Displaying the kind of off-kilter charm that makes him a natural for leading roles in independent films and character parts in mainstream features, Liev Schreiber has made a name for himself both on both circuits. Born October 4, 1967 in San Francisco, Schreiber was raised on New York's Lower East Side. Although he initially wanted to become a writer, he decided to try his hand at acting, training at both London's prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and the Yale School of Drama.
Schreiber's first acting job was on Broadway, where he appeared in In The Summer House. More theatre work followed, and in 1994 the actor made his film debut in the Steve Martin comedy Mixed Nuts. The film was an unequivocal flop, although Schreiber's role as a rather muscular transvestite proved to be one of the picture's few memorable features. His next project, the 1995 indie Denise Calls Up, fared a little better; despite almost non-existent box office, it was rewarded with critical approval. Following more minor film work, Schreiber landed the role of a British bouncer in the successful indie flick Party Girl (1995), which also starred nascent indie queen Parker Posey. Schreiber got an introduction to a more mainstream audience thanks to his role as killer Cotton Weary in Wes Craven's mega-hit Scream, a role he reprised in the film's sequel, Scream 2 (1997). The same year, Schreiber had leading roles in two more independent films, The Daytrippers (which again paired him with Posey) and Walking and Talking, as well as a secondary role in the bloated Mel Gibson thriller Ransom. Deftly straddling the divide between Sundance and the Studio, Schreiber went on make three major mainstream pictures in 1998, Phantoms, with Rose McGowan and Ben Affleck, Twilight, with Susan Sarandon, Paul Newman, and Gene Hackman, and Sphere with Denzel Washington, Sharon Stone and Dustin Hoffman. The following year, Schreiber returned to more familiar territory with his role in Tony Goldwyn's small but successful drama A Walk on the Moon. As the man Diane Lane cuckolds for Viggo Mortensen, Schreiber mined endless possibilities from what could have been a narrow role, giving his character the sort of charming, good-intentioned inadequacy that has become one of the actor's trademarks.
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