But something unexpected beats at the heart of this holiday-season crowd-pleaser. But smack-dab in the middle of Mary Poppins Returns, director Rob Marshall has placed indie darling Ben Whishaw as little Michael Banks—all grown up, and desperately trying to hold his family together. The British actor, who has played doomed, heartbreaking heroes for the better part of his career, brings that same intensity to this family-friendly adventure, carving out a profound emotional core that anchors a fizzy tale of high-kicking lamplighters and a bannister-riding nanny. On an uncharacteristically blustery Los Angeles afternoon, Whishaw sat down for a lengthy chat about how a non-singer such as himself wound up with two of the best musical moments in the film. He occasionally ducked his head shyly and avoided eye contact when his embarrassment became too intolerable. Whishaw was in his early twenties at the time—but with his thin frame, a wild inky mop of hair, and delicate features, he looked much, much younger. Over the better part of a decade, Whishaw careened from that doomed Danish prince to play a wrongly convicted prisoner Criminal Justice , an alcoholic teen aristocrat Brideshead Revisited , consumptive romantic poet Bright Star , frustrated journalist The Hour , and suicidal composer Cloud Atlas.
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Birthplace: Clifton, England, UK. A veteran of the stage and former member of the esteemed Bancroft Players Youth Theatre, British actor Ben Whishaw quickly gained a reputation as one of England's most talented young performers. Whishaw garnered considerable attention for his stage work with London's Royal National Theatre and the Old Vic, prior to appearing in such U. Soon after, he made his belated entry into Hollywood as the star of the critically lauded period thriller "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer" Considered one of the U.
With his troubled air and tousled hair, the actor has made his name with anguished characters — from Hamlet to Danny in London Spy. Now on Broadway in The Crucible, he talks about coming out and why actors need to keep their private lives mysterious. Starring opposite Sophie Okonedo as his wife and Saoirse Ronan as his former mistress, Whishaw plays the anguished hero John Proctor, a just though morally compromised man, ensnared by the witch trials in colonial Salem. Anguished heroes are what Whishaw does best. So, it seems, is Paddington Bear. And, much as he might like to deny it, they are what he is drawn to. Despite what his fansites might suggest, Whishaw is no forest creature, at least not this afternoon.