Jonathan Rhys Meyers

Jonathan Rhys Meyers (born Jonathan Michael Francis O'Keeffe,[1] 27 July 1977) is an Irish actor, model, and musician. He is known for his roles in the films Michael Collins (1996), Velvet Goldmine (1998), Titus (1999), Bend It Like Beckham (2002), Alexander (2004), Match Point (2005), Mission: Impossible III (2006) and his television roles as Elvis Presley in the biographical miniseries Elvis (2005), for which he won a Golden Globe Award and earned a Primetime Emmy Award nomination, as King Henry VIII in the historical drama The Tudors (2007–10), which earned him two Golden Globe Award nominations, and in the NBC drama series Dracula (2013–14) as the title character. He also starred as Bishop Heahmund in the History Channel television series Vikings.[2][3]

Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Meyers in 2019
Jonathan Michael Francis O'Keeffe

(1977-07-27) 27 July 1977
EducationNorth Monastery Christian Brothers School
OccupationActor, Singer, Musician and Model
Years active1994–present
Mara Lane
(m. 2016)

Meyers has continued to star in other films, such as Albert Nobbs in 2011. In 2013, Meyers appeared as the villain Valentine Morgenstern in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, based on Cassandra Clare's novel, City of Bones; he appeared in the 2015 film Stonewall, directed by Roland Emmerich; in 2017, he starred in The 12th Man; and in 2018 he won the Best Actor award at the Manchester Film Festival for his starring role in Damascus Cover.[4] In 2020, he was listed as number 44 on The Irish Times’ list of Ireland's greatest film actors.[5]

Meyers has been the face of several Hugo Boss advertising campaigns.[6] He has also been involved in several charitable causes, including the Hope Foundation, and the children's charity, Barretstown. Meyers is married to Mara Lane, and they have one son together.

Early life

Meyers was born on 27 July 1977 in Dublin, Ireland, to Geraldine (née Myers; 1957–2007) and folk musician John O'Keeffe, and brought up in County Cork.[7][1] His family is Roman Catholic.[8] His three brothers are professional musicians.[9] He attended North Monastery Christian Brothers School.[10]

After being expelled from North Monastery for truancy, he spent much of his time working and socializing in pool halls. Casting agents looking for Irish boys to appear in War of the Buttons spotted him at a Cork pool hall, the Victoria Sporting Club, and invited him to audition.[11] Although passed over for War of the Buttons, the casting agents encouraged him to pursue a career in acting.[1]


Early work (1994–2004)

Taking on the name Rhys Meyers,[12] his first acting role came in the film, A Man of No Importance (1994). In 1996, he appeared in Michael Collins, as the title character's ambusher. He played a David Bowie-inspired glam rock star in Velvet Goldmine (1998). In 1999, he appeared in Ride with the Devil as psychopathic guerrilla fighter Pitt Mackeson. He starred as Steerpike in the BBC's Gormenghast (2000); played a dedicated girls' football coach in Bend It Like Beckham (2002); played in Vanity Fair (2004) opposite Reese Witherspoon; and co-starred in 2004 in Oliver Stone's epic Alexander in which he played Cassander.[13]

Breakthrough with Match Point and The Tudors (2005–2010)

The following year he starred in Woody Allen's drama Match Point (2005), for which he received a Chopard Trophy at the Cannes Film Festival, and in the CBS 4-hour mini-series Elvis (2005) as Elvis Presley alongside Randy Quaid as Colonel Tom Parker, but did not sing for his role in the miniseries.[14] The latter earned him an Emmy[15] nomination and a Golden Globe win.[16] In 2006, he appeared in Mission: Impossible III.

He starred in the CBC/Showtime co-production The Tudors (2007) as Henry VIII. He was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Television Drama in 2007 for the role.[17]

Meyers with Natalia Vodianova at the premiere of Belle du Seigneur in 2013

Subsequent projects include August Rush (2007). In 2008, he appeared in The Children of Huang Shi, and in 2010, Shelter and From Paris with Love.[18]

Independent films and varied roles (2011–present)

In 2011, he starred as Solal in Belle du Seigneur, an English language film adaptation of Albert Cohen's novel Belle du Seigneur. The film was released in Russia on 29 November 2012 and in France on 19 June 2013 after premiering at the Champs Elysees Film Festival.

In 2013, Meyers was cast as Dracula in NBC's television series Dracula alongside Oliver Jackson-Cohen and Jessica De Gouw.[19] It was also announced in May 2013 that Meyers was to participate in the recording of his brothers' album entitled Blossom, which was released on 21 April 2014.

On 23 October 2014, he received The Irish Post Legend Award at the London Hilton on Park Lane in recognition of his remarkable achievements in Film & Television over the previous 20 years.[20]

Meyers played the lead in the spy thriller Damascus Cover, based on the novel by Howard Kaplan.[21] It premiered on September 23, 2017, at the Boston Film Festival.[22]

Meyers portrays Patrick Pearse, a political activist and one of the leaders of the bloody 1916 Irish Easter Rising, in the centennial commemoration biopic film The Rising, written and produced by Kevin McCann.[23]

Upcoming projects

In 2018, it was announced that Meyers would star in the remake of the Korean film Hide and Seek.[24] That same year it was revealed that he would be joining the cast of the thriller Altitude.[25]

In 2019, it was announced that Meyers would star in Rajah, a biopic of the British explorer Sir James Brooke.[26] He was also revealed to have joined the cast of American Night, a neo-noir thriller co-starring Emile Hirsch, Paz Vega, and Jeremy Piven.[27]


A self-taught singer and guitarist, he has appeared in a number of musical roles. His first such role was as "Brian Slade" in Velvet Goldmine; two of the songs he sang ("Baby's on Fire" and "Tumbling Down") are on the film's soundtrack. He sang briefly in the TV miniseries version of The Magnificent Ambersons, performed in studio scenes of the miniseries Elvis and played the flute in Gormenghast.

In the 2007 music drama August Rush, he performed on-screen as singer-songwriter Louis Connelly and is credited for four songs on the soundtrack – "Break", "Moondance", "Something Inside" and "This Time". Of the four, "This Time" and "Break" were considered in the Best Original Song category of the 80th Academy Awards. "This Time" was not released as a single but peaked at number 84 in the Canadian Hot 100.


Besides acting, Rhys Meyers has also modeled for several clothing companies. He modeled for Club Monaco in 2001 and was chosen as the face for the Versace men's collection of Autumn/Winter 2006 and Spring 2007, and he was the face of the Hugo Boss men's fragrance range from 2006 until he was replaced by Jared Leto in 2011. He is signed to Independent Models in London.

Personal life

Meyers at the 2007 Festival of Cinema in Rome

Rhys Meyers dated his Velvet Goldmine co-star, Toni Collette, for a year.[28]

From 2004 until 2012, Meyers was in a relationship with Reena Hammer, daughter of makeup artist Ruby Hammer.[29][30]

In 2007, Meyers' representative, Meredith O'Sullivan, confirmed that Meyers had entered an alcohol-treatment programme.[31][32] His representative confirmed Meyers was again receiving treatment in 2010.[33] In November 2011, Meyers was ordered by a French court to pay restitution of €1,000 and was given a judgment of a suspended sentence for public intoxication 24 months earlier.[34]

In 2009, Rhys Meyers was detained in Paris by French police for allegedly assaulting an airport lounge employee while drunk.[35]

In 2010, Rhys Meyers again made headlines when at John F. Kennedy International Airport he verbally abused the staff and an official, who had refused him access to the boarding area after he had become intoxicated in the first-class lounge.[35][36]

In a 2018 interview with Larry King, Meyers addressed his drinking, stating it doesn't suit him. He also stated that before an incident the same year, he'd been sober for a long time. He insisted that he'd learned his lesson and was now sober again.[37]

On 20 November 2007, his mother, Mary Geraldine "Geri" O'Keeffe, died at Mercy University Hospital, Cork, aged 51, following a short, undisclosed illness.[38]

Rhys Meyers and Mara Lane, who were married in 2016,[39] had a son, Wolf Rhys Meyers, in December 2016.[40] Lane said in September 2017 that she had miscarried a second child.[39][41]

In 2019, Meyers credited his family, and fatherhood in particular, with making him the happiest he's ever been: "Once you have your first child, you become the past. We're all busy giving out to ourselves and driving ourselves forward. A child gives you a new perspective on life".[42]


On 5 October 2008, Rhys Meyers received an Honorary Patronage from the Trinity College Philosophical Society in Dublin.[43]

In 2014, Rhys Meyers was honoured at the Irish Post Awards and was presented with the Legend Award for his contributions to the film and entertainment industry.[44]

Charity work

In February 2008, Rhys Meyers was named the ambassador for the Hope Foundation, a charity formed in his native Cork. The charity provides shelter, medical care, and support to the street children of Calcutta.[45][46]

Rhys Meyers is also an ambassador for the children’s charity Barretstown. Barretstown’s mission is to rebuild the lives of children affected by serious illness and their families, through life-changing therapeutic recreational programmes in a safe, fun and supportive environment. In 2019, he and fellow actor Aidan Gillen helped launch Barretstown’s new Press Play campaign. It aims to raise additional funds over the next five years to ensure that the charity can expand its programmes to serve more children who suffer from serious illnesses, including the provision of support to families of those affected.[47][48]



Year Film Role Notes
1994 A Man of No Importance First Young Man
1996 The Killer Tongue Rudolph
1996 The Disappearance of Finbar Finbar Flynn
1996 Michael Collins Collins's ambusher
1997 The Maker Josh Minnell
1997 Telling Lies in America Kevin Boyle
1998 Velvet Goldmine Brian Slade Nominated—London Critics Circle Film Award for British Newcomer of the Year
1998 The Governess Henry Cavendish
1998 B. Monkey Bruno
1998 The Tribe Adam
1999 The Loss of Sexual Innocence Young Nic
1999 Ride with the Devil Pitt Mackeson
1999 Titus Chiron
2001 Prozac Nation Noah
2001 Tangled Alan Hammond
2001 Happy Now Mark Wraith
2002 Bend It Like Beckham Joe
2003 The Tesseract Sean
2003 Octane The Father
2003 I'll Sleep When I'm Dead Davey Graham
2003 The Emperor's Wife Chamberlain
2004 Vanity Fair Captain George Osborne
2004 Alexander Cassander
2005 Match Point Chris Wilton
2006 Mission: Impossible III Declan Gormley
2007 August Rush Louis Connelly
2008 The Children of Huang Shi George Hogg
2008 A Film with Me in It Pierce 2 Cameo
2010 Shelter Reverend Christian Moore/Adam Sabre/David Bernberg/Wesley Crite Re-released in 2013 under the title 6 Souls
2010 From Paris with Love James Reese
2011 Albert Nobbs Viscount Yarrell
2012 Belle du Seigneur Solal
2013 The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Valentine Morgenstern
2014 Another Me John Moffatt
2015 Stonewall Trevor
2016 The Rising Padraig Pearse
2016 London Town Joe Strummer
2017 The Shadow Effect Reese
2017 Black Butterfly Jack
2017 Damascus Cover Ari Ben-Sion/Hans Hoffmann Winner of the Best Actor, Best English Language Film Award, Best Production Design and the Best Editing awards at the Manchester Film Festival
2017 The 12th Man Kurt Stage
2017 Holy Lands David
2018 The Aspern Papers Morton Vint
2019 Awake John Doe
2019 Altitude Pre-production[49]
2021 Edge of the World Sir James Brooke Post-production
TBA Yakuza Princess Shiro
TBA The Survivalist Ben Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1996 Samson and Delilah Young Samson Television film
2000 Gormenghast Steerpike Complete four-part BBC series (each episode one hour)
2002 The Magnificent Ambersons George Amberson Minafer Television film
2003 The Lion in Winter King Philip II Television film
2005 Elvis Elvis Presley Television film
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
Satellite Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
2007–2010 The Tudors King Henry VIII 38 episodes
Golden Nymph Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series
Irish Film and Television Award for Best Actor on Television
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama (2008–09)
Nominated—Golden Nymph Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series (2009–11)
Nominated—Irish Film and Television Award for Best Actor on Television (2009–11)
2013–2014 Dracula Dracula / Alexander Grayson 10 episodes
Nominated—People's Choice Award for Favorite Actor in a New TV Series
2016 Roots Tom Lea 3 episodes
2017–2018 Vikings Heahmund[50] 16 episodes


Musical contributions to films
Year Soundtrack Song Ref.
1998 Velvet Goldmine Tumbling Down [51]
Baby's on Fire
2007 August Rush Break [52]
This Time
Something inside

Awards and nominations

1999London Critics Circle Film AwardsBritish Newcomer of the YearNominatedVelvet Goldmine
2002Venice Film FestivalCanal Grande Award for the Best Young Promising ActorWonThe Magnificent Ambersons
2005Satellite AwardsOutstanding Actor in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for TelevisionWonElvis
2005Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a MovieNominatedElvis
2005Cannes Film FestivalOutstanding NewcomerWonMatch Point
2006GQ UKMen of the Year Awards / Lab Series Man of the YearWon
2006Golden Globes AwardsBest Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for TelevisionWonElvis
2008Monte-Carlo Television FestivalOutstanding Actor – Drama SeriesWonThe Tudors
2008Irish Film and Television AwardsBest Actor in a Lead Role in TelevisionWonThe Tudors
2008Golden Globe AwardsBest Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – DramaNominatedThe Tudors
2009Monte-Carlo Television FestivalOutstanding Actor – Drama SeriesNominatedThe Tudors
2009Irish Film and Television AwardsBest Actor in a Lead Role in TelevisionNominatedThe Tudors
2009Golden Globe AwardsBest Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – DramaNominatedThe Tudors
2010Irish Film and Television AwardsBest Actor in a Lead Role in TelevisionNominatedThe Tudors
2010Monte-Carlo Television FestivalOutstanding Actor – Drama SeriesNominatedThe Tudors
2011Monte-Carlo Television FestivalOutstanding Actor – Drama SeriesNominatedThe Tudors
2011Irish Film and Television AwardsBest Actor in a Lead Role in TelevisionNominatedThe Tudors
2014People's Choice AwardsFavorite Actor in a New TV SeriesNominatedDracula
2018Manchester Film FestivalBest ActorWonDamascus Cover


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