David Wheeler (born 20 March 1963), better known as David Thewlis, is an English actor, director, screenwriter, and author. He first rose to prominence for playing Johnny Fletcher in the film Naked (1993), for which he won the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actor. His most commercially successful roles to date have been of Remus Lupin in the Harry Potter film series and Sir Patrick Morgan/Ares in Wonder Woman (2017). Other notable film appearances include Dragonheart (1996), Seven Years in Tibet (1997), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2008), War Horse (2011), The Theory of Everything (2014) and Anomalisa (2015).
Thewlis has combined major motion picture work with prominent television roles, including portraying Cyrus Crabb in the ABC miniseries Dinotopia (2002) and V. M. Varga in the third season of Fargo (2017).
Thewlis in September 2008
20 March 1963
|Alma mater||Guildhall School of Music and Drama|
(m. 1992; div. 1994)
|Partner(s)||Anna Friel (2001–2010)|
Thewlis was born David Wheeler on 20 March 1963 in Blackpool, Lancashire, the second of three children of Maureen (née Thewlis) and Alec Raymond Wheeler. Both parents worked at his father's shop. As a teenager, he played in a rock band called QED, and played lead guitar with a punk rock band called Door 66. He was educated at Highfield High School, a state secondary school in South Shore, Blackpool. Later, he enrolled in the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, graduating in 1984.
Thewlis had a minor role in an episode of the 1980s sitcom Up the Elephant and Round the Castle. He also appeared in an episode of popular sitcom Only Fools and Horses (1985) as a friend of Rodney. His first professional role was in the play Buddy Holly at the Regal in Greenwich.
Thewlis's breakout role was Naked (1993; dir. Mike Leigh), as the main character, Johnny, a highly intelligent, embittered, rambling street philosopher, for which Thewlis was named Best Actor by the National Society of Film Critics (United States), the London Film Critics Circle, the Evening Standard, the New York Film Critics' Circle and the Cannes Film Festival. That same year, he appeared on television as a sexual predator named James Jackson in Prime Suspect 3, opposite Helen Mirren and Ciarán Hinds. Before that, his first television appearance was in Valentine Park.
During the 1990s, Thewlis appeared in a variety of films, mostly fantasy and period, including Restoration (1995), Black Beauty (1994), Total Eclipse (1995) with Leonardo DiCaprio, The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996), Dragonheart (1996), and Seven Years in Tibet (1997), opposite Brad Pitt. He was nominated for a British Independent Film Award for Divorcing Jack (1998), and played Clov in a television film of Samuel Beckett's Endgame (2000). Notable appearances also include Bernardo Bertolucci's Besieged (1998) and Paul McGuigan's Gangster No. 1 (2000), opposite Paul Bettany and Malcolm McDowell.
He auditioned for the role of Quirinus Quirrell in the film Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, but the part went to Ian Hart. Despite missing out on the first film, he was cast in 2004 as Professor Remus Lupin in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. He did not have to audition as he was director Alfonso Cuarón's first choice for the role. Thewlis reprised the role in four other films in the series.
He appeared as an SS Commandant of a Nazi death camp and father of the main character in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, which was well received. Other credits include Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven (2005), Terrence Malick's The New World (2005), and The Omen (2006).
Thewlis played the late Dr. Michael Aris, husband of Nobel Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma, with Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh as Suu Kyi, in the biopic The Lady directed by Luc Besson. In 2012, he received an International Festival of Independent Cinema Off Plus Camera Award. In the same year, he also played in Separate We Come, Separate We Go, directed by Harry Potter co-star Bonnie Wright.
In June 2015, Thewlis was reported to be filming scenes for a Donald Crowhurst biopic, The Mercy, on the beach at Teignmouth, Devon, playing Donald Crowhurst's press agent, Rodney Hallworth, while Colin Firth is playing Donald Crowhurst. He also starred in Regression, a thriller released in autumn 2015. In September 2015, Thewlis starred as Inspector Goole in Helen Edmundson's BBC TV adaptation of J. B. Priestley's An Inspector Calls. In October 2015, he played King Duncan in the film Macbeth.
Thewlis directed Hello, Hello, Hello in 1995, for which he was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Short Film. He also wrote, directed and starred in the feature Cheeky (2003). Thewlis is also an author; his debut novel, The Late Hector Kipling, is a black comedy set in the art world and was published by Simon & Schuster in 2007.
In 1992, Thewlis married director Sara Sugarman; they divorced in 1994. He then had a brief relationship with Bill Oddie's daughter Kate Hardie. In 2001, he began a relationship with actress Anna Friel, whom he met on a flight to Cannes. They have one child together. Friel and Thewlis ended their relationship in late 2010.
Thewlis owns a converted Victorian ballroom in Clerkenwell. He is often mistaken for fellow actor Rhys Ifans (Friel's subsequent partner): "Twice a week, people come up to me and say, 'You were great in Notting Hill.' The public seem to think we are the same person."
|The Short and Curlies||Clive||Short film|
|Little Dorrit||George Braddle|
|1991||Life Is Sweet||Nicola's lover|
|Afraid of the Dark||Locksmith
|1992||Swords at Teatime||Michael||Short film|
|1994||Black Beauty||Jerry Barker|
|1995||Total Eclipse||Paul Verlaine|
|Hello, Hello, Hello||N/A||Short film; directed and wrote|
|1996||James and the Giant Peach||Earthworm||Voice|
|The Island of Dr. Moreau||Edward Douglas|
|Seven Years in Tibet||Peter Aufschnaiter|
|1998||The Big Lebowski||Knox Harrington|
|Divorcing Jack||Dan Starkey|
|1999||Whatever Happened to Harold Smith?||Nesbit|
|2000||The Miracle Maker||Judas Iscariot||Voice|
|Gangster No. 1||Freddie Mays|
|Beckett on Film – Endgame||Clov|
|2001||Goodbye Charlie Bright||Charlie's dad|
|2003||Cheeky||Harry Sankey||Also directed and wrote|
|2004||Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban||Remus Lupin|
|2005||Kingdom of Heaven||Hospitaller|
|All the Invisible Children||Jonathan||Segment: "Jonathan"|
|The New World||Edward Wingfield|
|2006||Basic Instinct 2||Roy Washburn|
|The Omen||Keith Jennings|
|2007||The Inner Life of Martin Frost||Martin Frost|
|Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix||Remus Lupin|
|2008||The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas||SS-Obersturmbannführer Ralph|
|2009||Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince||Remus Lupin|
|Veronika Decides to Die||Dr. Blake|
|2010||Mr. Nice||Jim McCann|
|Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1||Remus Lupin|
|2011||Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2|
|The Lady||Michael Aris|
|Anonymous||William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley|
|2012||Separate We Come, Separate We Go||Norman||Short film|
|2013||Red 2||The Frog|
|The Fifth Estate||Nick Davies|
|The Zero Theorem||Joby|
|2014||The Theory of Everything||Dennis Sciama|
|Stonehearst Asylum||Mickey Finn|
|Queen and Country||Bradley|
|2015||Regression||Professor Kenneth Raines|
|2017||Wonder Woman||Sir Patrick Morgan / Ares|
|2018||The Mercy||Rodney Hallworth|
|1985||Only Fools and Horses||Stew||Episode: "It's Only Rock and Roll"|
|Radio Pictures||Jim Grams||Television film|
|1986||The Singing Detective||Second Soldier||2 episodes|
|1987–1988||Valentine Park||Max||12 episodes|
|1989||A Bit of a Do||Paul Simcock||6 episodes|
|1990||Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit||Doctor||3 episodes|
|1991||Journey to Knock||Terry||Television film|
|Shrinks||Terry Slater||Episode 1.5|
|Screen One||Tim Shanks||Episode: "Filipina Dreamgirls"|
|1992||Black and Blue||Crematorium attendant||Television film|
|1993||Frank Stubbs Promotes||Mike Bence||Episode: "Striker"|
|Prime Suspect 3||James Jackson||Television film|
|1994||Dandelion Dead||Oswald Martin||4 episodes|
|1999||Love Story||Dealer||Television film|
|2001||Hamilton Mattress||Hamilton Mattress||Voice|
|2002||Dinotopia||Cyrus Crabb||6 episodes|
|2007||The Street||Joe / Harry Jennerson||Episode: "Twins"|
|2014||Family Guy||British Father||Voice|
Episode: "Chap Stewie"
|2015||An Inspector Calls||Inspector Goole||Television film|
|2017||Fargo||V. M. Varga||10 episodes|
|2018||Big Mouth||Shame Wizard||Voice (7 episodes)|
|2004||World of Warcraft||Lord Darius Crowley|
|2010||World of Warcraft: Cataclysm|
|1993||Cannes Film Festival||Best Actor||Naked||Won|
|Evening Standard British Film Award||Best Actor||Won|
|London Film Critics' Circle||British Actor of the Year||Won|
|National Society of Film Critics||Best Actor||Won|
|New York Film Critics Circle||Best Actor||Won|
|1995||BAFTA Award||Best Short Film
(shared with Helen Booth and James Roberts)
|Hello, Hello, Hello||Nominated|
|1998||British Independent Film Award||Best Performance by a British Actor in an Independent Film||Divorcing Jack||Nominated|
|2006||Golden Raspberry Award||Worst Supporting Actor||Basic Instinct 2 / The Omen||Nominated|
|2007||Monte-Carlo Television Festival||Golden Nymph Award for Outstanding Actor – Drama Series||The Street||Nominated|
|2008||British Independent Film Award||Richard Harris Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Film||Won|
|2009||Scream Award||Best Ensemble
(shared with the entire cast)
|Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince||Won|
|2010||Evening Standard British Film Award||Peter Sellers Award for Comedy||London Boulevard||Won|
|2011||Scream Award||Best Ensemble
(shared with the entire cast)
|Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2||Nominated|
|2016||Alliance of Women Film Journalists||Best Depiction of Nudity, Sexuality, or Seduction
(shared with Jennifer Jason Leigh)
|2017||Primetime Emmy Award||Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie||Fargo||Nominated|
|Critics' Choice Television Award||Best Supporting Actor in a Movie/Miniseries||Nominated|
|Golden Globe Award||Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film||Nominated|
An Inspector Calls is a 2015 British thriller television film written by Helen Edmundson, based on the J. B. Priestley play of the same name. It is directed by Aisling Walsh, produced by Howard Ella and stars David Thewlis as the titular character. The story is centred on a mysterious inspector, who investigates the socially ambitious Birling family and a dinner guest following the suicide of a young woman. The film was first broadcast on 13 September 2015 on BBC One.Black Beauty (1994 film)
Black Beauty is a 1994 American film adaptation of Anna Sewell's novel by the same name directed by Caroline Thompson in her directorial debut. The film stars Andrew Knott, Sean Bean and David Thewlis. The film is also treated as an autobiography of the horse Black Beauty as in the original novel, and is narrated by Alan Cumming as the voice of the 'Black Beauty'. This is the fifth feature film adaptation of the 1877 classic novel by Anna Sewell.Eternal Beauty
Eternal Beauty is an upcoming American-British drama romance film, written and directed by Craig Roberts. It stars Sally Hawkins, David Thewlis, Billie Piper, Penelope Wilton, Alice Lowe
and Robert Aramayo.Fargo (TV series)
Fargo is an American black comedy–crime drama anthology television series created and primarily written by Noah Hawley. The show is inspired by the eponymous 1996 film written and directed by the Coen brothers, who serve as executive producers on the series alongside Hawley. The series premiered on April 15, 2014, on FX, and follows an anthology format, with each season set in a different era, and with a different story and mostly new characters and cast, although there is minor overlap. Each season shares a common chronology with the original film.
The first season, set in 2006 and starring Billy Bob Thornton, Allison Tolman, Colin Hanks, and Martin Freeman, received positive reviews from critics. It won the Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Miniseries, Outstanding Directing, and Outstanding Casting, and received 15 additional nominations including Outstanding Writing, another Outstanding Directing nomination, and acting nominations for all four leads. It also won the Golden Globe Awards for Best Miniseries or Television Film and Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film for Thornton.
The second season, set in 1979 and starring Kirsten Dunst, Patrick Wilson, Jesse Plemons, Jean Smart, and Ted Danson, also received positive reviews from critics. It received three Golden Globe nominations, along with several Emmy nominations including Outstanding Miniseries, and acting nominations for Dunst, Plemons, Smart, and Bokeem Woodbine.
The third season, set in 2010 and starring Ewan McGregor, Carrie Coon, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Goran Bogdan, and David Thewlis, premiered on April 19, 2017. It was met with positive reviews from critics, and received Emmy nominations including Outstanding Miniseries, and acting nominations for McGregor, Coon, and Thewlis. It received three Golden Globe nominations, for Outstanding Limited Series, and McGregor and Thewlis for acting, with McGregor winning in his category.
A fourth season is currently in development, to start filming in fall 2019 with Chris Rock to star. It will be set in 1950 in Kansas City, Missouri.Fargo (season 3)
The third season of Fargo, an American anthology black comedy–crime drama television series created by Noah Hawley, premiered on April 19, 2017, on the basic cable network FX. The season had ten episodes, and its initial airing concluded on June 21, 2017. As an anthology, each Fargo season possesses its own self-contained narrative, following a disparate set of characters in various settings, albeit in a connected shared universe.The third season is set primarily between December 2010 and March 2011, in three Minnesota towns: St. Cloud, Eden Valley, and Eden Prairie, and is the only season to not feature the titular Fargo, North Dakota. It follows the lives of a couple, Ray Stussy (Ewan McGregor) and Nikki Swango (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), who, after unsuccessfully trying to rob Ray's brother Emmit (also played by McGregor), become involved in a double murder case. One of the victims is an old man with a mysterious past whose stepdaughter, Gloria Burgle (Carrie Coon), is a policewoman. Meanwhile, Emmit tries to cut his ties with a shady organization he borrowed money from a year before, but the company, represented by V. M. Varga (David Thewlis) has other plans.Michael Stuhlbarg, Hamish Linklater, Olivia Sandoval, Shea Whigham, Mark Forward, Mary McDonnell, and Scoot McNairy make recurring appearances. Sylvester Groth, Ray Wise, Fred Melamed, Frances Fisher, DJ Qualls and Rob McElhenney guest star.
Season 3 began filming in early 2017 in Calgary, Alberta.Gangster No. 1
Gangster No. 1 is a 2000 British crime drama film directed by Paul McGuigan and starring Paul Bettany in the title role. It is based on the play Gangster No.1 by Louis Mellis and David Scinto, and features Malcolm McDowell, David Thewlis and Saffron Burrows.James and the Giant Peach (film)
James and the Giant Peach is a 1996 British-American musical fantasy film directed by Henry Selick, based on the 1961 novel of the same name by Roald Dahl. It was produced by Tim Burton and Denise Di Novi, and starred Paul Terry as James. The film is a combination of live action and stop-motion animation. Co-stars Joanna Lumley and Miriam Margolyes played James's aunts in the live-action segments, and Simon Callow, Richard Dreyfuss, Susan Sarandon, Jane Leeves, David Thewlis, and Margolyes voiced his insect friends in the animation sequences.Legend (2015 film)
Legend is a 2015 biographical crime thriller film written and directed by American film director Brian Helgeland. It is adapted from John Pearson's book The Profession of Violence: The Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins, which deals with the rise and fall of the Kray twins; the relationship that bound them together, and charts their gruesome career to their downfall and imprisonment for life in 1969.This is Helgeland's fifth feature film. Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, David Thewlis and Christopher Eccleston star with Chazz Palminteri, Paul Bettany, Tara Fitzgerald and Taron Egerton as well as singer Duffy featured in supporting roles.Naked (1993 film)
Naked is a 1993 British black tragicomedy written and directed by Mike Leigh and starring David Thewlis as Johnny, a loquacious intellectual and conspiracy theorist. The film won several awards, including best director and best actor at Cannes. Naked marked a new career high for Leigh as a director and made the then-unknown Thewlis an internationally recognised star.Resurrected (film)
Resurrected is a 1989 drama film directed by Paul Greengrass in his directorial debut, written by Martin Allen, and starring David Thewlis. It is based on the story of the British soldier Philip Williams, who is presumed dead and left behind in the Falklands but is accused of desertion when he reappears seven weeks after the Falklands War ends.
Resurrected premiered at the 39th Berlin International Film Festival in February 1989.Stonehearst Asylum
Stonehearst Asylum, previously known as Eliza Graves, is an American Gothic film directed by Brad Anderson and written by Joseph Gangemi. It is loosely based on the short story "The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether" by Edgar Allan Poe. The film, starring Kate Beckinsale, Jim Sturgess, Michael Caine, Ben Kingsley, and David Thewlis, was released on October 24, 2014.The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (film)
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (released as The Boy in the Striped Pajamas in the United States) is a 2008 British American historical drama film set in World War II, based on John Boyne’s 2006 novel of the same name. Written and Directed by Mark Herman, produced by BBC Films and Heyday Films, and distributed by Miramax, the film stars Vera Farmiga, David Thewlis, Asa Butterfield, and Jack Scanlon. It was released on 12 September 2008 in the United Kingdom.
The Holocaust drama relates the horror of a Nazi extermination camp through the eyes of two 8-year-old boys; Bruno (Asa Butterfield), the son of the camp's Nazi commandant, and Shmuel (Jack Scanlon), a Jewish inmate.
The film has drawn criticism from some Holocaust educators due to its lack of historical accuracy.The Feed (U.S. TV series)
The Feed is an upcoming American psychological thriller drama web television series based on the novel of the same name by Nick Clark Windo. It is set to premiere in 2019 on Amazon Video.The Lady (2011 film)
The Lady is a 2011 French-British biographical film directed by Luc Besson, starring Michelle Yeoh as Aung San Suu Kyi and David Thewlis as her late husband Michael Aris. Yeoh called the film "a labour of love" but also confessed it had felt intimidating for her to play the Nobel laureate.The Mercy
The Mercy is a 2017 British biographical drama film, directed by James Marsh and written by Scott Z. Burns. It is based on the true story of the disastrous attempt by the amateur sailor Donald Crowhurst to complete the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race in 1968 and his subsequent attempts to cover up his failure. The film stars Colin Firth, Rachel Weisz, David Thewlis and Ken Stott. It is one of the last films scored by Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson.
The film was released in the United Kingdom on 9 February 2018 by StudioCanal.The Short and Curlies
The Short and Curlies is a 1987 short film written and directed by Mike Leigh. It stars Alison Steadman, Wendy Nottingham, Sylvestra Le Touzel and David Thewlis. The hairdressing salon, "Cynthia's", was in Willesden and exterior locations were in nearby Harlesden. Channel Four put up money for the film and, pending the success of this project, agreed to co-produce with Portman Productions Leigh's first feature film since Bleak Moments – what became 1988's feature movie High Hopes (with music by Rachel Portman).
The short, 18-minute film, made after three weeks of rehearsal, concerns a chatty hairdresser, Betty (Alison Steadman), her shy daughter, Charlene (Wendy Nottingham), and one of her customers, Joy (Sylvestra Le Touzel). Joy works in a chemist's shop and is chatted up by Clive (David Thewlis, in the first of his three Leigh roles) over the Durex counter. "On the one hand there is ritual, physical indignity, rubber, prevention; on the other, new life, love, marriage. Charlene slips sadly and silently between two stools..."The Trial (1993 film)
The Trial is a 1993 film made by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) based on Harold Pinter's screenplay adaptation of Franz Kafka's 1925 novel The Trial.
Directed by David Jones and produced by Jan Balzer and Louis Marks, the film stars Kyle MacLachlan and has cameo appearances by several prominent British actors including Anthony Hopkins, Juliet Stevenson, Alfred Molina, David Thewlis, and Michael Kitchen.
The film was shot in Prague and Kutná Hora.Total Eclipse (film)
Total Eclipse is a 1995 film directed by Agnieszka Holland, based on a 1967 play by Christopher Hampton, who also wrote the screenplay. Based on letters and poems, it presents a historically accurate account of the passionate and violent relationship between the two 19th-century French poets Paul Verlaine (David Thewlis) and Arthur Rimbaud (Leonardo DiCaprio), at a time of soaring creativity for both men.V. M. Varga
V. M. Varga is a fictional character in the FX television series Fargo. He is the main antagonist of the third season and is portrayed by David Thewlis.