Guy Pearce Bio: In His Own Words – Video Exclusive, News, Photos
Guy Pearce (born October 5, 1967) is a British-Australian actor and musician. Pearce is well-known for his work on both film and television. In Australia, his breakout performances came in the series Neighbours and the film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. International audiences recognize him from L.A. Confidential, Memento, The Hurt Locker, The King’s Speech, Lawless, Iron Man 3, and Results. Pearce is also among those who have won both an Emmy and a Screen Actors Guild Award, while also receiving nominations for the Golden Globes and AACTA (Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Awards) awards.
Guy Pearce Bio
Guy Edward Pearce was born on October 5, 1967 in the city of Ely in Cambridgeshire, England. He is the son of Stuart Pearce, an Air Force test pilot originally from New Zealand, and Anne Cocking, a teacher. At the age of 3, Pearce moved to Australia, where he resided in Geelong, Victoria. There, his mother ran a deer farm.
Tragedy struck when Guy Pearce was 8, as Stuart died in an accident on the job. That meant Guy would take on the responsibility as “the man of the house” and to help his mother care for his older sister Tracy, who had Down’s Syndrome. But even in the wake of such terrible loss, Pearce persevered with the loving help of his mother along the way.
Guy Pearce attended the Geelong College in nearby Newton for his primary and secondary education. Pearce took up an interest in acting from a young age, starring in many theater productions and was a member of the GSODA Junior Players. He also played sports through his teenage years, taking up fencing and amateur bodybuilding– the latter saw him win the Junior Mr. Victoria competition.
As Pearce’s days at Geelong College came to an end, his acting career began to take shape. His acting teacher suggested writing letters to production companies about acting opportunities. The suggestion worked. Pearce moved to the Melbourne suburb of Box Hill North as he took on his first major role– a spot on the Australian soap opera Neighbours.
Guy Pearce Career
In 1985, Guy Pearce began his acting career on Neighbours as Mike Young, a troubled young man who enters into the lives of the families portrayed in the series. The show broke new ground on soap operas in Australia, as it centered on realistic stories of teenagers and young adults as they try to figure out problems in their lives. It also not only introduced the world to Pearce, but also singer and actress Kylie Minogue and singer-actor Jason Donovan, among others. Pearce would play the role of Mike Young in 479 episodes from 1986 to 1989, the beginning of the show’s tenure as the longest running drama series in Australia.
After his time on Neighbours was completed, Pearce moved onto the world of film in Australia. In 1990 he played in Heaven Tonight and followed that up with Hunting in 1991. Pearce returned to Australian soap operas by appearing in 12 episodes of Home and Away as David Croft. It’s worth noting that Home and Away is the 2nd longest running drama in Australian television, behind only Pearce’s first show in Neighbours.
Pearce’s breakout movie performance came in 1994 in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. The film follows a group of drag queens as they ride in a tour bus across the Simpson Desert on their way to a performance in Northern Australia. Pearce played the role of Adam Whitely, a young and obnoxious drag queen who goes under the stage name of Felicia Jollygoodfellow. The film was a hit with Australian audiences as well as the LGBT community. It also gained international attention, which provided Pearce with international opportunities later on in his career. The film also won an Academy Award for Best Costume Design.
Pearce also joined the cast of Australian television series The Man from Snowy River as Rob McGregor, the son of title character Matt McGregor played by Andrew Clarke. The show, which also starred the likes of Hugh Jackman and Olivia Newton John, is based on a traditional Australian poem and the horsebacked hero it told of. Pearce was a part of the show for all four seasons for a grand total of 65 episodes on Australia’s Nine Network.
After roles in Dating the Enemy in 1996 and Flynn in 1997, Pearce made his American film debut in the 1997 noir crime drama L.A. Confidential. He and Russell Crowe, at the time unknown Australian actors to Hollywood, were two of the movie’s breakout stars. Alongside them were established stars like Kevin Spacey, Kim Basinger, and Danny DeVito. Pearce’s role of Ed, an LAPD officer looking to move up the ranks to live up to his father’s legacy, was well acclaimed. The film was also well received, winning an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and Basinger winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Had it not been for the giant in Titantic, L.A. Confidential could’ve won even more awards in the winter of 1998. Even still, Pearce was now a well-regarded actor among Hollywood circles and would see himself in many more American films in the years to come.
Pearce’s schedule picked up in the coming years. In 1998 he won the New York Independent Film Award for Best Actor for his role in Brand New World. The following year he had roles in Ravenous and A Slipping-Down Life. Pearce was involved in two American films in 2000, the first being the war drama Rules of Engagement alongside Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson. Later in the year he starred in Memento, a psychological thriller where his character, Leonard Shelby, goes through a memory defect as the film goes through the events of the plot in diverging chronological presentations. Pearce’s performance was very well acclaimed and landed him nominations for a Satellite Award and a Saturn Award for Best Actor.
Pearce returned to Australia for the 2002 film The Hard Word, which netted him a nomination for the Film Critics Circle of Australia’s award for Best Actor. The year was very busy for him, as he also took part in The Time Machine, Till Human Voices Wake Us, and most notably The Count of Monte Cristo. Pearce then went on to have the starring human role in the 2004 family film Two Brothers (two tigers were the main protagonists while Pearce played the role of antagonist Aidan McRory).
Australia was calling Pearce’s name again in 2005 as he starred in as Charlie Burns in The Proposition. The film, directed by Nick Cave, was a critical hit in Australia and eventually got the film to be released internationally. Pearce was nominated for three separate Best Actor awards for his performance in the movie.
After a role in First Snow, Pearce took on the roles of famous figures in history for his next two movies. In 2006, Pearce portrayed Andy Warhol in Factory Girl. The film centered around the life of one of Warhol’s most popular subjects, Edie Sedgwick. Two years later in 2008, Pearce portrayed the famous magician Harry Houdini set in his height of success in the 1920’s in Death Defying Acts. Pearce, who was with Catherine Zeta-Jones and Timothy Spall in the film, received a nomination for the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role as Houdini.
Pearce took on a diverse set of roles in 2008. He played Dr. Bruce Laraby in the crime drama Winged Creatures, Roy Clayton in the spy thriller Traitor, and Kendall in Adam Sandler’s family comedy Bedtime Stories. Each film showed that Pearce could take on a wide variety of roles and showed how versatile he could be with his characters.
With In Her Skin and The Road already in the books in 2009, Pearce took on a supporting role in the Iraq War drama The Hurt Locker as Staff Sgt. Matt Thompson. The film, which focused on a bomb disposal team in the midst of the war in Iraq in 2004, was widely acclaimed. The Hurt Locker ended up receiving nine Academy Award nominations and won six of them, including the Oscar for Best Picture.
Pearce also made a brief return to the stage in early 2009. He played in the Melbourne Theatre Company’s production of Poor Boy.
Pearce would be involved in an Academy Award winning film for a second consecutive year with his portrayal of King Edward VIII in The King’s Speech. The film, which focused on King George VI (played by Colin Firth) and his troubles with speech, was a worldwide hit among audiences and critics alike. Pearce and the cast won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture and the film would win 4 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Between The Hurt Locker and The King’s Speech, Pearce is in some very rare company as actors who have played in two consecutive Academy Award Best Pictures.
After a critically acclaimed supporting role in the Australian crime drama Animal Kingdom, Pearce returned to television in 2011 in the HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce. The show, based on the novel of the same name and the 1945 film, focused on Pierce, played by Kate Winslet, as she balanced her restaurant, love, and her family during the Great Depression era. Pearce’s performance was very well acclaimed. He was nominated for a Golden Globe, Satellite Award, and Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actor and would win the 2011 Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
2011 continued to be a busy year for Pearce, as he took on a starring role in Australia in 33 Postcards, a movie about Chinese orphan who finally meets her sponsor (Pearce as Dean Randall), in which Dean looks to find a way to lead her to a better life in Australia. The performance landed Pearce with a nomination for the AACTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark and Seeking Justice rounded out Pearce’s 2011 slate.
Pearce played a supporting role in the much anticipated Ridley Scott-directed science fiction film Prometheus in 2012 as Peter Weyland. The film, which acts as a bit of a precursor to Alien, is about a star map that’s found among an ancient civilization and the quest to find humanity’s origins in outer space, only to discover a new threat to humanity’s existence along the way. Through the magic of makeup, Pearce was able to successfully pull off the challenging task of playing his character both at his current age and in the future as an elderly man. The film was also a big hit at the box office, racking in $403.4 million worldwide.
2012 was yet another busy year for Pearce, as he also played the title character in the Australian television movie/miniseries Jack Irish. He would also have a role in the film Lockout.
Among his 2012 films was Lawless, a movie about the moonshine trade of Virginia during the era of prohibition. Pearce played Charley in the film, which starred Shia LaBeouf. Prior to the film’s release, Pearce joined fellow co-star Tom Hardy in an exclusive interview with uInterview about Lawless.
During the interview, Pearce praised the work of screenwriter Nick Cave. “Every writer’s different. He has a particular insight that is incredibly evocative,” he said. “The other writers are evocative, as well, but there’s something brutally honest about him. He’s a no-bulls*** kind of guy, really. That comes through. The thing I’m always interested in with Nick is how easy his poetry comes to the surface, because he is obviously so poetic. He doesn’t necessarily present that. He presents more of a rebellious character, in a way.”
Pearce also shared what goes through his mind while taking on a role. “It’s a number of things. It’s the big three, usually, isn’t it? It’s the character, the script, and the director,” he said. After Hardy interrupted with the proposition of the money offered when taking on a role, Pearce added “(money,) yes. Sometimes it’s easier than others. I’ll go backwards and forwards on things, or sometimes I’ll be really close to saying yes, and I’ll tell them that I’m about to say yes, and then I say, ‘Actually, no. I’ve thought about this for two months now, and it’s just not for me. I’m sorry.’”
Hardy went further on how something like that can occur in the industry. “You’re not doing it to a person, you’re weighing your options. You’re here to live. You have to sit with things and see how they affect you, and you have to start a conversation. It’s like a deal, there is no deal that is finite — except probably death. You can get out of anything pretty much. That’s why we have a crew of lawyers. The conversation starts, and then they could stop it with you.” Pearce added on “or they’ll say, ‘Actually, we couldn’t get the funding with you, so we’re actually gonna go to Brad [Pitt] now.’”
In 2013, Pearce became the prime antagonist of Iron Man 3 as Aldrich Killian, a creator of a virus that he wishes to stop, but at the expense of creating terrorist attacks and threatening both Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark and the President of the United States to do so. Together with Pearce, Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, and Don Cheadle, the film was another box office hit for Marvel and its Iron Man franchise. Breathe In and Hateship, Loveship were also on Pearce’s docket for 2013.
Pearce starred in another Australian film in 2014 with a starring role in The Rover. Playing the lead role of Eric in the dystopian science drama film, Pearce notched up another AACTA Award nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role. In 2015, Pearce starred alongside Cobie Smulders and Kevin Corrigan in the comedy Results. The film stars Pearce and Smulders as fitness gurus, Trevor and Kat, whose business relationship isn’t what accurately reflects their personal lives. uInterview was able to snag another exclusive interview with Pearce, as he and Smulders talked to us about the film.
Pearce said of Trevor and Kat’s relationship that “it’s nice that it’s unconventional. You get a sense that there was some sort of history, but you don’t kind of know what it is, so I think that makes for an interesting story.” Pearce also said of his character that in regards to money, “I think for him it’s more of about just expanding the trajectory that he think he’s on. That very sort of rigid and structured trajectory that he’s on. I think Trevor’s a little skewed in his vision of the world but I don’t think it’s about money as such. I think it’s about if he was given the gym for free he’d take that as well.”
Pearce also told us that he found some easy inspiration for portraying Trevor. “Well, I think for me, I’ve worked out in gyms for years and years and years, so there’s plenty of people I can draw on,” he said. He also added “You work in the film industry, so there’s a lot of highly strung control freaks that you’ve met.”
In the next two years, Pearce has a handful of films that will be making their debuts. He will join Nicholas Hoult and Kristen Stewart in the upcoming romantic drama Equals, which is currently slated for a late 2015 release. He will also play on the role of literary great F. Scott Fitzgerald in the 2016 film Genius, which will also boast a cast of Colin Firth, Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, and Dominic West playing a who’s who of early 20th century authors and their editor, Maxwell Perkins. Pearce is also currently filming Brimstone, which is projected to come out in 2016.
Guy Pearce is also a very big fan of music. He has contributed to the soundtrack of A Slipping-Down Life and has appeared in music videos for Silverchair and Razorlight. He’s also released a full length album titled Broken Bones, which came out in November of 2014.
Guy Pearce Personal Life
Guy Pearce has been married to psychologist and childhood sweetheart Kate Mestitz since March 1997. The two do not have any children and have been on the record in saying that they don’t intend on becoming parents.
Pearce and Mestitz have also been supporters in various charities, including those involving animal rights and ecology.
Pearce finished in the top 20 twice for E!’s list of “Most Sexiest Men in Entertainment,” coming in a two year spell of 2002 and 2003.