The Talented Mr. Jude Law

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Just the mention of Jude Law’s name is enough to make most women (and some men) swoon. Plagued with the heartthrob disease, David Jude Law (known to us mortals as just “Jude”) was born on December 29, 1972, in Lewisham, London, England.

For most people, Jude Law began to appear on radar screens after his Academy Award-nominated performance as Dickie Greenleaf in The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999). Real Law fanatics, however, had been following him for years and watched him turn in astoundingly potent and edgy portrayals as Bosie in Wilde (1997) and Eugene in Gattaca (1997).

Law was raised in South London by his schoolteacher parents, but somehow didn?t continue far in his schooling, leaving school at the young age of 16 after winning a part as a teenage runaway on the British TV soap opera, Families.

“My mum and dad were really keen lovers of the theater, and acting was a focal point in our family. Talking about films, talking about plays, talking about music. When I was growing up, they were acting in projects in small groups after work, and that’s really how I started, playing the kids’ roles in their plays. And then I auditioned and became a member of the National Youth Music Theatre. I look back on that as a real training ground for me”, Law explains.

Within the next few years, he won a variety of parts on stage and on British and American TV. In 1990, he received a part in an episode of Sherlock Holmes, foreshadowing a larger part to come in 2009.

Sure, he’s handsome but what about his talent? There’s no disputing the man has what it takes. Whether it’s playing a womanizing cad, saving lives as a dashing pilot, or, as in the case of “Closer,” simply playing a flawed human being in search of the ideal love, Law doesn’t merely get by on his charm and good looks. No, he seems to get by despite his almost overwhelmingly handsome features.

He initially found his forte on stage. With many productions under his belt, he earned a Tony Award nomination for a much-talked-about nude scene opposite Kathleen Turner. While he continued to succeed on stage, his first several US films were met with a less than heartfelt reception. Gattaca (1997), Wilde (1997), I Love You, I Love You Not (1997) all were box-office disappointments; however, Law received praise for his magnetic screen presence and sultry good looks.

In 2001, he starred with Ed Harris and Joseph Fiennes in Enemy at the Gates, a drama set during World War II. That summer, Law played a mechanical love god named “Gigolo Joe” in Steven Spielberg’s long-awaited science fiction opus A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. In 2004, the actor received an Academy Award nomination for his performance in Cold Mountain opposite Nicole Kidman. Meanwhile, playing the infamous womanizing protagonist in Alfie (2004), Law says “I guess the fact that I got married when I was 22 and had 3 kids by the age of 30 says a lot about my opinion on the Alfie lifestyle”. Although he may not consider himself the womanizing type, People magazine voted him the 2004 „Sexiest Man Alive.?

It is great that even with the title of „Sexiest Man Alive? and a lot of hype, Law still remains humble over all his pieces, “I feel like – whether the press have liked it or not, whether people have liked it or not – almost everything I’ve done has been a success for me because I’ve really tried to take as much out of it as possible. Even if it’s „Oh my God, I’m never going to work with that person again? or „I’m never going to play a part like that again because I just can’t do it,? then to me, that’s still a success”, he adds.

Although he first appeared as just one of the latest crop of golden-skinned English imports to caress the hormones of American filmgoers, Jude Law is steadily proving that his talents lie beyond his ability to smolder seductively in front of the camera. Law was named one of the most bankable movie stars in Hollywood in 2006, following the criteria of the Ulmer Scale. And in March 2007, he was honored with the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres conferred by the French government, in recognition of his contribution to World Cinema Arts. He was named a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres.

Deciding to return to his staging roots, Law signed a contract with the Donmar Warehouse West End season at Wyndham’s Theatre in May 2009 to portray Hamlet in Shakespeare?s Hamlet. The BBC reported a “fine and solid performance” but included other mixed reviews.

“I think from a satisfaction point of view certainly there is something very challenging and ultimately fulfilling about those kinds of parts. There’s usually a lot of fat to chew on, a lot of stuff to try and get lost in and explain in the performance”, Law adds.

The release of Law?s performance of the famous sidekick of Dr. Watson in Sherlock Holmes (2009) has proved that he shouldn?t be judged on his looks alone. “I think for me it?s always been the most recent experience is often the most fun because you just kind of come out of it”.

His dedication to the role is further example of an actor who is always prepared to go the extra mile. Not only for his acting career, with his family as well. Law stays level headed with his four children, Rafferty, Iris, Rudy, and newborn, Sophia, constantly being caught by the paparazzi going out for walks or adventures with the kids.

Yet the star is as much singled out for his stunning good looks as his commitment to his profession. Earlier this month he was voted Britain’s Best-Dressed man by GQ magazine but the unassuming actor takes such accolades with a pinch of salt. “At least they’re not telling me I’m hideously ugly, but I would prefer it if people would focus more on the work” he laughs.

Oh, they are, Jude. They are.

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