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definition - David_Thewlis

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David Thewlis

David Thewlis

David Thewlis presenting The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas at the 2008 San Sebastian Film Festival.
Born David Wheeler
(1963-03-20) 20 March 1963 (age 49)
Blackpool, Lancashire, England
Occupation Actor, author, director, screenwriter
Years active 1987–present
Spouse Sara Sugarman (1992–93)
Partner Kate Hardie (??? – ???)
Anna Friel (2001–2010; 1 child)

David Thewlis (born David Wheeler; 20 March 1963) is an English actor of stage and screen. His most commercially successful role to date has been that of Remus Lupin, in the Harry Potter film series. Other notable performances include his work in the films Timeline (2003), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), The Omen (2006), The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2008), London Boulevard (2010) and War Horse (2011). He made his name known in 1993 with his performance of Johnny in Naked – for which he won multiple awards – became known publicly for his performance of main antagonist King Einon in the 1996 film Dragonheart. He has also done voice work in the films James and the Giant Peach (1996) and The Miracle Maker (2000).


  Early life

Thewlis, second of three children, was born David Wheeler in Blackpool, Lancashire, the son of Maureen (née Thewlis) and Alec Raymond Wheeler.[1] Both of his parents worked at his father's shop, which sold toys in the summer and wallpaper and paint in the winter.[1][2] As a teenager, he played in a rock band called QED, in which he, Cliff Ashcroft, Mark Fawl and Chris Swift wrote much of their own music and lyrics. QED played at some of the Blackpool hotels to earn money for equipment and their first recording session at Storm Studios in Blackpool. Later, Thewlis played lead guitar with a punk rock band called Door 66. As a musician he was "doing nicely, doing good" and did not want to be an actor. Thewlis was educated at Highfield High School (since renamed Highfield Humanities College), a state secondary school in Marton, Blackpool in North West England where his nickname, at least to his friends, was 'Sqwee'.

He enrolled in the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London only because his friends did.[2] Thewlis graduated in 1984. When he went to register with the actors' union, he intended to use Wheeler as his stage name, but a "David Wheeler" already existed. His mother's maiden name was the first that came to mind.


His first professional role was in the play Buddy Holly at the Regal in Greenwich.[2] Thewlis' first major film role was as the rambling street philosopher Johnny in Naked (1993; dir. Mike Leigh), for which he 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. The same year he appeared on television as a sexual predator named James Jackson in Prime Suspect 3, opposite Helen Mirren and Ciarán Hinds. Prior to this Thewlis's first television appearance was alongside Ken Jones in Valentine Park.

Through 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 (because of this film, Thewlis is barred from entering China). He was nominated for a British Independent Film Award for Divorcing Jack (1998), and played Clov in a (2000) television film of Samuel Beckett's Endgame. Notable appearances also include Bernardo Bertolucci's Besieged (1998) and Paul McGuigan's Gangster No. 1 (2000), opposite Paul Bettany and Malcolm McDowell.

Thewlis auditioned for the role of Professor 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, in 2004 Thewlis was cast as Remus Lupin in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban without having to audition, as he was director Alfonso Cuarón's first choice for the role. He accepted it on advice from Ian Hart, who told him that Lupin was "the best part in the book".[3] He reprised the role in four other films in the series.

He also appears as an SS Commandant of a Nazi death camp, father of the main character in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.

Recent credits include Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven (2005), Terrence Malick's The New World (2005) and The Omen (2006). As a director, he was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Short Film for Hello, Hello, Hello (1995); he has also written, directed and starred in the feature Cheeky (2003). When researching for his role in Kingdom of Heaven, Thewlis went to the Hospitaller museum near his home, and the first thing he saw was a mannequin wearing the same costume that he wore in the film.[2]

He plays 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 upcoming biopic The Lady directed by Luc Besson.

  Personal life

  Mulberry A/W 2001, Henry Bond's photograph depicts David with Anna Friel. The couple were reported to have been paid £50,000 to appear in the campaign.[4]

In 1992, Thewlis married director Sara Sugarman; they divorced in 1994. He then had a 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. Friel had, coincidentally, starred in Sara Sugarman's 1999 film Mad Cows. They both starred in the 2003 film Timeline although they shared no scenes together.

Together they have one daughter, Gracie Ellen Mary Friel (born 9 July 2005).[5] Thewlis noted that he was "excited" and "not at all scared" by fatherhood and that he loves children. If he was not an actor he would be a teacher as he believes "the most beautiful sound is a child laughing". During Friel's pregnancy he gave up smoking, began jogging and eating more healthily and lost weight.[2] However the pair ended their relationship in late 2010.[6]

Thewlis owns a converted Victorian ballroom in Clerkenwell. He also is often mistaken for fellow actor Rhys Ifans: "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."[2] Thewlis has also written a novel called The Late Hector Kipling, published by Simon & Schuster in 2007.

  Awards and nominations

Thewlis has won the following awards for his work in Naked.

Thewlis has also received the following awards:

Other award nominations include:



Year Film Role Notes
1987 Road Joey
The Short & Curlies Clive Short film
1988 Vroom Ringe
Little Dorrit George Braddle
1989 Resurrected Kevin Deakin
1991 Life Is Sweet Nicola's lover
Afraid of the Dark Locksmith
Tom Miller
1992 Swords at Teatime Michael Short film
Damage Detective
1993 The Trial Franz
Naked Johnny
1994 Black Beauty Jerry Barker
1995 Total Eclipse Paul Verlaine
Restoration John Pearce
Hello, Hello, Hello N/A Short film; directed and wrote
1996 James and the Giant Peach Earthworm Voice
Dragonheart King Einon
The Island of Dr. Moreau Edward Douglas
1997 American Perfekt Santini
Seven Years in Tibet Peter Aufschnaiter Banned from entering the People's Republic of China.
1998 The Big Lebowski Knox Harrington
Divorcing Jack Dan Starkey
Besieged Jason Kinsky
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
2002 D.I.Y. Hard Man
2003 Cheeky Harry Sankey Also directed and wrote
Timeline Robert Doniger
2004 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Remus Lupin
2005 Kingdom of Heaven Hospitaler
All the Invisible Children 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 Pajamas Ralf
2009 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Remus Lupin
Veronika Decides to Die Dr. Blake
2010 Mr. Nice Jim McCann
London Boulevard Jordan
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
War Horse Lyons


Year Series Role Notes
1985 Only Fools and Horses Stew Episode 4.4: "It's Only Rock and Roll"
Radio Pictures Jim Grams television film
1986 The Singing Detective Second Soldier Episode 1.3: "Lovely Days" and 1.6: "Who Done It"
1987–1988 Valentine Park Max Appeared in nine episodes
1989 A Bit of a Do Paul Simcock Appeared in six episodes
Skulduggery Tony television film
1990 Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit Doctor TV serial (Episode 1)
1991 Journey to Knock Terry television film
Shrinks Terry Slater Episode 1.5
Screen One Tim Shanks Episode 3.3: "Filipina Dreamgirls"
1992 Black and Blue Crematorium attendant television film
1993 Frank Stubbs Promotes Mike Bence Episode 1.6: "Striker"
Prime Suspect 3 James Jackson television film
1994 Dandelion Dead Oswald Martin TV mini-series
1999 Love Story Dealer television film
2000 Endgame Clov television film
2001 Hamilton Mattress Hamilton Mattress television film; voice
2002 Dinotopia Cyrus Crabb TV mini-series
2007 The Street Joe / Harry Jennerson Episode 2.1: "Twins"



  1. ^ a b "David Thewlis Biography (1963–)". Film Reference. http://www.filmreference.com/film/60/David-Thewlis.html. Retrieved 30 August 2007. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Grice, Elizabeth (4 May 2005). "'Anna has changed me for the better'". London: The Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2005/05/04/ftthewlis04.xml&page=1. Retrieved 30 August 2007. 
  3. ^ Clint Morris (9 June 2004). "Interview : David Thewlis". Movie Hole. Archived from the original on 26 September 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20070926225458/http://www.moviehole.net/news/3764.html. Retrieved 28 August 2007. 
  4. ^ Vogue.co.uk
  5. ^ MacDonald, Marianne (26 September 2005). "Post-natal confession". The Daily Telegraph (London). http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/3646815/Post-natal-confession.html. Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
  6. ^ "Friel, Thewlis split after nine years". Digital Spy. 14 December 2010. http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/showbiz/news/a293164/friel-thewlis-split-after-nine-years.html?rss. Retrieved 26 December 2010. 

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