July 9, 1982
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Already compared to Robert De Niro by the time he was 30, British actor Toby Kebbell possessed a hyperkinetic intensity and piercing intelligence that marked him as a rising star. His rough Northern edges were sharpened by an impoverished childhood but a teenage stint in the Central Television Workshop gave him enough focus and discipline to land a debut role on the ITV medical drama "Peak Practice" (1993-2002). But it was his next role, as a mentally disabled youth in "Dead Man's Shoes" (2004) that caught the eyes of critics and audiences alike. Directed by Shane Meadows, the brutal revenge flick catapulted Kebbell into high-profile roles in "Control" (2007), "RocknRolla" (2008), and "The Conspirator" (2010). By the time he signed on to "Wrath of the Titans" (2012) and "The East" (2013), the charismatic Kebbell had worked with a who's-who of directors, including Oliver Stone, Woody Allen, and Steven Spielberg. He might have been rough around the edges, but it was precisely that raw energy that made Kebbell so fascinating to watch.
Born and raised in the seen-better-days town of Nottingham, Kebbell and his collection of siblings (three older brothers, a younger half-sister) fended for themselves and dreamt of a better life. After dropping out of high school and working a number of odd jobs, Kebbell landed at the Central Television Workshop with the goal of making lots of movies, for lots of money. The making lots of movies part happened easily. His wiry, off-the-cuff energy, modeled after a character in the classic "Withnail & I" (1987), surfaced briefly on the long-running "Peak Practice" before being harnessed in "Dead Man's Shoes." Kebbell, a last-minute addition to the cast, earned acclaim for his portrayal of Paddy Considine's brutalized younger brother, including a British Independent Film Award nomination for Best Newcomer. Then came the supporting roles in Oliver Stone's ambitiously flawed "Alexander" (2004) and Woody Allen's surprise hit "Match Point" (2005), and it seemed like Kebbell might defect to Hollywood for good.
But his nuanced portrayal of producer Rob Gretton in the bleak Joy Division biopic "Control," followed by a raucous turn as a presumed dead rock star in Guy Ritchie's "RocknRolla," signaled his intent to mix big-budget Hollywood with more homegrown fare. After the one-two flops of expensive (but lucrative) would-be franchises "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" (2010) and "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" (2010), Kebbell channeled the fury of John Wilkes Booth in Robert Redford's "The Conspirator." Though he was no closer to the "making lots of money" part, he delivered an astonishing, nearly silent performance as an undercover surveillance operative in the 2011 low-budget thriller "The Veteran." That same year he landed a small but pivotal role in the World War II-set "War Horse," which he followed up with a splashy (pun intended) turn as Poseidon's son Agenor in the CGI-blowout, "Wrath of the Titans." "The East," in which he played a paranoid anarchist doctor, proved a necessary indie antidote.
Wrath of the TitansAgenor
War HorseGeordie Soldier
The ConspiratorJohn Wilkes Booth
The Sorcerer's ApprenticeDrake Stone
Dead Man's ShoesAnthony