"It is not easy to get parts in mainstream films for most people of color. Hollywood and British writers are not writing parts for us, or the directors are not interested in casting us in parts that are color-blind." Naveen Andrews.
Emmy-nominated British actor Naveen Andrews garnered international attention while playing a young Sikh sapper named Kip in Anthony Minghella's Oscar-winning adaptation of Michael Ondaatje’s novel, The English Patient (1996; with Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche and Willem Dafoe), and as Sayid Jarrah (2004-Present), a former Iraqi Republican guard on ABC's hit survival drama series "Lost." Meanwhile, he has played significant roles in such films as Mighty Joe Young (1998), Blessed Art Thou (2000), Rollerball (2002), Bride & Prejudice (2004) and the miniseries "The Ten Commandments" (2006). He will star in the upcoming films: Grindhouse, Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s two full-length movies in a new horror double feature, and The Brave One, an action/adventure thriller starring Jodie Foster and Terrence Howard.
The 5' 8'' tall, attractive actor of Indian descent was one of People Magazine’s “World's Most Beautiful People” in 2006 and their “Sexiest Survivalist” in 2005. More personally, this talented actor had a penchant for older women. At age 16, he caused a stir when he moved in with his Math teacher and had one son with her. He is now living with his partner, actress Barbara Hershey, who is 21 years his senior.
Childhood and Family:
Born in London, England, UK on January 17, 1969, Naveen William Sidney Andrews (Naveen means "new" in Hindi) was raised in Wandsworth, South London (beside the River Thames) to a fairly conservative family. He is the eldest son of Indian immigrant couple, Stanley and Nirmala Andrews.
While attending Emanuel School in Battersea South-West London, England, Naveen clashed with his father over the career choice of acting and decided to move out his parents’ home at age 16. He subsequently was taken in by his Mathematics teacher, Geraldone Feakins, who became his guardian. The two eventually became lovers and have one son together, Jaisal Andrews, who was born in 1992, two years after Naveen’s graduation from London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Naveen, a recovering drug addict and alcoholic, used to perform in a band as lead guitarist and singer as teen. A fan of country music, he enjoys playing the guitar, composing and reading. He currently resides in Los Angeles with his partner, actress Barbara Hershey, who is 21 years his senior. The couple met while appearing together in Drowning on Dry Land (1999). And when they separated briefly in 2005, Naveen had a relationship with a student actress named Elena Eustache (born in 1976), and they have one son together, Naveen Joshua Andrews (born in 2006). Naveen and Barbara later reconciled in 2006.
The English Patient
Leaving his parents’ house at age 16 due to a clash with his father over the career choice of acting, Naveen Andrews auditioned for drama school and was accepted at London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Ewan McGregor and David Thewlis (of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)). While in the drama school, he performed in various plays including William Shakespeare's "King Lear" (as Gloucester), Federico García Lorca’s "Blood Wedding," and "Two Flanks and a Passion." In 1990, he made his stage debut in director Hanif Kureishi’s "My Beautiful Laundrette," based on Stephen Frears’ well-received 1985 movie that Kureishi wrote the screenplay. The next year, his studies paid off when Kureishi handed him his first screen role in the drama comedy movie London Kills Me, starring Justin Chadwick.
A fan of country music, Naveen showed his vocal talent while starring as Zaf, a young Pakistani living in England who dreams to bring his country music band to success in Nashville, in Wild West (1992), a British comedy movie helmed by David Attwood. The next year, he delivered a strong and memorable performance as Karim Amir, a South London suburban teen born to an English mother and an Indian father, in BBC miniseries based on Hanif Kureishi's 1990 autobiographical novel, "The Buddha of Suburbia" (1993).
"He's very movie star-ish and wholly human all at once. What could possibly stop him?" The English Patient (1996) director Anthony Minghella on Naveen Andrews.
In 1996, Naveen made his first breakout performance in Anthony Minghella's Oscar-winning adaptation of Michael Ondaatje’s novel, The English Patient, as a young Sikh sapper named Kip, alongside stars Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche and Willem Dafoe. That same year, he was offered to play Prince Raj Singh, a lusty monarch who soon succeeds the throne as the sole heir, in Mira Nair's somewhat controversial film, the drama of sex and love, Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love.
Two years after Kama Sutra, Naveen reunited with Mira Nair who directed the gripping Showtime drama based on Abraham Verghese’s memoir, My Own Country (1998). The TV-movie follows Naveen as Verghese, the Indian doctor in rural Tennessee who treats the first AIDS patients diagnosed there. Also in that year, he returned on the big screen as Pindi, the guide who helps an American zoologist (played by Bill Paxton) searching the titular ape in Ron Underwood’s remake of the 1949 film, Mighty Joe Young (also starring Charlize Theron).
In the new millennium, Naveen starred in writer-director Tim Disney's indie movie Blessed Art Thou, and portrayed Steve Banerjee, the founder of Chippendales, a sleazy male strip club for woman, in USA Network’s middling TV-movie The Chippendales Murder. He also landed his first regular role, as a news producer called Tamir Naipaul on ABC short-lived series "The Beast" (2001). The show was canceled only after five episodes and Naveen subsequently went back to the wide screen in John McTiernan’s remake of the 1975 sci-fi film, Rollerball (2002), alongside Chris Klein, LL Cool J, Jean Reno and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos.
2004 marked Naveen with his second breakout role when he was cast as Sayid Jarrah, a former Iraqi Republican guard on ABC's hit survival drama series "Lost." His role later earned Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for Best Supporting Actor, as well as won him a Screen Actors Guild award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series. When being asked about the potential short life-span of characters on "Lost," Naveen replied: "I think we all had that as a concern. That monster there is like a producer's dream, isn't it? Any one of us could get bumped off at any time and we're all aware of it. It keeps you on your toes."
During his “Lost” years, Naveen also starred in writer-director Jane Weinstock's comedy film, Easy (starring Marguerite Moreau), and was cast as the rich single gentleman Balraj Bingley in Gurinder Chadha's Bride and Prejudice (starring Martin Henderson and Aishwarya Rai), a 2004 Bollywood adaptation of Jane Austen's 1813 novel “Pride and Prejudice.” Recently, in 2006, he played Menerith, a solider and stepbrother to Moses, in the ABC two-part television mini-series directed by Robert Dornhelm, "The Ten Commandments." He also reteamed with Aishwarya Rai, playing his London-based husband who eventually abuse Rai’s character, in Jag Mundhra's true story-based movie, Provoked: A True Story.
Besides filming “Lost,” Naveen is also busy completing his upcoming film, directors Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s two full-length movies in a new horror double feature, Grind House, in which he will star as Abby in the segment “Planet Terror,” a zombie film by Rodriguez. Naveen is also filming Neil Jordan's action/adventure thriller, The Brave One, alongside Jodie Foster and Terrence Howard.
"The older I get, the more I'm prepared to do things for the money." Naveen Andrews (on a reference to stereotypes of minorities in the movies).
- Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series, “Lost,” 2006