|Date of Birth
||21 September 1965
|Place of Birth
||Marrickville, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
After completing his training at the University of Western Australia, David Wenham, who once used to call bingo in Sydney’s Marrickville Town hall as well as worked as an insurance clerk, first came to the notice of television viewers in his native land of Australia with an episodic role in the well-liked primetime serial “Sons and Daughters” (1987). This was followed by a part in the miniseries “Poor Man’s Orange” (1987) and supporting parts in the made-for-TV films The Heroes (1988) and Come in Spinner (1990). A year later, he offered an impressive portrayal of the brusque parolee Brett Sprague in the stage play “The Boys.”
Wenham, however, did not make any motion pictures until 1992’s Greenkeeping, an Aussie comedy helmed and written by David Caesar. Later, in 1994, he appeared with Ray Liotta in the Hollywood science fiction film No Escape and returned to the stage, as a 12-year-old boy, in the production of “That Eye, The Sky,” co-written and directed by Richard Roxburgh, that same year. The gifted performer received critical praise when he reprised his stage role as a pyromaniac in 1996’s Cosi and won his first Australian Film Institute (AFI) in the next year for his work in the TV miniseries Simone De Beauvoir’s “Babies,” starring as Ian.
Next up for Wenham was the movie adaptation The Boys (1998), where he recreated his acclaimed portrayal of a recently released prisoner, Brett Sprague. The role brought him numerous attentions from Australian critics as well as a Film Critics Circle of Australia (FCCA) and AFI nominations for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role. The same year, he also appeared in the underrated thriller Dark City, starring Rufus Sewell, and starred as a genius research scientist in the comedy film A Little Bit of Soul, opposite Frances O’Connor and Geoffrey Rush. While on TV, his memorable portrayal of Daniel ‘Diver Dan’ Della Bosca in the 1998 Australian Broadcasting Company series “SeaChange” garnered him a Sliver Logie for Most Outstanding Actor and an AFI nod for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Television Drama. The role also earned him a reputation as a reluctant sex symbol. Then in 1999, Wenham found himself starring as the missionary pastor Father Damien in the biopic film Molokai: The Story of Father Damien, in which he once again nabbed an AFI nomination, and costarred opposite Tom Conti in the Aussie stage production of “Art.”
Wenham was effective as the male half of a couple whose one-night stand turns into somewhat a bit more complex in writer-director Jonathan Teplitzky’s Better Than Sex (2000, released theatrically in the USA in 2001), for which he received a Film Critics Circle of Australia and AFI nominations for Best Actor, and shared the screen with Hugo Weaving in the comedy/drama Russian Doll (2001), playing a philandering husband. Wenham’s performances in the films handed him even more critical praise overseas, but it was his small role as a transvestite playwright, Audrey, in the Baz Luhrmann-helmed Moulin Rouge (2001) that gave the burgeoning star his first true taste of international victory. The same year, he proved that he was as a capable leading actor by taking home an AFI, IF and FCCA nominations for his fine turn as a mathematics wizard in the thriller/drama The Bank, and earned additional notice as a cowboy who competed with his brother (played by Joseph Fiennes) for the affection of the same woman in the Toronto/Venice-screened Dust.
In 2002, Wenham could be seen acting in the small role of a park ranger in the abroad film The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course, opposite Steve Irwin, portrayed a heroin dealer in the drama film Pure, as well as appeared on the Melbourne Theatre Company’s production of “True West.” Later that same year, the award-winning player reached his real international fame when he was cast as Faramir, son of Denethor, in the enormously successful sequel The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, which won him an Online Film Critics Society and a Phoenix Film Critics Society for Best Acting Ensemble. This was followed by a fine starring turn in the Australian slice-of-life miniseries “After the Deluge” (2003, earned a Silver Logie nod for Most Outstanding Actor) and the award-winning portrayal of Johnny Francis ‘Spit’ Spitieri in the crime/comedy Getting’ Square (2003), where he picked up an AFI, an Australian Comedy, a FCCA and an IF for Best Actor. Also in 2003, he returned to his role as Faramir for the last installment The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, in which he made an even greater impression with more touching scenes and screen time. In addition to giving him a status as a recognizable international talent, the film also brought Wenham three shared-awards: a Screen Actors Guild, a National Board of Review and a Broadcast Film Critics Association for Best Acting Ensemble.
After a performance as Hugh Jackman’s sidekick, Friar Carl, in the action fantasy Van Helsing (2004), the Marrickville boy starred in the Australian television films Stiff and The Brush-Off (both also 2004) and in the Australian movies Three Dollars (2005) and the western The Proposition (2005,opposite Guy Pearce), written by musician Nick Cave. Recently, in 2006, he earned an AFI nomination for Best Lead Actor for his work in the miniseries “Answered by Fire,” directed by Jessica Hobbs.
The 41-year-old Australian performer will portray Dilios in the big-budget epic 300 (2007), based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel about the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C. The film also stars Gerard Butler, Tom Wisdom and Lena Headey. Moreover, he is set to appear with Pierce Brosnan in the upcoming crime/drama Marriage (2007), helmed by Ira Sachs.