The Day After Tomorrow
Following guest spots in the TV series “Sliders,” “Odd Man Out,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “Family Law” and “Wolf Lake,” American actor Austin Nichols first gained notice playing Rachel Griffiths' lover in “Six Feet Under” (2002). Before long, he scored his first regular role on the short lived Fox series “Pasadena” (2002, played Charlie Darwel), and in 2004, became popular among science fiction fans with his role of J.D. in the blockbuster film “The Day After Tomorrow.” He further received notice for playing Jake Hammond in “Wimbledon” (2004), Jackson in “Surface” (4 episodes, 2005-2006), Jerry Armstrong in “Glory Road” (2006), Morgan Earp in “Deadwood” (2 episodes, 2006), Roderick Usherin in “The House of Usher” (2006), John Monad in “John from Cincinnati” (10 episodes, 2007) and Noah Barnett in “Friday Night Lights” (2 episodes, 2007). He now portrays Julian Baker on “One Tree Hill,” a role he has had since 2008.
The Michigan native mentions Hal Ashby, Sam Fuller and John Ford among his idols. He stated, “If I'm not working, I spend almost half my day at theaters or watching DVDs at my house.”
A promising athlete prior to becoming an actor, Nichols enjoys horseback riding, tennis and golf. Since working in “John from Cincinnati,” he has added surfing to his endeavors.
On a more personal note, Nichols dated artist Claire Oswalt for seven years. They broke off their engagement in 2004. He is currently dating actress Sophia Bush, his costar on “One Tree Hill.”
In August 2007, Nichols was arrested for DUI after driving the wrong way down a one way street in his silver Mercury Mountaineer.
Childhood and Family:
Austin Nichols was born Austin Don Michols on April 24, 1980, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to David Nichols, a radiologist, and Kay Nichols, a national water skiing champ. He was raised in Austin, Texas, with his older sister Ashley and attended Austin's Casis Elementary School. Following in the footsteps of his mom, Austin began competitive water skiing when he was two years old. He represented the U.S. Junior Water Ski Team in the Pan-American Championships in 1997 and was on the Junior U.S. Olympic Water Skiing team as well. By age 13, he had risen to No. 3 in the World Junior Rankings in the tricks event. However, after a shoulder injury in Florida, the talented youth was forced to give up his dream of becoming a professional skier. While attending high school at McCallum High School in central Austin, he tried out for basketball but was not good enough for the sport and soon quit. He became interested in acting at age 15 and began attending acting classes. By the time he graduated from high school, he had moved to Los Angeles to become a professional actor.
In 2002, Austin received a B.A. in English with a concentration on creative writing from the University of Southern California.
One Tree Hill
Austin Nichols switched gears to acting after a shoulder injury prevented him from becoming a professional water skiing athlete. In 1999, he made his feature film acting debut in Ashton Root's fantasy “Durango Kids,” which won the Best Cinematographer Award at the 2001 Santa Clarita International Film Festival and the Seahorse Award for Film Score at the 2002 Moondance International Film Festival. Later that same year, he debuted on the small screen in the role of Seth in an episode of the Sci-Fi Channel series “Sliders” called “The Great Work.”
Nichols went on to land guest spots in the ABC sitcom “Odd Man Out” (1999, as Lyle), the CBS hit series “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” (2001, as Adam Walkey), CBS’ “Family Law” (2001, as James Perliss), the NBC sitcom “Watching Ellie” and the short lived horror series “Wolf Lake” (2002, as Scott Nichols). His first real break arrived when Nichols was cast as the love interest of Brenda Chenowith (played by Rachel Griffiths) in two episodes of the popular HBO drama “Six Feet Under” (2002). Shortly thereafter, he got his first series regular role on “Pasadena” (2002), a drama series on Fox that received critical acclaim but was soon canceled because of poor ratings. In the series, he portrayed heartthrob Charlie Darwell.
Nichols next costarred with Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen in the direct to video “Holiday in the Sun” (2001) and had a small role in the short film “BraceFace Brandi” (2002), starring Kent King as the title character. In 2003, he starred as Justin Mathers in the independent film “The Utopian Society,” which was directed by John P. Aguirre. The comedy won a number of awards, including an Independent Film Festival for Best Feature and Audience Award at the Texas Film Festival and the Fargo Film Festival.
After a guest stint in “She Spies” (2003), Nichols enjoyed box office success with the disaster film “The Day After Tomorrow.” Directed and co-scripted by Roland Emmerich, the film grossed $186,740,799 domestically and $544,272,402 internationally with an estimated production cost of $125,000,000. In the movie, he memorably played J.D., a rival turned friend of Sam Hall (played by Jake Gyllenhaal). Costars of the film included Dennis Quaid, Emmy Rossum, Sela Ward, Ian Holm, Christopher Britton, Sasha Roiz, and Kenneth Welsh. Later that same year, he was cast in the Richard Loncraine directed “Wimbledon,” opposite Kirsten Dunst and Paul Bettany.
2005 saw Nichols return to television with a supporting role in the ABC television film “1/4life,” directed by Edward Zwick and starring Shiri Appleby and Reggie Austin. He also received a recurring role in the short lived NBC drama “Surface,” where he portrayed Jackson. Nichols once again experienced success with James Gartner's “Glory Road” (2006), where he costarred as Jerry Armstrong, alongside Josh Lucas, Derek Luke and Jon Voight. The sport themed movie peaked at No. 1 in the U.S. where it grossed $17 million during its opening weekend. Also that year, Nichols starred as Shane Bolin in the low budget drama “Lenexa, 1 Mile,” opposite Josh Stewart, Jason Ritter, Paul Wesley, Chris Klein and Michael Beach, teamed up with Sean Astin, Gina Philips, Adam Rodriguez, Joaquim de Almeida and Rachel Miner for Jessica Kavana's “Thanks to Gravity” and had the leading role of Roderick Usher in the thriller “The House of Usher,” which was directed by Hayley Cloake and based on a story by Edgar Allan Poe. He also portrayed Patrick Wilder in an episode of “CSI: Miami” called “Fade Out” and offered a memorable two episode stint as Morgan Earp, the younger brother of Wyatt Earp, in the HBO western series “Deadwood.”
After portraying Neal Cassady in the 16 minute film “Luz del mundo” (2007), opposite Will Estes as Jack Kerouac, Nichols starred as John Monad in the HBO surfing drama “John From Cincinnati.” Created by David Milch and Kem Nunn, the show premiered on June 10, 2007, but was axed after one season because of low ratings. The network aired the show's last episode on August 12, 2007. The main cast of the show also included Bruce Greenwood, Rebecca De Mornay, Ed O'Neill, Luke Perry, Keala Kennelly, Luis Guzmán, Willie Garson, Matt Winston, Garret Dillahunt, Brian Van Holt and Jim Beaver. Following the cancellation of “John From Cincinnati,” Nichols portrayed Noah Barnett in two episodes of Peter Berg's critically acclaimed football series “Friday Night Lights” (2007), based on H. G. Bissinger's 1990 book “Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream” and the 2004 feature film of the same name.
Nichols was next cast with Billy Bob Thornton, Winona Ryder, Kim Basinger, Mickey Rourke, Brad Renfro, Amber Heard and Jon Foster in “The Informers,” a film directed by Gregor Jordan and written by Bret Easton Ellis and Nicholas Jarecki. The film premiered at the Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival in October 2008 and was shown at the Sundance Film Festival on January 22, 2009, before receiving a limited theatrical release on April 24, 2009. Nichols resurfaced on the small screen when he joined the cast of The WB/The CW series “One Tree Hill” in October 2008 in the recurring role of Julian Baker, Peyton’s (played by Hilarie Burton) former boyfriend from L.A. He was upgraded to a series regular for the seventh season. Nichols also portrayed Ed Griffith in the Lifetime film “Prayer for Bobby” (2009), which was nominated for a 2009 Emmy for Outstanding Made for Television Movie. Based on the acclaimed book “Prayers for Bobby: A Mother's Coming to Terms with the Suicide of Her Gay Son” by Leroy F. Aarons, the film starred Sigourney Weaver as Mary Griffith and Ryan Kelley as Bobby Griffith.
Nichols will support Katie Cassidy in the dramatic film “Fencewalker” (2009), which was written and directed by Chris Carter.