Paul Bettany

Paul Bettany


Paul Bettany is one of the most versatile actors that is currently working in Hollywood today, and enjoying some major success along the way.

But he is not an actor who can be accused of sticking to a particular role mixing and matching his performances to result in having a large and varied body of work behind him.

He is back on the big screen this week in Scott Stewart's Legion as Archangel Michael as he tries to protect a small band of humans from God's wrath.

So to celebrate the release of the movie we take a look at Paul Bettany's varied filmography. He kicked off his career in TV with appearances in Sharpe's Waterloo and Killer Net but it wasn't long before the film world came knocking.

Released in 2000 Gangster No. 1 brought together a great British cast of Malcolm McDowell, David Thewlis and really introduced Bettany to audiences.

When a young gangster (Paul Bettany) starts working for gang leader Freddie Mays (David Thewlis), known as the Butcher of Mayfair, he dreams of being everything that Freddie is: smooth, sophisticated, impeccably dressed, always with the right women, and driving the fanciest cars. Freddie takes the young gangster under his wing as a potential war with a rival gang starts to heat up.

After Freddie falls for Karen (Saffron Burrows), whom 55 had his eye on, the young gangster lies in wait for an opportunity to change things, and when that moment comes, he leaves a bloodbath of betrayal in his wake.

The was a tough and gritty performance from Bettany, he was a revelation and he had finally arrived on the acting scene.

A Knight's Tale couldn't have been more different for the actor as he starred as Geoffrey Chaucer in the action adventure movie A Knight's Tale, which also brought Heath Ledger to our attention.

William Thatcher (Ledger), a poor and humble squire, has always dreamed of proving himself worthy as a knight. When he gets a lucky chance, seeing an opportunity to disguise himself in the identity of a knight, William decides to maintain the illusion for as long as possible.

He is aided by his friends Wat, Roland, and Geoffrey Chaucer, a writer with a knack for forging official papers.

The movie was not met well by the critics, but it is a good laugh if you want to just kick back and relax, however Bettany picked up the Film Critics' Circle Award for Supporting Actor of the Year.

He was also nominated for the Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Most Promising Performer.

But it was A Beautiful Mind that really brought him to prominence in 2001 when he starred alongside Russell Crowe, the first of two movie with the Aussie actor.

Based on the life of John Forbes Nash, a Nobel Laureate in Economics Bettany took on the role of Charles Herman, Nash's cheerful, supportive roommate and best friend throughout graduate college.

Despite his brilliant mind and competitive nature Nash begins to struggle with schizophrenia and his world descends into madness as he struggles to tell what is real.

With his performance as Charles Herman, who may not be all that he seems, Bettany cemented himself as a real talent, as well as truly catching the attention of the American film industry.

The film was a huge critical hit and went on to win the Best Picture Oscar. For his performance Bettany was nominated for the London Film Critics' Circle Award for Supporting Actor of the Year.

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World saw Bettany team up with Crowe for a second time in 2003, directed by Peter Weir.

The partnership brought another critically acclaimed movie and it was nominated for ten Oscars, including Best Picture.

More awards success came Bettany's way as he picked up the Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Actor and the London Film Critics' Circle Award for British Actor of the Year.

He was also nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and the BFCA Critics' Choice Award for Best Supporting Actor.

The blockbuster called in 2006 as he took on the role of creepy monk Silas in the big screen adaptation of The Da Vinci Code, directed by Ron Howard.

Despite mixed review from the critics it was a huge box office success going on to gross over $728 million at the global box office, one of the biggest hits of the year.

After lending his voice to Iron Man as Jarvis it was a more serious role for Bettany at the end of last year as he starred in Creation as Charles Darwin.

Creation follows Darwin as he developed his Origin of the Species theory, which went against everything his religious wife believed.

Up next for the actor sees him team up with his Legion filmmaker Stewart once again to become a warrior priest.

Legion is out now.

FemaleFirst Helen Earnshaw

 


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