Sir David Mark Rylance Waters (born 18 January 1960) is an English actor, theatre director, and playwright. He was the first artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe in London, between 1995 and 2005. After training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, Rylance made his professional debut at the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow in 1980. He appeared in the West End productions of Much Ado About Nothing in 1994 and Jerusalem in 2010, winning the Olivier Award for Best Actor for both.
He has also appeared on Broadway, winning three Tony Awards: two for Best Actor for Boeing Boeing in 2008 and Jerusalem in 2011, and one for Best Featured Actor for Twelfth Night in 2014. He received Best Actor nominations for Richard III in 2014 and Farinelli and the King in 2017. He is one of only eight actors to have won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play twice while his nominations for Richard III and Twelfth Night in 2014 make him one of only six performers to be nominated in two acting categories in the same year. He made his film debut in Richard Marquand‘s Hearts of Fire (1987), with Bob Dylan, Fiona Flanagan, and Rupert Everett.
Rylance’s film appearances include Prospero’s Books (1991), with John Gielgud; Angels & Insects (1995), with Patsy Kensit and Kristin Scott Thomas; Institute Benjamenta (1996), with Alice Krige and Gottfried John; Intimacy (2001), with Kerry Fox, Susannah Harker, and Timothy Spall; and The Other Boleyn Girl (2008), Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, Eric Bana, and David Morrisey; Blitz (2011), with Jason Statham, Paddy Considine, Aidan Gillen, and Morrissey; Anonymous (2011), with Rhys Ifans, Vanessa Redgrave, Joely Richardson, David Thewlis, Xavier Samuel, Sebastian Armesto, Rafe Spall, Edward Hogg, Jamie Campbell Bower, and Derek Jacobi; Days and Nights (2013), with Jean Reno, Katie Holmes, William Hurt, Christian Camargo, Cherry Jones, Russell Means, Michael Nyqvist, Allison Janney, Juliet Rylance, Ben Whishaw; and The Gunman (2015), with Sean Penn, Javier Bardem, Idris Elba, Jasmine Trinca, and Ray Winstone.
Rylance attracted attention for his portrayal of Rudolf Abel in Steven Spielberg‘s Bridge of Spies (2015), with Tom Hanks, Amy Ryan, and Alan Alda. He won the Academy Award and British Academy Film Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance and subsequently collaborated with Spielberg, playing the title role in The BFG (2016), with Ruby Barnhill, Penelope Wilton, Jemaine Clement, Rebecca Hall, Spall and Bill Hader; and James Halliday in Ready Player One (2018), with Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Lena Waithe, T.J. Miller, and Simon Pegg.
Since then he has appeared in Christopher Nolan‘s World War II drama Dunkirk (2017), with Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy, Barry Keoghan, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, and Tom Hardy; and Aaron Sorkin’s Vietnam War court drama The Trial of the Chicago Seven (2020), with Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Sacha Baron Cohen, Daniel Flaherty, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Keaton, Frank Langella, John Carroll Lynch, Eddie Redmayne, Noah Robbins, Alex Sharp, and Jeremy Strong.
On television, Rylance won the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actor for his role as David Kelly in the 2005 Channel 4 drama The Government Inspector and for playing Thomas Cromwell in the 2015 BBC Two mini-series Wolf Hall. For Wolf Hall, he also received Emmy and Golden Globe Award nominations. Rylance is a patron of the London International Festival of Theatre. He is also a patron of the London-based charity Peace Direct, which supports peace-builders in areas of conflict, and of the British Stop the War Coalition. In 2016, he was named in the Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world.
Each review will be linked to to the title below.
(*seen originally in theaters)
(**seen rereleased in theaters)
- Wallenberg: A Hero’s Story (1985) – directed by Lamont Johnson – TV movie
- The McGuffin (1986) – directed by Colin Bucksey – TV movie
- This Is History, Gran (1986) – directed by Sarah Pia Anderson – TV movie
- Hearts of Fire (1987) – directed by Richard Marquand
- Incident in Judaea (1991) – directed by Paul Bryers
- Prospero’s Books (1991) – directed by Peter Greenaway
- The Grass Arena (1992) – directed by Gillies MacKinnon – TV movie
- Love Lies Bleeding (1993) – directed by Michael Winterbottom – TV movie
- Encounters: In Lanbeth (1993) – directed by Sebastian Graham Jones – TV movie
- Angels & Insects (1995) – directed by Philip Haas
- Institute Benjamenta, or This Dream People Call Human Life (1996) – directed by the Brothers Quay
- Loving (1996) – directed by Diarmuid Lawrence – TV movie
- Henry V at Shakespeare’s Globe (1997) – directed by Richard Olivier & Steve Ruggi – TV movie
- Intimacy (2001) – directed by Patrice Chéreau
- The Government Inspector (2005) – directed by Peter Kosminsky
- The Other Boleyn Girl (2008) – directed by Justin Chadwick
- Nocturne (2009) – directed by Nataasha Van Kampen – short
- Blitz (2011) – directed by Elliott Lester
- Anonymous (2011) – directed by Roland Emmerich
- Twelfth Night (2013) – directed by Tim Carroll – TV movie
- Days and Nights (2014) – directed by Christian Camargo
- The Gunman (2015) – directed by Pierre Morel
- Wolf Hall (2015) – directed by Peter Kosminsky – miniseries – 6 episodes
- Bridge of Spies (2015) – directed by Steven Spielberg
- The BFG (2016) – directed by Steven Spielberg
- Dunkirk (2017)* – directed by Christopher Nolan
- Ready Player One (2018)* – directed by Steven Spielberg
- Waiting for the Barbarians (2019) – directed by Ciro Guerra
- The Flaneur (2019) – directed by Lyall Stephens – short
- The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) – directed by Aaron Sorkin
- The Phantom of the Open (2021) -directed by Craig Roberts
- Don’t Look Up (2021) – directed by Adam McKay
- The Outfit (2022) – directed by Graham Moore
- Bones and All (2022) – directed by Luca Guadagnino
- Inland (202-) – directed by Fridtjof Ryder
- The Way of the Wind (202-) – directed by Terrence Malick
- The Fantastic Flitcrofts (202-) – directed by Craig Roberts