Benjamin Whishaw is an English actor. After training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Whishaw has garnered acclaim for his film, television, and theatre work. After winning a British Independent Film Award for his performance in My Brother Tom, Whishaw garnered acclaim portraying the the title role in a 2004 production of Hamlet, receiving an Olivier Award nomination. This was followed by television roles in Nathan Barley, Criminal Justice and The Hour and film roles in Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, I'm Not There, Brideshead Revisited and Bright Star. For Criminal Justice, Whishaw received an International Emmy Award and received his first BAFTA Award nomination.
Whishaw was involved in many productions with Big Spirit, perhaps most notably If This is a Man (also performed as The Drowned & The Saved), a piece devised by the company based on the book of the same name by Primo Levi, a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp. It was adapted into a physical theatre piece by the group and taken to the 1995 Edinburgh Festival, where it garnered five-star reviews and great critical acclaim.
As the lead in Trevor Nunn's 2004 production of Hamlet at the Old Vic, he received highly favorable reviews and was nominated for the Olivier Award for Best Actor and the Ian Charleson Award. The role was shared with Al Weaver in an unusual arrangement that saw Whishaw playing all nights except for Mondays and matinées. Nunn is reported to have made this arrangement due to the youth of the two actors playing the lead, to relieve some of the pressure on each. It was Whishaw, however, who featured most prominently in the marketing materials and in the majority of reviews.
Whishaw's film and television credits include Layer Cake and Chris Morris's 2005 sitcom Nathan Barley, in which he played a character called Pingu. He was named "Most Promising Newcomer" at the 2001 British Independent Film Awards for My Brother Tom, and in 2005 he was nominated as best actor in four award ceremonies for his portrayal of Hamlet.
He also played Keith Richards in the Brian Jones biopic Stoned. In the spring of 2005, Whishaw received lots of attention for his role as a drug dealer in Philip Ridley's controversial stage play Mercury Fur.
In Perfume, Whishaw played Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, a perfume maker whose craft turns deadly. The film was released in Germany in September 2006 and in America in December 2006. In the same year, Whishaw worked on Pawel Pawlikowski's abandoned The Restraint of Beasts.
Whishaw appeared as one of the Bob Dylan reincarnations in I'm Not There in 2007, in the BBC's Criminal Justice in 2008, in a new adaptation of Brideshead Revisited, and in a stage adaptation of The Idiot at the National Theatre called ...some trace of her.
At the end of 2009, he starred in Cock, a new play by Mike Bartlett at the Royal Court Theatre.
In 2009 he also starred as the poet John Keats in the film Bright Star. In February 2010, Whishaw made a successful off-Broadway debut at MCC Theater in the American premiere of the awarding-winning play The Pride by Alexi Kaye Campbell. He played Ariel in Julie Taymor's 2010 film adaptation of The Tempest, and was featured in The Hour, a BBC Two drama series.
In 2012, Whishaw appeared as Richard II in the television film Richard II, a part of the BBC Two series The Hollow Crown, for which he received the British Academy Television Award for Leading Actor.
Also in 2012, he appeared as part of the ensemble cast of the science-fiction drama film Cloud Atlas.
Whishaw appeared in the 23rd James Bond film, Skyfall, in the role of Q.He portrayed a younger Q than in previous films; Peter Burton and Desmond Llewelyn both received the role when they were in their 40s, while Llewelyn and John Cleese played the role into their 80s and 60s, respectively.
In the spring of 2013, Whishaw starred on stage alongside Judi Dench in the world premiere of Peter and Alice, a new play by John Logan inspired by the lives of Alice Liddell and Peter Llewelyn Davies.
He voiced the animated bear Paddington in the move Paddington. He won a British Academy Television Award for Best Actor in The Hollow Crown: Richard II. He starred as Michael Banks in Mary Poppins Returns. He won a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Series, Miniseries or TV Film, a Critics' Choice TV Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Movie/Miniseries, a British Academcy TV Award for Best Supporting Actor and a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie in 2019 for his role in A Very English Scandal*.
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