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Sam Rockwell at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2018
November 5, 1968
San Mateo County, California, U.S.
|Residence||Los Angeles County, California, U.S.|
|Alma mater||Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts|
|Partner(s)||Leslie Bibb (2007–present)|
Sam Rockwell (born November 5, 1968) is an American actor who became known for his leading roles in Lawn Dogs (1997), Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002), Matchstick Men (2003), The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005), Moon (2009), G-Force (2009), and Seven Psychopaths (2012). Rockwell received accolades for his supporting roles in The Green Mile (1999), Galaxy Quest (1999), Charlie's Angels (2000), The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007), Frost/Nixon (2008), Conviction (2010), Iron Man 2 (2010), Cowboys & Aliens (2011), and The Way, Way Back (2013). For his role as a troubled police deputy in the drama film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017), Rockwell won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, as well as numerous other accolades, including a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe Award, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Early life and education
Rockwell was born in San Mateo County, California, the only child of actor parents Pete Rockwell and Penny Hess who divorced when he was five years old. He was raised by his father, in San Francisco, while his mother lived in New York (he spent his summer vacations with her). Rockwell had what The New York Times described in 1998 as a "footloose upbringing" and, at age 10, made his brief stage debut playing Humphrey Bogart in an East Village improv comedy sketch starring his mother.
He attended San Francisco School of the Arts for his high school education with Margaret Cho and Aisha Tyler but dropped out before graduating. He later received his high school diploma after his parents enrolled him in an Outward Bound-style alternative high school called Urban Pioneers because, as Rockwell explained, "I just wanted to get stoned, flirt with girls, go to parties." The school, the actor said, "had a reputation as a place stoners went because it was easy to graduate," but the program ended up helping him regain an interest in performing. After appearing in an independent film during his senior year, he graduated and moved to New York to pursue an acting career.
After his debut role in the horror film Clownhouse (1989) (produced by Francis Ford Coppola's production company), which he filmed whilst living in San Francisco, he moved to New York and trained at the William Esper Studios, with teacher Terry Knickerbocker. His career slowly gained momentum in the early 1990s, when he alternated between small-screen guest spots in TV series like The Equalizer, NYPD Blue and Law & Order and small roles in films such as Last Exit to Brooklyn and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He also appeared as the title character in The Search for One-eye Jimmy. During this time, Rockwell worked in restaurants as a busboy and delivered burritos by bicycle. At one point, Rockwell even worked as a private detective's assistant. "I tailed a chick who was having an affair and took pictures of her at this motel", he told Rolling Stone in 2002. "It was pretty sleazy." A well-paying Miller commercial in 1994 finally allowed him to pursue acting full-time.
The turning point in Rockwell's career was Tom DiCillo's film Box of Moonlight (1996), in which he played an eccentric man-child who dresses like Davy Crockett and lives in an isolated mobile home. The ensuing acclaim put him front and center with casting agents and new-found fans alike, with Rockwell himself acknowledging that "That film was definitely a turning point...I was sort of put on some independent film map after 10 years in New York."
He also received strong reviews for the film Lawn Dogs (1997), where he played a working-class lawn mower who befriends a wealthy 10-year-old girl (Mischa Barton) in an upper-class gated community in Kentucky; Rockwell's performance won him Best Actor honors at both the Montreal World Film Festival and the Catalan International Film Festival. In 1999, Rockwell played prisoner William "Wild Bill" Wharton in the Stephen King prison drama The Green Mile. At the time of the film's shooting, Rockwell explained why he was attracted to playing such unlikeable characters. He said, "I like that dark stuff. I think heroes should be flawed. There's a bit of self-loathing in there, and a bit of anger... But after this, I've really got to play some lawyers, or a British aristocrat, or they'll put a label on me."
After appearances as a bumbling actor in the sci-fi parody Galaxy Quest (1999), in the Shakespeare adaptation A Midsummer Night's Dream (1999) as Flute, and as gregarious villain Eric Knox in Charlie's Angels (2000), Rockwell won the biggest leading role of his career as The Gong Show host Chuck Barris in George Clooney's directorial debut, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002). Rockwell's performance was well received, and the film received generally positive reviews.
Rockwell has also received positive notices for his role opposite Nicolas Cage in Ridley Scott's Matchstick Men (2003), with Entertainment Weekly calling him "destined by a kind of excessive interestingness to forever be a colorful sidekick." He received somewhat more mixed reviews as Zaphod Beeblebrox in the film version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005). He then had a notable supporting role as Charley Ford, brother of Casey Affleck's character Robert Ford, in the well-received drama The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007), in which Brad Pitt played the lead role of Jesse James. According to an interview on The Howard Stern Show, director Jon Favreau considered casting him as the titular character in Iron Man as the studio was initially hesitant to work with Robert Downey Jr., who had been considered for his role in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Rockwell appeared in the Iron Man sequel, released in 2010, as Tony Stark's rival weapons developer, Justin Hammer. He is said to have accepted the role without reading the script. He had never heard of the character before he was contacted about the role, and was unaware that Hammer is an old man in the comic books.
In addition to big-budget feature films, Rockwell also appears in indie films such as The F Word and he played a randy, Halloween-costume-clad Batman in a short, Robin's Big Date, opposite Justin Long as Robin. He also starred in the film Snow Angels (2008) opposite Kate Beckinsale. He worked on several occasions with the comedy troupe Stella (Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter and David Wain), making cameo appearances in their short films and eponymous TV series.
Rockwell played Victor Mancini in the film Choke (2008), based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk. Critic Roger Ebert said of his performance that he "seems to have become the latter-day version of Christopher Walken – not all the time, but when you need him, he's your go-to guy for weirdness."
In 2007, Rockwell guest-starred in the web series Casted: The Continuing Chronicles of Derek Riffchyn, Greatest Casting Director in the World. Ever. He appears opposite Jonathan Togo as Derek and Justin Long as Scott. Rockwell plays an aspiring young actor named Pete Sampras.
In 2009, he starred in the critically acclaimed science fiction film Moon, directed by Duncan Jones. His performance was widely praised, with some critics calling for an Academy Award for Best Actor nomination.
On May 3, 2010, it was announced that Rockwell would team up again with Iron Man 2 director Jon Favreau, for Favreau's adaptation of the graphic novel Cowboys & Aliens. He played a bar owner named Doc who joins in the pursuit of the aliens.
Rockwell also appeared in Martin McDonagh's Seven Psychopaths (2012), as well as Nat Faxon and Jim Rash's The Way, Way Back (2013). For his performance in The Way, Way Back, some critics felt he again deserved an Academy Award nomination.
In January 2014, it was announced that Rockwell was cast in the upcoming film The Eel, in which he would play an escaped convict. The film was produced by Kevin Walsh, Nat Faxon, and Jim Rash, marking Rockwell's second collaboration with all three. Additionally, Rockwell starred in the 2015 remake of Poltergeist.
In August 2017, Rockwell was cast to play George W. Bush in Adam McKay's upcoming biopic of Dick Cheney. Rockwell reteamed with McDonagh in the film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017). For his role as violent police officer Jason Dixon, Rockwell received the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and his first Academy Award win.
Since 1992, Rockwell has been a member of the LAByrinth Theater Company, where John Ortiz is a co-artistic director. In 2005, Philip Seymour Hoffman directed him in Stephen Adly Guirgis' hit play The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. Rockwell work-shopped a LAByrinth production, North of Mason-Dixon, which debuted in London in 2007 and then premiered in New York City later the same year. Other plays in which Rockwell performed are: Dumb Waiter (2001), Zoo Story (2001), The Hot L Baltimore (2000), Goosepimples (1998), Love and Human Remains, Face Divided, Orphans, Den of Thieves, Dessert at Waffle House, The Largest Elizabeth, and A Behanding in Spokane.
Rockwell has never been married and stated in a 2007 interview, "I definitely don't want to become a parent. It's not my bag." Rockwell has been in a relationship with actress Leslie Bibb since 2007, when they reportedly met in Los Angeles as he was filming Frost/Nixon. They both appeared in Iron Man 2.
|1988||The Equalizer||Slick||Episode: "The Child Broker"|
|1989||Dream Street||Joey||Episode: "Girl's Talk"|
|1990||ABC Afterschool Special||Jason||Episode: "Over the Limit"|
|1992, 1993||Law & Order||Randy Borland / Officer Weddeker||2 episodes|
|1993||Lifestories: Families in Crisis||Kevin Tunell||Episode: "Dead Drunk: The Kevin Tunell Story"|
|1995||NYPD Blue||Billy||Episode: "Torah! Torah! Torah!"|
|1997||SUBWAYStories: Tales from the Underground||Man Eating||Television film|
Segment: "Sax Cantor Riff"
|1997–2000||Prince Street||Donny Hanson||6 episodes|
|2005||Stella||Gary Meadows||Episode: "Office Party"|
|2012||Napoleon Dynamite||Filson (voice)||Episode: "FFA"|
|2015||Drunk History||Bugsy Siegel||Episode: "Las Vegas"|
|2015–present||F Is for Family||Vic (voice)||16 episodes|
|2016||Inside Amy Schumer||Sam||Episode: "Fame"|
|2018||Saturday Night Live||Himself (host)||Episode: "Sam Rockwell/Halsey"|
|2016||Dishonored 2||Mortimer Ramsey|
|2010||A Behanding in Spokane||Mervyn|
|2014||Fool for Love||Eddie|
Awards and nominations
- "Sam Rockwell". GoldenGlobes.com. Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Retrieved January 7, 2018.
- "The 24th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards". SAGAwards.org. Screen Actors Guild. Retrieved January 7, 2018.
- "Film - Supporting Actor in 2018". BAFTA.org. British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
- "THE 90TH ACADEMY AWARDS - 2018". Oscars.org. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
- "California, Birth Index, 1905-1995". FamilySearch. Retrieved January 27, 2014.
- "Sam Rockwell; One-Man Gallery of Rogues, Crooks and Oddballs". by Laura Winters, The New York Times. September 13, 1998. Retrieved March 25, 2008.
- “Sam Rockwell,” by Miranda Spencer. Biography, January 2003.
- "Today's Buzz Stories: Rockwell turned around". CNN Showbuzz. December 23, 2002. Archived from the original on July 20, 2007. Retrieved February 10, 2007.
- Weinraub, Bernard (January 23, 1998). "AT THE MOVIES; Looking Back At 2 Classics". The New York Times. Retrieved October 12, 2015.
- "Sam Rockwell | The Talks". The Talks. Retrieved 2017-02-24.
- “Sam Rockwell,” by M.B. Rolling Stone, 10/3/02.
- "Movie Review: Matchstick Men". by Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly. September 10, 2003. Retrieved February 10, 2007.
- "Choke". Chicago Sun-Times. September 25, 2008.
- on YouTube
- Moon. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved on 2012-08-18.
- Flores, Ramses (May 3, 2010). "Sam Rockwell cast in COWBOYS & ALIENS". collider.com. Retrieved October 12, 2015.
- "Martin McDonagh Helms 'Seven Psychopaths', Colin Farrell among all-star cast". iftn.com. May 12, 2011. Retrieved October 12, 2015.
- Mele, Rick (July 5, 2013). "Sam Rockwell in 'The Way, Way Back': Will It Be His Breakout Role?". Moviefone. AOL. Archived from the original on February 11, 2015. Retrieved October 12, 2015.
- Seibert, Perry. "The Way Way Back Review". Retrieved 13 August 2015.
- "The Way Way Back - Movie Review". Retrieved 13 August 2015.
- Fleming, Jr., Mike (January 17, 2014). "Sundance: 'Laggies' Sam Rockwell Sets 'The Eel' To Reunite With 'Way Way Back' Gang". Deadline Hollywood. PMC. Retrieved January 19, 2014.
- "Dishonored 2 Taps Vocal Talent From Game Of Thrones, Daredevil, And The Wire". Game Informer.
- Kit, Borys (August 31, 2017). "Sam Rockwell to Play George W. Bush in Adam McKay's Dick Cheney Biopic (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 3, 2017.
- Lawrence, Derek (January 7, 2018). "Sam Rockwell wins best supporting actor at Golden Globes". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 7, 2018.
- Chrissy Iley (November 11, 2007). It's scary in here.... Interview – Film.guardian.co.uk. Retrieved on 2012-08-18.
- Tom Shone (3 December 2012). "Sam Rockwell: Hollywood's odd man out". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
- "6th Screen Actors Guild Awards". Wikipedia. 2018-04-24.
- "7th Golden Satellite Awards". Wikipedia. 2018-05-01.
- "8th Golden Satellite Awards". Wikipedia. 2018-05-01.
- "13th Satellite Awards". Wikipedia. 2018-05-01.
- "British Independent Film Awards 2009". Wikipedia. 2017-12-30.
- "15th Screen Actors Guild Awards". Wikipedia. 2018-05-03.
- "36th Saturn Awards". Wikipedia. 2018-04-07.
- "19th Critics' Choice Awards". Wikipedia. 2018-04-03.
- "British Independent Film Awards 2017". Wikipedia. 2018-03-06.
- "22nd Satellite Awards". Wikipedia. 2018-05-01.
- "90th Academy Awards". Wikipedia. 2018-05-01.
- "71st British Academy Film Awards". Wikipedia. 2018-05-01.
- "23rd Critics' Choice Awards". Wikipedia. 2018-04-01.
- "75th Golden Globe Awards". Wikipedia. 2018-04-06.
- "24th Screen Actors Guild Awards". Wikipedia. 2018-04-01.
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