Tall and slender with dark good looks and a rich, plummy voice, Jeremy Northam was already established as a stage and television performer in his native Britain when he landed his breakthrough screen role as the suavely seductive villain stalking Sandra Bullock in the cyber thriller "The Net" (1995). The son of a professor and a potter, he spent his formative years in Bristol and Cambridge. After completing his college education, Northam enrolled at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School but left before completing the three-year program when he began landing TV roles like the soldier in the WWI drama "Journey's End" (1988). The following year, the limelight shone on him briefly when he understudied and then replaced Daniel Day-Lewis in the National Theatre production of "Hamlet." Additional stage roles followed, including an award-winning turn in "The Voysey Inheritance" and a supporting role in "The Gift of the Gorgon" (1992), starring married couple Judi Dench and Michael Williams as well as additional work at the Royal Shakespeare Festival. As his stage presence increased, Northam lent his presence to other small screen roles before landing his first major feature role, as Hindley Earnshaw in the uneven remake of "Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights" (1992). That film met with a derisive critical reaction in England and was relegated to TV in America (it aired on TNT in 1994).