Paul Benjamin Mendelsohn (born 3 April 1969) is an Australian actor, who first rose to prominence in Australia for his role in The Year My Voice Broke (1987) and internationally for his role in the crime drama Animal Kingdom (2010).
Since then he has had roles in films such as The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Starred Up (2013), Mississippi Grind (2015), Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016), Darkest Hour (2017) and Steven Spielberg's adaptation of Ready Player One (2018). In 2017, he joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Talos, appearing in Captain Marvel (2019).
Mendelsohn starred in the Netflix series Bloodline (2015–2017), for which he won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series from two nominations, and received a Golden Globe nomination.
Early life and family
Mendelsohn was born in Melbourne, Victoria, the son of Carole Ann (née Ferguson) and Frederick Arthur Oscar Mendelsohn. His father is a prominent medical researcher who previously headed the Howard Florey Institute in Melbourne, where he maintains the status of Professor Emeritus. Ben and his two brothers, Tom and David, as well as his mother (deceased), a registered nurse, lived in Europe and the US for long periods of time, and returned to Melbourne when he was in high school. He attended Heidelberg Primary School and Eltham High and Banyule High schools. He took drama because he thought it was an easy class. Mendelsohn was the only one of his friends to follow up with an audition for Crawford Productions that was being advertised.
In October 2009, he was featured in an episode of the Australian series Who Do You Think You Are?, which traced the ancestry of his paternal grandfather, who was from a Jewish family, as well as of convicts on his mother's side. Searching for a connection to composer Felix Mendelssohn, which was eventually dismissed, he discovered links to 19th-century Prussia. His ancestors were among the first Prussian Jews to be naturalised in Schneidemühl in the province of Posen, now Piła in modern Poland. He also has Greek, German, and British Isles ancestry.
After several early television roles, including The Henderson Kids alongside Kylie Minogue, he attracted notice in his breakout film, The Year My Voice Broke (1987), and won the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Supporting Actor. His next major role was in The Big Steal (1990), and Spotswood (1992), co-starring with Anthony Hopkins; this was followed in 1994 by Metal Skin and in 1996 by Cosi and Idiot Box. In 2000, he was in two contrasting films, the Australian Mullet and the Hollywood Vertical Limit.
In 2007, Mendelsohn starred in the third season of the TV series Love My Way and in 2008, he appeared in Baz Luhrmann's Australia. He filmed the 10-part Melbourne series Tangle, which premiered on Showcase in 2009. In 2009, he appeared in the American science fiction film Knowing directed by Alex Proyas. The same year, Mendelsohn starred as Ned in Beautiful Kate, directed by Rachel Ward, opposite Bryan Brown and Rachel Griffiths.
In 2010, he appeared in Animal Kingdom, starring in the film as Andrew "Pope" Cody, a criminal on the run from the law living in the notorious Melbourne Underworld. The role won him many awards, including IF Award's Best Actor and the AFI's award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. He was also named by GQ Australia as Actor of the Year for 2010.
Mendelsohn was selected as one of the subjects in the Who's Who in Australia 2012 edition. In 2012, Mendelsohn played the supporting roles of John Daggett in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises and Robin Van Der Hook in Derek Cianfrance's The Place Beyond the Pines.
In 2012, he appeared in Florence + the Machine's music video for "Lover to Lover". The video was directed by Vincent Haycock. In 2013, he guest starred in the TV series Girls as the father of Jessa, played by Jemima Kirke.
In 2014, Mendelsohn joined the cast of Bloodline, a Netflix original from the creators of Damages. The first season premiered on the site on 20 March 2015 and was well received. Mendelsohn's performance on the series was lauded by critics, resulting in a Primetime Emmy Award win as well as a Golden Globe Award nomination. In September 2016, Netflix announced that the show had been cancelled, and that it would end after its third season in 2017. Season 3 of Bloodline received negative reviews, and Mendelsohn appeared in two episodes of it.
In 2016, he appeared in video as an onstage "stand-in" during the Nostalgia For the Present concert tour of Australian singer Sia Furler for her song, "Breathe Me".
In December 2016, he had a supporting role in the Star Wars franchise's Rogue One, portraying villain Director Krennic. He called the opportunity to act in a Star Wars film "a childhood dream come true". Mendelsohn also narrated the virtual band Gorillaz' fifth album Humanz.
Depictions in art
While filming Adoration, Mendelsohn took time free to pose for artist Sally West, with whom he had been neighbours in Bondi in the 1990s. The resulting portrait has been nominated for several awards.
Mendelsohn married British author Emma Forrest in June 2012. He has two daughters, one with Forrest, born in 2014, and one from a previous relationship. He was divorced from Forrest in 2016.
He is an avid fan of video games, citing The Last of Us as his favourite game.
|1986||The Still Point||Peter|
|1987||The Year My Voice Broke||Trevor Leishman||AACTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role|
|Nirvana Street Murder||Luke|
|The Big Steal||Danny Clarke||Nominated—AACTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role|
|Quigley Down Under||O'Flynn|
|1992||Spotswood||Carey||Nominated—AACTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role|
|Map of the Human Heart||Farmboy|
|1993||Say a Little Prayer||Nursery Manager|
|Metal Skin||Dazey||Film Critics Circle of Australia Award for Best Actor – Male |
Nominated—AACTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
|1997||True Love and Chaos||Jerry|
|Amy||Robert Buchanan||Camério Award for Best Actor|
|Vertical Limit||Malcolm Bench|
|2001||Mullet||Eddie "Mullet" Maloney||Nominated—AACTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role |
Nominated—Film Critics Circle of Australia Award for Best Actor – Male
|2002||Black and White||Rupert Murdoch|
|2005||The New World||Ben|
|2008||$9.99||Lenny Peck (voice)|
|Beautiful Kate||Ned Kendall||Nominated—AACTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role |
Nominated—Film Critics Circle of Australia Award for Best Actor – Male
|2010||Animal Kingdom||Andrew "Pope" Cody||AACTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role |
IF Award for Best Actor
Film Critics Circle of Australia Award for Best Actor – Male
|2012||Killing Them Softly||Russell|
|The Dark Knight Rises||John Daggett|
|The Place Beyond the Pines||Robin Van Der Hook|
|Starred Up||Neville Love||BIFA Award for Best Supporting Actor |
Nominated—Village Voice Film Poll for Best Supporting Actor
|Exodus: Gods and Kings||Viceroy Hegep|
|Mississippi Grind||Gerry||Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead|
|Guns for Hire||Kyle Sullivan|
|Rogue One||Director Orson Krennic|
|2017||Darkest Hour||King George VI||Nominated—AACTA International Award for Best Supporting Actor|
|2018||Ready Player One||Nolan Sorrento|
|The Land of Steady Habits||Anders Hill|
|Robin Hood||Sheriff of Nottingham|
|The King||King Henry IV||Post-production|
|Spies in Disguise||Voice role; In production|
|1984||Special Squad||Episode: "Slow Attack"|
|1985||A Country Practice||Luke Dawson||2 episodes|
|The Henderson Kids||Ted Morgan||4 episodes|
|1986||Prime Time||Bartholomew "Bart" Jones|
|Fame and Misfortune||John|
|1986–1987||Neighbours||Warren Murphy||19 episodes|
|1987, 1989||The Flying Doctors||Brad Harris / Brian||2 episodes|
|1988||All the Way||Lindsay Seymour||3 episodes|
|1989||This Man... This Woman||Matthew Clarke||3 episodes|
|1989, 1994||G.P.||Max Fisher / Phillip Barton||2 episodes|
|1994||Roughnecks||Joe 90||Episode 1.4|
|1995||Snowy River: The McGregor Saga||Dale Banks||Episode: "High Country Justice"|
|Police Rescue||Dean Forman||Episode: "Wild Card"|
|Halifax f.p.||Peter Donaldson||Episode: "My Lovely Girl"|
|1997||Good Guys, Bad Guys||Brian O'Malley||Episode: "Unfinished Business"|
|1999||Queen Kat, Carmel & St Jude||Vince McCaffery||4 episodes|
|Secret Men's Business||Doug Petersen||Television film|
|2001||Child Star: The Shirley Temple Story||Alexander Hall||Television film|
|2002||Farscape||Sko||Episode: "I-Yensch, You-Yensch "|
|2005||The Secret Life of Us||Rob||5 episodes|
|Second Chance||Dr. Larry Stewart||Television film|
|2006–2007||Love My Way||Lewis Feingold||15 episodes |
Nominated—Logie Award for Most Outstanding Actor (2007)
Nominated—AACTA Award for Best Lead Actor in a Television Drama (2007)
Nominated—ASTRA Award Most Outstanding Performance by an Actor – Male (2007–2008)
|2009||Tangle||Vince Kovac||10 episodes |
Nominated—Logie Award for Most Outstanding Actor (2010)
Nominated—ASTRA Award Most Outstanding Performance by an Actor – Male (2010)
|2013||Girls||Salvatore Johansson||Episode: "Video Games"|
|2015–2017||Bloodline||Danny Rayburn||23 episodes |
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (2016)
Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film (2016)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (2015)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series (2017)
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film (2016)
Nominated—Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (2015)
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film (2016)
|2020||The Outsider||Det. Ralph Anderson||Miniseries|
|2018||Squadron 42||Julian Wexler||Voice / Motion Capture|
|2017||Humanz by Gorillaz||Narrator||Voice|