Ed Stoppard is an English actor, best known for his performances in films such as ‘Youth’ and ‘The Pianist.’ He was born in London, UK, into a Jewish family. His father, Tom Stoppard, was a popular playwright. Tom also wrote for films and TV, and this sparked Ed’s interest in the entertainment industry. Ed began his career with the short film titled ‘The Fiancée,’ playing a small role. After appearing in two episodes of the series ‘Relic Hunter,’ he got a huge breakthrough when he was cast in the supporting role of ‘Henryk Szpilman’ in the World War II biographical drama film ‘The Pianist’ (2002), which was a massive critical and commercial hit. The remarkable success of the film translated to better roles for Ed. In 2006, he appeared in a key role in the film ‘Joy Division.’ In the more recent years, Ed has appeared in major roles in series such as ‘Home Fires’ and ‘The Frankenstein Chronicles.’ He also plays King Philip IV of France in the historical drama series ‘Knightfall.’
Childhood & Early Life
Ed Stoppard was born Edmund Stoppard, on September 16, 1974, in London, UK, to Tom and Miriam Stoppard. His father is a hugely popular playwright and a TV and film screenwriter. His mother is a physician and an author.
Growing up in a traditional Jewish household, Ed was drawn to acting quite early in his life. He accompanied his father to theaters to watch the staging of his plays. Tom was one of the greatest English playwrights of that era. Thus, it was expected that Ed would be inspired by him.
However, Ed did not pursue acting initially, and following his high-school graduation, he studied French at the ‘University of Edinburgh.’ He decided to pursue acting much later and enrolled at the ‘London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art,’ where he learned the intricacies of acting. He also began doing theater.
While many assume that his father had a huge role in shaping Ed’s early career, Ed denied seeking advice or help from his father. Ed slowly built a strong reputation in the London theatrical sphere.
Although he remained active in theater, he also tried venturing into the world of films and TV and kept auditioning for the same, eventually making his acting debut in 1999.
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Ed made his on-screen acting debut in 1999, playing a small role in the short film ‘The Fiancée.’ The following year, he made his feature-film debut, starring as ‘Von Sackville-Bagg’ in the comedy–horror film ‘The Little Vampire.’ He played guest/small roles in series such as ‘Relic Hunter,’ ‘Queen of Swords,’ and ‘Murder in Mind,’ before he got a career-defining breakthrough.
In 2002, he appeared as ‘Henryk Szpilman’ in the World War II biographical drama ‘The Pianist.’ The film was widely acclaimed by critics and was hailed as one of the best films of the year. It won three ‘Academy Awards,’ including the award for the ‘Best Director’ (Roman Polanski). It also won the ‘Palme d'Or’ at the 2002 ‘Cannes Film Festival.’
The following year, Ed appeared as the alter ego of the main character in the biopic ‘Ferrari,’ based on the life of businessman Enzo Ferrari. The film received moderate reviews and was an average commercial success.
Following the incredible international success of ‘The Pianist,’ Ed’s career transformed for the better and he received many brilliant offers.
In 2005, he appeared in a supporting role in the miniseries ‘Empire.’ The series received mixed reviews and was a commercial disappointment.
In 2006, Ed played ‘Thomas’ in the British–German–Hungarian film ‘Joy Division.’ Although the film was not a huge commercial success, it was appreciated by critics and was screened at the ‘Cannes Film Festival’ and the ‘Copenhagen International Film Festival.’
In 2006, Ed appeared ‘as Josephus,’ a leading character, in the docudrama series ‘Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire.’ The series was a huge commercial and critical success, and Ed’s performance in the fourth episode was hugely appreciated.
In 2007, Ed appeared in another docudrama. He was seen in the biographical film based on the life of Russian music composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, titled ‘Tchaikovsky: ‘The Creation of Genius.’ He played the titular role in it. He reprised his role in the sequel, ‘Fortune and Tragedy.’
The same year, he appeared as ‘Ben’ in the Canadian adventure movie ‘Fugitive Pieces.’ The film was appreciated by critics.
In 2008, he appeared in a supporting role in the drama film ‘Brideshead Revisited.’ The film was a moderate critical success, but it failed to succeed at the box office.
In 2010, he appeared as ‘Sir Hallam Holland’ in the British miniseries ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’ and then appeared in a key role in the miniseries ‘Zen.’
In 2011, he was cast as ‘Hans Litten’ in the historical TV film ‘The Man Who Crossed Hitler.’ The same year, he played ‘Alan Turing’ in the British biographical TV film ‘Britain’s Greatest Codebreaker.’
In 2013, he appeared in a supporting role in the comedy film ‘Papadopoulos & Sons’ and then appeared in a leading role in the science-fiction fantasy ‘Branded.’ However, the film turned out to be a huge critical and commercial disaster.
In 2015, Ed appeared in supporting roles in films such as ‘Youth’ and ‘Angelica.’ In the more recent years, he has been seen playing key roles in series such as ‘Home Fires’ and ‘The Frankenstein Chronicles.’ He has also appeared in ‘Genius’ (2017) and ‘Knightfall’ (2017–present).
Family & Personal Life
Most of Ed Stoppard’s family members are famous in their respective fields. His brother Will Stoppard is a producer, while one of his cousins, Oona King, is a politician. He also happens to be the brother-in-law of famed violinist Linzi Stoppard.
Ed and his wife, Amie Stoppard, have three daughters.
Ed believes in conducting research for each of his roles. He is a voracious reader and has played many historical characters. He relies best on books to understand the mannerisms of the characters and the period in which they lived.