An actor who is equally adept at donning wigs and machine guns for period dramas and modern gangster films alike, Jason Flemyng is one of Britain's more versatile, unpredictable, and underrated performers. Born in London on September 25, 1966, Flemyng made his stage debut at the age of ten as the Tin Man in a school production of The Wizard of Oz. After studying drama at the National Youth Theatre and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, he was accepted into the Royal Shakespeare Company, where he stayed for three years.
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Flemyng broke into film and television in 1992, appearing in a number of made-for-TV movies and in John Schlesinger's Question of Attribution, an adaptation of Alan Bennett's play about the 1950s Burgess-Maclean-Philby spy scandal. Supporting roles and a lead in Indian Summer (1996), which cast him as a dancer with AIDS, followed, and in 1996, the actor garnered a measure of international recognition for his work in two films. One, Bernardo Bertolucci's Stealing Beauty, saw him sharing a scene with Liv Tyler, while the searing family drama Hollow Reed featured Flemyng as a white-collared child abuser who beats his girlfriend's young son.
After a turn as an 18th-century composer in François Girard's The Red Violin (1998), Flemyng starred in perhaps his most internationally successful film to date, Guy Ritchie's Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels (1998). An incredibly stylish crime comedy set in London's rough East End, the film -- which starred Flemyng as one of a group of friends trying to pull off a heist -- was a surprise hit in both the U.K. and overseas, which resulted in widespread attention for its director and cast. Flemyng re-teamed with Ritchie in 2000 for Snatch, another heist picture. That same year, he also had a number of other projects lined up, including Bruiser, a thriller about a put-upon magazine grunt who strikes back at everyone who has wronged him, and The Body, a religious drama in which he appeared alongside Antonio Banderas and Derek Jacobi. Gaining increasing exposure in such films as Rock Star and From Hell (both 2001), Flemyng would soon re-team with Snatch co-star Vinnie Jones in the The Longest Yard remake Mean Machine (2001) before taking the lead in the comedy Lighthouse Hill (2002) and gearing up to go schizophrenic as the malevolent Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde in the eagerly anticipated comic book adaptation The League of Extrodinary Gentlemen (2003). ~ Rebecca Flint Marx, Rovi