Roché at an event in June 2013
4 August 1964 |
|Residence||Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|Alma mater||CNSAD and ENSATT|
Sebastian Roché (born 4 August 1964) is a French actor and writer known for his roles as Kurt Mendel on Odyssey 5, Jerry Jacks on the soap opera General Hospital, Thomas Jerome Newton on Fringe, Balthazar on Supernatural, and Mikael Mikaelson on both The Vampire Diaries and The Originals.
On film, he has appeared in The Last of the Mohicans (1992), The Peacemaker (1997), 15 Minutes (2001), Sorry, Haters (2005), The Namesake (2006), New York City Serenade (2007), Beowulf (2007), Happy Tears (2009), Safe House (2012), Wer (2013), and A Walk Among the Tombstones (2014). In addition to his film and television work, Roché has starred in the Broadway stage productions of Salome (1992) and The Green Bird (2000).
Roché was born in Paris, France to a French father and British mother. As a teenager, he lived for six years on a sailboat with his parents and brothers, travelling to the Mediterranean, Africa, South America, and the Caribbean. He is a graduate of the prestigious Conservatoire National Supérieur d'Art Dramatique (CNSAD) of Paris. Roché also studied at the Cours Florent and the Conservatoire de la Rue Blanche (ENSATT). Upon his graduation from the CNSAD in 1989, Roché started working in French theatre, films and television with actors such as Michel Serrault, Isabelle Huppert, and Béatrice Dalle.
1986–2001: Beginnings and stage work
Roché began his acting career in the made-for-television film The Murders in the Rue Morgue, appearing opposite Ian McShane and Val Kilmer, which aired on CBS on 7 December 1986. Throughout the late 1980s, he had roles in French television and cinema, including the films Adieu je t'aime (1988), La Queue de la comète (1988), La Révolution française (1989), and La vengeance d'une femme (1989), and the television series Bonjour maître (1987) and The Hitchhiker (1989–91). Roché also has an extensive classical theatre background, notably starring in Salome (1992) with Al Pacino at the Circle in the Square Theatre; Titus Andronicus (1994) with the Theatre for a New Audience, Off-Broadway, directed by Julie Taymor; Macbeth (1994) at the Classic Stage Company, directed by Jack Stehlin; and Arms and the Man (1995) in Hartford, Connecticut, directed by Mark Lamos. He appeared in a supporting role in the Daniel Day-Lewis-starring historical epic The Last of the Mohicans, which was released in the United States on 25 September 1992. On American television, he appeared in Loving (1992), South Beach (1993), New York Undercover (1996), Swift Justice (1996), and Liberty! (1997).
In 1997, Roché was part of the main cast in the Fox fantasy adventure series Roar, playing the role of Saint Longinus. He starred opposite Heath Ledger and Vera Farmiga. The series was cancelled due to low ratings later that same year. Roché's many 1990s television credits include recurring and guest starring stints in series such as Feds (1997), Dellaventura (1997), Sex and the City (1998), Merlin (1998), Law & Order (1999), and Big Apple (2001). In 1998, he returned to the stage in the Off-Broadway production of Trainspotting at the Players Theater. In 2000, he portrayed Renzo in the Broadway production of The Green Bird at the Cort Theatre. The play marked his second collaboration with director Julie Taymor. That same year, he appeared in the television film The Crossing opposite Jeff Daniels, which aired on A&E on 10 January 2000. He also had a minor role in the Robert De Niro-starring thriller film 15 Minutes, released on 9 March 2001.
2002–13: Television breakthrough
In 2002, Roché began portraying Kurt Mendel in the Canadian sci-fi series Odyssey 5 for Showtime. He remained in the role until the show's cancellation a year later. In the pilot episode, he spoke French. He also guest starred in episodes of Touching Evil (2004), Charmed (2005), Alias (2005), CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2005), and The Unit (2006). Roché then co-starred in the Mira Nair-directed drama film The Namesake, released on 9 March 2007, and in the Darby Crash biopic What We Do Is Secret, released on 8 August 2008. He subsequently co-starred with Freddie Prinze, Jr. the comedy-drama New York City Serenade, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on 13 September 2007.
Roché next starred in the motion capture epic fantasy film Beowulf, alongside Anthony Hopkins and Angelina Jolie, which was directed by Robert Zemeckis and released to cinemas on 16 November 2007. He reprised his role as Wulfgar from the film in the accompanying video game Beowulf: The Game, released on 13 November 2007. In 2007, Roché began appearing in the ABC soap opera General Hospital as terrorist/criminal Jerry Jacks (although, when the character reappeared, he was going by the pseudonym James Craig). By 2009, Jerry had minimal screen time and was written out. From July to August 2009, Roché returned to the series in a recurring capacity, and returned again to the role in December 2010. From August 2012 to October 2013, Roché again returned as Jerry on a recurring basis. Roché starred in a total of 319 episodes, and has spoken Russian, Spanish, and French in the series.
In 2009, he guest starred in The Mentalist as Shirali Arlov, and as John Quinn in both 24: Redemption (2008), and the 2009 season of 24. Roché then appeared in the comedy-drama film Happy Tears with Demi Moore and Parker Posey, released on 19 February 2010, and leant his voice to the animated film The Adventures of Tintin, directed by Steven Spielberg, released on 21 December 2011. In 2010, Roché joined the recurring cast of The CW's drama series Supernatural. He starred in six episodes of the sixth season as Balthazar, a rogue angel and longtime friend of fellow angel Castiel. He was next cast in the Fox sci-fi drama series Fringe, recurring in the second and third seasons as Thomas Jerome Newton, the leader of an army of shapeshifters from a parallel universe and a main antagonist of the series.
In 2011, Roché began recurring as Mikael Mikaelson, the father of the Original Vampires, in The CW's supernatural drama series The Vampire Diaries. He then recurred as Clyde Easter in the CBS procedural crime drama series Criminal Minds. Roché next had a supporting role in the action-thriller film Safe House, starring Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington, which was released on 10 February 2012. Also in 2012, he made a guest appearance in NBC's procedural fantasy drama series Grimm. He then starred in William Brent Bell's horror film Wer, released first in Japan on 16 November 2013.
2014–present: Continued television work
From 2014 to 2015, Roché reprised his role as Mikael in The Vampire Diaries spin-off series, The Originals. Roché then starred in the American crime drama-thriller film A Walk Among the Tombstones alongside Liam Neeson, released on 19 September 2014. In March 2014, he joined ABC's political drama series Scandal in a recurring capacity. In December 2014, it was announced that Roché would guest star in season four of ABC's fairy tale drama series Once Upon a Time as King Stefan. Roché starred as Pierre Curie in an episode of the documentary miniseries The Mystery of Matter: Search for the Elements, which aired on PBS on 19 August 2015. Roché then guest starred in season seven of CBS' procedural drama series NCIS: Los Angeles, as Lee Ashman.
In 2016, Roché will co-star in the Paolo Sorrentino-directed miniseries The Young Pope, alongside Jude Law and James Cromwell. He will also have a recurring role in the second season of Amazon Video's drama series The Man in the High Castle as Martin Heusmann, the estranged Nazi father of main character Joe Blake. In May 2016, Roché joined the cast of Christopher Gorham's directorial debut comedy film We Love You, Sally Carmichael, portraying movie star Perry King.
Roché moved to the United States in 1992. He met American actress Vera Farmiga while co-starring together in the short-lived television series Roar, and eloped to the Bahamas with her after the series ended in 1997. The couple resided on a 117-acre estate in Upstate New York. After seven years of marriage, Roché and Farmiga separated in 2003 and divorced the following year.
In 2007, Roché purchased a 3-bedroom house in Venice, Los Angeles, for $1.52 million. On 31 May 2014, he married Australian actress Alicia Hannah Kim in a private ceremony at the Chateau Les Bouysses in Mercuès, France.
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