Australian actor Ben Mendelsohn may have missed out on the first wave of Aussies to invade Hollywood in the '90s, but his standout role in 2010's crime drama "Animal Kingdom" marked the beginning of a new chapter in his long career. A fixture on '80s Down Under shows such as "Neighbours" (Seven Network, 1985- ), Mendelsohn landed a breakout role as a loud-mouthed rugby player in the 1987 critically-acclaimed film "The Year My Voice Broke." Though he continued working steadily in both Australia and the U.S., most notably appearing opposite Anthony Hopkins in "The Efficiency Expert" (1992), Mendelsohn languished in minor projects until being cast in the high-profile films "The New World" (2005) and "Australia" (2008). Then came "Animal Kingdom," which led to even bigger roles in the gritty "Killing Them Softly" (2012), the blockbuster "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012), and the indie success "The Place Beyond the Pines" (2013), and finally the massively successful "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" (2016). Finally, Hollywood had caught up to the talented actor from Oz.
Born in Melbourne, Mendelsohn traveled extensively through the U.S. and Europe as a child with his family, which included brothers Tom and David; his father Frederick, the neuroscientist head of the prestigious Howard Florey Institute; and his mother Carole Ann, a registered nurse. Mendelsohn developed an interest in acting while attending high school in Melbourne and made his TV debut in 1984 on the Ten Network police series "Special Squad." After being cast on the short-lived "The Henderson Kids" (Ten Network, 1985-86), in 1986 Mendelsohn landed a recurring role on the popular soap opera "Neighbours," and a year later won several Australian film awards for his portrayal of a criminally-inclined rugby player in "The Year My Voice Broke."
But what didn't break was Mendelsohn's career. Though he began appearing in U.S. films, such as 1992's "The Efficiency Expert" starring Anthony Hopkins as the title professional, he spent much of the '90s and early 2000s appearing in minor film and TV projects. Then, in 2005, reclusive director Terrence Malick cast him in "The New World," which led to a role in Baz Luhrmann's sprawling "Australia" (2008). Just two years later came his breakthrough role as an armed robber on the run in the tightly-wound crime thriller "Animal Kingdom," set in Melbourne and starring a largely Australian cast.
With his name back in the spotlight, Mendelsohn, who married British writer Emma Forrest in 2012, landed a pair of high-profile roles that year: greedy developer Daggett in "The Dark Knight Rises," and Russell, a drug addict turned heist man in "Killing Them Softly." He next appeared opposite Ryan Gosling in the fathers-and-sons epic "The Place Beyond the Pines" (2012), and was cast as Jessa's estranged father in an episode of the popular but controversial "Girls" (HBO, 2012- ). After appearing opposite Robin Wright and Naomi Watts in the cross-generational romantic drama "Adore" (2013), Mendelsohn starred in the British prison drama "Starred Up" (2013), for which he gained strong critical notices. He reteamed with Gosling in the latter's directorial venture "Lost River" (2014) before starring in director Ridley Scott's box office disappointment "Exodus: Gods and Kings" (2014). Work in smaller films such as Kevin Macdonald's "Black Sea" (2014), John Maclean's modern western "Slow West" (2015), gambling drama "Mississippi Grind" (2015) and Benedict Andrews' "Una" (2016) preceded Mendelsohn's full-fledged arrival as a Hollywood star in the massive blockbuster "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" (2016).
Cast (Feature Film)
Music (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Made TV debut on the Australian series "Special Squad"
Cast as a series regular on Ten Network's "The Henderson Kids"
Landed a breakout role in "The Year My Voice Broke"
Landed a supporting role in Terence Malick's "The New World"
Portrayed an armed robber on the run in "Animal Kingdom"
Cast as Robin in "The Place Beyond the Pines"
Cast as a drug addict turned criminal in "Killing Them Softly"
Featured in Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises"
Played the voice of Ben in animated comedy series "Axe Cop"
Played Viceroy Hegep in "Exodus: Gods and Kings"
Cast as Danny Rayburn on TV series "Bloodline"
Memorable turn as the villainous Director Orson Krennic in "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story"
Appeared in drug addiction drama "Untogether"
Played King George VI in Winston Churchill biopic "Darkest Hour"