Across the Universe
“British actors come at acting from a slightly different angle. Because a lot of the films are cast out there, they are so used to the angle from which the Americans, and certainly the young guys from LA, are coming at it that I think it's interesting for them to find these English actors who maybe approach acting from a different place.” Jim Sturgess
After his break-out role of Jude in “Across the Universe” (2007), English actor Jim Sturgess quickly became one of Hollywood's most sought-after leading men and recently starred in the 2008 films "The Other Boleyn Girl," "21," and "Fifty Dead Men Walking." The rising star will next be seen in the upcoming films "Crossing Over," "Heartless," and is rumored to be starring in "Sidney Hall."
On the small screen, this 6' 2" suave, dashing British player has appeared in a number of British TV movies and guest starred in such British TV shows as "Heartbeat," "Judge John Deed," "A Touch of Frost," and "The Last Detective." He ranked #15 on Entertainment Weekly's “30 Under 30” actors list (2008).
Childhood and Family:
Born in a small town in England on May 16, 1981, James Anthony Sturgess grew up in Farnham, Surrey in England. He attended Frensham Heights School, alongside fellow screen stars Hattie Morahan and Tobias Menzies. He graduated from University of Salford's School of Media, Music and Performance in Salford, Greater Manchester, England.
Jim's favorite food is ham and mushroom pizza with cheese and tomato. He was friends with Joanne Frogatt before filming “Other People's Children” (2000).
“I started singing and playing in a band when I was about 15. We used to rehearse in my mates garage and even though we were totally underage, we started doing gigs in pubs around the area. It was hilarious! All our friends would come, trying to pretend they were old enough to drink. Looking back on it now, it must have looked ridiculous. When I was 15, I honestly looked about 12!” Jim Sturgess (on his singing history)
Jim, whose favorite Beatles song is “A Day In The Life,” was in a seven-member band called “The Dilated Spies.” His top 5 favorite albums are "Check Your Head" by the Beastie Boys, "Pink Moon" by Nick Drake, the Stone Roses' self-titled album, "Demon Days" by Gorillaz, and "Rain Dogs" by Tom Waits.
“Definitely River Phoenix is somebody that I thought, 'This guy is very cool.' I wanted to be like him when I was a kid.” Jim Sturgess (on actors who inspired him)
A former member of the National Youth Music Theatre (1993-1995), Jim Sturgess began pursuing an acting career after his band broke up.
At age 13, he made his film debut in Mike Figgis' acclaimed remake of the 1951 film that was based on the 1948 play by Terence Rattigan, "The Browning Version" (1994; starring Albert Finney). Five years later, he appeared on television in dual episodes of the BBC TV series loosely based on Orczy's novels, "The Scarlet Pimpernel."
Entering the new millennium, Sturgess appeared in the made-for-television movie "Thursday the 12th" and guest starred in an episode of the novel-based TV series "Thursday the 12th." He went on to co-star in the series "The Residents" (2001), guest star in a February 2001 episode of the long-running British police drama series "Heartbeat," and play a shop assistant in the miniseries "Hawk" (2001).
During the following years, Sturgess continued to add to his resume with roles in the TV movies "The Quest" (2002), "Rehab" (2003), "The Second Quest" (2004), and "The Final Quest" (2004). He was also spotted as a guest in an episode of the British legal drama television series "Judge John Deed," the ITV detective television series "A Touch of Frost," and the ITV drama starring Peter Davison as Dangerous Davies, "The Last Detective."
2005 saw Sturgess return to the big screen in writer/director Alison Murray's drama film starring Ellen Page, "Mouth to Mouth." Two years later, he starred in Julie Taymor's romantic musical, "Across the Universe," playing a young man from Liverpool who comes to America during the Vietnam War to find his father. The film, which also stars Evan Rachel Wood (played his girlfriend), Martin Luther, and Dana Fuchs, was nominated for a Golden Globe and an Academy Award.
On filming "Across the Universe" (2007), Sturgess recalled, “I do a lot of music and a lot of acting and did a lot of painting. When we were doing the film, Julie had me hook up with an artist and we hung out a lot and spent a lot of time together, just hung out in the studio and listened to music, just drawing and painting. He really encouraged me to sketch and draw everyday.”
In 2008, Sturgess portrayed George Boleyn, the brother of Natalie Portman's character, in Justin Chadwick's British drama film "The Other Boleyn Girl," which was inspired by a historical fiction novel written by British author Philippa Gregory and based on the life of 16th-century aristocrat Mary Boleyn (portrayed by Scarlett Johansson). He also starred as Ben Campbell, the shy, brilliant student trained in card counting who subsequently took Vegas casinos for millions in winnings, in Robert Luketic's fact-based film, "21: The Movie," with Kevin Spacey, Jacob Pitts, Kate Bosworth, and Laurence Fishburne. His work in the film won him a Special Award at the ShoWest Convention and earned him a Teen Choice Award nomination for Choice Movie Breakout Male. Additionally, he co-starred with Rose McGowan, Ben Kingsley, and Kevin Zegers in the crime thriller film "Fifty Dead Men Walking" (2008), a loose adaptation of Martin McGartland's 1997 autobiography of the same name.
Sturgess has completed his latest film, "Crossing Over," a drama about immigrants of different nationalities struggling to achieve legal status in Los Angeles. The movie features Harrison Ford, Ray Liotta, Sean Penn, and Ashley Judd.
Jim is currently filming Philip Ridley's dramatic thriller "Heartless," alongside Timothy Spall. It is rumored he will star in Joe Russo's drama film "Sidney Hall."
“I would love to see what kind of choices he would be making now if he was still around, some of the characters that he would have played. I mean to me, he was like a rock star, you know, he had it all. He had the looks. He had a great name. He had an attitude, an energy, an excitement about him. He was instinctively like a, he was a rebel, you know? He was kind of Bob Dylan to me at times, and he had a lot to say and I've never seen too many interviews by him. But the ones that I saw were pretty electric, pretty... he was switched on, definitely.” Jim Sturgess (on his idol River Phoenix)
ShoWest Convention, USA: Special Award, "21," 2008