British actor Dominic Cooper's career was launched by his significant role in the acclaimed stage and screen versions of the period prep school drama, "The History Boys" (2006), in which he portrayed the cocky teen Dakin. Cooper's buzzed-about performance in the film and his origination of the role on London's West End led to a steady stream of work in BBC/PBS co-productions and supporting roles in period dramas on both the big and small screen, ranging from "The Duchess" (2008), to "Sense and Sensibility" (PBS, 2008), to the charming 1960s coming-of-age feature, "An Education" (2009). Cooper had bona fide blockbusters on his hands with the musical "Mamma Mia" (2008) and his role as Howard Stark in "Captain America: The First Avenger" (2011) and the Marvel TV series "Agent Carter" (ABC 2015- ), but generally his stage-trained sensibilities were more at home in smaller, character-driven dramas.
Born on June 2, 1978, Cooper grew up in the East London borough of Greenwich. He began acting while he was a student at the Thomas Tallis School, where his valuable addition to drama productions like "Cabaret" offset a lackluster academic performance. He went on to train with the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and began landing stage work relatively soon after graduating in 2000. Cooper jumped right into the bawdy role of a male prostitute in "Mother Clap's Molly House," a Nicholas Hytner-directed production which had runs at the Lyttleton and Royal National Theaters. He then had the opportunity to make his onscreen debut in a small role in "Band of Brothers" (HBO, 2001), HBO's Emmy Award-winning WWII miniseries filmed in England. Following a run as Puck in a Royal Shakespeare Company production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in 2002, Cooper spent the next several years in a Royal National Theatre production of "His Dark Materials," playing a 12-year-old in director Hytner's adaptation of the popular children's book.
Cooper teamed with Hytner a third time, creating the role of Dakin in Alan Bennett's "The History Boys." The play followed a group of North London schoolboys - including Cooper's cocky, self-assured Dakin - as they prepare to take college entrance exams amid classroom anarchy and staff rivalry. It was a rousing success that carried Cooper from the Royal National Theater to stages in Hong Kong, Sydney, New Zealand and New York, where the play won Tony Awards for Best Play and Best Director, and Cooper took home a Drama Desk Award for his performance. The play went on to become one of the rare examples of a stage to film adaptation (2006) that utilized the original cast and director, which resulted in the stage actor suddenly finding himself in front of a worldwide audience. The British Film Critics Circle nominated Cooper for a Supporting Actor Award, while the British Independent Film Awards nominated him as Most Promising Newcomer.
After finally retiring his school uniform, Cooper landed a supporting role in the well-received British comedy, "Starter for Ten" (2007), playing the college student friend of an aspiring quiz show contestant. He went on to appear on American public television in two BBC productions; playing Byronic John Willoughby in Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility" (PBS, 2008), and a leading role in "God on Trial" (PBS, 2008), set in a Nazi concentration camp. Cooper's performance as a newly incarcerated inmate involved in an ambitious prison break plan in "The Escapist" (2008) was seen at the Sundance Festival in 2008. That same year, he enjoyed a different kind of role in a genre he was not as accustomed to - that of big screen musical in one of the favorite films of the summer, "Mamma Mia" (2009). Based on the campy stage show inspired by the songs of 1970s Swedish pop icons, ABBA, the movie was a huge hit, especially stateside. In his final film release of that year, Cooper starred alongside Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes in the 18th century costume drama, "The Duchess" (2008).
Back on the independent film circuit, Cooper was seen in a supporting role in "An Education" (2009), a Nick Hornby-scripted drama about a young woman (Carey Mulligan) facing a crossroads in 1960s London. He also appeared in the ensemble cast of "Brief Interviews with Hideous Men" (2009), a Sundance-screened dramedy based on the writings of mourned novelist David Foster Wallace. Cooper returned to the London stage the same year, starring opposite Helen Mirren at the National Theater in Jean Racine's 17th century tragedy, "Phedre." After starring in the Stephen Frears comedy "Tamara Drewe" (2010), Cooper appeared as Howard Stark in "Captain America: The First Avenger" (2011), a role he revisited in Marvel's 1940s-set series "Agent Carter" (ABC 2015- ). Roles in "The Devil's Double" (2011), "My Week with Marilyn" (2011) and "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" (2012) and the thriller "Dead Man Down" (2013) were followed by an acclaimed turn as Ian Fleming in the miniseries "Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond" (BBC America 2014) and another comic book-inspired role starring in "Preacher" (AMC 2016), developed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg.
Cast (Feature Film)
Music (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Made stage debut in "Mother Clap's Molly House" at the National Theatre
Landed role in Royal National Theatre production of "His Dark Materials"
Originated role of Dakin for Alan Bennett¿s play "The History Boys"; also appeared in radio and film versions
Cast in a small role in Neil Jordan¿s "Breakfast on Pluto"
Reprised role of Dakin for Broadway production of "The History Boys"
Landed supporting role opposite James McAvoy in "Starter for Ten"
Featured in John Krasinski directed (also co-wrote) "Brief Interviews with Hideous Men"
Portrayed Willoughby in BBC adaptation of "Sense and Sensibility"
Delivered breakthrough performance in film adaptation of ABBA stage musical "Mamma Mia!"
Co-starred with Keira Knightley in adaptation of Amanda Foreman's best-selling biography "The Duchess"
Played supporting role in "An Education"
Co-starred in Stephen Frears' "Tamara Drewe"
Received critical praise for his dual role in biographical drama "The Devil's Double"
Played the U.S. president's mentor in genre mash-up "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter," based on novel by Seth Grahame-Smith
Cast opposite Colin Farrell in neo-noir crime thriller "Dead Man Down"
Starred in the fantasy film "Dracula Untold"