Paul Bettany

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Paul Bettany
Paul Bettany (48469131797) (cropped).jpg
Bettany at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con promoting WandaVision
Born (1971-05-27) 27 May 1971 (age 50)
London, England[a]
  • United Kingdom
  • United States[6]
EducationDrama Centre London
Years active1992–present
(m. 2003)

Paul Bettany (born 27 May 1971) is an English actor. He is best known for voicing J.A.R.V.I.S. and playing Vision in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films Iron Man (2008), Iron Man 2 (2010), The Avengers (2012), Iron Man 3 (2013), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Captain America: Civil War (2016), and Avengers: Infinity War (2018), as well as the television miniseries WandaVision (2021), for which he was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie, He also was one of voice actors in the animated Disney+ show What If...? (2021).

Bettany first came to the attention of mainstream audiences when he starred in the films Gangster No. 1 (2000), A Knight's Tale (2001), and A Beautiful Mind (2001). He was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for playing Stephen Maturin in the film Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003). He went on to appear in several films, including Dogville (2003), Wimbledon (2004), The Da Vinci Code (2006), Creation (2009), The Tourist (2010), Margin Call (2011), Legend (2015), and Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018). He made his directorial debut with the film Shelter (2014), which he also wrote and co-produced.

Early life[edit]

Bettany was born in London,[a] the son of Anne (née Kettle), a stage singer, theatre teacher, and stage manager, and Thane Bettany, a dancer, actor, drama teacher and godfather to Sophie, Countess of Wessex.[7][2] Bettany was raised Catholic,[8][9] although his church attendance drifted after his confirmation.[8] In his youth, he experimented with other Christian denominations among which were Methodist and Church of England congregations with his father.[10] Bettany later became an atheist.[11][12] While his father taught at the all-girls boarding school Queenswood School, near Hatfield, Hertfordshire, the family lived on the school grounds.[3]

When Bettany was 16, his brother Matthew died at age 8 after falling onto concrete from a tennis pavilion roof at Queenswood.[4] Soon after, Bettany dropped out of school, left home, and became a street performer in London.[13] He lived in a small flat and earned money by playing his guitar in the streets as a busker.[13] His parents later divorced.[14] After two years, he found a new job in a home for the elderly.[13] After working there for a year, Bettany enrolled at the Drama Centre in London.[13] He had dyslexia prior to it being recognised as a learning difficulty.[1]


In 1990, at the age of 19, Bettany began a three-year course at the Drama Centre London in Chalk Farm.[15] He made his stage debut in Stephen Daldry's acclaimed West End revival of An Inspector Calls at the Aldwych Theatre, playing the part of Eric Birling. He also appeared in the Royal Shakespeare Company's productions of Richard III, Romeo and Juliet, and Julius Caesar (for which he received a Charleson Award nomination). When Bettany was 21, he appeared in a BBC production of Oliver Twist, playing Bill Sikes.

After appearing in the finale of Sean Bean's series Sharpe as William II of the Netherlands at the Battle of Waterloo, he made his film debut with a small part in Bent, a Holocaust drama which also featured Clive Owen, Jude Law, and Ian McKellen. He continued doing work in stage and television: these included Joe Penhall's Love and Understanding, which played at London's Bush Theatre and then ran in Connecticut. He had roles in the television productions Killer Net and Coming Home, during which he met and dated Emily Mortimer. His last stage work was in One More Wasted Year and Stranger's House at the Royal Court Theatre. He filmed several more movies, including his first leading role in Gangster No. 1. The British Independent Film Awards nominated him for Best Actor,[16] and the London Film Critics' Circle nominated him for British Newcomer of the Year.[citation needed]

Back in Hollywood, writer/director Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential) was planning a new film called The Sin Eater (also known as The Order). He was impressed by Bettany's audition tape, though Helgeland eventually decided to film A Knight's Tale instead. The studio executives were not impressed, but Helgeland was determined to cast him, even writing the part of Chaucer for him. A Knight's Tale would be Bettany's first big Hollywood production. He received critical acclaim for A Knight's Tale, including winning the London Film Critics Circle Award for Best British Supporting Actor. After the movie wrapped, Helgeland, determined that Hollywood should recognize Bettany's talent, showed the audition tape to many of his peers, including Ron Howard, who promptly cast Bettany in A Beautiful Mind alongside Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly. After A Beautiful Mind, Bettany was offered the role of serial killer Francis Dolarhyde in Red Dragon, opposite Edward Norton and Anthony Hopkins. He turned down the role in favour of accepting a part with Stellan Skarsgård and Nicole Kidman in Lars von Trier's Dogville.[citation needed]

Bettany's next major project saw him starring again alongside A Beautiful Mind costar Russell Crowe in Peter Weir's Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. His portrayal of surgeon and naturalist Stephen Maturin brought him a BAFTA nomination, and he was named British Actor of the Year (London Film Critics' Circle), and Best Actor (Evening Standard).

On 28 June 2004, Bettany and 13 other actors were included in the 2004 invitation to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Dogville and The Reckoning were released in limited cinemas in 2004. In September of that year, Bettany made his leading-man debut in Wimbledon, a romantic comedy with Kirsten Dunst. The film's cast would also introduce him to Jon Favreau, playing his manager, a relationship that would return when Favreau cast him as the voice of J.A.R.V.I.S. in Iron Man. In mid-2005, Bettany filmed Firewall in Vancouver, Canada, a thriller also starring Harrison Ford and Virginia Madsen, which reunited him with Wimbledon director Richard Loncraine. He spent the autumn of 2005 filming The Da Vinci Code, based on Dan Brown's best-selling novel and starring Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou and Ian McKellen. In the film, he played an Opus Dei monk named Silas.

In 2007, Bettany went to London to star in There For Me, written by his friends Dan Fredenburgh and Doraly Rosen.[17] In 2008, he appeared in the New Line Cinema family fantasy Inkheart, playing the part of a fire-eater named Dustfinger.[18] In 2009, he appeared as Charles Darwin in Creation, starring opposite wife Jennifer Connelly. In 2010, Bettany appeared alongside Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie in The Tourist and portrayed the archangel Michael in Legion, a film depicting divine vengeance upon humanity. He starred in the films Priest and Margin Call, both released in 2011.

Bettany reprised his voice role as J.A.R.V.I.S. in 2010's Iron Man 2, 2012's The Avengers, 2013's Iron Man 3, and Disneyland's Innoventions attraction.[19] In 2014, Bettany starred alongside Johnny Depp and fellow British actor Rebecca Hall in the feature film Transcendence. He was once again paired with Depp in Mortdecai, a 2015 motion picture also starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Ewan McGregor.[20] He played Vision in the 2015 film Avengers: Age of Ultron,[citation needed] and reprised his voice role as J.A.R.V.I.S. again in the same film. Bettany portrayed Vision again in the sequels Captain America: Civil War[21] and Avengers: Infinity War.

Bettany also stars as Ted Kaczynski in the Discovery Channel television show, Manhunt: Unabomber. Bettany replaced Michael K. Williams in Solo: A Star Wars Story,[22] after Williams was removed from the final film, as he was unable to return to set during the film's reshoots. Bettany was cast in his place, with the character being reworked from a motion-capture alien to a human.[23]

On 20 January 2018, it was reported that Bettany was nearing a deal to play Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh on the Netflix series The Crown, succeeding Matt Smith.[24] Days later, on 25 January, it was reported by TVLine that Bettany was ultimately unable to sign on due to scheduling conflicts.[25]

In 2020, it became known that Bettany will star as Alexander Nix in an upcoming film on the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal.[26]

In 2021, Bettany starred alongside Elizabeth Olsen in the Marvel television miniseries WandaVision, which aired on Disney+. In the miniseries, Bettany portrays a new version of his Marvel Cinematic Universe Character, Vision.[27][28] In October 2021, he was cast in dramedy film Harvest Moon with Mark Waters as director. The script is co-written by him and Dana Brown.[29]

Personal life[edit]

On 1 January 2003, Bettany married American actress Jennifer Connelly in Scotland; they met when they starred together in the 2001 film A Beautiful Mind.[30] They did not become a couple until some time after filming, as both were in other relationships at the time.[31] As a teenager, he had developed a crush on her after seeing her in the 1986 film Labyrinth.[32] The September 11 attacks motivated him to act on his feelings for her, and after two days of attempting to contact her, he proposed, despite the fact that they were not in a relationship.[33] Soon after their marriage, they moved to Brooklyn Heights after having lived together in Tribeca.[34] The couple has two children together, a son, born 2003, and a daughter, born 2011.[35][36][37] Bettany is the stepfather to Connelly's son from a previous relationship.[38]

In 2020, text messages between Bettany and his friend, Johnny Depp, were used as evidence in Depp’s defamation trial, Depp v News Group Newspapers Ltd, against The Sun for calling him a "wifebeater" in a 2018 article.[39][40][41] In 2016, Bettany had defended Depp from accusations that he abused his wife, Amber Heard, stating "He's the sweetest, kindest, gentlest man that I've ever known".[42]



Year Film Role Notes
1997 Bent Captain
1998 The Land Girls Philip
1999 After the Rain Steph
2000 Kiss Kiss (Bang Bang) Jimmy
The Suicide Club Shaw a.k.a. Game of Death
Dead Babies Quentin
Gangster No. 1 Young Gangster
2001 A Knight's Tale Geoffrey Chaucer
A Beautiful Mind Charles Herman
2002 Euston Road "Y" Short
The Heart of Me Rickie
2003 Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World Dr. Stephen Maturin
The Reckoning Nicholas
Dogville Tom Edison
2004 Wimbledon Peter Colt
2006 Firewall Bill Cox
The Da Vinci Code Silas
2008 Iron Man J.A.R.V.I.S. Voice
The Secret Life of Bees T. Ray Owens
Inkheart Dustfinger
Broken Lines Chester
2009 The Young Victoria Lord Melbourne
Creation Charles Darwin
2010 Legion Michael
Iron Man 2 J.A.R.V.I.S. Voice
The Tourist John Acheson
2011 Priest Priest
Margin Call Will Emerson
2012 The Avengers J.A.R.V.I.S. Voice
2013 Iron Man 3
Blood Joe Fairburn
2014 Transcendence Max Waters
Shelter N/A Writer & director
2015 Mortdecai Jock Strapp
Avengers: Age of Ultron J.A.R.V.I.S. (voice) and Vision
Legend Charlie Richardson
2016 Captain America: Civil War Vision
2017 Journey's End Osborne
2018 Avengers: Infinity War Vision
Solo: A Star Wars Story Dryden Vos
2020 Uncle Frank Frank Bledsoe


Year Film Role Notes
1994 Wycliffe Ian Greaves Episode: "The Pea Green Boat"
1996 The Bill Jake Connolly Episode: "The Right Thing"
1997 Sharpe's Waterloo Prince William of Orange Television film
1998 Coming Home Edward Carey-Lewis Television serial
Killer Net Joe Hunter Miniseries
1999 Every Woman Knows a Secret Rob
2000 David Copperfield James Steerforth Television film
2017 Manhunt: Unabomber Ted Kaczynski Miniseries
2021 WandaVision Vision / White Vision
Marvel Studios: Assembled Himself Documentary; Episode: "Assembled: The Making of WandaVision"
What If...? Vision / J.A.R.V.I.S. (voice) 2 episodes
TBA A Very British Scandal Ian Campbell, 11th Duke of Argyll Main role (Series 2)

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Film Result
2000 British Independent Film Award for Best Actor Gangster No. 1 Nominated
London Film Critics' Circle Award for British Newcomer of the Year Nominated
2001 London Film Critics' Circle Award for Supporting Actor of the Year A Knight's Tale Won
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Most Promising Performer Nominated
London Film Critics' Circle Award for Supporting Actor of the Year A Beautiful Mind Nominated
SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Nominated
2003 Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Actor Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World and The Heart of Me Won
London Film Critics' Circle Award for British Actor of the Year Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World Won
BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role Nominated
BFCA Critics' Choice Award for Best Supporting Actor Nominated
2004 Empire Award for Best British Actor Wimbledon Nominated
Jordan Award for Best Actor Won
2006 Glamour Awards Man of the Year Won
2008 Black Reel Award for Best Ensemble The Secret Life of Bees Nominated
2016 Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor Avengers: Age of Ultron Nominated
2021 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie WandaVision Nominated


  1. ^ a b Sources differ as the exact location in London. Locations have been given as Harlesden,[1] and as Shepherd's Bush.[2] In other sources he is stated as having been in a Harlesden estate in his youth,[3] and being a "boy from Harlesden".[4] One source states he grew up in Shepherd's Bush.[5]


  1. ^ a b Walden, Celia (20 May 2013). "Paul Bettany interview: this time it's serious". Archived from the original on 14 July 2018. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Paul Bettany biography site". Archived from the original on 26 March 2009. Retrieved 9 October 2010.
  3. ^ a b McCaffery, Julie (16 May 2006). "Tragedy, Drugs and a Dad Who Wanted to Have a Sex Change Op". Daily Mirror. Archived from the original on 7 December 2008. Retrieved 14 January 2008.
  4. ^ a b Rivkin, Annabel (24 March 2006). "Paul's progress". London Evening Standard. p. 29. Archived from the original on 22 July 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  5. ^ Aftab, Kaleem (30 November 2015). "Paul Bettany on why his directorial debut is about homelessness". The Independent. Archived from the original on 17 July 2018. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  6. ^ Strauss, Louisa (1 August 2017). "Everything You Need to Know About Paul Bettany". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  7. ^ Biography of Paul Bettany Archived 26 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ a b Barton, Laura (12 May 2006). "When albino monks attack". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved 6 May 2021. Bettany was himself raised as a Catholic,...
  9. ^ Carnevale, Rob (September 2006). "Paul Bettany: The Da Vinci Code". BBC. Archived from the original on 30 October 2011. Retrieved 27 May 2010. I was born a Catholic and now I'm a lapsed Catholic.
  10. ^ David Germain (15 May 2006). "Pious killer: Bettany dons robes as monk assassin in 'Da Vinci'". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 26 January 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  11. ^ "Paul Bettany on Charles Darwin: 'He Was an Atheist and So Am I'". 20 January 2010. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  12. ^ Adam Rutherford (12 February 2009). "Paul Bettany: Playing Darwin with Creation". The Guardian. UK. Archived from the original on 20 March 2014. Retrieved 7 September 2009.
  13. ^ a b c d Mal Vincent (18 September 2004). ""Wimbledon" serves as a change of pace". Virginia Pilot and Ledger-Star. Archived from the original on 11 June 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  14. ^ Standing, Sarah (28 May 2009). "Rise of the strays (that's formerly straight, now gay)". London Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 23 October 2012. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
  15. ^ Jamie Portman (17 September 2004). "Wimbledon actor glimpses fame on set: Hollywood is grooming Paul Bettany as a major international star". The Vancouver Sun. p. H1.
  16. ^ "Winners Nominations · BIFA · British Independent Film Awards". BIFA · British Independent Film Awards. 24 October 2000. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  17. ^ "Film Stars Come To Hanwell". 12 July 2007. Retrieved 9 October 2010.
  18. ^ "Paul Bettany joins the fantasy INKHEART". Archived from the original on 30 August 2006. Retrieved 9 October 2010.
  19. ^ Goldman, Eric (12 April 2013). "Disneyland Introduces Their First Marvel Exhibit with Iron Man Tech". IGN. Archived from the original on 23 February 2014. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
  20. ^ "Hedsor House used in the film Mortdecai (2015)". Hedsor House. 2015. Archived from the original on 21 January 2015. Retrieved 20 January 2015.
  21. ^ "Marvel Studios Begins Production on Marvel's 'Captain America: Civil War'". 7 May 2015. Archived from the original on 7 May 2015. Retrieved 7 May 2015.
  22. ^ "Michael Kennth Williams joins young Han Solo film". 6 March 2017. Archived from the original on 7 March 2017. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  23. ^ Hall, Jacob (1 September 2017). "The Han Solo Spin-Off Adds Paul Bettany to Replace Michael K. Williams". /Film. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  24. ^ Goldberg, Lesley; Konerman, Jennifer (20 January 2018). "'The Crown': Paul Bettany Near Deal to Play Prince Philip". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 20 January 2018. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  25. ^ Ausiello, Michael (25 January 2018). "The Crown Season 3: Paul Bettany Exits Talks to Play Prince Philip". TVLine. Archived from the original on 26 January 2018. Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  26. ^ Katz, Brandon (13 March 2020). "Exclusive: Paul Bettany to Co-Star in Cambridge Analytica Drama From 'Avengers' Team". Observer. Retrieved 5 May 2021.
  27. ^ Couch, Aaron (11 April 2019). "Marvel's Kevin Feige Promises "Major Storylines" for Disney+ Shows". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  28. ^ Travers, Ben (26 February 2021). "'WandaVision' Review: The Ghost of Grief's Past Ushers in the Series' Best Episode Yet — Spoilers". IndieWire. Archived from the original on 27 February 2021. Retrieved 26 February 2021.
  29. ^ "Paul Bettany To Star In 'Harvest Moon' For Miramax; Carmen Ejogo, Candice Bergen And Cary Elwes Also On Board".
  30. ^ Mark Armstrong (10 January 2003). "Jennifer Connelly marries Paul Bettany". People. Archived from the original on 14 October 2012. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  31. ^ Sarah Taylor (20 May 2013). "You Just Remembered That Jennifer Connelly Is One of the Most Interesting Ladies in Hollywood, Didn't You?". Archived from the original on 17 August 2016. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
  32. ^ Superfan Movies (28 September 2015). Yahoo Confessional: Paul Bettany. Yahoo!. Archived from the original on 25 August 2016. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
  33. ^ Larry King (13 November 2015). Paul Bettany And Jennifer Connelly Got Engaged Without Even Dating - Larry King Now - Ora.TV. Archived from the original on 31 May 2018. Retrieved 16 July 2016 – via YouTube.
  34. ^ David, Amrk. "Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly On the Move Again", Variety (magazine), 14 January 2012. Retrieved 25 February 2019. "It was only about 3.5 years ago that English-born movie actor Paul Bettany (A Beautiful Mind, The Da Vinci Code, A Knight's Tale) and Brooklyn-bred Academy Award winner Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind, Requiem For A Dream, Blood Diamond) paid $6,920,000 for a full floor loft-type penthouse apartment on the edge of New York City's star-stocked TriBeCa neighborhood."
  35. ^ Tim Adams (25 January 2004). "'I'm just a blond actor, you know'". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 20 March 2014. Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  36. ^ Zakarin, Jordan (14 December 2010). "Jennifer Connelly pregnant with husband Paul Bettany's second child". HuffPost. AOL, Inc. Archived from the original on 27 November 2011. Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  37. ^ "Jennifer Connelly gives birth to baby girl!". US Weekly. 8 June 2011. Archived from the original on 1 June 2012. Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  38. ^ Jordan, Julie (14 January 2021). "WandaVision's Paul Bettany Says His Marriage to Jennifer Connelly 'Really Altered Who I Was'". People. Retrieved 5 May 2021.
  39. ^ "'Will f*** Amber Heard's burnt corpse': Johnny Depp's text message to Avengers actor Paul Bettany". The Free Press Journal. 8 July 2020. Archived from the original on 8 February 2021. Retrieved 8 May 2021.
  40. ^ "'Let's burn Amber': texts allegedly sent by Johnny Depp about ex read in court". The Guardian. 27 February 2020. Archived from the original on 28 February 2020. Retrieved 8 May 2021.
  41. ^ "High Court hears details of messages between Depp and actor Paul Bettany". Irish Independent. 8 July 2020. Archived from the original on 7 August 2020. Retrieved 23 September 2021.
  42. ^ Oppenheim, Maya (29 May 2016). "Mickey Rourke and Paul Bettany defend Johnny Depp and deny claims he is a violent man". The Independent. Archived from the original on 23 September 2021. Retrieved 23 September 2021.

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