“One of the pleasures of being an actor is kind of getting out of yourself and trying to stretch and reshape yourself into someone else that's had a very different kind of experience. Obviously you bring whatever you know about life and about the way that people behave and everything to a performance.” Alessandro Nivola
American actor Alessandro Nivola rose to fame playing the paranoid genius younger brother of Nicolas Cage in John Woo's big hit “Face/Off” (1997), from which he received a Blockbuster Entertainment nomination. He took home an Independent Spirit nomination for Lisa Cholodenko's “Laurel Canyon” (2002) and is memorable for his performances in Patricia Rozema's big screen version of “Mansfield Park” (1999), Kenneth Branagh's “Love's Labour's Lost” (2000), Joe Johnston's “Jurassic Park III” (2001), the sport themed “Goal! The Dream Begins” (2005) and the 2007 sequel “Goal! 2: Living the Dream...” He also appeared in “The Eye” (2008), Jerry Zaks' “Who Do You Love” (2008) and Anne Fontaine's “Coco avant Chanel” (2009). Starting his career in theater, Nivola has acted in a Broadway production of “A Month in the Country” (1995) and appeared in the plays “Paddywack” (1994) and “As You Like It” (1999).
Moviegoers should not miss Nivola's performances in the upcoming movies “Howl” and “Janie Jones” (both 2010).
Nivola has been married to London born screen beauty Emily Mortimer since 2003 and has one child with her. He was once linked to actress Rachel Weisz, whom he met on the set of “I Want You” in 1997.
Childhood and Family:
Alessandro Antine Nivola was born on June 28, 1972, in Boston, Massachusetts. His father, Pietro S. Nivola, is an Italian professor of political science who taught at Harvard and wrote the book “Laws of the Landscape: How Policies Shape Cities in Europe and America.” Alessandro’s mother is an artist from Boston. He has a brother named Adrian.
Growing up in Boston, Alessandro developed an early interest in acting and attended drama camp in the summer. As a teenager, he worked as an intern at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre in Waterford, Connecticut, during which time he began acting on stage. He went on to pursue his passion at the Tony Philips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire, and Yale University in New Haven, CT. Alessandro graduated from Yale in 1994 with a BA degree in English. In addition to acting, Alessandro also played in bands throughout high school and college.
On January 3, 2003, Alessandro married British actress Emily Mortimer (born on December 1, 1971). Their son, Sam Nivola, was born on September 26, 2003. The family currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.
Nicknamed Sandro, Alessandro is a big fan of soccer.
Alessandro Nivola made his professional acting debut in a Seattle production of Athol Fugard's “Master Harold...and the Boys,” a gig he got while he was a student at Yale. In 1994, he won rave reviews for his performance in the Wharf Theater production of “Paddywack.” The following year, Nivola appeared on Broadway as Helen Mirren's young lover in “A Month in the Country.” The role brought the actor a nomination at the Drama Desk Awards.
In 1996, Nivola began his screen career in a guest spot in the Emmy Award winning series “Remember WENN,” which starred Tom Beckett. He then received a supporting role in the NBC miniseries “Danielle Steel's 'The Ring,’” starring Nastassja Kinski and Michael York. He moved to the big screen with the small role of Peter Vanlaningham in the light hearted “Inventing the Abbotts” (1997), which was directed by Pat O'Connor. Later that same year, Nivola got his big breakthrough when he was cast in the role of Nicolas Cage's younger brother, Pollux Troy, in the box office action film “Face/Off,” by director John Woo. The performance earned strong notice from critics and audiences and he was nominated for a 1998 Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Actor - Action/Adventure.
Nivola next starred with Rachel Weisz in the drama “I Want You” (1998, directed by Michael Winterbottom) where he portrayed a mysterious man, as William Sadler in the John Hughes’ “Reach the Rock” (1998), and with Reese Witherspoon in Mike Barker's “Best Laid Plans” (1999). He also supported Brooke Shields in the CBS TV film “The Almost Perfect Bank Robbery” (1998, shot in 1996) before attracting attention in Patricia Rozema's “Mansfield Park” (1999), a U.K. film loosely adapted from the novel of the same name by Jane Austen. Still in 1999, Nivola starring on stage with Gwyneth Paltrow in the Williamstown Theatre Festival production of “As You Like It.”
Entering the new millennium, Nivola starred as King Ferdinand in Kenneth Branagh's musical adaptation of Shakespeare's “Love's Labour's Lost,” which premiered at the 2000 Berlin International Film Festival on February 14, 2000. The film's cast also included Branagh, Alicia Silverstone, Natascha McElhone, Matthew Lillard, and Nivola's future wife, Emily Mortimer. He was then cast as a singer in Mike Figgis' drama “Timecode” (2000) and portrayed Billy Brennan in “Jurassic Park III” (2001).
After starring as Matt in the short film “Imprint” (2002), Nivola received the role of Ian McKnight in the drama film “Laurel Canyon” (2002), which was written and directed by Lisa Cholodenko. For his good acting job, the actor was handed a 2004 Independent Spirit nomination in the category of Best Supporting Male. The film also cast Christian Bale as Sam, Kate Beckinsale as Alex and Natascha McElhone as Sara. Nivola then teamed up with Julia Stiles, Shirley MacLaine, Randy Quaid and Jennifer Coolidge in the romantic comedy “Carolina” (2003), was reunited with Helen Mirren for the thriller “The Clearing” (2004), the directorial debut of producer Pieter Jan Brugge, and costarred with Amy Adams, Embeth Davidtz and Benjamin McKenzie in the independent drama “Junebug” (2005), directed by Phil Morrison.
2005 also saw roles in Arthur Allan Seidelman's “The Sisters” (starred Mary Stuart Masterson, Maria Bello and Erika Christensen), Michael Aimette and John G. Hofmann's “Turning Green” (with Timothy Hutton) and Danny Cannon's “Goal! The Dream Begins!” (as British football player Gavin Harris). Nivola then had a small role in Finn Taylor's adventure “The Darwin Award” (2006, starred David Arquette and Ty Burrell), supported John Cusack in James C. Strouse's “Grace Is Gone” (2007), which won an Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival, starred with Sigourney Weaver, Kate Bosworth, Elias Koteas and Keri Russell in “The Girl in the Park” (2007), a directorial debut from playwright David Auburn, and reprised his role of Gavin Harris in the disappointing installment “Goal! 2: Living the Dream...” (2007). Also in 2007, he resurfaced on television in the TNT miniseries “The Company,” which was based on the best selling novel of the same name by Robert Littell.
Nivola next played Dr. Paul Faulkner in the horror remake “The Eye” (2008), opposite Jessica Alba, Parker Posey and Rade Serbedzija, was cast as the conservative son of Christopher Walken, Ritchie Flynn Parker, in “Five Dollars a Day” (2008, directed by Nigel Cole) and portrayed Leonard Chess in the biopic “Who Do You Love” (2008), based on the life of record producer Leonard Chess. Recently, in 2009, he was cast as Arthur 'Boy' Capel in Anne Fontaine's “Coco avant Chanel” (2009), a French biopic about the life of the celebrated French fashion designer Coco Chanel.
Nivola will appear with James Franco, Mary-Louise Parker, Jeff Daniels, David Strathairn and Treat Williams in the drama “Howl” (2010), directed and penned by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, and play Ethan Brand in David M. Rosenthal's “Janie Jones” (2010), alongside Abigail Breslin, Elisabeth Shue, Brittany Snow and Peter Stormare.