Jeremy William Fredric Smith
6' (1.83 m)
Jeremy Irvine is an English stage and screen actor. He was born Jeremy William Fredric Smith in Gamlingay, Cambridgeshire, England, to Bridget (Glockling), a local politician, and Christopher Fredric Smith, an engineer. His stage surname, "Irvine", was his grandfather's first name. He attended one year of drama school at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art before catching Hollywood's eye starring in Steven Spielberg's 2011 epic war film "War Horse."
Irvine earned widespread critical acclaim for his role opposite Dakota Fanning in the independent film "Now Is Good," leading critics to list him among Hollywood's fastest-rising stars. In 2013, he gained a reputation as a method actor after he dropped more than 25 pounds and performed his own torture scene stunts in the film adaptation of "The Railway Man."
Irvine will appear in several 2015 films, including "The World Made Straight," "Stonewall," "Fallen" and "Beyond the Reach," in which he stars alongside Michael Douglas. His first role of the year was in The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death (2014), which was released in theaters January 2.
Has had Type 1 Diabetes since the age of six.
Graduated from The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
Grew up in the rural village of Gamlingay in Cambridgeshire, England.
Dad Chris is an engineer and his mum Bridget is a local government politician.
Has two younger brothers.
Has a keen interest in military history and collects WW1 and WW2 weaponry.
Had never been on, or worked with, a horse before he began working on the film War Horse.
Jeremy contracted trench foot while filming the movie War Horse.
Was offered the lead role of Peeta Mellark in the film The Hunger Games (2012), prior to the casting of Debra Zane based on the same titled, best-selling novel by Suzanne Collins. He turned down the role.
Was offered the lead role of Tobias 'Four' Eaton in the film Divergent (2014), based on the novel by Veronica Roth. He turned down the role.
Almost gave up acting for good to be a factory welder just before he got his big break in War Horse (2011).
One of his paternal great-grandfathers was Sir Ralph Lilley Turner, a noted philologist and university administrator (Sir Ralph was the father of Jeremy's grandmother, Kathleen).
He took his stage surname, "Irvine", after the first name of his paternal grandfather, Irvine Battinson Smith.
Two of Jeremy's paternal great-great-grandparents were Scottish, one from Annan, Dumfriesshire, and one from Elie, Fife.
His idols are Christian Bale, Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Shannon and Ryan Gosling.
I had been a struggling actor for two years, so to go from that to being on the set of a Steven Spielberg film, where he treated me like part of one big family, was amazing.
There's nothing nicer than coming back to your village, where people like my mum's friends take the mick out of me. I prefer that to the craziness of Hollywood.
There were real explosions at my feet, bodies flying through the air, stunt men getting shot at. It was terrifying. The smoke and the smell and the taste of the guns firing. It's not difficult to act scared in that situation.
[on living with diabetes] I have an insulin pump. I've never let it affect anything I'm doing. I'm sure there are times when it maybe makes things a little bit more difficult, but as soon as you let it affect what you're doing, then I think it affects everything. Sure it sometimes takes a little more work, it's sometimes a little bit difficult - but so be it.
[on watching 'War Horse'] The first time I cried was when they're riding into battle and suddenly you see the machine guns being set up. The futility of that moment[is]very emotional. It's kind of the end of the British cavalry. What's fascinating about this period is that you have the old tactics meeting modern weaponry. From then on, horses are replaced by tanks. It's a very sad and very poignant moment.
When you're at home, you can freak out. There was so much that I had to focus on. I had to learn how to act for screen for the first time. There was so much I had to come to grips with, that I put the rest of it to the back of my mind.
I think that among my friends I'm known as being a hard worker; I think if you want to be an actor, there can't be any compromise. You have to work all day, every day. It's not a 9-5 job. There's always something to learn. I've always been of the mindset of, "What if there's someone working harder than me?" That means I have to work even harder.
When War Horse came out, I had maybe a month of people stopping me in the street, then it died down. I try to ignore all that and pretend none of it exists. We're only acting. The work my mum does, a lot of it is re-housing homeless people, that's a real job. My work my best friend does, he is a doctor and he saves lives, that's even more of a real job. I play make-believe and dressing up for a living!
It's weird, everyone expects your whole life to change and actually the only thing that's changed is I can now get work and I couldn't get any work before. I spent two years going up for five or six auditions a week and just hearing "No, no, no, no, no, no." I wasn't even getting commercial call backs so why on earth would I expect to be getting movies? I still do all the same stuff and nothing's changed. I saw myself on the side of the bus yesterday and completely freaked out. I just blank all that stuff out like it's not happening, so I just focus on trying to do a good job when you're shooting.
[on working with his younger brother Toby Irvine]Yes I was very protective. I was at one of these ridiculous afterparty things; I don't particularly like going to them so I brought my Mum along because she gets a kick out of them. The casting director was there and she was saying, "I'm having trouble finding a younger version of you." My Mum just kind of went, "Well I've got one at home." We sat down and went over the script and he just got it. It was fucking infuriating because there was no vanity, he was just playing for real and the casting director didn't tell the producers that he was my brother because she wanted him to get it because he was good enough. It was a lovely thing to do. I'm away a lot so it was nice to spend time [with him] and have my family there. What I didn't count on was the fact I'd have my Mum asking me if I'd had my lunch every day.
[on turning down the lead role of Peeta Mellark in The Hunger Games] I decided quite early that I didn't want to be famous so I didn't feel under pressure to go and do these big blockbuster movies. I read the script [for Great Expectations] and thought it was fantastic.
Since War Horse, I've been offered more money than I could ever even comprehend to do some big teen movies, and I've always said no. I'm very aware of the fast-paced turnover of celebrities in that area and how fickle this industry can be. The temptation and the pressure to take it are really high. They're waving fame in your face, saying you could be the next big teen star.
I tried to join the Army, signed the papers, but got booted out because I lied about being diabetic.
I spent two years walking around London getting rejected, going up for maybe three or four auditions a week and not getting a single one. To suddenly be able to say, 'I'm an actor' without blushing is amazing.
I'd kind of hit rock bottom and really did think this was stupid and I just wasted three or four years of my life. My dad wanted me to get a job being a welder. At the company he was at, he was an engineer. I was very very close to doing that.
My friends and I still behave like 12 year olds. We muck about in the fields, and that's great for me. Swanky events are nice once in a while but they're not really my scene.