Born as David Wheeler in 1963, David Thewlis was the son of Maureen and Alec Wheeler, who owned a toy shop. Initially, he came to London to pursue a career with his punk band, Door 66. However, he began studying acting at the Guildhall School of Drama instead.
Although he has been active in films and television since the 1980s, his breakout role in Naked in 1993 earned him international acclaim and numerous awards, including Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival. In 2008, he received the Richard Harris award for Outstanding Contribution to British Film at the British Independent Film Awards.
He was once married to actress/director Sara Sugarman. He also had a long-term relationship with actress Anna Friel, with whom he has one daughter, Gracie.
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David originally auditioned for the part of Professor Quirrell but lost the role to Ian Hart. He returned in 2004 to play Harry’s third Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Remus Lupin. Alfonso Cuarón picked David specifically for the role, so he didn’t have to audition.
David appeared in Prisoner of Azkaban, Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, and Deathly Hallows – Parts 1 and 2.
He has famously said that he followed director Cuarón’s advice to play Lupin as “a gay junkie,” although his interpretation of the character changed once it was revealed that his character would have a relationship with Nymphadora Tonks. David’s then-girlfriend, Anna Friel, wanted to audition for the role, but the part went to Natalia Tena.
Apart from acting in numerous movies and television shows, David has also written and directed the short film Hello, Hello, Hello and the feature film Cheeky.
In 2007, David released his first book, The Late Hector Kipling, a comedic novel about a famous painter. The novel was published by Simon and Schuster, and it received favorable reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus Reviews. Actor Billy Connolly raved about it:
David Thewlis has written an extraordinarily good novel that is not only brilliant in its own right but which stands proudly beside his work as an actor, no mean boast. He is the epitome of the true Renaissance man. A hero of mine.
- His role in Seven Years in Tibet resulted in a ban from entering China.
- When he went to register for the actors’ union, there was already someone with the name “David Wheeler,” so he adopted his mother’s maiden name instead.
- He was in two bands, QED and Door 66.
- He met his ex-girlfriend Anna Friel on a flight to Cannes.
- He is often mistaken for actor Rhys Ifans, who plays Xenophilius Lovegood in the Harry Potter series.
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