Dano at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival
|Born||Paul Franklin Dano
June 19, 1984
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Alma mater||Pace University|
|Occupation||Actor, film producer|
|Partner(s)||Zoe Kazan (2007–present)|
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 roles as Paul & Eli Sunday in There Will Be Blood (2007), Dano was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor. He has also received awards and accolades for roles such as John Tibeats in 12 Years a Slave (2013) and Alex Jones in Prisoners (2013). His recent acting credits include the portrayal of musician Brian Wilson in Love & Mercy (2014).
Dano was born in New York City, New York, the son of Gladys (née Pipp) and Paul A. Dano. He has a younger sister, Sarah. On his father's side, Dano is of Slovak descent and on his mother's side, he is of Austrian, Swedish and Bohemian Czech descent.
He 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 theatre, and while performing in New Canaan, his parents were encouraged to take him to New York.
At age 10, Dano was noted for roles in classical plays on Broadway, making his debut at age 12 in a revival of Inherit the Wind along with 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 17, playing the character of Howie Blitzer, a teenage boy who becomes involved with a middle-aged paedophile, played by Brian Cox, in L.I.E. (2001). He then appeared in the TV movie 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. In 2005, he played supporting roles in The King with Gael Garcia Bernal, and The Ballad of Jack and Rose with Daniel Day-Lewis.
He came to greater attention in 2006, when he played 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. Dano's work with Daniel Day-Lewis led to a dual role opposite him in his next film, Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood, playing identical twin brothers Eli and Paul Sunday. This earned him a BAFTA nomination for Best Supporting Actor, and brought him positive reviews, with Texas Monthly saying that his performance was "so electric that the movie sags whenever he's not around." and Peter Travers remarking "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 The 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 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.
|1998||Smart Guy||Nicholas||Episode: "She Got Game"|
|2002–2004||The Sopranos||Patrick Whalen||2 episodes|
|2015||Codes of Conduct||Jared Rotmensen||Second collaboration with Steve McQueen|
|2016||War and Peace||Pierre Bezukhov||6 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|
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- "Actual Couples Explore a Fantasy, the Aesthetic Sort". The New York Times. 20 July 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
- "Love and Mercy's Paul Dano relates to Brian Wilson's tortured genius". The Sydney Morning Herald. 4 June 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
- Lee, Jinnie (2007-11-27). "Meet Mook". Nylon Magazine.
- "A Boys’ Guide to Narcotizing the Pain". The New York Times. 8 November 2007. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
- Little Miss Sunshine. Broadcast Film Critics Association.