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Ben Chaplin

Ben Chaplin

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Also Known As: Benedict John Greenwood Died:
Born: July 31, 1970 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Berkshire, England, GB Profession: actor, clerk, statistician for London Transport Authority

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

After starting his career in several British films and television shows in his native England, actor Ben Chaplin crossed the pond to make his first American film with the winning comedy, "The Truth about Cats & Dogs" (1996). Despite his auspicious debut, Chaplin failed to become an overnight star in the states as some had predicted. Perhaps his desire not to become the next Hugh Grant had something to do with his career traveling the slow lane. He had prominent roles in acclaimed films like Terrence Malick's elegiac war drama "The Thin Red Line" (1998), but was overlooked by critics who focused on the movie's numerous A-list stars and the director's exquisite work. While he stated that he would like to achieve a certain level of fame, Chaplin was willing to do so only on his own terms, which explained starring in little-seen independents like "Stage Beauty" (2004) and "Chromophobia" (2005). Regardless of whether or not he was a household name, there was no doubt that Chaplin defined his own career by the quality of his work rather than the degree of his celebrity.Born Benedict John Greenwood on July 31, 1970 in Windsor, Berkshire, England, Chaplin was raised by his father, Peter, an engineer, and...

After starting his career in several British films and television shows in his native England, actor Ben Chaplin crossed the pond to make his first American film with the winning comedy, "The Truth about Cats & Dogs" (1996). Despite his auspicious debut, Chaplin failed to become an overnight star in the states as some had predicted. Perhaps his desire not to become the next Hugh Grant had something to do with his career traveling the slow lane. He had prominent roles in acclaimed films like Terrence Malick's elegiac war drama "The Thin Red Line" (1998), but was overlooked by critics who focused on the movie's numerous A-list stars and the director's exquisite work. While he stated that he would like to achieve a certain level of fame, Chaplin was willing to do so only on his own terms, which explained starring in little-seen independents like "Stage Beauty" (2004) and "Chromophobia" (2005). Regardless of whether or not he was a household name, there was no doubt that Chaplin defined his own career by the quality of his work rather than the degree of his celebrity.

Born Benedict John Greenwood on July 31, 1970 in Windsor, Berkshire, England, Chaplin was raised by his father, Peter, an engineer, and his mother, Cynthia, an English teacher. An admittedly lazy student who harbored no desire to go to university, Chaplin found his calling as a teenager when he appeared in a school play. He quickly did an about-face about furthering his education when he realized that most actors had some degree of formal education. So Chaplin enrolled at the famed Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, though he was asked by the school to leave during his second year for being both too opinionated and unable to find parts. Though he was readmitted when his father wrote the school a strongly worded letter, Chaplin decided to forgo the remainder of his training and joined a repertory theatre instead. In between odd jobs, working various clerical jobs and even as a statistician for the London Transport Authority, Chaplin began landing roles in BBC dramas and various British films.

In 1992, Chaplin landed his first break starring alongside James Purefoy and Jason Flemyng in "Bye Bye Baby" for Channel Four. After being tapped by James Ivory and Ismail Merchant to play a servant in "The Remains of the Day" (1993), he reunited with the filmmakers for his breakthrough screen role as the socially inept Con Wainwright in "Feast of July" (1995). Continuing to advance his career, Chaplin garnered rave reviews as Tom in Sam Mendes' stage production of "The Glass Menagerie" (1995) in London, while winning the hearts of many as the strange and agoraphobic Matthew Malone on the British sitcom, "Game On" (BBC2, 1995-98). Crossing the pond to find work on American soil, Chaplin was cast by director Michael Lehmann to play a photographer caught between two women (Uma Thurman and Janeane Garofolo) in "The Truth About Cats & Dogs" (1996), a distaff spin on the classic tale of "Cyrano De Bergerac." Displaying an easy charm and affable screen presence, Chaplin won plaudits for his performance and soon found himself in demand, though many subsequent roles offered were just variations of the same character.

In danger of being typecast as the dithering Brit - a la Hugh Grant - Chaplin shifted gears and stepped into the boots of Montgomery Clift to essay the fortune-hunting Morris Townsend in a retelling of "Washington Square" (1997), co-starring Jennifer Jason Leigh. Despite rave reviews for the sterling performances from all the major players, which included Maggie Smith and Albert Finney, the film failed to generate much interest with audiences. Chaplin next joined an all-star cast - which included many heavy-hitters like Sean Penn, John Travolta, Nick Nolte, John Cusack, Woody Harrelson and many others - to play Private Bell in Terrence Malick's lyrical remake of "The Thin Red Line" (1998). Chaplin emerged as one of the film's key figures, playing a grunt who wistfully recalls his times with his wife (Miranda Otto) as a means of coping with life on a battlefield. Despite his exemplary work, the actor found many critics overlooking his contribution to the film, as most concentrated on Malick's efforts. Meanwhile, after numerous delays, "Lost Souls" (2000) - which was filmed in 1998 - finally hit theaters. Cast as a skeptical crime writer who has been marked for Satanic possession by a woman (Winona Ryder) who herself fought off the devil, Chaplin managed to maintain his dignity despite the inanity of the screenplay.

Chaplin fared much better as a low-level bank clerk who gets more than he bargained for when he selects a Russian mail-order bride (Nicole Kidman) in "Birthday Girl" (2001), which earned good reviews after hitting the international festival circuit. He next joined forces with Sandra Bullock to play her relatively inexperienced partner aiding an investigating into a series of killings in "Murder by Numbers" (2002). After co-starring opposite Michelle Yeoh in the Taiwan-made actioner "The Touch" (2002), Chaplin was the 2nd Duke of Buckingham, whose love (Claire Danes) loses her standing in society for performing on stage during a time when women were prohibited, in the romantic drama, "Stage Beauty" (2004). Chaplin next had a supporting role in "Chromophobia" (2005), a dark thriller about a bourgeois family coming apart at the seams that also starred Penélope Cruz, Ralph Fiennes and Ian Holm. He had a small role in "The New World" (2005), Terrence Malick's look at the affair between Pocahontas (Q'Orianka Kilcher) and Captain John Smith (Colin Farrell). In the comedic drama "Two Weeks" (2006), Chaplin was one of four siblings who return home to say goodbye to their ailing mother (Sally Field). Following a supporting role in the children's fantasy "The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep" (2007), Chaplin portrayed prominent English stage and film actor, George Coulouris, in "Me and Orson Welles" (2009), directed by indie filmmaker Richard Linklater.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
3.
 Snowden (2016)
5.
 Cinderella (2015)
6.
 Little Boy (2015)
7.
 War Book (2014)
8.
 Twixt (2012)
9.
 London Boulevard (2011)
10.
 Dorian Gray (2010)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1997:
Co-starred as Morris Townsend in "Washington Square"
2002:
Had leading role opposite Michelle Yeoh in "The Touch"
2000:
Played a reporter marked for Satanic possession in "Lost Souls"
2004:
Starred opposite Claire Danes and Billy Crudup in "Stage Beauty"
1995:
Won praise for his performance as Tom Wingfield in the West End production of Tennessee Williams' "The Glass Menagerie"; directed by Sam Mendes
:
At age 16, appeared in a play and decided to become an actor
2002:
Co-stared with Sandra Bullock in "Murder By Numbers"
1995:
Had regular role on the British sitcom "Game On!"
2003:
Starred in William Nicholson's play "The Retreat From Moscow"; received Tony nomination
2006:
Cast as one of four siblings who returns home to say goodbye to their sick mother in "Two Weeks"
1993:
Film debut as a footman in the Merchant Ivory production "The Remains of the Day"
1992:
First starring role in the TV-movie "Bye Bye Baby" (Channel Four)
2009:
Portrayed actor George Coulouris in Richard Linklater's "Me and Orson Welles"
:
Raised in Windsor, England
2005:
Cast in director Terrence Malick's "The New World"
2007:
Co-starred in the fantasy film, "The Water Horse" about the fabled Loch Ness Monster
2001:
Co-starred with Nicole Kidman, playing a man who orders a Russian mail-order bride in "Birthday Girl" (released theatrically in 2002)
1996:
First starring role in an American feature in "The Truth About Cats and Dogs"
1998:
Had a leading role in Terrence Malick's remake of "The Thin Red Line"
1995:
Had breakthrough screen role as Con Wainwright in "Feast of July"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Guildhall School of Music and Drama: Barbican, England -

Notes

Chaplin is not related to Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin aka Charlie Chaplin.

"In England when you do a film you work such long hours, and you're under budget. But here, because it's a huge industry, it's quite sensible." --Ben Chaplin in Vanity Fair, March 1996.

On his role in "The Truth About Cats and Dogs", Chaplin (somewhat tongue-in-cheek) told Premiere (March 1996): "Well, I masturbate in one scene, and that is probably wthe most embarrassing thing anyone can do on film. It's tasteful -- you don't see my chopper -- but it was one of the bravest things of my career."

"I just wanted to be a good actor. A certain amount of fame goes with that territory, but it's nothing you want as a concept. It's seems like an unhealthy thing." --Ben Chaplin in The New York Times, April 21, 1996.

"He was a most affable fellow. Everyone in the make-up department had a crush on him." --Janeane Garofalo quoted in The New York Times, April 21, 1996.

"He has wonderful eyes, and you can see his soul come across on the screen. He's incredibly sincere and winning." --Cari-Esta Albert, producer of "The Truth About Cats and Dogs" in The New York Times, April 21, 1996.

"I just wanted to be a good actor. A certain amount of fame goes with that territory, but it's nothing you want as a concept. It seems like an unhealthy thing." --Chaplin quoted in The New York Times, April 21, 1996.

"Ben was why I looked forward to going to work [on "The Truth About Cats and Dogs"] in the morning. He just so funny and NICE." --Janeane Garofalo quoted in Entertainment Weekly, May 10, 1996.

Queried on his religious beliefs in light of his role in "Lost Souls", Ben Chaplin told Douglas Eby in Cinefantastique (October 2000): "I remain pretty much the same. I've always been somewhat of an agnostic. But I always think agnostic is a bit of an easy cop-out, you know, sitting on the fence, basically. I'm quite spiritual. I lean more to believing that not believing. It's when it gets too specific that I have problems. So I'm still in the gray area with it."

"After "Cats & Dogs" I fot big huge offers to do what I thought was the same role. Some of the parts were in scripts that weren't actually as good, but some were in scripts that were as good and better. I just thought, 'If I do another role like that ...,' I though that repeating myself would be disaster for me. That means I've had to take a longer way around, but hopefully it's a road that won't run out as quickly." --Chaplin quoted in Movieline, November 2000.

"I do want success, but I don't have the killer instinct, I expect success to a certain degree. My attitude is, if it's meant to be, it will be." --Chaplin to Movieline, November 2000.

"I've certainly got my dark sides. I think I can be very ugly inside and out. I've got a bad temper. Not dangerous. I'm an ostrich-in-the-sand type who lets things fester. It blows up and then it's gone. Not when I'm working -- I don't smash up trailers or anything. I'll just break some bizarre little sugar container that I haven't liked for a long time. But I haven't hurled anything for a long time." --Ben Chaplin in Movieline, November 2000.

"I work really hard. Acting is not something that comes easily to me. In fact, when I'm working, I don't function very well outside of that environment. I can't -- my mind is too taken up with it. I don't think I'm meant to be good at more than one thing at a time. I can't chew gum and walk at the same time." --Chaplin quoted in Movieline, November 2000.

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Embeth Davidtz. Actor. Reportedly left Harvey Keitel for him while filming "Feast of July" (1985).

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