David Jude Law was born on December 29, 1972 in London, England to parents Peter and Maggie. With one older sister Natasha, Jude’s parents decided to name him after the Thomas Hardy novel, Jude The Obscure.
At the early age of 12, Jude began acting with The National Youth Music Theatre in various productions and festivals. He made his first television appearance in a musical of Beatrix Potter’s, “The Tail of Gloucester”. At 17, Jude decided to drop out of school and join the cast of the British soap “Families” in 1990. His acting career was just starting. In a few short years, Jude would make his way to the London stage, Broadway and the silver screens of Hollywood, and become one of the hottest and most sought after actors working today.
Lighting the stage…
Jude toured Italy in 1992 in the stage production of “Pygmalion”. His London stage debut was in “The Fastest Clock in the Universe”. The play was awarded Best New Play of 1992 by the Time Out Theatre Awards. In 1993, Jude starred in “The Snow Orchid” at the Gate Theatre. He next starred in “Live Like Pigs” at the Royal Court Theatre. Jude also starred in a production of “Death of a Salesman” at the West Yorkshire Playhouse.
1994 would prove a breakthrough year for Jude with the Jean Cocteau play “Les Parents Terribles”. The play caused a sensation for having Jude’s brief nude scene exiting a bathtub on stage. He was nominated for the Olivier Award for “Outstanding Newcomer”. Jude reprised his role on Broadway in 1995, where the play was renamed “Indiscretions” and where he received a Tony nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor. Jude also received a nomination for the Ian Charleson Award as Best Young Classical Actor for his performance in Euripedes’ “Ion”, which was performed at the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Hitting the big screen…
After playing bit parts in British television shows like “The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes” and “The Marshal”, Jude made his film debut in 1992 as the lead in “The Crane”, a short film made for the British Film Institute. In 1994, Jude made “Shopping”, playing one of the leads. However, the much anticipated British film was a critical and box office dud.
Jude bounced back with parts in the films “Gattaca”, “I Love You, I Love You Not”, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”, “Wilde”, and “Music From Another Room”. While gaining critical notice, none of these films hit fire at the box office. Was Jude concerned with becoming a huge Hollywood star? Hardly. Finding interesting roles, developing his acting skills, and making quality films has driven Jude towards becoming an actor Hollywood soon noticed for more than just his pretty face.
Continuing his taste for challenging roles, Jude next starred in David Cronenberg’s “eXistenZ” with Jennifer Jason Leigh and took the role of playing himself in the improvisational film “Final Cut” which also starred his then wife, actress Sadie Frost. And then came his scene stealing role as Dickie Greenleaf in the Anthony Minghella directed suspense drama “The Talented Mr. Ripley”, for which he received Golden Globe and Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actor. The media started touting Jude as the “next big thing” in Hollywood. The rest of the world finally caught up to the theatre world and Jude’s growing legion of fans, who already knew Jude was more then just the next big thing.
Jude carried the war epic “Enemy at the Gates”, which turned into a modest box office hit around the world, garnering mixed reviews but continuing to propel Jude into the spotlight. Steven Spielberg’s “A.I.” was highly anticipated. Audiences had varied reactions and reviews were divided but Jude still charmed as robot Gigolo Joe and received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor. “Road to Perdition” was yet another example of Jude taking on a challenging role of a hitman that matched him with actors Tom Hanks and Paul Newman. He took the romantic lead role in “Cold Mountain” with Nicole Kidman, reuniting him with “The Talented Mr. Ripley” director Anthony Minghella. The role of Inman captivated audiences worldwide and garnered Jude Golden Globe and Oscar nominations for Best Actor.
Year of Jude…
Purely by chance, 2004 was the year of Jude Law. Not only did People dub Jude the sexiest man alive, but 6 films he starred in were all released. Starring in the innovative and charming “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow”, taking on a sexy remake of “Alfie”, playing Errol Flynn in Martin Scorsese’s “The Aviator”, co-starring with Julia Roberts and Natalie Portman in “Closer”, narrating “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events”, and tackling the quirky and fun “I Heart Huckabees” with Naomi Watts and Dustin Hoffman, Jude showed his incredible range and talent.
Since then, he’s co-starred with Sean Penn and Kate Winslet in “All The King’s Men”, worked with friend Anthony Minghella on “Breaking and Entering”, played a romantic lead for once in “The Holiday”, starred in Kar Wai Wong’s first English language film “My Blueberry Nights”, and co-starred with Michael Caine in a remake of “Sleuth”. Upcoming films include “Rage”, where he’s playing a transgender supermodel, and “Repo Men” with Liev Schreiber and Forest Whitaker. Jude also stepped in with Colin Farrell and Johnny Depp to finish Heath Ledger’s final film role in Terry Gilliam’s “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”. Also coming soon is the highly anticipated “Sherlock Holmes” directed by Guy Ritchie. Jude takes on the iconic role of Dr. Watson along side Robert Downey Jr. as the title character.
Along with gracing the 2003 Vanity Fair Hollywood cover with actors Brad Pitt, Jack Nicholson, Tom Cruise, and friend Ewan McGregor, Jude has certainly made a name for himself and has established himself as one of the most versatile actors of his generation.
Jude met actress Sadie Frost while filming “Shopping” in 1993. They married in 1997 and lived in London with their sons Rafferty and Rudy, daughter Iris, and their several pets which include a tortoise and a dog. Sadie’s son Finley, from a previous marriage to Gary Kemp, lived with them part of the year as well. Because of Sadie, Jude became a vegetarian. During filming of “Cold Mountain”, Jude started eating meat again to bulk up and hasn’t given it up. In early 2003, Jude and Sadie separated and in October of 2003, their divorce was finalized.
Jude has two tattoos. One is of a Rorschach butterfly that resembles his initials on his right arm. The other is on his inner left arm. It’s a lyric from the Beatles song “Sexy Sadie”: “You came along to turn on everyone, sexy Sadie.”
Together, Jude and Sadie, along with friends and fellow actors Sean Pertwee, Jonny Lee Miller and Ewan McGregor, started their own film production company, Natural Nylon. The idea behind Natural Nylon was to take active roles in developing innovative film projects that might not otherwise get made. However, both Jude, Sadie, and Ewan have since left the production company due to lack of time and progress with developing projects. Jude has started to dabble in more behind the scenes work with his directing debut of the short film “A Bird in the Hand” for the UK Sky TV production “Tube Tales” which aired in 1999. Both Jude and Sadie were producers for “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow” with Jude’s production company Riff Raff.