Rufus Sewell PROFILE
Sporting the kind of knowing, darkly mischievous good looks that often get him cast as randy, n'er do well paramours, Rufus Sewall began his film career in the early 1990s and soon emerged as one of England's most promising young actors. The son of an Australian animator who died when he was ten, Sewall was born in Twickenham, Middlesex on October 29, 1967. He trained to become an actor at London's Central School of Speech and Drama, leaving the school after three years. He made a promising debut on the London stage with an award-winning performance in Making it Better, and then topped that by originating the role of Septimus Hodge in Tom Stoppard's Arcadia, which got him nominated for the prestigious Olivier Award. He also found acclaim on the other side of the Atlantic, winning Broadway's Theatre World Award for his performance in Translations.
Meanwhile, Sewall had also been acting on both the large and small screen, making his film debut in 1991 with Twenty-One, in which he played Patsy Kensit's junkie boyfriend. In 1994 he caught the attention of American arthouse filmgoers with his role as a sweet-natured bus driver who becomes the object of Albert Finney's affections in A Man of No Importance; the same year, PBS viewers could see him star in the acclaimed adaptation of Middlemarch. Sewall's arthouse recognition increased the following year, when he had starring roles in John Schlesinger's Cold Comfort Farm and Carrington. The first film cast him as an earthy farmer accustomed to rolls in the hay, while the second cast him as one of Emma Thompson's army of spurned lovers. Both films helped to get him noticed, even if the attention centered primarily on his imported lust-object status, but it was not until 1998 that he was given his first starring role, headlining the cast of Dark City. Unfortunately, the film proved a disappointment, as did his other film that year, Dangerous Beauty.
In 1999, Sewall was again visible to transatlantic audiences, first as a bitter, alcoholic cokehead in The Very Thought of You, a romantic comedy released in Britain the previous year; and then in John Turturro's Illuminata, a turn-of-the-century romantic farce which cast him as an amorous actor. The latter film -- which also featured Susan Sarandon, Ben Gazzara, and Christopher Walken in its impressive cast -- won a number of good reviews, as did Sewall, an actor who by this point had made the expression of earthy lustiness into something of an endearing trademark.