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Naomi Watts

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Naomi Watts Filmography and Profile. Check out Naomi Watts biography, photo gallery, pictures, interviews, pics at Film Bor!

Naomi Watts was born on 28 September 1968. She is an English actress and film producer. Watts’ career began in television, where she made brief appearances in commercials. The 1986 film For Love Alone, set in the 1930s and based on Christina Stead’s 1945 best-selling novel of the same name, marked her debut in film. She then appeared in two episodes of the fourth season of the Australian sitcom Hey Dad..! in 1990. After a five-year absence from films, Watts met director John Duigan during the 1989 premiere of her friend Nicole Kidman’s film Dead Calm and he invited her to take a supporting role in his 1991 indie film Flirting. She starred opposite future Hollywood up-and-comers Kidman and Thandie Newton. The film received critical acclaim and was featured on Roger Ebert’s list of the 10 best films of 1992. Also in 1991, she took the part of Frances Heffernan, a girl who struggles to find friends behind the walls of a Sydney Catholic school, in the award winning mini-series Brides of Christ and had a recurring role in the soap opera Home and Away as the handicapped Julie Gibson. Watts was then offered a role in the drama series A Country Practice but turned it down, not wanting to “get stuck on a soap for two or three years”, a decision she later called “naïve”.

Watts then took a year off to travel, visiting Los Angeles and being introduced to agents through Kidman. Encouraged, Watts decided to move to America, to pursue her career further. In 1993 she had a small role in the John Goodman film Matinee and temporarily returned to Australia to star in three Australian films: another of Duigan’s pictures, Wide Sargasso Sea; the drama The Custodian; and had her first leading role in the film Gross Misconduct, as a student who accuses one of her teachers (played by Jimmy Smits) of raping her. Watts then moved back to America for good but the difficulty of finding agents, producers and directors willing to hire her during that period frustrated her initial efforts. Though her financial situation never led her to taking a job out of the film industry, she experienced problems like being unable to pay the rent of her apartment and losing her medical insurance. “At first, everything was fantastic and doors were opened to me. But some people who I met through Nicole, who had been all over me, had difficulty remembering my name when we next met. There were a lot of promises, but nothing actually came off. I ran out of money and became quite lonely, but Nic gave me company and encouragement to carry on.”

She then won a supporting role in the futuristic 1995 film Tank Girl, winning the role of “Jet Girl” after nine auditions. While the film was met with mixed reviews, it flopped at the box office, although it has gone on to become something of a cult classic. Throughout the rest of the decade, she took mostly supporting roles in films and occasionally considered leaving the business, but: “there were always little bites. Whenever I felt I was at the end of my rope, something would come up. Something bad. But for me it was ‘work begets work’; that was my motto.” In 1996, she starred alongside Joe Mantegna, Kelly Lynch and J.T. Walsh in George Hickenlooper’s action-thriller Persons Unknown; alongside James Earl Jones, Kevin Kilner and Ellen Burstyn in the period drama Timepiece; in Bermuda Triangle, a TV pilot that was not picked up for a full series, where she played a former documentary filmmaker who disappears in the Bermuda Triangle; and as the lead role in Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering, in which children in a small town become possessed under the command of a wrongfully murdered child preacher.

In 1997, she starred in the Australian ensemble romantic drama Under the Lighthouse Dancing and also played the lead role in the short-lived television series Sleepwalkers. In 1998, she starred alongside Neil Patrick Harris and Debbie Reynolds in the TV film The Christmas Wish, played the supporting role of Giulia De Lezze in Dangerous Beauty, and provided some voice work for Babe: Pig in the City. She said in an interview in 2012, “That really should not be on my résumé! I think that was early on in the day, when I was trying to beef up my résumé. I came in and did a couple days’ work of voiceovers and we had to suck on and then do a little mouse voice. But I was one in a hundred, so I’m sure you would never be able to identify my voice. I probably couldn’t either!” In 1999, she played Alice in the romantic comedy Strange Planet and the Texan student Holly Maddux in The Hunt for the Unicorn Killer, which was based on the real life effort to capture Ira Einhorn, who was charged with Maddux’s murder. In 2000, while David Lynch was expanding the rejected pilot of Mulholland Drive into a feature film, Watts starred alongside Derek Jacobi, Jack Davenport and Iain Glen in the BBC TV film The Wyvern Mystery, an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Sheridan Le Fanu that was broadcast in March of that year.

Much of her early career is filled with near misses in casting, as she was up for significant roles in films such as 1997’s The Postman and The Devil’s Advocate and 2000’s Meet the Parents, which eventually went to other actresses. In an interview in 2012, Watts said, “I came to New York and auditioned at least five times for Meet the Parents. I think the director liked me but the studio didn’t. I heard every piece of feedback you could imagine, and in this case, it was ‘not sexy enough’.” Watts recalled her early career in an interview in 2002, saying, “It is a tough town. I think my spirit has taken a beating. The most painful thing has been the endless auditions. Knowing that you have something to offer, but not being able to show it, is so frustrating. As an unknown, you get treated badly. I auditioned and waited for things I did not have any belief in, but I needed the work and had to accept horrendous pieces of shit.” Watts studied the Meisner Technique.

In 1999, director David Lynch began casting for his psychological thriller Mulholland Drive. He interviewed Watts after looking at her headshot, without having seen any of her previous work, and offered her the lead role. Lynch later said about his selection of Watts, “I saw someone that I felt had a tremendous talent, and I saw someone who had a beautiful soul, an intelligence—possibilities for a lot of different roles, so it was a beautiful full package.” Conceived as a pilot for a television series, Lynch shot a large portion of it in February 1999, planning to keep it open-ended for a potential series. However, the pilot was rejected. Watts recalled thinking at the time, “just my dumb luck, that I’m in the only David Lynch programme that never sees the light of day.” Instead, Lynch filmed an ending in October 2000, turning it into a feature film which was picked up for distribution.

The film, which also starred Laura Harring and Justin Theroux, was highly acclaimed by critics and would become Watts’ breakthrough. She was praised by critics, including Peter Bradshaw from The Guardian, who said, “Watts’s face metamorphoses miraculously from fresh-faced beauty to a frenzied, teary scowl of ugliness.” and Emanuel Levy, who wrote, “… Naomi Watts, in a brilliant performance, a young, wide-eyed and grotesquely cheerful blonde, full of high hopes to make it big in Hollywood.” The film premiered at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival and received a large number of awards and nominations, including the Best Actress Award for Watts from the National Society of Film Critics and a nomination for Best Actress from the American Film Institute. The surrealist film following the story of the aspiring actress Betty Elms, played by Watts, attracted controversy with its strong lesbian theme.

Also in 2001, Naomi Watts starred in two short films, Never Date an Actress and Ellie Parker, and the horror film The Shaft, director Dick Maas’ remake of his 1983 film De Lift. In 2002, she starred in one of the biggest box office hits of that year, The Ring, the English language remake of the Japanese horror film Ringu. Directed by Gore Verbinski, the film, which also starred Martin Henderson and Brian Cox, received favourable reviews and grossed around US$129 million domestically (equivalent to US$170.0 million in 2016). Watts portrayed Rachel Keller, a journalist investigating the strange deaths of her niece and other teenagers after watching a mysterious videotape, and receiving a phone call announcing their deaths in seven days. Her performance was praised by critics, including Paul Clinton of CNN.com, who stated that she “is excellent in this leading role, which proves that her stellar performance in Mulholland Drive was not a fluke. She strikes a perfect balance between scepticism and the slow realisation of the truth in regard to the deadly power of the videotape.” That year, she also starred in Rabbits, a series of short films directed by David Lynch; alongside several other famous British actors in the black comedy Plots with a View; and with Tim Daly in the western The Outsider.

The following year, she took the part of Julia Cook in Gregor Jordan’s Australian film Ned Kelly opposite Heath Ledger, Orlando Bloom and Geoffrey Rush; as well as starring in the Merchant-Ivory film Le Divorce, portraying Roxeanne de Persand, a poet who is abandoned by her husband Charles-Henri de Persand at the time she is pregnant. Roxeanne and her sister Isabel (Kate Hudson) dispute the ownership of a painting by Georges de La Tour with the family of Henri’s lover. Entertainment Weekly gave the film a “C” rating and lamented Watts’ performance: “I’m disappointed to report that Hudson and Watts have no chemistry as sisters, perhaps because Watts never seems like the expatriate artiste she’s supposed to be playing”.

Conversely, her performance opposite Sean Penn and Benicio del Toro in director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s 2003 drama 21 Grams earned Watts an Academy Award nomination as Best Actress later that year. In the story, told in a non-lineal manner, she portrayed Cristina Peck, a grief-stricken woman living a suburban life after the killing of her husband and two children by Jack Jordan (Benicio del Toro), who started a relationship with the critically ill academic mathematician Paul Rivers (Sean Penn). She said of the nomination, “It’s far beyond what I ever dreamed for – that would have been too far fetched”. She also was nominated for Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role, as well as many other nominations and acclaim. The New York Times praised her: “Because Ms. Watts reinvents herself with each performance, it’s easy to forget how brilliant she is. She has a boldness that comes from a lack of overemphasis, something actresses sometimes do to keep up with Mr. Penn”. The San Francisco Chronicle wrote: “Watts is riveting, but she’s much better in scenes of extreme emotion than in those requiring subtlety.”

She then starred alongside Mark Ruffalo in the 2004 independent film We Don’t Live Here Anymore. The film is a drama which was based on the short stories We Don’t Live Here Anymore and Adultery by Andre Dubus, and depicts the crisis of two married couples. She reunited with Sean Penn in The Assassination of Richard Nixon, which was set in 1974. She played Marie Andersen Bicke, the wife of the would-be presidential assassin Samuel Byck (Penn). Finally in 2004, she teamed up with Jude Law and Dustin Hoffman in David O. Russell’s ensemble comedy I Heart Huckabees. Watts next starred and co-produced with director/screenwriter Scott Coffey her film, the semi-autobiographical drama Ellie Parker (2005), which depicted the struggle of an Australian actress in Hollywood. The film began as a short film that was screened at the Sundance Film Festival in 2001 and was expanded into a feature-length production over the next four years. Film critic Roger Ebert praised Watts’ performance: “The character is played by Watts with courage, fearless observation and a gift for timing that is so uncanny it can make points all by itself.”

Naomi Watts returned in the lead role in the sequel to The Ring, The Ring Two. The film received several negative reviews, but was a major success at the box office, with an over US$161 million worldwide gross (equivalent to US$195.4 million in 2016) and Watts was once again praised for her performance. Her third film of the year was Marc Forster’s psychological thriller Stay. Written by David Benioff, it also starred Ewan McGregor, Ryan Gosling and Bob Hoskins. Watts then starred in the 2005 remake of King Kong as Ann Darrow. Watts was the first choice for the role, portrayed by Fay Wray in the original film, with no other actors considered. In preparation for her role, Watts met with Wray, who was to make a cameo appearance and say the final line of dialogue, but she died during pre-production at the age of 96. King Kong proved to be Watts’ most commercially successful film yet. Helmed by The Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson, the film won high praise and grossed US$550 million worldwide (equivalent to US$667.5 million in 2016). The Seattle Post-Intelligencer praised her performance: “The third act becomes a star-crossed, “Beauty and the Beast” parable far more operatic and tragic than anything the original filmmakers could have imagined, exquisitely pantomimed by Watts with a poignancy and passion that rates Oscar consideration.”

Her next film was The Painted Veil with Edward Norton and Liev Schreiber. Watts played Kitty Garstin, the daughter of a lawyer, who marries Walter Fane (Norton) for his reputation as a physician and bacteriologist. The film centres on the relationship of the couple at the time they move to China, where Fane is stationed to study infectious diseases. Comparing her portrayal with Greta Garbo’s in the original movie, The San Francisco Chronicle wrote “Watts makes the role work on her own terms – her Kitty is more desperate, more foolish, more miserable and more driven … and her spiritual journey is greater. For her only other film of that year, she provided the voice of a small role, Suzie Rabbit, in David Lynch’s psychological thriller Inland Empire. Also that year, she was announced as the new face of the jewellers David Yurman and completed a photoshoot which was featured in the 2007 Pirelli Calendar.

She later appeared in David Cronenberg’s crime thriller Eastern Promises with Viggo Mortensen, which premiered at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival, to critical acclaim. As the movie, Watts also generated positive feedback among critics; Slate magazine remarked in its review that she “brings a wounded radiance to the overcurious midwife Anna. Though it’s a bit of a one-note role, it’s a note she’s long specialised in, a kind of flustered moral aggrievement”. Eastern Promises grossed US$56 million worldwide, (equivalent to US$68.0 million in 2016).

She appeared with Tim Roth in Michael Haneke’s Funny Games (2007), a remake of Haneke’s 1997 film of the same name that opened at the London Film Festival. The director said that he agreed to make the film on condition that he be allowed to cast Watts, according to UK’s The Daily Telegraph. In the picture, she portrayed Ann Farber, who with her husband and son are held hostage by a pair of sociopathic teenagers. Watts also served as a producer, as this charge was for her “one way to spice up the deal and be involved in all the creative decisions”. The movie generated mixed reviews and received a limited theatrical release in the United States, grossing $7 million, on a $15 million budget. Newsweek felt that Watts “hurls herself into her physically demanding role with heroic conviction”. David Stratton, from At the Movies concluded that she was “as usual, really fine”. However, New York Daily News criticised her part for being half-naked throughout most of her appearance, considering that it was “an awfully strange way to make a righteous point about exploitation”.

Feb 25, 2016 (ID: 18105) By Febby

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