Jack O'Connell is an English actor. He made his film debut as a teenage skinhead in This Is England (2006) He later found fame as the hard-living James Cook on the E4 teen series Skins (2009–2010) He has also played lead roles in Dive (2010) and United (2011) O'Connell gave critically acclaimed performances in the independent films Starred Up (2013) and '71 (2014) He subsequently starred as war hero Louis Zamperini in the war film Unbroken (2014), for which he received the BAFTA Rising Star Award. He has since starred in the thriller Money Monster (2016) and the Netflix western limited series Godless (2017)
O'Connell made his professional acting debut in 2005. His stage debut came that same year after a rendition of the play The Spider Men. O'Connell played his debut film role in This Is England (2006), a critically acclaimed coming-of-age drama set in the skinhead subculture of the early 1980s. During 2007, O'Connell appeared in television episodes of Waterloo Road, Holby City and Wire in the Blood. He played a 15-year-old pupil involved in a sexual relationship with his teacher in the play Scarborough. In the horror–thriller Eden Lake (2008), he played a psychopathic gang leader who terrorises a young married couple. O'Connell won a TV Choice Award for his performance in the fourth series. Grantland writer Amos Barshad opined that none "ever quite matched the luminescent, leering mania of O'Connell's Cook" He has said of Cook, "He's probably the most similar character to myself that I had the good fortune of portraying" His portrayal of a teenaged father in the BBC Two drama Dive (2010) earned him critical praise. His next film, the theatrically released Weekender (2011), showcased the Manchester rave scene of the early 1990s. Following a lead role in the Sky1 serial The Runaway ( 2011), O'Connell starred as football player Bobby Charlton in another well-receivedBBC Two drama, United (2011) O'Connell's career breakthrough came when he starred in the independent prison drama Starred Up (2013) His portrayal of a violent teenager in the same prison as his father received widespread critical acclaim. O'Connell next starred in another acclaimed independent film, '71 (2014), portraying a soldier deployed to Belfast at the height of political violence in Northern Ireland. O'Connell received consecutive nominations for the British Independent Film Award for Best Actor. He portrayed Louis Zamperini, an Italian-American Olympic distance runner who, as a bombardier in the Second World War, survived a plane crash over the Pacific and was held for two years in Japanese prisoner-of-war camps. O'Connell underwent a strict diet to lose almost 30 pounds and worked with a dialect coach to mask his thick Derbyshire accent. He is the tenth recipient of the publicly voted BAFTA Rising Star Award. He is also the 10th person to receive the award in its 10th year of existence. He has been nominated for a total of nine BAFTA awards. He was also nominated for three other BAFTAs.
O'Connell has said that he does not consider himself British, instead identifying specifically with his Derbyshire upbringing and Irish heritage. While living in Bristol during his tenure on Skins, he acquired a reputation in the tabloids as a "party boy", a "bad boy", and a "bit of rough" O'Connell's troubled youth has influenced his work, resulting in him playing mainly delinquents for the first decade of his career. He regularly gave interviews while hungover. His childhood nickname "Jack the Lad" (a phrase meaning "a conspicuously self-assured, carefree, brash young man") is tattooed on his arm. By age 24, he had largely changed his lifestyle, saying, "I'm not trying to have the most fun I've ever had ever, anymore" He has credited Angelina Jolie, who directed him in his first Hollywood film Unbroken, with influencing his outlook. He described working with her as an "intervention"
O'Connell was born on 1 August 1990 into a working-class family in Alvaston, Derbyshire. His father, Johnny Patrick O'Connell, was an Irish immigrant from Ballyheigue who worked on the British railways for Bombardier until his death in 2009. His mother, Alison (née Gutteridge), who is English, was employed by the airline British Midland before taking on management of her son's career. O'Connell aspired to become a professional footballer. He played as a striker for Alvaston Rangers and was later scouted by Derby County FC. His younger sister, Megan, is an actress. O'Connell is the grandson of Ken Gutteridge, a player and later manager at Burton Albion FC. As a youth, O'Connell was in and out of court on charges related to alcohol and violence. He received a one-year young offender's referral order when he was 17. After a series of injuries ended his career, he wanted to join the British Army. His juvenile criminal record prevented him from enlisting in the army. At age 16, O'Connell left Saint Benedict Catholic School with two GCSEs in drama and English. He took an interest in acting during the compulsory drama classes. From age 13 he attended the free Television Workshop in Nottingham. He began attending auditions in London, where he sometimes slept outside. He eventually moved to Hounslow in London, working in between acting parts. He worked as a farmhand in Cobham, Surrey, before moving to London. He later became an actor himself, appearing in films and TV shows. He died in a car crash on a motorway in Surrey in 2007.
Movies & TV shows
Imagine waking up in a world where a terrible disease strikes with no rhyme or reason, and causes people to lose their memories. Imagine waking up with no recollection of the person you love. This is ...
1 Movie · 1 TV show
The North Water
Henry Drax is a harpooner and brutish killer whose amorality has been shaped to fit the harshness of his world, who will set sail on a whaling expedition to the Arctic with Patrick Sumner, a disgraced...
Stanley manages his boxer brother Lion but when a devastating loss in the ring leaves the pair in debt, an opportunity to recoup the cash leads to a series of misadventures that threaten to break the ...
An ambitious young FBI agent is assigned to investigate iconic actress Jean Seberg when she becomes embroiled in the tumultuous civil rights movement in late 1960s Los Angeles.
Trial by Fire
After scientific evidence and expert testimony that supported his claims of innocence, the story of the man who was executed in Texas for killing his three children was suppressed.
National Theatre Live: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Tennessee Williams’ twentieth century masterpiece Cat on a Hot Tin Roof played a strictly limited season in London’s West End in 2017. Following his smash hit production of A Streetcar Named Desire, B...
3 Movies · 1 TV show
An artist falls in love with a married woman while he paints her portrait. The two are trying to build a future together by investing in the risky tulip market.
A ruthless outlaw terrorizes the West in search of a former member of his gang, who’s found a new life in a quiet town populated only by women.
The Man with the Iron Heart
The most ambitious military operation of WWII is planned by the Czech resistance in London, as the Third Reich is at its peak in 1942. Two young recruits are sent to the Czech Republic to assassinate ...
Robot & Scarecrow
A love story between a robot and a scarecrow who meet and fall for each other at a summer music festival.
2014's best actors pair up in a series of intimate encounters.
300: Rise of an Empire
Greek general Themistokles is attempting to unite all of Greece by leading the charge that will change the course of the war. Artemesia, the commander of the Persian navy, and Xerxes, a mortal-turned-...
Lennon or McCartney
Over the last ten years, more than 500 artists have been interviewed. At some point during the interviews, they were asked a question and were told to only say one word. Some said more, some answered ...
Netherlands, 1944 - When three wounded British Paratroopers find themselves behind enemy lines, they take shelter in a remote cottage inhabited by a Dutch mother and daughter. What seemed to be a safe...
A young British soldier needs to find his way back to safety after his unit accidentally abandons him during a riot in the streets of Belfast.
A chronicle of the life of a man who ran in the Olympics and was taken prisoner by the Japanese during World War II.
19-year-old Eric, arrogant and ultra-violent, is prematurely transferred to the same adult prison facility as his estranged father. As his explosive temper quickly finds him enemies in both prison aut...
When 19-year-old Adam agrees to do a day's driving for his mum's gangster boyfriend Peter, it takes him on a 24 hour journey into a world of murder, sex trafficking and revenge, in the company of agin...
British servicemen and women reflect on the action they saw in Basra during the Iraq War.
Set in the fields of Devon and the WW1 battlefields of Flanders, two brothers fall for the same girl while contending with the pressures of their feudal family life, the war, and the price of courage ...
A year after witnessing a murder, residents of Tower Block 31 find themselves being picked off by a sniper, pitting those lucky enough to be alive into a battle for survival.
2 Movies · 1 TV show
1990. The rave scene has arrived from Ibiza and warehouse parties are exploding across the UK bringing phenomenal wealth to the organisers. In Manchester, best mates Matt and Dylan are in their early ...
United is based on the true story of Manchester United's legendary "Busby Babes", the youngest side ever to win the Football League and the 1958 Munich Air Crash that claimed eight of the their number...
Childhood friends Cathy Connor and Eamonn Docherty were brought up together in the heart of gangland East London. Separated by violent circumstances their lives take strikingly different directions un...
1 Movie · 1 TV show
The Hardest Part
An aging actor finally secures the audition of a lifetime. But just how badly does he want the role?
Dive is a two-part British television drama starring Aisling Loftus, Jack O'Connell and Gina McKee. Broadcast on BBC Two in July 2010, the show dealt with the problems of teenage relationships and pre...
2 Movies · 1 TV show
An elderly ex-serviceman and widower looks to avenge his best friend's murder by doling out his own form of justice.
When he is released from a young Offender's Institute, Bobby Brewer a wayward 16 year old, is forced to take to the road with his errant troubadour father, Ronnie.
Foundling Heathcliff is raised by the wealthy Earnshaws in Yorkshire but in later life launches a vendetta against the family.
The horror-thriller about modern youth going wild is called Eden Lake. When a young couple goes to a remote wooded lake for a romantic break, their quiet weekend is shattered by an aggressive group of...
2 TV shows
The Graham Norton Show
GrahamNorton and celebrity guests talk about what's happening around the world during the week. The guests share their opinions on the main news stories. A band or artist is often with Graham to play ...
Irreverent comedy drama which follows the messy lives, loves, delirious highs and inevitable lows of a group of raucous teenage friends in Bristol.
2 Movies · 1 TV show
Waterloo Road is a UK television drama series the first broadcast was in the United Kingdom on BBC One on 9 March 2006. Originally set in a troubled comprehensive school in Rochdale, England, the loca...
When fourteen- year- old Chris is sent across the city to deliver a tonic to his sick grandfather, his journey becomes a chilling trip of self-discovery as he strays from the path into domain of the B...
This Is England
A story about a troubled boy growing up in England, set in 1983. He comes across a few skinheads on his way home from school, after a fight. They become his new best friends, even like family. Based o...
1 TV show
Wire in the Blood
Clinical psychologist Dr Tony Hill's uncanny ability to see into the minds of murderers means he finds it difficult to distance himself from disturbing cases.
1 TV show
Set in the fictional Midlands town of Letherbridge, defined as being close to the city of Birmingham, this soap opera follows the staff and families of a doctor's surgery.
1 TV show
A drama series about life on the wards of Holby City Hospital, following the highs and lows of the staff and patients.
1 TV show
The daily lives of the men and women at Sun Hill Police Station as they fight crime on the streets of London. From bomb threats to armed robbery and drug raids to the routine demands of policing, this...
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