Actor Justin Kirk wryly stated in an interview that he was pleased about his role as the over-sexed and morally flexible Andy Botwin on the Showtime series "Weeds" (2005-12) because it was a lot closer to his own personality than the angelic characters he'd played previously on stage and in film and television. The angelic reference suggested the role he was previously best known for - AIDS patient Prior Walter in the film and TV-movie versions of Tony Kushner's epic "Angels in America" (2003). Both parts - polar opposites in terms of personality - give solid testimony to the versatility of the young actor's burgeoning talent.
Born May 28, 1969 in Salem, OR, Kirk knew from a very early age that he wanted to act, making his debut at age seven in a local college theater production. After attending grade school (on an Indian reservation) in Union, WA, Kirk and his mother moved to Minneapolis, MN, where he attended the Children's Theater School well into his high school years.
After high school graduation, Kirk relocated to New York City, where he enrolled in a two-year conservatory program at Circle in the Square. His Broadway career launched soon afterwards with a role in the play "Any Given Day." Other notable stage performances came in "Love! Valour! Compassion!" for which he won an Obie Award for Distinguished Performance in an Ensemble, and "Old Wicked Songs," which netted him a Back Stage West Garland Award.
Kirk made his television debut in a 1995 episode of the short-lived Mary Tyler Moore series "New York News" (CBS, 1995). His first film role came two years later in the film version of "Love! Valour! Compassion!" (1997), for which he recreated his stage role. More movies followed, including the odd thriller "The Eden Myth" (1999), in which he played the son of a strange family involved in arranged marriages. By 1999, he switched gears, joining the cast of the well liked but under-performing romantic comedy series "Jack and Jill" (The WB, 1999-2001). Two little-seen features - Harry Shearer's comedy "Teddy Bears' Picnic" (2002) and "Outpatient" (2002), a thriller in which Kirk was top-billed as a potentially dangerous mental patient about to be released from an institution - filled out the year before Kirk signed on to Mike Nichols' film version of "Angels in America" for HBO.
His fearless turn (actually, turns, as he also played a leatherman in the film) as AIDS patient Prior Walter in the lengthy miniseries provided Kirk with his widest audience to date, earning him an Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actor, as well as a Screen Actors Guild nomination and a Golden Satellite Award. The part also gained him access to higher-profile work, such as the inevitable guest roles on TV shows like "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (CBS, 2000-15) and "Without a Trace" (CBS, 2002-09). While making the small screen guest rounds, he continued to participate in independent, character-driven feature vehicles like the romantic comedy "Flannel Pajamas" (2006), Robert Towne's ponderous historical drama "Ask the Dust" (2006), and Henry Jaglom's comedy "Hollywood Dreams" (2006).
In 2005, Kirk joined his "Angels" co-star Mary-Louise Parker in "Weeds," Jenji Kohan's occasionally sparkling comedy about a widowed suburban mom who resorts to selling pot to make ends meet. Kirk frequently stole the show as her brother-in-law, a committed ne'er-do-well who offered dubious advice to her two young sons and seemed hell-bent on scamming his way through life. Among his most memorable schemes was his attempt to become a rabbi in order to avoid the draft, as well as arranging a date with a prostitute for his youngest nephew (Alexander Gould). In a series overflowing with occasionally forced outrageousness, Kirk's wild card, which he delivered with the understated wit of Bill Murray, offered a refreshing glimpse of genuine anarchy.
Cast (Feature Film)
Special Thanks (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
At age seven, made acting debut in a production of "The Caucasian Chalk Circle" (date approximate)
Moved with mother to Minneapolis, MN
Made Broadway debut in the drama "Any Given Day"
Delivered breakthrough stage role as Bobby, the blind lover of a Broadway choreographer in the award-winning play "Love! Valour! Compassion!"
Made feature debut reprising stage role in the film version of "Love! Valour! Compassion!"
Co-starred in the acclaimed stage play "Old Wicked Songs" in NYC; reprised role in L.A. staging
Made TV series debut as regular on "Jack & Jill" (The WB)
Cast in featured role in Gothic thriller "The Eden Myth"
Returned to the NYC stage, co-starring with Donald Sutherland and Julianna Margulies in "Ten Unknowns"
Landed pivotal role in the big screen comedy "Teddy Bears' Picnic"
Cast as Prior Walter in the Mike Nichols-directed adaptation of "Angels in America" (HBO), received a SAG and an Emmy nomination for Best Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries (2004)
Co-starred with Mary Louise Parker on the Showtime series "Weeds" as the irresponsible brother-in-law; received a Golden Globe (2007) nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Series or Mini-Series
Cast opposite Colin Farrell in Robert Towne's "Ask the Dust"
Co-starred in Maria Maggenti's romantic comedy "Puccini for Beginners"
Co-starred with Julianne Nicholson in Jeff Lipsky's "Flannel Pajamas"
Starred in Henry Jaglom's romantic drama "Hollywood Dreams"
Headlined off-Broadway production of "The Understudy" at the Laura Pels Theater
Appeared in award-winning Broadway play "Other Desert Cities"
Starred as veterinarian Dr. George Coleman on NBC's "Animal Practice"