While the British-born PAUL BETTANY (Bill Cox) is a recognized star overseas with well-received performances in film, on the London stage and on British television, American audiences first discovered him in A Knight's Tale, in which he played the comical role of Chaucer opposite Heath Ledger. For this performance he won the London Film Critics' Award for Best Supporting Actor, and was named one of Daily Variety's "Ten to Watchâ for 2001.
Classically trained at the Drama Centre in London, Bettany made his stage debut in a West End production of An Inspector Calls under the direction of Stephen Daldry (The Hours, Billy Elliot). He then spent a season with the Royal Shakespeare Company, performing in productions of Richard III, Romeo and Juliet and Julius Caesar before landing his first feature film role in Bent.
Bettany returned to the stage to appear in Love and Understanding at London's Bush Theatre. He later reprised that role at the Longwharf Theatre in Connecticut. The play led to more British television work, including Lynda La Plante's Killer Net and Coming Home, in which he starred with Peter O'Toole.
Bettany's appearance in the Royal Court Theatre productions of One More Wasted Year and Stranger's House preceded his second feature film role in David Leland's The Land Girls with Catherine McCormack and Rachel Weisz. He next appeared in the film After the Rain.
He then portrayed Steerforth in the TNT production of David Copperfield, directed by Peter Medak, opposite Sally Field and Michael Richards. More feature film roles followed, including Suicide Club with Jonathan Pryce and David Morrissey.
Bettany was nominated for a British Independent Film Award and a London Film Critics' Award for Best Newcomer in IFC's Gangster No.1, directed by Paul McGuigan, and starring Malcolm McDowell, David Thewlis and Saffron Burrows.
Bettany next starred as the imaginary roommate opposite Russell Crowe, Ed Harris and Jennifer Connelly in the Academy Award-winning A Beautiful Mind for director Ron Howard. His performance in the film won him the London Film Critics' Award for Best British Actor.
He went on to star in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, opposite Russell Crowe, for director Peter Weir. In this adaptation of Patrick O'Brian's novel, Bettany plays the ship's surgeon, Stephen Maturin, the first naturalist and best friend of Captain Jack Aubrey (Crowe). His performance won him the Evening Standard Award for Best British Actor, the London Film Critics' Award for Best Supporting Actor for both Master and Commander as well as The Heart of Me, and the Elle Style Award for Best Actor in Master and Commander and Dogville. His nominations include a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor and a Broadcast Film Critics Association nomination for Best Supporting Actor in Master and Commander.
Bettany was last seen in the independent features The Heart of Me and The Reckoning. In The Heart of Me, Bettany stars opposite Helena Bonham Carter and Olivia Williams for director Thaddeus O'Sullivan in a story that centers on a married couple and a husband who has an affair with his wife's sister.
Bettany's recent films include director Lars Von Trier's dramatic thriller Dogville, in which he stars opposite Nicole Kidman and Stellan Skarsgard, and Wimbledon, in which he starred opposite Kirsten Dunst for director Richard Loncraine.
Most recently, Bettany finished shooting a starring role in the highly anticipated film adaptation of The Da Vinci Code, produced by Imagine Films and directed by Ron Howard, scheduled for release March 31, 2006.
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