Date of Birth: March 20th 1963
His first acting job was in a play entitled Buddy Holly at the Regal in Greenwich. Thewlis' first major film role was as the rambling street philosopher Johnny in Naked (1993; dir. Mike Leigh), for which he was named best actor by the National Society of Film Critics (United States), the London Film Critics Circle, the Evening Standard, the New York Film Critics Circle and the Cannes Film Festival. Despite the dark nature of the film, he has been critically acclaimed for the role and it is seen as one of his best roles. The same year he appeared on television as the sexual predator James Jackson in Prime Suspect 3, opposite Helen Mirren and Ciaran Hinds.
Recent credits include Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven (2005), Terrence Malick's The New World (2005) and The Omen (2006). As a director, he was nominated for a BAFTA for best short film for Hello, Hello, Hello (1995); he has also written, directed and starred in the feature Cheeky (2003). When researching for his role in Kingdom of Heaven, Thewlis went to the Hospitaller museum near his home, and the first thing he saw was a mannequin wearing the exact same costume that he wore in the film.
In 1992, Thewlis married director Sara Sugarman; they divorced in 1993. In 2001 he began a relationship with actress Anna Friel, whom he met on a flight to Cannes. Due to each others filming schedules, their relationship has often been tested, Thewlis commented that "trying to keep a relationship going on the phone is disastrous." Despite this Thewlis has stated that " has changed me for the better. I am much more sociable now, more conversational, less withdrawn. It's to do with being happy." Their daughter Gracie was born on 9 July 2005 in London. Thewlis noted that he was "excited" and "not at all scared" by fatherhood, and that he loves children. If he was not an actor he would be a teacher as he believes "the most beautiful sound is a child laughing." During Friel's pregnancy he gave up smoking, began jogging and eating more healthily and lost weight as well as only taking on roles that were over three weeks before Gracie's expected birth date. Thewlis owns a converted Victorian ballroom in Clerkenwell, whilst Friel owns a house in Windsor, so the couple divide their time in each property. Their house in Windsor is located near the Long Walk and Windsor Castle; Thewlis once recounted that he "can lie in bed and watch the Queen ride by" and "when she's in the Range Rover she'll give a smile." He also is often mistaken for fellow actor Rhys Ifans: "Twice a week, people come up to me and say, 'You were great in Notting Hill.' I sometimes accept the compliment. Rhys Ifans gets the same with me: 'You were great in Naked or, 'You were great in Harry Potter. ' The public seem to think we are the same person." Thewlis has also recently published a novel called The Late Hector Kipling(2007), which received great reviews, but was also shortlisted by the Literary Review for a Bad Sex in Fiction award in 2007.