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I met Ben Whishaw by chance in October 2008, outside the stage door of the National Theatre in London, where he was performing in the play Some Trace of Her. I was there for Sir Roger Moore's book signing and jumped at the opportunity to have my photo taken with the star of the BBC drama Criminal Justice. Ben Whishaw is widely regarded as one of Britain's most talented young actors.
Benjamin ('Ben') Whishaw was born in Clifton, Bedfordshire, in 1980 and he has a twin brother James. Their father is a computer engineer and their mother a cosmetics saleswoman. Ben showed an early interest and a promising talent for drama when he was a student at the local Samuel Whitbread Community College. He joined the Bancroft Players at the Queen Mother Theatre in Hitchin. He took part in many productions. notably If This is a Man, a play they took to the Edinburgh
Ben then trained at RADA graduating in 2004. He was cast as Hamlet in Trevor Nunn's highly successful 2004 production at London's Old Vic. His performance, which caused much audience excitement because of his youth and inexperience, drew universal praise from the critics.
Edinburgh Festival in 1995, with Ben Whishaw getting rave reviews for his performance.
Ben Whishaw has gone on to
Ben Whishaw & Hattie Morahan in.......
...The Seagull at the National Theatre
...Some Trace of Her at the
Ben Whishaw & Imogen Stubbs in Hamlet
enhance his theatrical reputation further in plays like Philip Ridley's highly controversial drama Mercury Fur at the Menier Chocolate Factory (a fringe theatre in London) in 2005; Chekhov ano
Chekhov's The Seagull at London's National Theatre in 2006; another Philip Ridley play Leaves of Glass at the Soho Theatre in 2007, and Some Trace of Her (a version of Dostoevsky’s 1869 classic novel, The Idiot) at the National Theatre in 2008.
Ben Whishaw in Mercury Fur
Whilst still at RADA, Ben Whishaw received a British Independent Film Award for ''
Ben Wishaw & Jenna Harrison in My Brother Tom
'most promising newcomer' for his lead performance in My Brother Tom (2001), in which he appeared as an abused teenager who frolicked, wild and naked, in the woods with a girl who had been abused by her next-door neighbour, who was also her school drama teacher .
Ben's early film appearances include Enduring Love (2004) and Layer Cake (2004), both starring Daniel Craig, and the Rolling Stones film Stoned (2005) in which he plays Keith Richards.
In Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006), Ben Wishaw plays the lead role of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, an obsessive French perfumer who eventually resorts to murder in his search to find the key ingredient for one of his perfumes. A long list of actors including Leonardo DiCaprio and Orlando Bloom we
were thought to have been considered to play the lead character, but the German director Tom Tykwer wanted an ‘unknown’ actor, and Ben Whishaw eventually got the part.
Ben Whishaw & Karoline Herfurf in
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
Perfume: TheStory of a Murderer
(above) 2 images of Ben Whishaw as
Whishaw as Bob Dylan in I'm Not There
I'm Not There (2007) is a very complex biopic in which Ben Whishaw is one of six different actors (including Cate Blanchette, Richard Gere and Heath Ledger) to play an incarnation of the folk singer Bob Dylan.
Jean-Baptiste Grenouille in
After appearing as Sebastian Flyte in the film version of Bridehead Revisited (2008) with Matthew Goode & Hayley Atwell, Ben Whishaw's film career moved ahead quickly with the thriller The
International (2009), and the comedy short Love Hate (2009).
Ben Whishaw & Hayley Atwell in Love Hate
Ben Whishaw as Sebastian Flyte in
In the romantic drama Bright Star (2009), Ben is cast as the 19th century poet John Keats, with Abbie Cornish as Fanny Brawne. Jane Campion has written the screenplay and also directed this visually stunning film. The drama is based on the three-year romance between the poet and Fanny Brawne, which was cut short by Keats' untimely death aged 25.
Ben Whishaw as John Keats & Abbie Cornish as Fanny Brawne in Bright Star
Ben Whishaw's TV credits include Pingu in the sitcom Nathan Barley (2005) and the substantial role of Ben Coulter in the BBC's 5-episode production of Criminal Justice (2008).
The fine cast of Criminal Justice included Pete Postlethwaite, David Harewood, Bill Paterson, Con O'Neill and Lindsay Duncan. Ben Whishaw says of his part, "I was thrilled by the script. I started to dream about it and
and talk to friends about it. It was something I felt I had to do. The story has a nightmarish quality - it's complex and challenging. I felt it would challenge me in big ways."
Ben Whishaw lives in London and enjoys reading, painting and gardening in his spare time.
With Pete Postlethwaite in Criminal Justice
Ben Whishaw in Criminal Justice
Whishaw in a scene from Criminal Justice
In the James Bond film Skyfall (2012),
After starring as Web in the American comedy drama for TV All Signs of Death (2010), BenW
Ben Whishaw's next television appearance was in the title role of Richard II (2012), an episode in the TV mini-series The Hollow Crown. These were new adaptations of four of Shakespeare's
As Web in All Signs of Death
Shakespeare's historical plays for the BBC's Cultural Olympiad.
Ben Whishaw as Q with Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall
Ben Whishaw as Richard II in The Hollow Crown
More success followed with the BBC's drama series The Hour (2011-12), an espionage thriller set in England during the Cold War of the 1960s. Whishaw stars as journalist Freddie Lyon, alongside Dominic West as Hector Madden and Ramola Garai as Bel Rowley. The series has been nominated for a number of awards including the BAFTAs and the Golden Globes.
Ben Whishaw as Freddie Lyon in The Hour
(2012), starring Daniel Craig as Bond, Ben Whishaw was cast in the role of Q. Ian Fleming's recurring character, who didn't appear in either Casino Royale (2006) or Quantum of Solace (2008), had previously been played by Peter Burton (1962), Desmond Llewellyn (from 1963-1999) & John Cleese (from 1999-2002).