I Still Know
Sometimes referred to as the “new Tom Cruise,” American actor Matthew Settle first came to the attention of moviegoers playing Jennifer Love Hewitt's misleadingly friend, Will Benson, in the horror sequel “I Still Know What You Did Last Summer” (1998). Since then, he has appeared in the motion pictures “U-571” (2000), “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood” (2002), “Rancid” (2004), “The Celestine Prophecy” (2006) and “Beneath” (2007). Making his TV debut in the unsold pilot “Shaughnessy” (1996), Settle is probably best recognized for his television work, most notably his acting in the miniseries “Band of Brothers” (HBO, 2001) and “Into the West” (TNT, 2005), from which he shared a Bronze Wrangler Award. He also appeared in the fact based film “Crime in Connecticut: The Return of Alex Kelly” (CBS, 1999) and played recurring roles in “ER” (2002), “Practice” (2003) and “Brothers & Sisters” (2006) and currently portrays Rufus in the series “Gossip Girl” (2007-2011).
Settle is separated from his wife Naama Nativ. They have one child together.
Son of a Preacher
Childhood and Family:
Jeffrey Matthew Settle dropped his first name when he began his acting career. He was born on September 17, 1969, in Hickory, North Carolina. The youngest of six children of a clergyman, he and his family relocated to Sevierville, Tennessee, in 1983 when his father took a position there. At the time, Matthew was 14 years old. He was educated at Seymour Community Christian Academy, a private Christian school in Seymour, Tennessee.
Matthew Settle, whose nickname is Mattie Boy, married Naama Nativ in July 2006. They are currently separated and have one child together.
Into the West
North Carolina native Matthew Settle left his home and family in Tennessee to try his luck in music in New York when he was 19 years old. He played in a rock band, but was soon kicked out of the band. Supporting himself by selling seafood and meat in Long Island, Settle attended acting classes with money borrowed from friends. He then headed to Hollywood to pursue an acting career.
After some stage experience, Settle hit the small screen for the first time in 1996 when he was cast as an Irish immigrant named Tommy Shaughnessy in the failed pilot “Shaughnessy.” He followed it up with a costarring role opposite Kate Jackson and Drew Ebersole in his first TV film, the CBS drama “What Happened to Bobby Earl” (1997). The same year, he portrayed Detective Max Seagle in the ABC mystery “A Deadly Vision,” which also starred Kristin Davis and Peter Boyle, and the Green Lantern in the pilot for “Justice League of America,” opposite Miguel Ferrer and David Ogden Stiers.
“There are very few actors that have star quality, that draw you in with something that separates them from the rest. Because I have been making so many movies with young adult actors, I've seen every kid out there. After a while, everyone starts melting together. But when we auditioned Matthew, he jumped right out at us like a young Tom Cruise.” Producer Neal H. Moritz on Matthew Settle
Settle's first real break arrived when he won the role of Will Benson in the teen horror sequel “I Still Know What You Did Last Summer” (1998), which starred Jennifer Love Hewitt and Freddie Prinze Jr. In the movie, as Hewitt's college friend with a secret, the handsome actor was introduced to a wider audience and collected a loyal fan base.
Settle made a brief return to television when he was cast with Richard Dreyfuss, Eric Roberts and Anthony LaPaglia in the HBO biopic “Lansky,” which earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Cinematography for a Miniseries or a Movie. He also received the title role of a rapist in the CBS based-on-fact TV film “Crime in Connecticut: The Return of Alex Kelly” (both 1999).
2000 proved to be a banner year for Settle. He was featured as Ensign Larson in the World War II submarine movie “U-571,” opposite Matthew McConnaughey, Bill Paxton, Harvey Keitel and Jon Bon Jovi, costarred with Susan Ward and Lori Heuring in the Mary Lambert directed thriller “The In Crowd,” playing a tennis pro named Matt, and then starred in the Toronto screened comedy “Attraction,” alongside Gretchen Mol and Tom Everett Scott. Although “The In Crowd” and “Attraction” were both commercial disappointments, “U-571” helped Settle land the prominent role of Captain Ronald Speirs in the HBO Golden Globe Award winning miniseries “Band of Brothers” (2001), which was produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. Among his costars in the acclaimed show were Damian Lewis, Donnie Wahlberg and Ron Livingston. Settle stated, “When you do a Spielberg project, you realize that more than you being in a Spielberg film or being a part of something that's got his name on it is that it's probably going to be a cultural contribution and that's when it takes on a life of its own.”
Back to America after shooting the project in London, Settle took on recurring roles in such hit series as NBC's “ER” (2002, as Brian Westlake) and Fox's “Practice” (2003, as Russell Bakey) and appeared as Lieutenant Jack Whitman, the love interest of Ashley Judd, in the Sandra Bullock film “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood” (2002). In 2004, he served as a host of the documentary series “Decisive Battles,” played Warren Beatty in the TV biopic “The Mystery of Natalie Wood,” costarred with Ann-Margret in the television movie “A Place Called Home” and had roles in the motion pictures “Until the Night” and “Rancid.”
Settle shared some success the following year when he appeared as Jacob in the Steven Spielberg produced miniseries “Into the West” (2005). Airing on TNT, the western received a number of awards and nominations, including a 2006 Bronze Wrangler for Outstanding Television Feature Film. On what attracted him to doing the miniseries, he explained, “My first thought was about the hardships the people suffered so finding a way to bring my character to life in that world was a challenge and very difficult, but enjoyable.”
After guest starring in “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (2005), he starred opposite Thomas Kretschmann in the based-on-novel adventure film “The Celestine Prophecy” (2006) and appeared as Jonathan Sellers in five episodes of the first season of the ABC family drama series “Brothers & Sisters” (also 2006). In 2007, Settle teamed up with Alicia Witt and Scott Bakula for the dramatic television film “Blue Smoke,” which was adapted from a novel by Nora Roberts, and played the supporting role of John in thriller “Beneath,” which was directed by Dagen Mereill. He also guest starred in two episodes of “The Wedding Bells,” as Michael Madison, appeared in “The Express” (2008) and portrayed Dan in disappointing comedy “ExTerminators” (2009). Currently, Settle plays Rufus Humphrey, an ex-rocker who owns a gallery and the father of two girls, on the series “Gossip Girl” (2007-2011), opposite Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, Penn Badgley and Chace Crawford.
Western Heritage: Bronze Wrangler, Outstanding Television Feature Film, “Into the West,” 2006