Art Parkinson is an Irish actor, who rose to prominence after playing the character ‘Rickon Stark’ on the 'HBO' series 'Game of Thrones.' His mother gave him acting lessons from his early childhood and even made him join her drama school. Art began his professional acting career quite early, with an Irish film. Soon after, he bagged the role in 'Game of Thrones,' which paved his way to the mainstream industry. Later on, Art featured in several other films and television productions. He also made his voice-over debut with 'Kubo and the Two Strings' for which he earned his first award and nominations.
Childhood & Early Life
Art was born on October 19, 2001, in Donegal, a largely Irish-speaking region in northwestern Ireland. He grew up in Moville, a seaside village on the Inishowen Peninsula in the north of County Donegal in Ulster, Ireland. He has two older brothers, Pearce and Padhraig.
He attended an Irish language school. His mother, Movania, is an actress and runs a drama school, which Art and his older brothers attended.
Art was just six when he bagged his first role. His mother's agent suggested Art's name to audition for an upcoming film 'Red Mist' ('Freakdog').
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Art made his screen debut as the younger version of the lead character, Kenneth (played by Andrew Lee Potts), in the 2008 British horror film 'Freakdog' (also called 'Red Mist'). Three years later, he bagged the most prominent role of his career – in the fantasy series 'Game of Thrones.'
Art was roped in to play ‘Rickon Stark,’ the youngest child of Eddard Stark, the honorable lord of 'Winterfell,' played by Sean Bean in GOT. His casting on the show was announced on 29 September 2010. He was initially supposed to be a guest character in the first season but returned for the second and third seasons and continued for 14 episodes.
On 6 October 2014, Art confirmed that Rickon would not be returning for the fifth season of the GOT. He got the role through his mother. One of her friends informed that GOT's casting team had been searching for an actor to play Rickon. Art was called for a screen test where he met the producers and the voice coach Brendan Gunn.
Art starred in the 2013 Irish-French-Swedish supernatural horror film 'Dark Touch' as Peter. Next, he was seen in the 2014 dark fantasy action horror film 'Dracula Untold' in which he played the character ‘Îngeraș,’ son of Vlad and Mirena.
That same year, Art had a few more film appearances as Alex, a prisoner in the British science fiction action thriller 'The Anomaly,' Tommy in the Irish movie 'Shooting for Socrates,' and Gary Dunne romantic comedy-drama 'Love, Rosie.'
Art played a ten-year-old boy ‘Ollie Taylor,’ who gets stuck in a massive earthquake in California, in the 2015 disaster film 'San Andreas' (2015), based on an earthquake caused by the ‘San Andreas Fault.’
Art's next significant project was the 2016 stop-motion action fantasy film 'Kubo and the Two Strings' in which he voice-acted for the first time. He voiced the lead character and in 2017 and shared the best vocal ensemble in a feature film 'Behind the Voice Actors Awards.' He bagged two 'Behind the Voice Actors Awards' nominations ('Breakthrough Voice Actor of the Year' and 'Best Male Lead Vocal Performance in a Feature Film') and one nomination for 'Annie Award' and one for 'Online Film & Television Association.'
Art was seen as ‘Dave’ in the 2017 fantasy drama 'I Kill Giants' and ‘Tom Hall’ in the 2018 British and Irish historical war drama 'Zoo.' In 2019, he played ‘Rob Armstrong’ for six episodes in the 'ITV' crime drama, 'The Bay.'
Family & Personal Life
Like Art, his two older brothers, too, have worked in several Irish and British television productions. In an interview with 'Flicks and the City,' Art mentioned that his parents never allowed him to watch GOT because of its explicit content. However, he was allowed only to see the scenes featuring him. As per an interview published in the 'New Zealand Herald' on April 7, 2015, the GOT ban happened after he saw a scene where a three-year-old child got his throat slit.
When Art was on his way to becoming a full-time actor, his mother was quite apprehensive about his career choice. She wanted him to pursue the craft as a hobby as she always had considered working in Hollywood brings in a lot of stress and pressure, which eventually rip a family apart.
Art starrer film 'San Andreas' was mostly filmed on the Gold Coast and in San Francisco. His mother accompanied him to the shoot and even ensured that he continue his studies along with filming. Hence she appointed a private tutor for him and made a strict rule that he spend at least three hours with the tutor every day.
After 'San Andreas,' Art's mother turned down several acting offers, on his behalf. Post the release of the film, the two needed a bit of a break while Art's older brothers had crucial exams.
Art and his brothers have been into acting since their childhood. Their mother owns a drama school.
When Art is not busy shooting, he plays Gaelic football with his school friends at Moville's 'Gaelscoil Cois Feabhail.'