WILLIAM HURT (General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross) trained at Tufts University and New York’s Juilliard School of Music and Drama. He has been nominated for four Academy Awards®, including the most recent nomination for his supporting role in David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence. The film screened at both the Cannes Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival. Hurt received Best Supporting Actor accolades for his role from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the New York Film Critics Circle.
Hurt recently wrapped the remake of Yoji Yamada’s 1977 film Yellow Handkerchief, opposite Maria Bello. The film stars Hurt as an ex-convict recently released from prison for the accidental murder of another man. Udayan Prasad (My Son the Fanatic) directed the project.
Hurt was most recently seen in Vantage Point, opposite Dennis Quaid, Sigourney Weaver and Forest Whitaker. He was also seen in Into the Wild, directed by Sean Penn and starring Marcia Gay Harden, Catherine Keener and Vince Vaughn, and in Mr. Brooks, a psychological thriller opposite Kevin Costner and directed by Bruce Evans. In early 2007, Hurt was seen in The Good Shepherd, written by Eric Roth and directed by Robert De Niro. The film starred Matt Damon, Robert De Niro and Angelina Jolie, and followed the history of over 40 years in the CIA, told through the eyes of Edward Wilson, one of its founding officers.
In 2006, Hurt starred in James Marsh’s film The King, with Gael García Bernal. The film follows a troubled man (Bernal), recently discharged from the Navy, who returns to his childhood home in Texas to reunite with his father (Hurt). The King was screened at the Cannes Film Festival. Also in 2006, Hurt appeared in Beautiful Ohio, directed by Chad Lowe and Noise, an independent comedy opposite Tim Robbins and Bridget Moynahan. Beautiful Ohio was screened at the 2006 AFI Film Festival.
In 2005, Hurt was seen in Syriana, directed by Stephen Gaghan and starring George Clooney, Matt Damon and Amanda Peet. The same year, he also completed production on the ensemble independent film Neverwas, opposite Sir Ian McKellen, Alan Cumming and Aaron Eckhart.
In 2004, Hurt was seen in M. Night Shyamalan’s thriller The Village, opposite Joaquin Phoenix and Sigourney Weaver as well as the independent film The Blue Butterfly. Hurt starred in the film as a famous entomologist who takes a terminally ill boy into the rainforest to grant his dying wish. The film was screened at the 2004 Tribeca Film Festival and was released in Canada and Japan.
In 2002, Hurt appeared in Disney’s Tuck Everlasting, directed by Jay Russell, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and had a cameo appearance in Paramount’s Changing Lanes, starring Samuel L. Jackson.
In 2001, Hurt starred in the independent film Rare Birds, which screened at the Toronto International Film Festival. He was also seen in a supporting role in Steven Spielberg’s Artificial Intelligence: AI.
In 2000, Hurt delivered a memorable performance in Sunshine, opposite Ralph Fiennes. Directed by István Szabó, Sunshine received three Genie Awards, including one for Best Motion Picture.
In 1980, Hurt appeared in his first film, Altered States. He received a Best Actor Oscar® nomination for Broadcast News and Children of a Lesser God. For Kiss of the Spider Woman, he was honored with an Academy Award® as well as Best Actor awards from the British Academy and the Cannes Festival. Among his other film credits are Body Heat, The Big Chill, Eyewitness, Gorky Park, Alice, I Love You to Death, The Accidental Tourist, The Doctor, The Plague, The Simian Line, Trial by Jury, Second Best, Smoke, Confidences À Un Inconnu, Jane Eyre, Michael, Dark City, The Proposition, The Big Brass Ring and One True Thing.
In 2006, Hurt returned to television in the TNT special-event series Nightmares and Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King, based on the stories of Stephen King. The series was a four-week collection of eight tales based on King’s anthology, which featured all-star casts including William H. Macy, Samantha Mathis, Claire Forlani and Ron Livingston. Hurt’s episode, entitled “Battleground,” premiered the series. Hurt’s television credits include the Hallmark Channel’s miniseries Frankenstein, opposite Donald Sutherland, CBS’s The Flamingo Rising, the title role in the CBS miniseries Master Spy: The Robert Hanssen Story, Sci Fi Channel’s Dune and Varian’s War for Showtime. Directed by Lionel Chetwynd and produced by Barbra Streisand’s Barwood Films, Varian’s War co-starred Alan Arkin, Julia Ormond and Lynn Redgrave, and followed the story of Varian Fry (Hurt) who rescued prominent European artists and more than 2,000 others from Nazi persecution during World War II.
Hurt spent the early years of his career on the stage between drama school, summer stock, regional repertory and off-Broadway, appearing in more than 50 productions including Henry V, 5th of July, Hamlet, Richard II, Hurlyburly (for which he was nominated for a Tony Award), My Life (winning an Obie Award for Best Actor), A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Good.
For BBC Radio 4, Hurt read Paul Theroux’s “The Great Railway Bazaar” and E. Anne Proulx’s “Shipping News.” He has recorded “The Polar Express” and “The Boy Who Drew Cats” and narrated the documentaries Searching for America: The Odyssey of John Dos Passos, A. Einstein: How I See the World and the English narration of Elie Wiesel’s To Speak the Unspeakable: The Message of Elie Wiesel, a documentary directed and produced by Judit Elek.
In 1988, Hurt was awarded the first Spencer Tracy Award from UCLA.