The exceedingly handsome actor Douglas Booth - one of a select group of British up-and-comers like Robert Pattinson and James McAvoy who were often deemed too handsome to be taken seriously - never ac...
|Cast as Romeo opposite Hailee Steinfeld's Juliet in remake of "Romeo and Juliet"; Julian Fellowes wrote screenplay based on the Shakespearean play|
|Co-starred with Miley Cyrus and Demi Moore in "LOL"|
|Starred as Pip in BBC "Masterpiece Theatre" presentation of "Great Expectations"|
|Appeared in the Starz miniseries "The Pillars of the Earth"|
|Portrayed singer Boy George in the BBC TV-movie "Worried About the Boy"|
|Made feature debut in the U.K. fantasy feature "Hunters of the Kahri"|
|Discovered by filmmaker Julian Fellowes when he cast him in "From Time to Time," starring Maggie Smith and Dominic West|
London native Douglas John Booth was born on July 9, 1992 into a middle-class British family with a half-Dutch, half-Spanish mother and English father. The family lived in Greenwich in Blackheath until Booth was 10, before relocating to the country town of Sevenoaks in Kent, where he attended the Solefield School. Burdened with dyslexia as a child, Booth struggled in his studies, but with much determination, graduated with solid marks. An enthusiastic rugby player, he reluctantly gave up the sport when warned that it might do damage to what would clearly be an uncommonly handsome face. Booth knew even as a child that he desired a career as an actor, and from the age of 13, honed his skills with the National Youth Theatre - undaunted by the fact that he was considerably younger than other students. After he attained his General Certificate of Secondary Education from Lingfield Notre Dame School, Booth signed with agent Curtis Brown and made his debut in the low-budget, little-seen British fantasy "Hunters of the Kahri" (2006).
Many more people had a chance to see Booth via "From Time to Time" (2009), a stately combination ghost story/time travel saga aimed at a family audience, which alternated between the early 19th century and the closing days of World War II. Critics started to take notice of him via the telefilm "Worried about the Boy" (BBC, 2010), where he played androgynous '80s pop star Boy George at both the height of his fame and the depths of his heroin addiction. The docudrama was dismissed by some reviewers as overly white-washed, but most felt that Booth did an excellent job of embodying the troubled gay singer during various periods of his life and career. His part as Prince Eustace in the big-budget German/Canadian miniseries "The Pillars of the Earth" (Starz, 2010), however, was not as prominent or all that interesting. The project was also considered something of a letdown compared to the brand of blood and sex efforts like "Rome" (HBO, 2005-07) and "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" (Starz, 2010-11) had revived in that type of period fare. However, Booth impressed again in the much more intimate drama "Christopher and His Kind" (BBC Worldwide, 2010), cast as his second openly gay character. As novelist Christopher Isherwood's lover, Heinz Neddermeyer, Booth interpreted the role with subtle, affecting charm and a convincing German accent.
In addition to his acting assignments, Booth's male model looks were also well showcased in ads for Burberry, where he appeared alongside Eddie Redmayne, Emma Watson and Rosie Huntington-Whitely, as well as in ads for the men's fashion line, Mr. Porter. Hollywood soon took notice, leading to Booth's inauspicious American feature debut in the Miley Cyrus comedy "LOL" (2012), director Lisa Azuelos' remake of her like-named 2008 French movie. Cast as Cyrus' best friend and an aspiring musician, the actor provided little more than eye candy, thanks to a poor script. Despite coming from the same creator, the original's charms were lost in translation and the new version was dismissed by critics as witless and insufferable. Booth also had to suffer through the inevitable tabloid speculation about a romantic connection between him and his Disney tween co-star off-screen.
Booth had a much more fortuitous opportunity with the BBC's lush miniseries adaptation of Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations" (2011). Cast as the protagonist, Pip, Booth more than held his own opposite powerhouse actors Ray Winstone and Gillian Anderson. Though there was some truth to critics' accusations that he was a bit wooden compared to his co-stars, the production was solidly reviewed and generated award buzz. Other critics were sufficiently impressed, as Booth became one of only five thespians invited to do live performances from Dickens' works in celebration of the author's 200th birthday. For his segment, Booth did a monologue from the novel.
Continuing to forge ahead as an actor despite misconceptions, he appeared in director Rain Li's "London" segment of the omnibus drama "Geography of the Hapless Heart" (2012). The mostly widely seen of his works in America up to that time, the successful 2012 run of "Great Expectations" (PBS) demonstrated to viewers and industry personnel in the States that Booth was a performer worth watching. He was added to "Life at These Speeds" (2012), an adaptation of the Jeremy Jackson novel about the sole survivor of a horrific bus crash who later becomes a world class runner. After beating out over 300 contenders, Booth also joined Hailee Steinfeld of "True Grit" (2009) fame in the title roles of "Romeo and Juliet" (2013) and was cast with Logan Lerman in Darren Aronofsky's epic, "Noah" (2014), as a son of the Biblical figure.
By John Charles
From classic movie palaces to the state-of-the-art IMAX screens.