Sullivan Stapleton

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Sullivan Stapleton
Sullivan Stapleton by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Stapleton in 2013
Born (1977-06-14) 14 June 1977 (age 38)[1]
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Nationality Australian
Occupation Actor
Years active 1994–present

Sullivan Stapleton (born 14 June 1977)[1] is an Australian actor who is best known for his roles in the SKY (BSkyB)/Cinemax/HBO television series Strike Back, the 2010 Sundance Film Festival selection Animal Kingdom and the film Kill Me Three Times.

Stapleton played the lead role, Greek leader Themistocles, in the film 300: Rise of an Empire (2014).[2][3] He was honored on 24 October 2013 with a Breakthrough Award at an exclusive Australians in Film Benefit Dinner held in Los Angeles.[4]

Life and career[edit]

Stapleton was born in Melbourne, Victoria.[5] He was eight years old when he and his younger sister, actress Jacinta Stapleton, six at the time, joined an acting and modelling agency. The idea first came to their aunt who signed her kids with the agency. She then asked her nephew and nieces if they would like to join and their mother signed them in.[6][7]

His picture caught the attention of a director who then invited him to be in his short film (about high school dropouts at a party where girls were dying, without the graphic violence). Pleased by his performance, the director qualified him as gifted and encouraged him to pursue acting.[7]

Stapleton received training at Melbourne's St. Martin's Theater. He studied drama and theater at Sandringham Secondary College (in Sandringham, Victoria, Australia).[8] He launched his career in Australia.[8] He got his actors' union card at the age of 9 (in 1986) and at the age of 11 he started working in ads.[9] His first onscreen acting performance was in the 1994 Australian TV-movie Baby Bath Massacre as Adrian.[8][10]

Between acting jobs, Stapleton did several types of work: modeling, cleaning animal cages in a pet shop, working as a grip (taking care of the camera equipment) in a considerable number of films and TV productions (The Elephant Princess, Rush, Tangle)[9] in front and behind the camera, working on building sites, and assisting carpenters.[7][8][9][11][12]

Before landing a role as Josh Hughes in Australia's soap opera Neighbours in 1998, he appeared in a string of little-seen features and homegrown dramas.[10] Other notable roles include Justin Davies in the Australian televised serial The Secret Life Of Us (between 2003 and 2005),[13] Fearless in the motion picture December Boys (released in 2007), special agent Wilkins in the mainstream feature, The Condemned (an American action film distributed in 2007).[14] But it was with Stapleton's performance in the Academy Award nominated film Animal Kingdom, which premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, that he made an international breakthrough.[7][10][13]

When Animal Kingdom won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival interest in him sparked on two continents[9] and his career has taken him across the globe.[11] He made his second appearance in the Underbelly, an Australian true crime drama television series. This time he was the lead character, Colin McLaren in Underbelly Files: Infiltration, an endurance test and the first challenging shoot of his career.[9] Previously he played Pat Barbaro in Underbelly (episode Suffer the Children) in 2008.[9][11]

In early 2014, Stapleton was in Thailand for the filming of the TV series Strike Back. In February on a night out in Bangkok after work, he fell off a tuk-tuk (a type of motorised rickshaw) and suffered a head injury. Shooting for the show was paused for six months to allow his full recovery. Airing of the final season was also pushed to 2015.[15][16]


Stapleton had a two and a half year relationship with Australian actress Carla Bonner. They split in 2007.[8][17] He first met Australian television personality Jo Beth Taylor in Melbourne in 2004. She found him on Facebook and the two reconnected in 2010.[18] Their first appearance together as a couple was at the 2010 Kodak Inside Film Awards Red carpet (14 November 2010) at Sydney City Recital Hall, Angel Place.[19] The relationship ended a few months before September 2011.[8][12]


Year Title Role Notes
1996 River Street Chris
1998 Amy Wayne Lassiter
2000 Bored Olives Dom
2003 Darkness Falls Officer Matt Henry
2004 Everything Goes Jack Short movie
2007 The Condemned Special Agent Wilkins
2007 The Bloody Sweet Hit Carl Short movie
2007 December Boys Fearless
2010 Animal Kingdom Craig Cody
2010 Centre Place James Ballintyne
2013 Gangster Squad Jack Whalen
2014 300: Rise of an Empire Themistocless
2014 Kill Me Three Times Nathan Webb
2014 Cut Snake Pommie
2016 The Lake Post-production[20]
Year Title Role Notes
1994 Baby Bath Massacre Adrian TV movie
1996–2003 Blue Heelers Gethin Fox/Anthony Hood/Ian Shannon (4 episodes)
  • "Father's Day: Part 1", "Father's Day: Part 2" (as Gethin Fox)
  • "Victims" (as Anthony Hood)
  • "Second Innings" (as Ian Shannon)
1997 Good Guys Bad Guys Paul Morello (1 episode); "A Bilby in Rat's Clothing"
1998 Raw FM Bucky (1 episode) "Raw'n'Sore"
1998 Neighbours Josh Hughes Recurring role; 10 episodes
1998 The Genie from Down Under 2 Surfer #2 (1 episode); "The Cold Shoulder"
1998 Halifax f.p. Hamish (1 episode); "Afraid of the Dark"
1997–1998 State Coroner 'Bullbar' Benson/Darren Pyke (2 episodes)
  • "Sunday in the Country" (as 'Bullbar' Benson)
  • "Final Approach" (as Darren Pyke)
1999 Witch Hunt Craig Thomas
1999 Pigs Breakfast
1999 Stingers Matt Wilmott (1 episode); "Dance With the Dragon"
2000 Something in the Air Wayne Taylor (4 episodes); "The Best Man", "The Things We Do", "The Big Match", "Return of the Prodigal"
2000 Green Sails Infante TV movie
2001 My Brother Jack Young Joe TV movie
2002 MDA Ben Quilty (2 episodes); "Rites of Passage", "One Small Step"
2003–2005 The Secret Life of Us Justin Davies Main role; 24 episodes
2005 Little Oberon Martin TV movie
2006 McLeod's Daughters Drew Cornwell (1 episode); "Winners & Losers"
2007–2009 Satisfaction Josh Recurring role; 13 episodes
2008 Underbelly Pat Barbaro (1 episode); "Suffer the Children"
2008 Canal Road Jack Logan (3 episodes); "Episode 2", "Episode 5", "Episode 10"
2008 Rush Yuri (1 episode) "Episode 12"
2009 Carla Cametti PD Matt Brodie Recurring role; 6 episodes
2009 Sea Patrol Geoff Kershaw (1 episode); "Guns"
2010 The Odds Wade TV movie
2010 Lowdown Oliver Barry
2011 Underbelly Files: Infiltration Colin McLaren Main role; TV movie
2011–2015 Strike Back Sgt. Damien Scott Main role; 30 episodes
2015 Blindspot Kurt Weller Main role

Awards and nominations[edit]


  1. ^ a b Sullivan Stapleton comment on Facebook thread on 10 February 2013.
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ (28 August 2013), 'Next big thing' Sullivan Stapleton and Jacki Weaver to be honoured at Australians in Film reception. "News Limited", Australia
  5. ^
  6. ^ Neighbours Newspaper and Magazine Articles
  7. ^ a b c d
  8. ^ a b c d e f "Sullivan Stapleton Biography". TV Guide. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f Enker, Debi (10 February 2011). "How a little LA interest goes a long way". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
  10. ^ a b c "Sullivan Stapleton Biography". Yahoo! Movies. Yahoo!. Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
  11. ^ a b c Groves, Don (5 November 2012). "Stapleton breaks out after Animal Kingdom". Special Broadcasting Service. Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
  12. ^ a b Dennehy, Luke (18 September 2011). "A chance to build his career". Herald Sun. Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
  13. ^ a b
  14. ^ biography
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ Celebri
  18. ^ Digital Spy
  19. ^ "Jo Beth Taylor found new love Sullivan Stapleton on Facebook". 15 November 2010. Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
  20. ^ "Luc Besson Finds New Action Hero? EuropaCorp Sets Sullivan Stapleton For ‘The Lake’". 
  21. ^ (27 October 2010), David Michôd's 'Animal Kingdom' Dominates The Australian Film Institute Award Nominations. "Indiewire", Los Angeles
  22. ^ (26 August 2013), Jacki Weaver and Sullivan Stapleton tapped for top award from Australians in Film. "Variety", Los Angeles

External links[edit]