Will Poulter

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Will Poulter
Will Poulter 2016 3.jpg
Poulter at the Paris premiere of The Revenant in 2016
William Jack Poulter

(1993-01-28) 28 January 1993 (age 28)
Years active2007–present

William Jack Poulter (born 28 January 1993) is an English actor. He first gained recognition for his role as Eustace Scrubb in the fantasy adventure film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010). Poulter received further praise for his starring role in the comedy film We're the Millers (2013), for which he won the BAFTA Rising Star Award.[1]

Poulter also starred in the science fiction film The Maze Runner (2014) and the sequel Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2018), the period epic film The Revenant (2015), the crime drama film Detroit (2017), the interactive science fiction film Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (2018), and the folk horror film Midsommar (2019).

Early life[edit]

Poulter was born in Hammersmith, London, England, the son of Caroline (née Barrah), a former nurse, and Neil Poulter, a distinguished physician and Professor of Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine at Imperial College London.[2][3] His mother was raised in Kenya.[4] He was a pupil at Harrodian School, whose well-known acting graduates include George MacKay, Robert Pattinson and Jack Whitehall.[5] However, he struggled in school due to dyslexia and developmental coordination disorder, telling The Independent in 2013, "It felt like it didn't matter how hard I tried, I wasn't getting anywhere. That's the most demoralising thing, as a kid. And to find something like drama, which I loved so much… it gave me a sense of purpose." Poulter is an avid fan of Arsenal F.C.[6]

His surname, Poulter, is derived from an occupation 'the poulter,' a poulterer. Old French polete; a young hen, a pullet. It was most commonly held in England and emerged sometime between 1874-1881. From the German, Polte; from the French, Poultier. His mother's maiden surname is also most commonly held in West Yorkshire and prior to "Barrah", used to be known as Bareclough or Barneclogh, according to spellings used in the 14th century.[7]


2007–2012: Early work[edit]

Poulter played various acting roles before landing the role of Lee Carter in the 2007 movie Son of Rambow, which was released to positive reviews, and praise for the performances of Poulter and his co-star Bill Milner. He also performed with other young comedic actors in School of Comedy,[8] which aired its pilot on Channel 4's Comedy Lab on 21 August 2008. School of Comedy was then commissioned for a full series by Channel 4,[9] which began airing on 2 October 2009. The programme finished after a second series.

In 2009, he was selected to play the role of Eustace Scrubb in the film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (filmed in Queensland, Australia), and was accompanied by some members of his family. The movie was first screened on 10 December 2010. The film opened to mixed reviews, but Poulter's performance was well received.[10][11]

In 2010, he appeared in the BBC Three pilot The Fades, a 60-minute supernatural thriller written by Skins writer Jack Thorne. The pilot was picked up as a six-part series with an almost entirely new cast, which aired in 2011.[12][13]

Poulter began filming a small British independent film called Wild Bill, directed by Dexter Fletcher, at the end of 2010.[14] It centres around Bill Hayward, played by Charlie Creed-Miles, who, on parole after spending eight years in prison, finds his two sons, Dean (Poulter) and Jimmy (Sammy Williams), living alone and abandoned by their mother. With the attention of social services now focused on the boys, Bill struggles to play good dad while keeping out of jail as Jimmy gets in trouble with some dangerous acquaintances of Bill's past.[15] The film was released on 23 March 2012 to extremely positive reviews, with praise for Poulter's performance.[16] In 2011, Poulter appeared with the popular British blogger and his School of Comedy co-star Jack Harries on his YouTube channel by the name of JacksGap in a video called Jack and Will. In 2012, Poulter began studying drama at the University of Bristol where he lived in Badock Hall, however dropped out after a year in order to pursue acting full time.[17]

2013–present: Mainstream recognition and further work[edit]

Poulter at the London premiere of We're the Millers in August 2013

In 2013, he played Kenny in We're the Millers, starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis. While the film opened to mixed reviews, the performances of the cast were well received, especially that of Poulter, who found mainstream recognition with his showy, comedic work in the film. He also appeared as a caretaker in the music video for Rizzle Kicks' song "Skip to the Good Bit". Though he loved the script and auditioned for the role of Augustus Waters, he was denied the part in The Fault in Our Stars.[18]

In 2014, he played Fordy in the crime film Plastic, directed by Julian Gilbey and starring Ed Speleers, Alfie Allen, Sebastian De Souza and Emma Rigby. The film was critically panned on release. The same year, he played Gally in the film adaptation of The Maze Runner, alongside Dylan O'Brien and Kaya Scodelario. The film was a critical and commercial success, with the performances of the cast being praised. Poulter went on to describe the film, and his role in it, as "a turning point" in his career.[18]

In 2015, Poulter starred as Shane in the Irish indie film Glassland, directed by Gerard Barrett and co-starring Jack Reynor and Toni Collette. The film was a critical success, with many reviewers praising Poulter's performance in particular as being his most diverse role to date. In an interview with BBC Radio 1, Poulter stated the film was "the proudest I've been to be a part of a movie".

Poulter in 2014

In 2014, Poulter won the BAFTA Rising Star Award, voted for by the public.[19] Other actors nominated for the award were Lupita Nyong'o, George MacKay, Léa Seydoux and Dane DeHaan.[20] The same year, he also won the MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Performance and the MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss (shared with his co-stars Jennifer Aniston and Emma Roberts) for his performance in We're the Millers.[21]

In 2014, Poulter was chosen as one of 23 upcoming actors to feature in July's issue of Vanity Fair, with all actors being named "Hollywood's Next Wave". Other actors featured included Dylan O'Brien (Poulter's co-star in The Maze Runner series) and Jack Reynor (Poulter's co-star in Glassland, Detroit, and Midsommar).[22]

Poulter played Jim Bridger in the revenge-thriller The Revenant, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy. The film centers on an 1820s frontiersman on a path of vengeance against those who left him for dead after a bear mauling.[23] In 2017, he played the racist police officer Philip Krauss in the film Detroit, about the 1967 Detroit riots. His work in the film was praised with one critic calling him "terrifyingly confident".[24]

Poulter was initially cast as Pennywise the Clown in the 2017 remake of the Stephen King miniseries It. However, it was announced in June 2016 that Bill Skarsgård had been cast instead because Poulter dropped out due both to scheduling conflicts (the film was set to shoot at the same time as Poulter was set to begin work on Detroit) as well as the departure of its initial director, Cary Fukunaga.[25]

In 2018, Poulter reprised his role as Gally in Maze Runner: The Death Cure, the third and final installment of the Maze Runner film series. Later that year, he starred in the film The Little Stranger as Roderick "Roddy" Ayres, a facially disfigured, haunted war veteran, and as game developer Colin Ritman in Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, a standalone interactive film of the Black Mirror television series.[26] In 2019, he played the character of Mark in Ari Aster’s horror film Midsommar. In 2020, he participated in filming The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope, an interactive choice game created by Supermassive Games, in which he portrays Andrew, Anthony and Abraham.



Year Title Role Notes
2007 Son of Rambow Lee Carter
2010 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Eustace Scrubb
2012 Wild Bill Dean
2013 We're the Millers Kenny Rossmore / Kenny Miller
2014 Plastic Fordy
The Maze Runner Gally
A Plea For Grimsby Jone
Glassland Shane
2015 The Revenant Jim Bridger
2016 Kids in Love Jack
2017 War Machine Sgt. Rick Ortega
Detroit Philip Krauss
2018 Maze Runner: The Death Cure Gally
The Little Stranger Roderick "Roddy" Ayres
2019 Bainne Irish farmer
Midsommar Mark
TBA The Score Troy Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
2007 Comedy: Shuffle Find Your Folks Presenter 2 episodes
2008 Comedy Lab Various Episode: "Kids School of Comedy"
Lead Balloon Sweet Throwing Boy Episode: "Nuts"
2009–2010 School of Comedy various characters 8 episodes; also writer
2010 The Fades Mac Episode: "Pilot"
2018 Black Mirror Colin Ritman Episode: "Bandersnatch"
2021 The Underground Railroad Upcoming miniseries
2021 Dopesick Billy Upcoming miniseries

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2020 The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope Andrew, Anthony and Abraham[27] Voice and motion capture

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Work Award Category Result
2008 Son of Rambow British Independent Film Awards Most Promising Newcomer Nominated
2009 Young Artist Awards Best Performance in an International Feature Film – Leading Young Performers (shared with Bill Milner) Nominated
2010 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Phoenix Film Critics Society Best Performance by a Youth in a Leading or Supporting Role – Male Nominated
2011 Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a Feature Film – Young Ensemble Cast (shared with Georgie Henley and Skandar Keynes) Nominated
Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films Best Performance by a Younger Actor Nominated
London Film Critics' Circle Young British Performer of the Year Nominated
2013 Wild Bill Nominated
2014 We're the Millers Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Liplock (shared with Emma Roberts and Jennifer Aniston) Nominated
MTV Movie Awards Breakthrough Performance Won
Best Kiss (shared with Emma Roberts and Jennifer Aniston) Won
Best Musical Moment Nominated
British Academy Film Awards EE Rising Star Award Won
Empire Awards Best Male Newcomer Nominated
2015 The Maze Runner MTV Movie Awards Best Fight (shared with Dylan O'Brien) Won


  1. ^ "Bafta Film Awards 2014: Full list of winners" Archived 15 September 2014 at the Wayback Machine. BBC. 16 February 2014
  2. ^ "PROFESSOR NEIL POULTER". Archived from the original on 22 January 2019. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  3. ^ Son of Rambow: ready for action Archived 27 March 2019 at the Wayback Machine at www.telegraph.co.uk (accessed 22 June 2008)
  4. ^ "Will Poulter". Flaunt Magazine. Archived from the original on 30 April 2019. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  5. ^ "Will Poulter school". Archived from the original on 26 April 2020. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  6. ^ "Premier League predictions: Lawro v Detroit actor Will Poulter". BBC Sport. 19 August 2017. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  7. ^ "The big picture: How Will Poulter shook off the tough tearaway tag to become Hollywood's latest loveable dork". The Independent. 25 August 2013. Archived from the original on 25 March 2019. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  8. ^ Lee, Robin (16 August 2007). "School of Comedy". The List. Archived from the original on 5 January 2014. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  9. ^ "Comedy Lab: Comedy Lab". Channel 4. Archived from the original on 2 August 2019. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  10. ^ Will Poulter Cast as Eustace Scrubb Archived 13 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine at www.narniaweb.com (accessed 22 June 2008)
  11. ^ Will Poulter Cast in Narnia 3 Archived 29 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine at www.comingsoon.net (accessed 22 June 2008
  12. ^ "ScreenTerrier: The Fades". Screenterrier.blogspot.com. 5 June 2010. Archived from the original on 8 January 2014. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
  13. ^ Sibayan, Genevieve. "Touch – A new supernatural drama series for BBC3 {TV}". Frost Magazine. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
  14. ^ "Narnia stars switch on London's Christmas lights!". The Hollywood News. 9 November 2010. Archived from the original on 14 March 2012. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 September 2011. Retrieved 24 May 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ "Approximate Release Date for Wild Bill – The Unofficial Will Poulter Fansite". Willpoulterfans.webs.com. 25 July 2011. Archived from the original on 1 November 2012. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 October 2014. Retrieved 10 May 2020.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ a b Tao, Anna Peele, Mei (20 December 2017). "Detroit's Will Poulter Talks Making Out with Jennifer Aniston and Being Miserable with Leonardo DiCaprio". Archived from the original on 22 December 2017. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
  19. ^ "Bafta Film Awards 2014: Full list of winners". BBC. 16 February 2014. Archived from the original on 15 September 2014. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  20. ^ Reynolds, Simon; Harris, Jamie (8 January 2014). "BAFTA Film Awards 2014 – nominations in full". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on 8 January 2014. Retrieved 8 January 2014.
  21. ^ "Will Poulter, Emma Roberts & Jennifer Aniston Win MTV Best Kiss". Hollywood life. 13 April 2014. Archived from the original on 19 April 2014. Retrieved 24 June 2014.
  22. ^ Smith, Krista (11 June 2014). "Hollywood's Next Wave". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on 28 June 2014. Retrieved 24 June 2014.
  23. ^ Kroll, Justin (25 June 2014). "We're the Millers" Will Poulter Joins Leonardo DiCaprio in 'The Revenant' (Exclusive)". Variety. Archived from the original on 6 July 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
  24. ^ Prigge, Matt (23 July 2017). "'Detroit' is a nightmarish history lesson about trauma". Metro. Archived from the original on 13 June 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  25. ^ "Stephen King's 'It' Adaptation Finds Its Pennywise the Clown (Exclusive)". Hollywood Reporter. 2 June 2016. Archived from the original on 22 June 2016. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  26. ^ "Meet the cast of Black Mirror's interactive film Bandersnatch". Radio Times. Archived from the original on 1 January 2019. Retrieved 31 December 2018.
  27. ^ Weber, Rachel (8 July 2020). "The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope's Hollywood star Will Poulter on witchcraft, screaming, and his three characters". gamesradar.com. GamesRadar+. Retrieved 1 November 2020.

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