“I’ve never gone to acting school and I never will, so I’m learning about the business from the people who are in the business. It doesn’t seem like I work at all; and the unknown is always exciting.” Jonathan Rhys-Meyers
Initially being rejected at a movie audition, actor Jonathan Rhys-Meyers later stood proud with his impressive portrayal of the rock ‘n’ roll king in the TV biopic Elvis (2005), in which he took home a Golden Globe Award, a Satellite Award, as well as an Emmy nomination. Previously, he offered a fine acting job as glam-rock icon Brian Slade in Todd Haynes’ Velvet Goldmine (1998) and brought in a London Critics Circle Film’s ALFS nomination. Rhys-Meyers was also seen in such movies as Ang Lee’s Ride with the Devil (1999), Bend It Like Beckham (2002) and the blockbuster picture Alexander (2004).
Aside from his rising career on screen, the actor was recently hired by Italian fashion house Versace to model for their autumn/winter menswear range. Other celebrities engaged in Versace’s latest campaign include Madonna and Halle Berry.
As for his romantic life, Rhys-Meyers has been linked to several actresses, such as Toni Collette, Asia Argento, Rachael Leigh Cook and Estella Warren. The actor, who was once falsely rumored to date Scarlett Johansson, had a relationship with Reena Hammer, the daughter of George Hammer (owner of Harrods Spa) and Ruby Hammer (co-creator of Ruby & Millie make-up). Recently, however, Rhys-Meyers ended the relationship after allegedly assaulting the teenaged Hammer.
Childhood and Family:
Jonathan Rhys-Meyers was born Jonathan Michael Francis O’Keefe on July 27, 1977, in Dublin, Ireland, with a heart condition. When he was three, Jonathan’s father, John O’Keeffe, left the family, leaving Jonathan and brothers Alan O’Keeffe, Alan Rhys Meyers and Jamie Rhys Meyers under the care of their mother, Geraldine Myers. Two other siblings, Jamie and Paul O’Keeffe, were raised by their paternal grandmother.
Jonny, Jonathan’s nickname, grew up as a turbulent child and was expelled from school at age 16. He later met a Hubbard Casting agent, who cast him in a role for War of the Buttons (1994). Although failing at the audition, he eventually appeared in a commercial and began his journey as an actor.
Jonathan adopted his mother’s maiden name as his stage name. He is sometimes also credited as “Jonathan Rhys Myers” or “Jonathan Rhys-Myer.”
Jonathan Rhys-Meyers first appeared in a Knorr soup commercial and had a minor role in the comedy drama A Man of No Importance (1994). He then received his first significant role in the mystery drama The Disappearance of Finbar (1996).
Following his supporting part of Josh Minnell in The Maker (1997), Rhys-Meyers presented a fine performance as Brian Slade, a fictional rock icon, in Todd Haynes’ Velvet Goldmine (1998), in which he earned an ALFS nomination for British Newcomer of the Year. For the drama movie, the actor also performed the song “Baby’s on Fire,” “Ballad of Maxwell Demon,” “Sebastian” and “Tumbling Down.”
Rhys-Meyers next joined director Ang Lee to play murderer Pitt Mackeson in the western drama Ride with the Devil (1999), starred as Steerpike in the mini fantasy series “Gormenghast” (2000), acted opposite Rachael Leigh Cook and Shawn Hatosy in the drama thriller Tangled (2001, as Alan Hammond) and played soccer coach Joe in Bend It Like Beckham (2002), directed by Gurinder Chadha. He was also cast as the emperor’s chamberlain in The Emperor’s Wife (2003) and Cassander in Oliver Stone’s blockbuster hit Alexander (2004).
In 2005, Rhys-Meyers portrayed the titular rock ‘n’ roll king in the four-hour TV biopic Elvis (2005). Before long, he collected a Golden Globe and a Satellite award for Best Actor, as well as an Emmy nomination for his efforts. The same year, the rising actor was handed a Chopard Trophy for Male Revelation from the Cannes Film Festival. The actor was then seen as Declan Gormley, a member of the rescue team, in the summer hit Mission: Impossible III (2006), along with Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Maggie Q, Keri Russell and Michelle Monaghan.
Rhys-Meyers is set to take the leading role of King Henry VIII in the historical TV film The Tudors (2006), which will focus on the king’s early reigning days and his marriages. He will also have the supporting part of Irish guitarist Louis Rush in the drama August Rush (2007), collaborate with director Danny Glover in the biopic Toussaint (2007), costar as Branwell Bronte, alongside Michelle Williams and Nathalie Press, in Brontë (2007), as well as work in the sci-fi horror genre in Adina (2007, will play Jason).
- Golden Globe: Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television, Elvis, 2006
- Satellite: Outstanding Actor in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television, Elvis, 2005
- Cannes Film Festival: Chopard Trophy - Male Revelation, 2005