skip navigation
James Frain

James Frain

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Also Known As: Died:
Born: March 14, 1968 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Leeds, England, GB Profession: actor, director, playwright

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Actor James Frain was a quintessential chameleon. Regardless of the role he portrayed â¿¿ whether it was a sinister Spaniard in "Elizabeth" (1998), a classical pianist in "Hilary and Jackie" (1998), or a soft-spoken librarian in "Where the Heart Is" (2000) â¿¿ Frain always extracted hidden layers of his charactersâ¿¿ emotions and brought them to the forefront. Frain also delivered strong performances on the action drama "24" (Fox, 2001-2010) as well as on the critically acclaimed Showtime miniseries "The Tudors" (2007-2010), as a commoner who rises to power as King Henry VIIIâ¿¿s ally. But it was Frainâ¿¿s impressive turn as a psychotic vampire obsessed with a human on the award-winning HBO series "True Blood" (2008- ) that put him on the map and successfully showcased his range as a performer.James Frain was born on March 14, 1968 in Leeds, England, but raised in Essex. In his teen years, Frain was already directing, writing and acting in his own plays. After earning a degree in drama from the University of East Anglia, he graduated from Londonâ¿¿s Central School of Speech and Drama where he met famed British actor and director Sir Richard Attenborough. The connection proved worthwhile as...

Actor James Frain was a quintessential chameleon. Regardless of the role he portrayed â¿¿ whether it was a sinister Spaniard in "Elizabeth" (1998), a classical pianist in "Hilary and Jackie" (1998), or a soft-spoken librarian in "Where the Heart Is" (2000) â¿¿ Frain always extracted hidden layers of his charactersâ¿¿ emotions and brought them to the forefront. Frain also delivered strong performances on the action drama "24" (Fox, 2001-2010) as well as on the critically acclaimed Showtime miniseries "The Tudors" (2007-2010), as a commoner who rises to power as King Henry VIIIâ¿¿s ally. But it was Frainâ¿¿s impressive turn as a psychotic vampire obsessed with a human on the award-winning HBO series "True Blood" (2008- ) that put him on the map and successfully showcased his range as a performer.

James Frain was born on March 14, 1968 in Leeds, England, but raised in Essex. In his teen years, Frain was already directing, writing and acting in his own plays. After earning a degree in drama from the University of East Anglia, he graduated from Londonâ¿¿s Central School of Speech and Drama where he met famed British actor and director Sir Richard Attenborough. The connection proved worthwhile as Attenborough cast Frain in his first film, "Shadowlands" (1993), as a troubled Oxford student appearing opposite Sir Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger in the lead roles.

Following his film debut, Frain landed more memorable roles, including the lead in the gangster film "Nothing Personal" (1995), and a critically acclaimed performance as a cruel, closeted aristocrat on "The Buccaneers" (BBC, 1995), a period piece about four American women who travel to England to find husbands. He gained international recognition as the insidious Spaniard Alvaro de la Quadra in the award-winning biopic, "Elizabeth," starring Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush, and for his portrayal of acclaimed pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim in the critical darling, "Hilary and Jackie." Frain showed his softer side in the drama "Where the Heart Is" opposite Natalie Portman and Ashley Judd, in which he played a small-town librarian who falls in love with Portmanâ¿¿s character. Frain continued to make headway in both his television and film careers by guest starring on dramas like "Medium" (NBC, 2005- ), the sci-fi thriller "Invasion" (ABC, 2005-06), and "Strong Medicine" (Lifetime, 2000-06) as an art gallery painter.

In 2005, Frain became a regular on the high-octane action series "24" opposite Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer, a fearless and unstoppable federal agent who completes dangerous missions to save the world a day at a time. On the hit show, Frain played the ex-husband of Audrey Raines (Kim Raver) who also happened to be Bauerâ¿¿s love interest. In one intense season four episode, Bauer interrogated Frainâ¿¿s character with electrical torture because Bauer suspected involvement with terrorists. The versatile actor lent his dramatic prowess to the Showtime miniseries, "The Tudors," about the marriages and reign of Englandâ¿¿s King Henry VIII (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). On the critical fave, Frain played Thomas Cromwell, a cunning, self-educated soldier who becomes one of the kingâ¿¿s closest allies and who leads the Reformation movement in England.

In 2010, he catapulted to a new level of fame after becoming a series regular on "True Blood," a provocative show based on The Southern Vampire Mysteries novels by Charlaine Harris about small town residents in Louisiana who must live alongside modern-day vampires. Frain stirred up plenty of mystery and intrigue as the vampire Franklin Mott, a bounty hunter hired by Russell Edgington (Denis Oâ¿¿Hare) to dig up dirt on Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer). While Franklinâ¿¿s main job was to play detective, he became increasingly obsessed with a human named Tara (Rutina Wesley). Initially, the show focused on Franklin trying to have a relationship with Tara but it progressed to reveal his psychotic and obsessive tendencies towards her. That same year, he starred in the big-budget, highly anticipated sequel "Tron: Legacy" opposite Jeff Bridges and Olivia Wilde.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Alpha Alert (2014)
2.
 Lone Ranger, The (2013)
3.
4.
5.
 Tron: Legacy (2010)
6.
 Dark Relic (2010)
7.
 Everybody's Fine (2009)
8.
 Quid Pro Quo (2008)
9.
 Front Line, The (2006)
10.
 Into the Blue (2005)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Essex
:
As a child, decided to be an actor
:
Began writing, directing and acting in amateur productions as a teenager
:
After secondary school, worked odd jobs and traveled before enrolling as a theater student at the University of East Anglia in 1987
1990:
Accepted at Central School of Speech and Drama
1993:
Just before graduating from drama school, was cast in first film role
1993:
Feature acting debut as Peter Whistler, an Oxford student who clashes with C S Lewis (Anthony Hopkins), in "Shadowlands"
1993:
Early TV credit as a "rent boy" in "Prime Suspect 3" (aired on PBS in the USA)
1995:
Played a single-minded leader of a paramilitary group of Protestants in Northern Island in "Nothing Personal"
1995:
Breakthrough TV role as an abusive aristocrat in the series "The Buccaneers" (aired on PBS in the USA)
1996:
Played the leading Russian assassin in the acclaimed HBO movie "Rasputin"
1997:
Initial screen teaming with Emily Watson in "The Mill on the Floss"; played Philip Wakem, the childhood sweetheart of Watson's Maggie Tulliver; aired in the USA on PBS' "Mobil Masterpiece Theatre"
1998:
Delivered a fine turn as the ambiguous Spanish ambassador to the Tudor court in "Elizabeth"
1998:
Reteamed with Watson, playing Argentine pianist Daniel Barenbohm to her cellist Jacqueline Du Pre in the biopic "Hilary and Jackie"
1999:
Portrayed the legendary French filmmaker in the biopic "Vigo - Passion for Life"
1999:
Appeared as Bassanius in Julie Taymor's "Titus"
1999:
Portrayed Ralph Fiennes' brother in "Sunshine"; released in USA in 2000
2000:
Cast an a American who befriends a fellow prisoner (Ben Affleck) in John Frankenheimer's drama "Reindeer Games"
2000:
Returned to London stage as a gay man in "Other People"
2002:
Co-starred in the remake of "The Count of Monte Cristo"
2002:
Acted on stage in London in "King Lear"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

University of East Anglia: - 1987 - 1990
Central School of Speech and Drama: London , England - 1990 - 1993

Notes

"What's been good [about my career] is that every time

"I am rarely satisfied with what I've done. But most actors would say that. You see it and you want to do it again, because you always learn something from watching what you've done." --James Frain, quoted in London TIMES, June 5, 1999

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute