Dano at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival
Paul Franklin Dano
June 19, 1984
New York City, U.S.
|Partner(s)||Zoe Kazan (2007–present)|
Dano started his career on Broadway before making his film debut in The Newcomers (2000). He won the Independent Spirit Award for Best Debut Performance for his role in L.I.E. (2002) and received accolades for his role as Dwayne Hoover in Little Miss Sunshine (2006). For his dual roles as Paul and Eli Sunday in There Will Be Blood (2007), he was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Dano has also received accolades for roles such as John Tibeats in 12 Years a Slave (2013) and Alex Jones in Prisoners (2013). His acting portrayal of musician Brian Wilson in Love & Mercy (2014) earned him a Golden Globe nomination in the category of Best Supporting Actor. He has been cast as The Riddler in The Batman (2022).
Dano made his directorial debut with the 2018 drama film Wildlife, based on the novel by Richard Ford and starring Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal. He co-wrote the screenplay with his partner Zoe Kazan. In 2018, he starred in the Showtime miniseries Escape at Dannemora, for which he received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie.
Dano was born in New York City, New York, the son of Gladys (née Pipp) and Paul A. Dano. He has a younger sister named Sarah. Dano spent the first few years of his childhood in New York City and initially attended the Browning School, while his father worked as a businessman in New York.
While he was a child, Dano's family moved to New Canaan, Connecticut, finally settling in Wilton, Connecticut. Dano continued his education there at Wilton High School, graduating in 2002 and attending Eugene Lang College in New York City. He was involved in community theater, and while he was performing in New Canaan, his parents were encouraged to take him to New York.
At age ten, Dano was noted for roles in classical plays on Broadway, making his debut at age twelve in John Tillinger's Broadway revival of Inherit the Wind alongside George C. Scott and Charles Durning. He appeared in an episode of the sitcom Smart Guy and a minor role in the 2000 family drama The Newcomers, as well playing the part of Patrick Whalen, in a few episodes of The Sopranos in season 4.
Dano acted in his first major film role when he was sixteen, playing Howie Blitzer, a teenage boy who becomes involved with a middle-aged ephebophile (Brian Cox) in L.I.E. (2001). He then appeared in the television film Too Young to Be a Dad as a high school student whose life is disrupted when his girlfriend becomes pregnant. In 2004, he played a small role as young Martin Asher in Taking Lives with Angelina Jolie and Ethan Hawke. Additionally, Dano starred in the sleeper hit The Girl Next Door, alongside Elisha Cuthbert, Emile Hirsch, and Chris Marquette. In 2005, he played supporting roles in The King and The Ballad of Jack and Rose.
He came to greater attention in 2006, when he played as Dwayne, a voluntarily mute teenager as part of an ensemble in the comedic drama Little Miss Sunshine, which received critical acclaim and collective awards for its cast. He also had a supporting role in the 2004 film Fast Food Nation, based on the nonfiction book by Eric Schlosser. Dano had a dual role for the 2007 period film There Will Be Blood, which earned him positive reviews and a BAFTA nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Texas Monthly said that his performance was "so electric that the movie sags whenever he's not around." Peter Travers remarked "All praise to the baby-faced Dano...for bringing sly cunning and unexpected ferocity to Plainview's most formidable opponent." Rolling Stone magazine included Dano in its Hot List for 2007, calling his performance style "Daniel Day-Lewis + Billy Crudup × Johnny Depp."
Dano appeared in several additional Broadway productions including A Thousand Clowns at the Roundabout Theatre, and in the Ethan Hawke directorial debut Things We Want during its 2007 Off-Broadway run.
In 2008, he starred in Gigantic, a poorly-reviewed film about a man seeking to adopt a Chinese baby, co-starring Zooey Deschanel. He reunited with Brian Cox in 2009's Good Heart, a low-budget English-language Icelandic film. He provided the voice of one of the creatures in the film adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are. He played a genius inventor in 2010's Knight and Day, an action thriller starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. The same year he appeared in Meek's Cutoff, a well-reviewed historical drama. In 2011, he had a supporting role in the big-budget science fiction film Cowboys and Aliens.
Dano appeared in three feature films in 2012: Ruby Sparks, as a writer whose fictional character (played by Zoe Kazan, the film's writer and Dano's girlfriend) inexplicably appears as a real person; time-travel thriller Looper, in a supporting role with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis; and with Robert De Niro in Being Flynn as the film's writer Nick Flynn, about his relationship with his father. In 2013, Dano appeared in Steve McQueen’s period drama biopic 12 Years a Slave, based on the memoirs of Solomon Northup. Dano portrayed John Tibeats, an overseer at the plantation Northup is sold to. The film was a massive critical success and won the Academy Award for Best Picture, among numerous other awards.
In 2014, Dano played a younger version of the Beach Boys founder Brian Wilson, with John Cusack as an older version of Wilson, in the biopic Love & Mercy, for which he received a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
In 2015, Dano appeared with Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel in the Italian comedy-drama Youth; Dano portrayed Jimmy Tree, an actor who is researching for an upcoming role but is frustrated that he is best-remembered by the public for a prior role as a robot. In January 2016, Dano appeared as Pierre Bezukhov in the BBC's six-part adaptation of Tolstoy's War and Peace.
In the Autumn of 2016, he appeared in video as an onstage "stand-in" during the Nostalgia For the Present concert tour of Australian singer Sia Furler for her song, "Bird Set Free." In 2018, he portrayed escaped inmate David Sweat in the Showtime miniseries Escape at Dannemora alongside Patricia Arquette and Benicio Del Toro, for which he received a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series.
From December 27, 2018 to March 17, 2019, Dano starred in the critically acclaimed Broadway Revival of Sam Shepard's True West with Ethan Hawke at the Roundabout Theater Company’s American Airlines Theater in New York.
In July 2016, it was announced that Dano would make his directorial debut with the movie Wildlife, based on the 1990 novel of the same name, by Richard Ford. The movie would be produced by June Pictures, and would star Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal. Dano stated, "I have always wanted to make films and have always known I would make films about family. I couldn't be happier to have such beautiful collaborators like Carey and Jake leading the way." The film opened to rapturous reviews after its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. It also played at the Cannes Film Festival, the Toronto Film Festival and the Mill Valley Film Festival. The film has earned a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes with the consensus reading, "Wildlife's portrait of a family in crisis is beautifully composed by director Paul Dano -- and brought brilliantly to life by a career-best performance from Carey Mulligan". Wildlife was nominated for 3 Independent Spirit Awards for Best First Feature, Best Female Lead (Mulligan), and Cinematography (Diego Garcia).
Dano is the vocalist and lead guitarist of the band Mook.
As an Actor
As a Director
|2018||Wildlife||Co-writer and producer|||
|1998||Smart Guy||Nicholas||Episode: "She Got Game"|
|2002||Too Young to Be a Dad||Matt Freeman||Television film|
|2002–2004||The Sopranos||Patrick Whalen||2 episodes|
|2015||Codes of Conduct||Jared Rotmensen||Pilot|
|2016||War & Peace||Pierre Bezukhov||8 episodes|
|2018||Escape at Dannemora||David Sweat||7 episodes|
|1996||Inherit the Wind||Howard||Royale Theatre|
|1997–1998||A Christmas Carol||Street Urchin||The Theater at Madison Square Garden|
|2007||Things We Want||Charles||Acorn Theatre|
|2010–2011||A Free Man of Color||Meriwether Lewis||Vivian Beaumont Theater|
|2019||True West||Austin||American Airlines Theater|
Awards and nominations
- "'Wildlife' | Anatomy of a Scene". The New York Times. November 1, 2018. Retrieved November 22, 2018.
- "Paul Dano - Biography". The New York Times. Retrieved September 17, 2015.
- Grandjean, Pat, "First People" column, item titled "The Buzz", Connecticut Magazine, November 2006, p. 17.
- "Spotlight again on Wilton's Paul Dano - Thehour.com: Norwalk". Thehour.com. March 5, 2008. Archived from the original on February 26, 2012. Retrieved October 25, 2015.
- "'Ruby Sparks' Paul Dano chills out in Pennsylvania - tribunedigital-mcall". Articles.mcall.com. July 26, 2012. Retrieved October 25, 2015.
- MacEachern, Frank. "Spotlight again on Wilton's Paul Dano". Wilton Villager.[permanent dead link]
- "Fair Game – Paul Dano". Public Radio International.
- Ryzik, Melena (April 2, 2009). "Chasing Stardom, in No Particular Rush". New York Times. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
- Blunt, Emily. "Stephen Ryder Tells A Lie". Blunt Review. Archived from the original on May 28, 2008. Retrieved May 2, 2008.
- Kelly, Christopher. "Crude Truth". Texas Monthly. 35 (12):68–70. December 2007.
- Travers, Peter. "There Will Be Blood." Rolling Stone. (1044):70. 2008-01-24
- Savage, Lesley (2007-10-18), "THE NEXT GENERATION". Rolling Stone. (1037):76
- "BBC - BBC One announces cast for epic new event drama War and Peace - Media Centre". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved January 12, 2016.
- Stevenson, Jane. "Crowd eats up pop star Sia's minimalistic show". Torontosun.com. Retrieved November 6, 2016.
- Brantley, Ben (March 17, 2019). "Review: Ethan Hawke and Paul Dano Go Mano a Mano in the Riveting 'True West'" – via NYTimes.com.
- "'The Batman' Casts Paul Dano as the Riddler". The Hollywood Reporter. October 17, 2019. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
- McNary, Dave (July 29, 2016). "Paul Dano to Make Directorial Debut With Indie Drama 'Wildlife'". Variety. Retrieved October 30, 2016.
- Pedersen, Erik (September 23, 2016). "Jake Gyllenhaal & Carey Mulligan Star In 'Wildlife', Paul Dano's Directing Debut". Deadline. Retrieved October 30, 2016.
- "MVFF: Spotlight on Paul Dano - Marin Matters - September 2018". www.marinmagazine.com. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
- "Wildlife (2018)" – via www.rottentomatoes.com.
- Lee, Jinnie (November 27, 2007). "Meet Mook". Nylon Magazine. Archived from the original on September 16, 2011.
- "Actual Couples Explore a Fantasy, the Aesthetic Sort". The New York Times. July 20, 2012. Retrieved July 3, 2015.
- "Love and Mercy's Paul Dano relates to Brian Wilson's tortured genius". The Sydney Morning Herald. June 4, 2015. Retrieved July 3, 2015.
- "Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan Welcome a Daughter". People. October 25, 2018.
- Ugwu, Jeffrey (January 2, 2019). "Paul Dano's Cup Runneth Over (and Over)". The New York Times. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
- Pedersen, Erik. "Jake Gyllenhaal & Carey Mulligan Star In 'Wildlife', Paul Dano's Directing Debut". deadline. Retrieved September 23, 2016.
- "A Boys' Guide to Narcotizing the Pain". The New York Times. November 8, 2007. Retrieved July 3, 2015.