Paul Bettany

Paul Bettany

Paul Bettany at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con
Born (1971-05-27) 27 May 1971
Shepherd's Bush, London, UK
Residence Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Citizenship British
Alma mater Drama Centre London
Occupation Actor
Years active 1994–present
Spouse(s) Jennifer Connelly (m. 2003)
Children 2 biological
1 step

Paul Bettany (born 27 May 1971) is an English actor. He first came to the attention of mainstream audiences when he appeared in the British film Gangster No. 1 (2000), and director Brian Helgeland's film A Knight's Tale (2001). He has gone on to appear in a wide variety of films, including A Beautiful Mind (2001), Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003), Dogville (2003), Wimbledon (2004), and the adaptation of the novel The Da Vinci Code (2006). He is known for his voice role as J.A.R.V.I.S. in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, specifically the films Iron Man (2008), Iron Man 2 (2010), The Avengers (2012), Iron Man 3 (2013), and Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), in which he also portrayed the Vision, for which he garnered praise. He reprised his role as the Vision in Captain America: Civil War (2016).

He has been nominated for various awards, including BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. Bettany is married to American actress Jennifer Connelly, with whom he has two children. His most commercially successful films have been The Avengers, which grossed over US$1.5 billion, its sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron, which grossed over $1.4 billion, Iron Man 3, which grossed over US$1.2 billion, and The Da Vinci Code, which grossed US$758 million.[1]

Early life

Bettany was born in Shepherd's Bush, west London, the son of Anne (née Kettle), a stage singer, theatre teacher, and stage manager, and Thane Bettany, a dancer, actor, and drama teacher.[2] Initially, Bettany was raised Roman Catholic,[3][4] although his church attendance drifted after his confirmation.[5] Later he attended Methodist and Church of England congregations with his father as the latter experimented with different Christian branches.[6] Bettany later became an atheist.[7] While his father taught at the all-girls boarding school Queenswood School near Hatfield, Hertfordshire, the family lived on the campus.[8]

When Bettany was 16, his brother Matthew died at age 8 after falling onto concrete from a tennis pavilion roof at Queenswood.[9] Soon after, Bettany dropped out of school, left home, and went to live on his own as a street performer in London.[10] There, he lived in a small flat and earned money by playing his guitar in the streets as a busker.[10] His parents later divorced.[11] After two years, he found a new job in a home for the elderly.[10] After working there for a year, Bettany enrolled at the Drama Centre in London.[10]


In 1990 at the age of 19, Bettany began a three-year course at the Drama Centre London in Chalk Farm.[12] He made his stage debut in Stephen Daldry's acclaimed West End revival of An Inspector Calls at the Aldwych Theatre, playing the part of Eric Birling. He also appeared in the Royal Shakespeare Company's productions of Richard III, Romeo and Juliet, and Julius Caesar (for which he received a Charleson Award nomination). When Bettany was 21 he appeared in a BBC production of Oliver Twist, playing Bill Sikes.

After appearing in the finale of Sean Bean's series Sharpe as HRH The Prince of Orange at the Battle of Waterloo, he made his film debut with a small part in Bent, a Holocaust drama which also featured Clive Owen, Jude Law, and Ian McKellen. He continued doing work in stage and television: these included Joe Penhall's Love and Understanding, which played at London's Bush Theatre and then ran in Connecticut. He had roles in the television productions Killer Net and Coming Home, during which he met and dated Emily Mortimer. His last stage work was in One More Wasted Year and Stranger's House at the Royal Court Theatre. He filmed several more movies, including his first leading role in Gangster No. 1. The British Independent Film Awards nominated him for Best Actor, and the London Film Critics' Circle nominated him for British Newcomer of the Year.

Back in Hollywood, writer/director Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential) was planning a new film called The Sin Eater (also known as The Order). He was impressed by Bettany's audition tape, though Helgeland eventually decided to film A Knight's Tale instead. The studio executives were not impressed, but Helgeland was determined to cast him, even writing the part of Chaucer for him. A Knight's Tale would be Bettany's first big Hollywood production. He received critical acclaim for A Knight's Tale, including winning the London Film Critics Circle Award for Best British Supporting Actor. After the movie wrapped, Helgeland, determined that Hollywood should recognize Bettany's talent, showed the audition tape to many of his peers, including Ron Howard, who promptly cast Bettany in A Beautiful Mind. After A Beautiful Mind, Bettany was offered the role of serial killer Francis Dolarhyde in Red Dragon, opposite Edward Norton and Anthony Hopkins. He turned down the role in favour of accepting a part with Stellan Skarsgård and Nicole Kidman in Lars von Trier's Dogville.

Bettany's next major project saw him starring again alongside Russell Crowe in Peter Weir's Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. His portrayal of surgeon and naturalist Stephen Maturin brought him a BAFTA nomination, and he was named British Actor of the Year (London Film Critics' Circle), and Best Actor (Evening Standard).

On 28 June 2004, Bettany and 13 other actors were included in the 2004 invitation to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Dogville and The Reckoning were released in limited cinemas in 2004. In September of that year, Bettany made his leading-man debut in Wimbledon, a romantic comedy with Kirsten Dunst. The film's cast would also introduce him to Jon Favreau, playing his manager, a relationship that would return when Favreau cast him as the voice of J.A.R.V.I.S. in Iron Man. In mid-2005, Bettany filmed Firewall in Vancouver, Canada, a thriller also starring Harrison Ford and Virginia Madsen, which reunited him with Wimbledon director Richard Loncraine. He spent the autumn of 2005 filming The Da Vinci Code, based on Dan Brown's best-selling novel and starring Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou. In the film, he played an Opus Dei monk named Silas.

In 2007, Bettany went to London to star in There For Me, written by his friends Dan Fredenburgh and Doraly Rosen.[13] In 2008, he appeared in the New Line Cinema family fantasy Inkheart, playing the part of a fire-eater named Dustfinger.[14] In 2009, he appeared as Charles Darwin in Creation, starring opposite wife Jennifer Connelly. In 2010, Bettany appeared alongside Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie in The Tourist and portrayed the archangel Michael in Legion, a movie based on God's vengeance against humanity. He starred in the films Priest and Margin Call, both released in 2011.

Bettany reprised his voice role as J.A.R.V.I.S. in 2010's Iron Man 2, 2012's The Avengers, 2013's Iron Man 3, and Disneyland's Innoventions attraction.[15] In 2014 Bettany starred alongside Johnny Depp and fellow British actor Rebecca Hall in the feature film Transcendence. He was once again paired with Depp in Mortdecai, a 2015 motion picture also starring Gwyneth Paltrow.[16] He played the Vision in the 2015 film Avengers: Age of Ultron,[17] and reprised his voice role as J.A.R.V.I.S. again in the same film. Bettany portrayed The Vision again in Captain America: Civil War.[18]

Personal life

On 1 January 2003, Bettany married American actress Jennifer Connelly in Scotland; they met when they starred together in A Beautiful Mind.[19] However, they never got together until much later after the film as both were still in previous relationships.[20] She was his childhood crush since he first saw her as a teenager in the film Labyrinth.[21] Following the September 11 attacks, which caused him to realize his feelings for Jennifer, he contacted her after two days worth of attempts and asked her to marry him.[22] Soon after, he moved to Brooklyn, New York with Connelly and her son. The couple also have two children together, a son and a daughter.[23]


Year Film Role Notes
1997 Bent Captain
1997 Sharpe's Waterloo Prince William of Orange TV series
1998 Coming Home Edward Carey-Lewis TV movie
1998 Killer Net Joe Hunter TV mini-series
1998 The Land Girls Philip
1999 Every Woman Knows a Secret Rob TV mini-series
1999 After the Rain Steph
2000 Kiss Kiss (Bang Bang) Jimmy
2000 The Suicide Club (a.k.a. Game of Death) Shaw
2000 David Copperfield James Steerforth TV movie
2000 Dead Babies Quentin
2000 Gangster No. 1 Young Gangster
2001 A Knight's Tale Geoffrey Chaucer
2001 A Beautiful Mind Charles Herman
2002 Euston Road "Y" Short
2002 The Heart of Me Rickie
2003 Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World Dr. Stephen Maturin
2003 The Reckoning Nicholas
2003 Dogville Tom Edison
2004 Wimbledon Peter Colt
2006 Firewall Bill Cox
2006 The Da Vinci Code Silas
2008 Iron Man J.A.R.V.I.S. (voice)
2008 The Secret Life of Bees T. Ray Owens
2008 Inkheart Dustfinger
2008 Broken Lines Chester
2009 The Young Victoria Lord Melbourne
2009 Creation Charles Darwin
2010 Legion Michael
2010 Iron Man 2 J.A.R.V.I.S. (voice)
2010 The Tourist John Acheson
2011 Priest Priest
2011 Margin Call Will Emerson
2012 The Avengers J.A.R.V.I.S. (voice)
2013 Blood Joe Fairburn
2013 Iron Man 3 J.A.R.V.I.S. (voice)
2014 Transcendence Max Waters
2014 Shelter N/A Writer & director
2015 Mortdecai Jock Strapp
2015 Avengers: Age of Ultron Vision
J.A.R.V.I.S. (voice)
2015 Legend Charlie Richardson
2016 Captain America: Civil War Vision

Awards and nominations

Year Award Film Result
2000 British Independent Film Award for Best Actor Gangster No. 1 Nominated
2000 London Film Critics' Circle Award for British Newcomer of the Year Gangster No. 1 Nominated
2001 London Film Critics' Circle Award for Supporting Actor of the Year A Knight's Tale Won
2001 Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Most Promising Performer A Knight's Tale Nominated
2001 London Film Critics' Circle Award for Supporting Actor of the Year A Beautiful Mind Nominated
2001 SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture A Beautiful Mind Nominated
2003 Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Actor Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World and The Heart of Me Won
2003 London Film Critics' Circle Award for British Actor of the Year Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World Won
2003 BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World Nominated
2003 BFCA Critics' Choice Award for Best Supporting Actor Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World Nominated
2004 Empire Award for Best British Actor Wimbledon Nominated
2004 Jordan Award for Best Actor Wimbledon Won
2006 Glamour Awards Man of the Year Won
2008 Black Reel Award for Best Ensemble The Secret Life of Bees Nominated
2016 Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor Avengers: Age of Ultron Nominated


  1. "Worldwide Gross Total (unadjusted)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  2. "Paul Bettany biography site". Retrieved 9 October 2010.
  3. Barton, Laura (12 May 2006). "When albino monks attack". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved 27 May 2010. Bettany was himself raised as a Catholic,...
  4. Carnevale, Rob (September 2006). "Paul Bettany: The Da Vinci Code". BBC. Retrieved 27 May 2010. I was born a Catholic and now I'm a lapsed Catholic.
  5. Laura Barton. "Paul Bettany tells Laura Barton why he was born to play Silas in The Da Vinci Code". the Guardian.
  6. David Germain (15 May 2006). "Pious killer: Bettany dons robes as monk assassin in 'Da Vinci'". Associated Press. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  7. Adam Rutherford (12 February 2009). "Paul Bettany: Playing Darwin with Creation". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved 7 September 2009.
  8. Julie McCaffery (16 May 2006). "Tragedy, Drugs and a Dad Who Wanted to Have a Sex Change Op". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 14 January 2008.
  9. Annabel Rivkin (24 March 2006). "Paul's progress". Evening Standard. p. 29. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  10. 1 2 3 4 Mal Vincent (18 September 2004). ""Wimbledon" serves as a change of pace". Virginia Pilot and Ledger-Star. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  11. Standing, Sarah (28 May 2009). "Rise of the strays (that's formerly straight, now gay)". Evening Standard. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
  12. Jamie Portman (17 September 2004). "Wimbledon actor glimpses fame on set: Hollywood is grooming Paul Bettany as a major international star". Vancouver Sun. p. H1.
  13. "Film Stars Come To Hanwell". 12 July 2007. Retrieved 9 October 2010.
  14. "Paul Bettany joins the fantasy INKHEART". Retrieved 9 October 2010.
  15. Goldman, Eric (12 April 2013). "Disneyland Introduces Their First Marvel Exhibit with Iron Man Tech". IGN. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
  16. "Hedsor House used in the film Mortdecai (2015)". Hedsor House. 2015. Retrieved 2015-01-20.
  17. "Superhero Paul Bettany signs up for the Marvel party: British actor will star as The Vision in new Avengers movie Age of Ultron". Dailymail. 7 February 2014. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
  18. "Marvel Studios Begins Production on Marvel's 'Captain America: Civil War'". 2015-05-07. Retrieved 2015-05-07.
  19. Mark Armstrong (10 January 2003). "Jennifer Connelly marries Paul Bettany". Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  20. Sarah Taylor (20 May 2013). "You Just Remembered That Jennifer Connelly is One of the Most Interesting Ladies in Hollywood, Didn't You". Retrieved 16 July 2016.
  21. Superfan Movies (28 September 2015). 'Yahoo Confessional: Paul Bettany'. Yahoo!. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
  22. Larry King (13 November 2015). 'Paul Bettany And Jennifer Connelly Got Engaged Without Even Dating - Larry King Now - Ora.TV'. Youtube. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
  23. Tim Adams (25 January 2004). "'I'm just a blond actor, you know'". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
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