Rafe Spall

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Rafe Spall
Rafe Spall and wife Elize Du Toit (8464856194) (Spall cropped).jpg
Spall in 2013
Rafe Joseph Spall

(1983-03-10) 10 March 1983 (age 39)
Camberwell, London, England
Years active2001–present
(m. 2010)
ParentTimothy Spall (father)

Rafe Joseph Spall[1] (born 10 March 1983)[2] is an English actor.

Spall has appeared in films including Kidulthood (2006), A Good Year (2006), One Day (2011), Anonymous (2011), Prometheus (2012), Life of Pi (2012), The Big Short (2015), The BFG (2016), The Ritual (2017), and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018). Spall played the title role of Pete Griffiths in Pete versus Life from 2010–2011, and has portrayed characters on the TV series The Shadow Line and Black Mirror. Spall also appeared in the Men in Black spin-off film Men in Black: International (2019).

Since May 2020, Spall has starred in the Apple TV+ comedy series Trying.

Early life[edit]

Spall was born at King's College Hospital in Camberwell, London, the second of three children of Shane (née Baker) and actor Timothy Spall. Named after the protagonist in The Knight of the Burning Pestle, a role his father played in the Royal Shakespeare Company and one he would later play himself, he always had ambitions to act. When he was 14,[3] his father was diagnosed with myeloid leukaemia and spent the next 18 months in treatment.

Rafe was overweight as a teen, which he calls a "painful" experience.[4] Having achieved poor grades at his school, Haberdashers' Aske's Hatcham College,[5] he left to become an actor and joined the National Youth Theatre at 15. He failed to get into his chosen drama schools, such as RADA, at 17, but worked anyway. After being perennially cast in "fat" roles, he lost 77 lbs (35kg) at age 19, which brought more acting opportunities.[4]


Spall has frequently collaborated with Edgar Wright, appearing in his films Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World's End alongside Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Spall was also featured in Wright's segment in the 2007 Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez film Grindhouse.

In 2007, Spall performed for the first time with his father in the ITV adaptation of A Room with a View playing father and son.[6]

In 2011, Spall starred in the romantic tragedy film One Day opposite Anne Hathaway.

In 2012, Spall portrayed Canadian author Yann Martel in the Academy Award-winning drama film Life of Pi, directed by Ang Lee and starring Suraj Sharma and Irrfan Khan. The film was a critical and financial success, winning four Academy Awards and making over $600 million at the box office. In 2013, he played the newlywed husband in I Give It a Year, a comedy about the trials and tribulations of a couple during their first year of marriage.[7]

In 2014, Spall appeared in the coming-of-age drama X+Y, alongside Asa Butterfield and Sally Hawkins, and the seasonal family comedy Get Santa. In 2015, he played John Hancock in the History Channel three-part series, Sons of Liberty, alongside Jim Broadbent, and appeared in the Academy Award-winning biographical comedy-drama The Big Short, alongside Christian Bale, Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling and Steve Carell. Also that year, Spall played Harry Price in Harry Price: Ghost Hunter, ITV's adaptation of Neil Spring's debut novel, The Ghost Hunters. The film aired on ITV1 on 27 December.[8]

Spall portrayed Eli Mills in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018), the fifth instalment of Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park series, and directed by The Impossible helmer J. A. Bayona.[9]

Since 2020, Spall has a leading role in the Apple TV+ comedy series Trying, opposite Esther Smith and Imelda Staunton. The first season premiered on 1 May 2020. The second season premiered on 12 May 2021.

He also played DS Bailey in the 2020 BBC drama The Salisbury Poisonings.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Spall says he has always struggled with his weight, going up to 114 kg (251 lb), but said that he was given so many character parts that he attempted to slim down, losing over 32 kg (71 lb).[11] Like his father, he is a keen supporter of Crystal Palace. He is a patron of the Actors' Centre.[12]

In February 2008, Spall met actress Elize du Toit; they were married on 14 August 2010[13] and live in West Kensington, London.[14] They have three children: a daughter Lena, born 2011, a son Rex, born November 2012 and another son born in 2015.[13]



Year Title Role Notes
2001 Beginner's Luck Danny Film debut
2004 Shaun of the Dead Noel
The Calcium Kid Stan Parlour
2005 Green Street Hooligans Swill
The Last Drop Pvt. David Wellings
2006 Kidulthood Lenny
A Good Year Kenny
2007 Hot Fuzz D.C. Andy Cartwright
Grindhouse Featured Ghost Segment: "Don't"
2008 Close Eric [15]
2009 The Scouting Book For Boys Steve
Modern Life Is Rubbish Liam [16]
2010 Behind the Door Bobby
Sus D.C. Wilby
2011 Anonymous William Shakespeare
One Day Ian Whitehead
2012 Prometheus Millburn
Life of Pi Writer
Earthbound Joe Norman
2013 I Give It a Year Josh Moss
The World's End Young Man
The F Word Ben Also released as What If
2014 X+Y Martin Humphreys Nominated — BIFA Award for Best Supporting Actor[17]
Get Santa Steve
2015 The Big Short Danny Moses Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2016 The BFG Mr. Tibbs
Swallows and Amazons Jim Turner / Captain Flint
Mum's List Singe
2017 The Ritual Luke
2018 Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Eli Mills
2019 Men in Black: International[18][19] Agent C
Just Mercy Tommy Chapman
Denmark Herb
2021 Long Story Short Teddy


Year Title Role Notes
2002 Out of Control Ray Television film
2003 The Lion in Winter Prince John Television film
2004 The Legend of the Tamworth Two Crustie Television film
2005 The Rotters' Club Sean Harding 3 episodes
2005 Twisted Tales Dominic Episode: "Death Metal Chronicles"
2006 The Romantics John Clare Miniseries
2006 The Chatterley Affair Keith Television film
2006 Cracker DS McAllister Television film
2006 Wide Sargasso Sea Edward Rochester Television film
2006 Dracula Jonathan Harker Television film
2007 A Room with a View George Emerson Television film
2008 He Kills Coppers Frank Taylor Television film
2008 Frankie Howerd: Rather You Than Me Dennis Heymer Television film
2009 Agatha Christie's Marple Roger Bassington Episode: "Why Didn't They Ask Evans?"
2009 Desperate Romantics William Holman Hunt 6 episodes
2011 The Shadow Line Jay Wratten 6 episodes
2010–2011 Pete Versus Life Pete Griffiths 11 episodes
2014 Black Mirror Joe Potter Episode: "White Christmas"[20]
2015 Harry Price: Ghost Hunter Harry Price Television film
2015 Sons of Liberty John Hancock Miniseries
2016 Roadies Reg Whitehead 10 episodes
2018 Grandpa's Great Escape Adult Jack (voice) Television special
2019 The War of the Worlds George 3 episodes
2020–present Trying Jason Main role
2020 The Salisbury Poisonings DS Bailey TV series
TBA The English Upcoming series[21]




  1. ^ England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1916-2007
  2. ^ Yahoo! Movies profile Archived 22 December 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Radio interview "Comfort Eating with Grace Dent", Retrieved 2nd November 2021.
  4. ^ a b "Rafe Spall: From fat boy to slim son of Tim". Evening Standard. 28 July 2010. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  5. ^ Raphael, Amy (25 May 2012). "Rising son: Rafe Spall's time has come". Evening Standard. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  6. ^ Raphael, Amy (27 October 2007). "Rafe and Timothy Spall joint interview". Guardian. London. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
  7. ^ "I give it a year next year". www.stephenmerchant.com. 22 November 2012. Archived from the original on 3 February 2013. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
  8. ^ Blanket, Jo (27 August 2015). "Rafe Spall to star in new ITV drama Harry Price: Ghost Hunter". ITV. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  9. ^ Kroll, Justin (7 November 2016). "Toby Jones and Rafe Spall in Talks to Join Sequel to 'Jurassic World' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety.
  10. ^ McIntosh, Steven (14 June 2020). "TV drama revisits Salisbury poison attack 'horror'". BBC News. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  11. ^ Babb, Fran (19 August 2011). "Rafe Spall One Day Interview". Guardian. London. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
  12. ^ "Rafe Spall, Patron". actorscentre.co.uk/. Retrieved 18 September 2014.
  13. ^ a b Gilbert, Gerard (20 August 2011), "Rafe Spall Profile", Independent, London
  14. ^ "Rafe Spall My London", Evening Standard, 2009, archived from the original on 25 November 2009
  15. ^ "Close", Pollibee Pictures, 2008[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ "Modern Life Is Rubbish", BBC, 2009, archived from the original on 8 March 2012
  17. ^ "X Plus Y announces cast". 18 July 2013. Archived from the original on 1 August 2013. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
  18. ^ Kit, Borys (29 June 2018). "'Men in Black' Movie Spin-Off Adds 'Jurassic' Actor to Cast (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  19. ^ Chitwood, Adam (5 December 2018). "The 'Men in Black' Reboot Is Titled 'Men in Black International'". Collider. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
  20. ^ "'Mad Men' Star Jon Hamm Joins 'Black Mirror'", Variety, 2004
  21. ^ Kanter, Jake (11 May 2021). "'The English': Chaske Spencer, Rafe Spall Among Cast Joining Emily Blunt In BBC/Amazon Western Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 11 May 2021.
  22. ^ "Rafe Spall to star in West End premiere of To Kill a Mockingbird". the Guardian. 26 March 2021. Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  23. ^ "Constellations at The Royal Court Theatre". royalcourttheatre.com. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  24. ^ "Bush Theatre". Bush Theatre. 21 November 2009. Archived from the original on 17 August 2009. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  25. ^ "Hello and Goodbye - Athol Fugard - 2008 - Productions - English Touring Theatre". Ett.org.uk. 17 May 2008. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  26. ^ "Alaska at The Royal Court Theatre". royalcourttheatre.com. 23 June 2007. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  27. ^ "John Gabriel Borkman". Donmar Warehouse. 14 April 2007. Archived from the original on 14 December 2006. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  28. ^ "The Knight of the Burning Pestle". British Theatre Guide. Archived from the original on 18 November 2011. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  29. ^ "Just a Bloke at The Royal Court Theatre". royalcourttheatre.com. 17 November 2002. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  30. ^ "A Prayer for Owen Meany - Productions". National Theatre. Archived from the original on 21 November 2008. Retrieved 2 February 2012.

External links[edit]