Family & Companions
A handsome, dark-haired Irish actor with a sweet schoolboy look and an abundance of charm, Stuart Townsend was an affirmed film lover but gave no thought to acting until a drama student girlfriend led to his enrolling in Dublin's Gaiety School of Acting. Upon graduating in 1994, he formed the theater company Ether for Lunch with friends. In 1995 he was cast in Gillies MacKinnon's "Trojan Eddie" (released in the USA in 1997), playing Richard Harris' nephew and Stephen Rea's assistant. A small role as the Irishman who sparks a sexual obsession in troubled Iris (Samantha Morton) in Carine Adler's gripping "Under the Skin" (1997) followed.
Townsend first gained the notice of an admittedly small American audience with his co-starring turn alongside Dan Futterman and Kate Beckinsale as awkward techie turned con-artist Jez in the comedy "Shooting Fish" (1997). Sporting a most unfortunate hairdo and a disarming goofiness, Townsend won fans if not the girl. That same year Marc Evans' "Resurrection Man" would prove the actor's remarkable skill and versatility, with a positively riveting turn as a gun-wielding psychopath leading a gang of brutal Loyalists in 1970s Ulster. He next was featured in the 1998 French film "Mauvaise passe/The Escort" as a young man who introduces Daniel Auteuil's 45-year-old runaway to the gigolo lifestyle.
His endearing and certainly benign appearance made him an unlikely candidate to play a cool heartbreaker, but Townsend possessed just the right alluring spark to pull off such a role in Michael Winterbottom's "Wonderland." Here he played Tim, the ultimately disappointing romantic hope for lonely waitress Nadia (Gina McKee). Townsend next appeared as a 17th-century court jester in "The Venice Project" (1999), Robert Dornhelm's time-travelling comedy-drama set against the backdrop of the Biennale that was screened at the Venice Film Festival mere months after filming where it was met with a less than stellar reception. The actor fared a bit better at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival where he was featured in two motion pictures. Townsend had the title role of the modern Irish comedy "About Adam," playing a magically seductive young man who individually and very personally wins over an entire family, not unlike Terence Stamp's Visitor in Pier Paolo Pasolini's "Teorema." In the British-German co-production "Simon Magus," a 19th Century-set magic-infused look at life in a Central European shtetl, he was cast as the enterprising dairy farmer Dovid. Although Townsend was replaced by Viggo Mortensen in the cast of the highly anticipated "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, his proven talent would assure the young actor a career trajectory that continued this upward climb.
It wasn't long before Townsend got his moment to shine, as he was cast opposite late R&B singer Aliyah in the Anne Rice vampire movie "Queen of the Damned" in 2001. The movie was was originally set to go straight-to-video but was released following Aliyah's tragic and untimely death in a plane crash. Townsend exhibited his seductive powers as a vampire who comes back to the modern world as a rock star. This was immediately followed by his most high-profile starring role in 2002, when he played a father who outwits the criminals who kidnap his child in "Trapped," also starring Charlize Theron, Courtney Love and Kevin Bacon. His next major outing was as the famous literary 19th Century literary charcacter Dorian Gray in the comic book action adventure "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" (2003). After headlining the little-seen indie gambling drama "Shade" (2004), Townsend appeared opposite his real-life paramour Charlize Theron in the wartime melodrama "Head in the Clouds" (2004) as a a working-class Irish student drawn into the tulmultuous life of a brash, promiscuous party girl.
The actor next headed to the small screen playing supernatural detective Carl Kolchak in ABC's reboot of the classic Darren McGavin suspense series "Night Stalker" in 2005 .
Director (Feature Film)
Cast (Feature Film)
Writer (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Music (Feature Film)
Non-professional stage debut in a school production of "Tear Up The Black Sail"
Feature debut in Gilles MacKinnon's "Trojan Eddie"
Joined Dan Futterman and Kate Beckinsale for the British film "Shooting Fish"
Garnered praise for his leading role in "Resurrection Man"
Acted in Michael Winterbottom's acclaimed "Wonderland"
Featured in Robert Dornhelm's "The Venice Project" with Lauren Bacall and Dennis Hopper
Originally cast as Aragorn in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings film trilogy; left the production due to "creative differences" and was replaced with Viggo Mortensen
Played the titular character in "About Adam" opposite Kate Hudson
Returned to the London stage to appear opposite Helen Mirren in "Orpheus Descending"
Cast as Lestat in the film adaptation of Anne Rice's "Queen of the Damned"
Played husband and wife, opposite Charlize Theron in the thriller "Trapped"
Cast in "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" with Sean Connery
Cast in the action thriller "Shade," set in the world of L.A. poker hustlers
Starred with real life love Charlize Theron in the WWII drama "Head in the Clouds"
Cast as investigative reporter Carl Kolchak on the ABC thriller "Night Stalker"
Co-starred with Ryan Reynolds and Emily Mortimer in "Chaos Theory"
Made writing and directorial debut with "Battle in Seattle," which is loosely based on the protests of the WTO Ministerial Conference of 1999; featured real life love, Charlize Theron