and his brother Luke played the Wright brothers in the 2004 film Around the World in 80 Days. Wilson is said to be attached to a sequel to Shanghai Knights, marking his third collaboration with Jackie Chan.
Wilson partnered with Vince Vaughn in the 2005 comedy film Wedding Crashers, which grossed over $200 million in the US alone. Also in 2005, Owen collaborated with his brothers in The Wendell Baker Story, written by Luke and directed by Luke and Andrew. In 2006, Wilson voiced Lightning McQueen in the Disney/Pixar film Cars, starred in You, Me and Dupree with Kate Hudson, and appeared with Stiller in Night at the Museum as cowboy Jedediah.
Wilson has starred with Ben Stiller in twelve films, including The Cable Guy (1996), Permanent Midnight (1998), Meet the Parents (2000), Zoolander (2001), The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), Starsky & Hutch (2004), Meet the Fockers (2004), Night at the Museum (2006), and the sequels Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009), Little Fockers (2010), Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (2014) and Zoolander 2 (2016).
2007–2015: Established career
Wilson appeared in another Wes Anderson film, The Darjeeling Limited, which screened at the 45th annual New York Film Festival, the Venice Film Festival, and opened September 30, 2007. It co-stars Jason Schwartzman and Adrien Brody. The Darjeeling Limited was selected for a DVD and Blu-ray release by The Criterion Collection in October 2010. Wilson next starred in the Judd Apatow comedy, Drillbit Taylor which was released in March 2008. He appeared in a film adaptation of John Grogan's best-selling memoir, Marley & Me (2008), co-starring Jennifer Aniston. He provided the voice for the Whackbat Coach Skip in Wes Anderson's stop motion animated film Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009). Wilson is a member of the comedic acting brotherhood colloquially known as the Frat Pack. Wilson made a guest appearance on the NBC comedy Community with fellow Frat Pack member Jack Black.
In 2011, Wilson starred as a nostalgia-seized writer in the romantic comedy Midnight in Paris, written and directed by Woody Allen. The film premiered at the 64th Cannes Film Festival to critical acclaim. The film became Allen's highest grossing thus far, and was also well received by critics. Roger Ebert wrote of Wilson's performance, "[He] is a key to the movie's appeal". Peter Debruge of Variety also praised Wilson writing, "Wilson makes the role endearingly his own". For his performance Wilson earned a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.
That same year he starred in the film The Big Year (2001) an adaptation of Mark Obmascik's book The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature and Fowl Obsession. The film was released in October 2011 by 20th Century Fox, and co-starred Jack Black, JoBeth Williams, Steve Martin and Rashida Jones. The same year, Wilson returned to voice McQueen in Cars 2. In March 2012, Wilson was signed to star in the John Erick Dowdle thriller The Coup, later renamed "No Escape", in which he played the role of the father of an American family that moves to Southeast Asia, only to find itself swept up in a wave of rebel violence that is overwhelming the city. The film was not released until 2015, and was Wilson's return to the action genre for the first time since Behind Enemy Lines in 2001. He also voiced turkey Reggie in Reel FX's first animated film, Free Birds.
In 2014, Wilson appeared in Wes Anderson's acclaimed ensemble comedy The Grand Budapest Hotel and in Paul Thomas Anderson's book adaptation of Inherent Vice. In 2015, he starred with Jennifer Aniston in Peter Bogdanovich's film She's Funny That Way, and in the action thriller film No Escape alongside Lake Bell and Pierce Brosnan. Wilson's films have grossed more than US$2.25 billion domestically (United States and Canada), with an average of US$75M per film.
In 2017, Wilson again voiced Lightning McQueen in Cars 3, played a suburban father in the drama Wonder, and co-starred with Ed Helms in the comedy Father Figures. In November 2017, Wilson became the face of a new £20 million advertising campaign for the UK sofa retailer Sofology. He returned to work with Sofology in 2019 for a second advertising campaign.
In 2021, Wilson starred in the comedy film Bliss, directed by Mike Cahill opposite Salma Hayek for Amazon Studios. In 2021, Wilson also reunited with Wes Anderson for The French Dispatch, which premiered at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. and Marry Me alongside Jennifer Lopez and directed by Kat Coiro for Universal Pictures.
Wilson is currently starring in the Marvel Cinematic Universe series Loki opposite Tom Hiddleston on Disney+ as Mobius M. Mobius. He also signed on to star in a new film adaptation of The Haunted Mansion.
In August 2007, Wilson attempted suicide and was subsequently treated for depression at St. John's Health Center and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. A few days after his hospitalization, Wilson withdrew from his role in Tropic Thunder, which was produced by and co-starred his friend and frequent collaborator Ben Stiller and was replaced by Matthew McConaughey. The incident resulted in much unwanted publicity for Wilson, and he has been wary of doing interviews ever since. However, Wilson opened up about his suicide attempt with an article with Esquire in 2021, 14 years to the month after the event. Within the article, Wilson described how his older brother, Andrew, supported him during his recovery.
In January 2011, Wilson and his then-girlfriend Jade Duell had a son. Wilson and Duell ended their relationship later that year. In January 2014, he had a son with Caroline Lindqvist. He had a third child, a daughter, in October 2018 with ex-girlfriend Varunie Vongsvirates.
|1996||Bottle Rocket||Dignan||Also writer|
|The Cable Guy||Robin's Date|
|As Good as It Gets||—||Associate producer|
|1999||The Haunting||Luke Sanderson|
|Breakfast of Champions||Monte Rapid|
|The Minus Man||Vann Siegert|
|2000||Shanghai Noon||Roy O'Bannon|
|Meet the Parents||Kevin Rawley|
|The Royal Tenenbaums||Eli Cash||Also writer|
|Behind Enemy Lines||Lt. Chris Burnett|
|2002||I Spy||Alex Scott|
|The Sweatbox||Himself||Archive footage; haven't been released to the public|
|2003||Shanghai Knights||Roy O'Bannon|
|2004||The Big Bounce||Jack Ryan|
|Starsky & Hutch||Ken Hutchinson|
|Around the World in 80 Days||Wilbur Wright|
|The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou||Ned Plimpton|
|Meet the Fockers||Kevin Rawley|
|2005||The Wendell Baker Story||Neil King|
|Wedding Crashers||John Beckwith|
|Mater and the Ghostlight||Voice; Short|
|You, Me and Dupree||Randolph Dupree||Also producer|
|Night at the Museum||Jedediah||Uncredited|
|2007||The Darjeeling Limited||Francis Whitman|
|2008||Drillbit Taylor||Drillbit Taylor|
|Marley & Me||John Grogan|
|2009||Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian||Jedediah|
|Fantastic Mr. Fox||Coach Skip||Voice|
|How Do You Know||Matty Reynolds|
|Little Fockers||Kevin Rawley|
|2011||Hall Pass||Richard "Rick" Mills|
|Midnight in Paris||Gil Pender|
|Cars 2||Lightning McQueen||Voice|
|The Big Year||Kenny Bostick|
|2013||The Internship||Nick Campbell|
|Are You Here||Steve Dallas|
|2014||The Grand Budapest Hotel||M. Chuck|
|The Hero of Color City||Ricky The Dragon||Voice|
|Inherent Vice||Coy Harlingen|
|Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb||Jedediah|
|2015||She's Funny That Way||Arnold Albertson|
|No Escape||Jack Dwyer|
|2016||Zoolander 2||Hansel McDonald|
|2017||Lost in London||Himself|
|Cars 3||Lightning McQueen||Voice|
|Father Figures||Kyle Reynolds|
|The French Dispatch||Herbsaint Sazerac|
|2022||Marry Me||Charlie Gilbert|
|Secret Headquarters||Jack Kincaid / The Guard|
|2023||Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania||Mobius M. Mobius||Uncredited cameo; post-credits scene|
|†||Denotes films that have not yet been released|
|1999||Heat Vision and Jack||Heat Vision||Voice; Short|
|2001||King of the Hill||Rhett Van Der Graaf||Voice; Episode: "Luanne Virgin 2.0"|
|2010||Community||Other Study Group's Leader||Episode: "Investigative Journalism"; uncredited|
|2013||Drunk History||John Harvey Kellogg||Episode: "Detroit"|
|2014||Cars Toons: Tales From Radiator Springs||Lightning McQueen||Voice; Episode: "The Radiator Springs 500 ½"|
|2016||Saturday Night Live||Hansel McDonald||Episode: "Larry David/The 1975"|
|2019||Documentary Now!||Father Ra-Shawbard||Episode: "Batsh*t Valley" (2 parts)|
|2021–present||Loki||Mobius M. Mobius|
|2021||Saturday Night Live||Himself (host)||Episode: "Owen Wilson/Kacey Musgraves"|
|2022||Cars on the Road||Lightning McQueen||Voice; Disney+ Original Short Series|
|2012||Kinect Rush: A Disney-Pixar Adventure|
|2014||Cars: Fast as Lightning|
|2018||Lego The Incredibles|
|2006||"God's Gonna Cut You Down"||Johnny Cash|
|2008||"You Don't Think I'm Funny Anymore"||Willie Nelson|
|2013||"Christmas in L.A."||The Killers|
Awards and nominations
- Frat Pack, group of actors he has appeared in several films with
- Pulliam, June Michele; Fonseca, Anthony J. (September 26, 2016). Ghosts in Popular Culture and Legend. ISBN 9781440834912.
- "Monitor". Entertainment Weekly. No. 1181. November 18, 2011. p. 34.
- "Today in history: November 18". NBC News. November 18, 2006. Retrieved April 13, 2012.
- "'Loki' Season 2 Gets Premiere Date On Disney+". Deadline.
- Stuever, Hank. "The Brothers Grin", The Washington Post, July 20, 2006.
- "Owen Wilson: Snapshot". Retrieved June 12, 2014.
- "Owen Wilson Answers The Web's Most Searched Questions". Wired - Yahoo News. Archived from the original on March 11, 2022. Retrieved April 18, 2022.
- "'Bottle Rocket': THR's 1996 Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 26, 2023.
- Obias, Rudie (December 11, 2018). "15 Facts About Rushmore". Mental Floss. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
- "Revealing The Secrets Of 'Rushmore' On Its 20th Anniversary". Zimbio. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
- Boone, Brian (September 26, 2016). "Actors you didn't know were hiding in your favorite movies". Looper.com. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
- "Wes Anderson - Biography". Biography.com. Biography.com. Retrieved August 28, 2015.
- Topel, Fred (December 23, 2004). "Interview: Wes Anderson". CHUD.com. Retrieved September 29, 2006.
- "Shanghai Dawn: Chan and Wilson team up for a third time". Empire. February 20, 2003. Retrieved May 2, 2017.
- Murray, Rebecca. "The Wendell Baker Story is a Real Wilson Family Affair". About.com. Retrieved August 27, 2007.
- "The Darjeeling Limited to premiere in NYC". Business of Cinema. August 19, 2007. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved August 27, 2007.
- Shoun, Holly (July 17, 2010). "The Darjeeling Limited up for Criterion Release". Owenation.com. Archived from the original on March 19, 2012. Retrieved July 17, 2010.
- Fleming, Michael (August 19, 2007). "Wilson, Aniston fetch Fox feature Pair to star in 'Marley & Me'". Variety. Retrieved August 27, 2007.
- Young, John (January 15, 2010). "'Community' recap: Jack Black attacks!". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 20, 2013.
- O'Neal, Sean (June 23, 2011). "Midnight in Paris could finally make something of this Woody Allen guy". AVclub.com. Retrieved June 29, 2011.
- "Midnight in Paris". Rotten Tomatoes. June 10, 2011. Retrieved June 29, 2011.
- "Midnight in Paris review". Rogerebert.com. Retrieved September 26, 2023.
- "Midnight in Paris movie review". Variety. Retrieved September 26, 2023.
- Shoun, Holly (March 13, 2010). "Steve Martin Goes Birdwatching". Owenation.com. Archived from the original on March 19, 2012. Retrieved June 23, 2010.
- "Owen Wilson Leads The Coup Overseas". Dread Central. April 24, 2012. Retrieved June 24, 2012.
- "Owen Wilson Returns to Action Mode in 'The Coup'". Deadline. April 24, 2012. Retrieved April 24, 2012.
- Shaw, Lucas (February 22, 2013). "Relativity Moves 'Turkeys' Up a Year; Amy Poehler Joins Voice Cast (Exclusive)". The Wrap. Retrieved February 23, 2013.
- Sperling, Nicole (March 17, 2010). "Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson pair up for kid-flick 'Turkeys'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 23, 2013.
- "Owen Wilson Latest to Join Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice [UPDATED]". May 10, 2013. Retrieved June 15, 2014.
- Dave McNary (September 15, 2017). "Ed Helms-Owen Wilson Comedy 'Bastards' Changes Title to 'Father Figures'". Variety.
- "Sofology signs up Hollywood star Owen Wilson". Prolific North. November 2, 2017.
- "Owen Wilson returns to Sofology TV ad campaign". www.furniturenews.net.
- Vlessing, Etan (June 20, 2019). "Salma Hayek, Owen Wilson to Star in 'Bliss' for Amazon Studios". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
- "Adrien Brody, Benicio del Toro, Owen Wilson, Willem Dafoe: Pluie de Stars Sur la Ville!". Charente Libre (in French). January 8, 2019. Archived from the original on January 10, 2019. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
- N'Duka, Amanda (April 22, 2019). "Jennifer Lopez, STX Reteaming For Rom-Com 'Marry Me'; Owen Wilson In Talks To Co-Star". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
- "Loki Casts Owen Wilson in Major Role For Disney Plus Series". ComicBook. Retrieved January 31, 2020.
- "Owen Wilson Joining Marvel's 'Loki' Series". The Hollywood Reporter. January 31, 2020. Retrieved April 29, 2022.
- Kit, Borys (September 8, 2021). "Owen Wilson to Star in Disney's 'Haunted Mansion' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 8, 2021.
- "Owen Wilson Suicide Attempt Confirmed". MTV News.
- "Owen Wilson: Battling Depression". Newsweek. October 14, 2007. Retrieved June 14, 2008.
- "Owen Wilson comedy role is recast". BBC News. September 20, 2007. Archived from the original on January 7, 2009.
- Horn, John; Piccalo, Gina (March 20, 2008). "Limited exposure". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 9, 2019.
- Kaleem Aftab (February 10, 2016). "Owen Wilson interview: The actor is back on track in Zoolander 2". The Independent. Archived from the original on May 24, 2022.
- Radding, Ben (February 22, 2019). "Prince Harry, Brad Pitt, and More Celebs Who Have Struggled With Depression". Men's Health.
- "Owen Wilson Is Doing Great, Thanks". Esquire. August 18, 2021. Retrieved August 8, 2022.
- "Owen Wilson becomes a father". USA Today. January 15, 2011. Retrieved January 17, 2011.
- "Revealed: Owen Wilson Names Son Robert Ford". People. January 19, 2011. Archived from the original on January 22, 2011. Retrieved January 19, 2011.
- Takeda, Allison (October 12, 2013). "Owen Wilson Expecting Baby With Married Fitness Trainer Caroline Lindqvist". Us Weekly. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
- Gicas, Peter (February 11, 2014). "Name of Owen Wilson's New Son Revealed—Check It Out!". E! News. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
- Leon, Anya (January 31, 2014). "Owen Wilson Welcomes Second Son". People. Archived from the original on February 1, 2014. Retrieved January 31, 2014.
- Leanne Aciz Stanton (October 10, 2018). "Owen Wilson Welcomes Third Child With Varunie Vongsvirates". Us Weekly.