Childhood & Early Life
Carice Anouk van Houten was born in Leiderdorp in the Netherlands, on September 5 1976. She grew up in an artistically gifted family. Her mother, Margje Stasse, is a Dutch TV personality and a board member of the Dutch national educational TV, while her father, Theodore van Houten, was a Dutch–British essayist, journalist, and broadcaster. He also did a bit of acting himself. Unfortunately, he died in 2016. Carice has a younger sister, Jelka Van Houten, who has also chosen a career in acting.
The education she received at home set the stage for her future career. She grew up watching silent movies, which is probably why she later stated that she prefers performing in scenes that have no dialogue.
She attended the ‘St. Bonifatius College’ (high school) in Utrecht, where she had her first stage performance in Hugo Claus's ‘Tijl Uilenspieghel,’ directed by Ad Migchielsen. She later studied drama for a short while at the ‘Maastricht Academy of Dramatic Arts’ and continued at the ‘Kleinkunstacademie’ in Amsterdam.
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Carice had her first leading role in 1999, in the Dutch film ‘Suzy Q.’ The movie was based on the childhood memories of one of its scriptwriters, Frouke Fokkema. The story revolved around a teenager named ‘Suzy,’ who was shown growing up in an abusive family and amidst a difficult environment. The film was a success and brought Carice the ‘Golden Calf Award’ for the ‘Best Acting in a Television Drama.’
She then played a kitten with the ability to turn into a woman, in the film ‘Undercover Kitty’ in 2001. The movie, based on the children's novel ‘Minoes’ by Annie MG Schmidt, was a box-office success in many countries and brought van Houten her second ‘Golden Calf.’
She was first seen by the American audience in 2001, in Martin Koolhoven's ‘AmnesiA,’ a surreal psychological drama that got a small theatrical release. Then, in 2006, she received her third ‘Golden Calf,’ for her role of ‘Rachel Stein’ in ‘Black Book.’ While the film was not a huge box-office success, her performance was highly appreciated by critics and the international press. Paul Verhoeven, who directed it, said, “Never in my life I have worked with an actress this talented.”
Carice chose to appear in a short movie called ‘Zingen in het donker’ (‘Singing in the Dark’ in English) in 2008. She also appeared in ‘Body of Lies,’ alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe, although her scenes were edited out from the final version of the movie.
The following year, she appeared in ‘Black Death’ and in a Dutch film named ‘Komt een vrouw bij de dokter’ (‘Stricken’ in English). She was also part of the SF movie ‘Repo Men,’ with Jude Law and Forest Whitaker.
2011 was an important year for Carice, as she was chosen to join the famous series ‘Game of Thrones.’ It featured her as ‘Melisandre’ of Asshai. She once stated, “Melisandre was always a controversial, contradictory character, but incredibly compelling.” In the end, she stated she was sad to let her go, as it had been an important and demanding role for her.
Although ‘Game of Thrones’ may have been her most popular project and may have earned her a lot of good exposure, Carice has found professional satisfaction through other films, too. For instance, in 2010, she appeared in ‘The Happy Housewife,’ a Dutch film through which she earned her fifth ‘Golden Calf Award.’ Her performance led the audience to vote her the ‘Best Dutch Actress of All Time.’ She also delivered remarkable performances in highly-rated Hollywood movies such as ‘Valkyrie’ (starring Tom Cruise), Juan Carlos Fresnadillo's ‘Intruders,’ ‘Race’ (with Jason Sudeikis and Jeremy Irons), Brian de Palma's ‘Domino,’ and ‘Brimstone’ (along with Dakota Fanning, Guy Pearce, and Kit Harrington).
In 2015 she was part of an episode of ‘The Simpsons,’ named ‘Let’s Go Fly a Coot,’ which featured her as the voice of ‘Annika van Houten,’ ‘Milhouse’s cousin.
She won a ‘Pisuisse Award’ and a ‘Top Naeff Award’ for her stage performances.
She has contributed to the soundtrack of ‘Black Book.’
Family & Personal Life
She was romantically involved with Sebastian Koch, her co-actor in ‘Black Book.’ Following this, she dated Kees van Nieuwkerk for a while.
She is in a relationship with actor Guy Pearce, and they have a son, Monte Pearce, born on August 29, 2016. They have a great relationship, as Guy once confessed that he had not even considered having a child before meeting Carice.
She is good friends with Halina Reijn, another Dutch actor, whom she had met in 1994 and with whom she has worked in ‘Black Book’ and ‘Valkyrie.’ They even published a book together, titled ‘Anti Glamour,’ showing how the backstage of Hollywood life was not as glamorous as it appeared to be.