Also Credited As:David Jude Law
|Actor, Director, Producer, Music|
|David Jude Law on December 29, 1972 in London, England, GB|
LATEST NEWS AND BLOGS
Born on Dec. 29, 1972 in Lewisham, England, a borough in southwestern London, Law was the son of schoolteachers who encouraged their son to act at an early age. When he was 12 years old, Law began performing with the National Youth Music Theatre. A leading role in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" led to his TV debut in a musical based on Beatrix Potter's "The Tailor of Gloucester" (1990). That same year, Law dropped out of school for the British soap, "Families." Fourteen months after his debut, Law left the series and returned to the stage, touring Italy as Freddie in "Pygmalion" and making a splash in London in "The Fastest Clock in the Universe." In 1994, Law made an impression on theatergoers in both London and New York as a young man coping with his suffocating parents in "Les Parents Terrible," particularly for an extended bathing scene in the second act which required complete nudity. Making enough of an impression, he was the only member of the English production invited to reprise his role on Broadway and was honored with a Tony Award nomination for his effort.
Law's first film role - he played a passive car stealing street kid in "Shopping" (1994) -did little to propel him into the consciousness of American audiences. This set an unfortunate pattern for his early film career throughout much of the 1990s, during which he delivered strong turns in underperforming features. Often touted as the "next big thing," Law would find himself quickly relegated to the "Who's he?" list after a string of disappointing films. In 1997 alone, he offered three diverse portraits: the spoiled Lord Alfred Douglas in the well-intentioned biopic "Wilde," an alcoholic paraplegic in "Gattaca" and a bisexual hustler who ends up a murder victim in the based-on-fact "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil." In each case, the actor brought energy and charisma to the screen, yet each film failed to find much audience support.
His losing streak continued with the barely released "Music From Another Room," with Jude starring as an artist who reconnects with a girl at whose he birth he assisted, and "The Wisdom of Crocodiles" (both 1998; the latter released in the USA in 2000), as a vampire-like predator. While many believed that David Cronenberg's sci-fi thriller "eXistenZ" (1999) might finally catapult Law onto the A-list, it proved too esoteric for mainstream audiences. Law finally caught a break when Anthony Minghella tapped him to play the decadent playboy Dickie Greenleaf who becomes an object of envy to Matt Damon's "The Talented Mr. Ripley." Law was perfectly cast shading the character with -as Janet Maslin wrote in her New York Times review in December 1999 - "the manic, teasing powers of manipulation that make him ardently courted by every man or woman he knows. During the first half of the film, Dickie is pure eros and adrenaline, a combination not many actors could handle with this much aplomb."
With talk of an Oscar nomination - which he indeed netted - Law finally seemed truly on the verge of fulfilling the predictions of his becoming a movie star, though he would take his time getting there, cultivating pet projects before stepping up the pace of his soon-to- skyrocket film career. Prior to the release of "Ripley," he returned to the London stage and earned strong notices in "'Tis Pity She's a Whore," as well as making his directorial debut with a segment of the omnibus TV-movie "Tube Tales" (1999). Along with his wife Sadie Frost - with whom he had starred in "Shopping" - and best mates Johnny Lee Miller, Wean McGregor and Sean Pertwee, Law formed the production company Natural Nylon, with a slate of films in various stages of development.
As predicted, Hollywood came looking for him again in 2001 to take on leading role in "Enemy at the Gates." His enigmatic performance soon led to an inspired turn as a gigolo robot in Spielberg's highly anticipated "A.I." From there, Law would soon become a highly coveted talent among Hollywood royalty. In 2002, he had a supporting role as a murderous photographer opposite Tom Hanks in "Road to Perdition," before coming into his own as a leading man in 2003 when he took over the lead role from Tom Cruise in director Anthony Minghella's "Cold Mountain," opposite Nicole Kidman and Renee Zellweger in the adaptation of Charles Frazer's bestselling Civil War melodrama. Playing Confederate Army deserter Inman, who flees his unit to return to his beloved Ada (Kidman) at Cold Mountain and faces incredible hardship on his long, harrowing journey back, Law was an utterly believable and compelling screen presence. The actor's work was rewarded with a spate of critical recognition, including an Academy Award nomination as Best Actor, as well as a Golden Globe nomination. Of course, his was also subject to some of the prices of fame, which included intense media scrutiny of the gradual, messy breakup of his marriage to Frost.
Law's next big-screen entry was the retro-yet-original action-adventure "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" (2004) opposite Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie, in which he played the titular character, a daring aviator in an Art Deco New York, battling giant robots and searching for missing scientists. "Sky Captain" was the first in a succession of Law-headlined films in that were released in late 2004: He next appeared in the ensemble of writer-director David O. Russell's "existential comedy" "I [Heart] Huckabees" as Jason Schwartzman's rival, an executive climbing the corporate ladder at retail superstore Huckabees, whose seemingly perfect life is explored by a pair of existential detectives. Law had nearly dropped out of the film in favor of a Christopher Nolan project until Russell reportedly ran into Nolan at a Hollywood party, got him in a headlock and demanded he release Law. To the surprise of none, the following day the actor called to discuss his "Huckabees" role with no mention of the incident. Law then took on the titular caddish rogue with a comeuppance coming (originally played by Michael Caine) in a remake of the 1960s British comedy, "Alfie." - this version, however, attempted to make the womanizing Alfie more palatable by recasting him more as a cuddly commitment-phobic. Despite a valiant effort by Law the movie was ultimately devoid of meaning or relevance - though he did meet his first important post-divorce girlfriend onset, a young up-and-comer, Sienna Miller. Their tempestuous union would make her a star and would soon shed an unfortunate "Alfie"-like light on Law.
He next appeared in the Mike Nichols-directed drama "Closer" opposite Julia Roberts, Natalie Portman and Clive Owen as a pair of couples whose relationships become messily intertwined - the performance was Law's best of the busy year. The actor also gave his all when he had a cameo as the suave but debauched Hollywood superstar Errol Flynn in Martin Scorsese's Howard Hughes biopic, "The Aviator." He closed the year as the voice of the title role in the children's fantasy "Lemony Snicket's Unfortunate Series of Events." At the 2005 Oscar ceremony, Law's now notable ubiquitous visage was notoriously skewered by host Chris Rock, who wondered who Law was to get so many roles, prompting über-serious Sean Penn - who was filming "All the King's Men" with the actor - to defend Law's talent from the stage. Later that year more unwanted publicity ensued when Law released a statement apologizing to his then-fiancé, Miller, for having an affair with his children's nanny three months into their seven-month engagement. The British and American tabloids had a field day. The couple attempted to reconcile, but ultimately called it quits - but not for lack of trying.
In "All the King's Men" (2006), Steven Zaillian's botched rehash of Robert Penn Warren's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Law joined a promising cast that included Sean Penn, Kate Winslet, Anthony Hopkins, Patricia Clarkson and James Gandolfini. Unfortunately, talent could not make up for bad production all around, as the respected original film turned out to be a laughing stock of a remake that was plagued by bad Southern accents, weak acting and a poorly-conceived script. Law next starred in a more palpable film, "The Holiday" (2006), a romantic comedy centered on two women - one British (Kate Winslet); the other American (Cameron Diaz) - whose torn love lives prompt them to cross the ocean and switches houses for the Christmas holiday. Meanwhile, Law collaborated again with director Anthony Minghella for "Breaking and Entering" (2006), playing a partner at a thriving architecture firm who embarks on a quest of self-discovery and ultimately redemption when he hunts for the burglar that broke into his office - not once, but twice - and stole all his company's high-tech equipment. In another remake, "Sleuth" (2007), a play by Anthony Shaffer turned into a 1972 film starring Michael Caine and Laurence Olivier, Law played Milo Tindle (Caine's character in the original film version), a hairdresser being set up by Andrew Wyke, an older, but wealthy society man (Caine assuming the Olivier role) determined to exact revenge on Tindle for stealing his wife.