David Thewlis

Last updated on the 30 April 2024 by Evandrus

David Thewlis poster

Mini Biography

Born: 20 March 1963, Blackpool, Lancashire, England. 

David Thewlis is the son of Maureen and Alec Raymond Wheeler. His parents owned a toy and wallpaper shop and he grew up with an older and younger sibling. During his teenage years, he was involved in music, performing in a rock band named QED and later playing lead guitar in a punk rock group called Door 66. He attended Highfield High School in Blackpool’s Marton neighbourhood and subsequently pursued his education at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, where he graduated in 1984.

David Thewlis’s professional journey began on the small screen in the mid-80s with minor roles in sitcoms like “Valentine Park” and “Only Fools and Horses.” These were stepping stones and in 1987 he made his film debut in “Little Dorrit.” The following years saw him develop his craft in supporting roles, building a filmography that included diverse projects like the darkly comedic “Life is Sweet” (1990) by Mike Leigh and the fantasy adventure “DragonHeart” (1994).

The turning point in Thewlis’s career arrived in 1993 with another Mike Leigh film, “Naked.” His portrayal of Johnny, a philosophically rambling, morally ambiguous man, garnered widespread acclaim. The raw intensity and vulnerability he brought to the role earned him the prestigious Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actor, propelling him to international recognition.

This newfound recognition opened doors to a wider range of projects. He appeared in the critically acclaimed period drama “Restoration” (1995) and lent his voice to the gentle steed Black Beauty in the 1994 adaptation of the classic novel. Thewlis continued to showcase his versatility, taking on roles in thrillers like “Seven Days to Never Die” (2001) and the romantic comedy “About a Boy” (2002).

In 2004, a new generation came to know Thewlis as the beloved Professor Remus Lupin in the third installment of the “Harry Potter” series, “Prisoner of Azkaban.” He reprised the role in the subsequent films, bringing warmth and complexity to the “Defence Against the Dark Arts”.

Television also continued to be a prominent platform for Thewlis. He delivered a chilling performance as a criminal mastermind  in the third season of the anthology series “Fargo” (2014). 

David Thewlis was married to actress Sara Sugarman in the early 90s and later had a long-term relationship with actress Anna Friel, with whom he shares a daughter. In 2016, he married French psychotherapist Hermine Poitou.


Suggested viewing


Naked (1993)

Naked (1993) poster

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 7.7

Fleeing a violent encounter, a man with a sharp tongue and a dark outlook on life finds himself navigating the isolated streets of London. Crashing with an old flame and encountering a cast of troubled souls, his rage and philosophical ramblings only deepen the sense of alienation that consumes him.

Top cast: David Thewlis, Lesley Sharp, Katrin Cartlidge, Claire Skinner, Greg Cruttwell, Peter Wight, Ewen Bremner, Susan Vidler, Gina McKee, Elizabeth Berrington, Toby Jones.


The Mercy (2017)

The Mercy poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 6.0

An underprepared sailor joins a prestigious around-the-world race, hoping to secure his legacy. Battling loneliness and self-doubt on the vast ocean, his dream quickly unravels. To avoid humiliation, he resorts to desperate measures, forcing him to confront a terrible truth.

Top cast: Colin Firth, Rachel Weisz, David Thewlis, Mark Gatiss, Genevieve Gaunt, Jonathan Bailey, Andrew Buchan, Simon McBurney, Eleanor Stagg.


An Inspector Calls (2015)

An Inspector Calls poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 7.6

A celebratory dinner for a wealthy family is disrupted by a mysterious inspector investigating a young woman’s suicide. As the inspector meticulously exposes each family member’s past connection to the victim, their comfortable facade crumbles, forcing them to confront their own culpability and the interconnectedness of society.

Top cast: David Thewlis, Sophie Rundle, Lucy Chappell, Miranda Richardson, Ken Stott, Finn Cole, Chloe Pirrie, Kyle Soller.

Alternative version

An Inspector Calls poster


The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008)

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas poster

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 7.7

A sheltered boy living near a concentration camp befriends a young inmate through the fence, oblivious to the true nature of the camp. Their innocent interactions highlight the horrors of war and the devastating impact of prejudice.

Top cast: Asa Butterfield, David Thewlis, Jack Scanlon, Amber Beattie, Rupert Friend, Sheila Hancock, David Hayman, Zac Mattoon O’Brien, Domonkos Németh, Vera Farmiga, Cara Horgan, Henry Kingsmill.

Related to

One Life poster     Denial (2016)


Full filmography (@Wikipedia)


 David Thewlis Gallery


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