“I love acting. It’s my whole life. I actually can’t think of anything in the world I would rather do. This is my dream and I love the nomadic existence. I’m not good at staying in one place for a long time and doing the same thing day after day.” Hope Davis
An American actress who got her start in theater, Hope Davis has created a fruitful career with almost 30 films under her belt since making her debut in the 1990 remarkable movies Flatliners and Home Alone. She went on to work in many independent films, most notably The Daytrippers (1996, with Stanley Tucci), The Myth of Fingerprints (1997) and Next Stop, Wonderland (1998), and mainstream films like Mumford (1999), Arlington Road (1999), Hearts In Atlantis (2001) and About Schmidt (2002), before scoring massive victory with the acclaimed indie biopic American Splendor (2003). For her impressive portrayal of alternative comic book writer Harvey Pekar’s wife, the Nordic blonde performer won a Seattle Film Critics Award and a New York Film Critics Circle Award (also for her praised turn in 2002’s The Secret Lives of Dentists), as well as gathered Golden Globe, Golden Satellite and Chlotrudis nominations. Davis’ more recent credits include Proof (2005), The Weather Man (2005), Infamous (2006), The Hoax (2006), The Nines (2007) and Charlie Bartlett (2007). On the small screen, Davis can be seen as Laura in the ABC series “Six Degrees” (2006-current).
Outside the spotlight, Davis is now the wife of actor Jon Patrick Walker and has two young girls with him. She was married to actor-director-writer Ford Evanson from 1987 until 1996.
Childhood and Family:
Hope Davis was born on March 23, 1964, in Englewood, New Jersey. Her mother is a retired school librarian and her father died in 1997. Growing up in Tenafly, New Jersey, she attended Tenafly High School and later studied cognitive science at Vassar College, graduating in 1986. After college, she moved to London to study acting with tutors from the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and upon returning to the U.S., was trained under Uta Hagen at the HB Studio in New York. Hope is the childhood friend of actress Mira Sorvino, with whom she wrote and performed in backyard plays.
Hope was married to actor-director-writer Ford Evanson from 1987 until 1996. The two appeared together in the film The Daytrippers (1996). She is now married to actor Jon Patrick Walker. They have two daughters (Georgia, born in 2002 and Mae, born in February 2005).
“I think she is a star. What makes a star with the public has nothing to do with acting. She’s a character actress, which is the greatest thing you can be. I think she can do anything.” Joel Schumacher on Hope Davis
Returning to the U.S. after studying acting in London, New Jersey native Hope Davis headed to Chicago to work on stage. She helped establish a theater company and was cast by John Cusack in a production of “Alagazam...After the Dog Wars” and by Joel Schumacher in the Chicago production of David Mamet’s “Speed-the-Plow.” She also was a regular performer at the renowned Goodman Theatre, appearing in a number of productions like “The Iceman Cometh” (1990, as Margie) and “Macbeth.” It was while in a run in Chicago that Davis had her first taste in front of the film camera, as William Baldwin’s girlfriend, in the Oscar-nominated Flatliners (1990), which was directed by Schumacher, and playing a French ticket counter clerk in the Macaulay Culkin hit Home Alone (1990). She reunited with her mentor, Schumacher, in 1992 when the director cast her as panic-stricken psychotic in two episodes of the CBS short-lived drama “2000 Malibu Road.”
Also in 1992, Davis debuted on Broadway in “Two Shakespearean Actors.” She went on to become a critic’s favorite in New York circuits thanks largely to her work in two plays by Nicky Silver: “Pterodactyls” (1993), as the phobic daughter of a highly dysfunctional family, and “The Food Chain” (1995), as the erratic wife of a man who has vanished. The actress returned to the big screen in 1995 to play Adam West’s secretary in Run for Cover and Nicolas Cage’s girlfriend in Kiss of Death, also featuring Stanley Tucci. Her first leading role arrived the following year when director Greg Mottola paired her with Tucci as husband and wife in the independent drama/mystery The Daytrippers.
Next, Davis portrayed Ellen DeGeneres’ gleefully married younger sister in Mr. Wrong (1996), starred as a love-fixated documentary moviemaker in Guy (1997) and worked with Julianne Moore, Blythe Danner and Noah Wyle in the family drama The Myth of Fingerprints (1997). She also played the lead of a forlorn nurse in Brad Anderson’s indie hit Next Stop, Wonderland (1998), rejoined actor-director Stanley Tucci in the comedy The Imposters (1998) and was seen with Tim Robbins and Joan Cusack in the thriller Arlington Road (1999). The actress ended the decade by having a costarring role in Lawrence Kasdan’s Mumford (1999).
Entering the new millennium, Davis revisited the stage by performing in the Off-Broadway production of “Spinning Into Butter.” She was cast as Brooke Benton, a journalist, in the 2000 short-lived TV series “Deadline,” opposite Oliver Platt, played the wife of Stanley Tucci in Joe Gould’s Secret (2000) and costarred with Denis Leary in the digitally-shot Final (2001) for director Campbell Scott. A veteran of independent film, Davis returned to mainstream films (after Mumford and Arlington Road) with 2001’s Hearts in Atlantis, costarring with Anthony Hopkins, but it was her role as Jack Nicholson’s daughter in writer-director Alexander Payne’s About Schmidt (2002) that really put the actress in the limelight.
Davis offered a convincing turn opposite Campbell Scott in the Alan Rudolph-helmed The Secret Lives of Dentists (2002), from which she was nominated for a 2004 Independent Spirit for Best Supporting Female, before starring as Joyce Brabner, the eccentric wife of alternative comic book writer Harvey Pekar (played by Paul Giamatti), in the highly praised indie biopic American Splendor (2003). Davis’ eccentric performance was critically applauded and she was awarded the 2003 Seattle Film Critics award for Best Actress. She also received Golden Globe, Golden Satellite and Chlotrudis nominations. Davis’ work in both films also won her a 2003 New York Film Critics Circle for Best Actress.
Following a brief hiatus from the screen, Davis made an auspicious return in 2005 with a very successful turn as Gwyneth Paltrow’s over-controlling sister in director John Madden’s Proof, adapted from David Auburn’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name. This was followed by a turn as the bewildered former wife of Nicolas Cage in the dark comedy The Weather Man (2005), directed by Gore Verbinksi. She also acted with Greg Kinnear and Pierce Brosnan in Richard Shepard’s The Matador (2005), was featured as Slim Keith in the Truman Capote biopic Infamous (2006) and supported Richard Gere in the based-on-true-story The Hoax (2006). More recently, Hope was seen in The Nines (2007), with Ryan Reynolds, and Charlie Bartlett (2007), opposite Robert Downey Jr.
On television, Davis currently plays Laura, the widow of a TV journalist killed in Iraq, in ABC “Six Degrees” (2006-current). Among her costars in the series are Jay Hernandez, Erika Christensen, Campbell Scott and Dorian Missick.
Seattle Film Critics: Best Actress, American Splendor, 2003
New York Film Critics Circle: Best Actress, American Splendor & The Secret Lives of Dentists, 2003