Naomi Watts (born 28 September 1968) is a British-born Australian actress. Naomi began her career in Australian television, where she appeared in commercials and series, including the Home and Away, Brides of Christ and Hey Dad..!. Her first film role was in the 1986 drama For Love Alone. Later, she had a major supporting role in the coming of age film Flirting, and was cast in the 1996 horror film Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering.
Naomi gained critical acclaim following her work in the 2001 psychological
thriller Mulholland Drive. She appeared in the 2002 hit horror film The Ring. In
2004, she received the nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress as well
as for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female
Actor in a Leading Role for the 2003 drama 21 Grams. Other film roles include
the 2005 remake of King Kong and the 2007 thriller Eastern Promises.
In 2006, Naomi became a goodwill ambassador for Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, which helps to raise awareness of AIDS issues.
Naomi was born in Shoreham, Kent, England, the daughter of Myfanwy Edwards (née Roberts), a Welsh antiques dealer and costume and set designer, and Peter Watts, an English road manager and sound engineer who worked with Pink Floyd.
Naomi has one brother, Ben, a year older and now a photographer residing in the United States. Watts's parents separated when she was four years old, and her father died during her childhood. Following her father's death, her mother moved the family to Llanfawr Farm, on Anglesey in North Wales, where they lived with Watts's maternal grandparents, Nikki and Hugh Roberts. During this time, she attended a Welsh language school, Ysgol Gyfun Llangefni, where she carried out her studies for several years. Naomi described her mother (also an actress) as a hippie "with passive-aggressive tendencies" and no money, who used to threaten to send her and her brother to foster care in order to get her parents to provide for them.
Although her mother occasionally moved the family around Wales and England, usually to follow boyfriends, she always ended up returning to Llangefni, living there until Naomi was 14. Naomi says that she wanted to become an actress since watching the 1980 film Fame. In 1982, the family moved to Sydney, Australia. Her grandmother was Australian, which made it easier to obtain the documentation necessary, since Naomi and her family were entitled to Australian citizenship.
Of her nationality, she has said:
“ "I consider myself British and have very happy memories of the UK. I spent the first 14 years of my life in England and Wales and never wanted to leave. When I was in Australia I went back to England a lot". "I consider myself very Australian and very connected to Australia, in fact when people say where is home, I say Australia, because those are my most powerful memories". ”
After moving to Sydney, she attended Mosman High School. She attended several schools, including North Sydney Girls' High School, where her classmates included Nicole Kidman, with whom she is still close. In 1986, she took a break from acting and went to Japan to work as a model, but the experience, which lasted for about four months, was fruitless as Naomi did not have the physical requirements for a professional runway model and could only hope to be working in promotions, which did not excite her. Naomi describes it as one of the worst periods of her life. Upon returning to Australia, she went to work for a local department store and from there she went to work as assistant fashion editor with an Australian fashion magazine. A casual invitation to participate in a drama workshop rekindled her passion for acting, and prompted her to quit her job and dedicate herself to succeeding as an actress.
Watts's career began in Australian television, where she appeared in commercials and series, including the soap opera Home and Away, the award winning mini-series Brides of Christ and the family sitcom Hey Dad..! She was featured in a supporting role in the acclaimed 1991 Australian indie film Flirting, starring future Hollywood up-and-comers Nicole Kidman and Thandie Newton. As Naomi made the transition from Australia to the United States, she landed a supporting role in the cult 1995 film Tank Girl, playing the part of "Jet Girl".
Finding quality roles in the Hollywood system at first proved difficult. She appeared in the short-lived series, Sleepwalkers and numerous B-list productions such as films like Children of the Corn IV. Much of her early career is filled with near misses in casting as she was up for significant roles in films such as The Parent Trap, Meet the Parents and Man on the Moon, roles would eventually go to other actresses. Gradually, Naomi attracted supporting roles in films such as Dangerous Beauty.
Naomi with filmmaker David Lynch at the Cannes Film Festival in 2001 In 2001, she starred in The Shaft directed by Dick Maas, which garnered poor reviews. Naomi starred in David Lynch's highly acclaimed Mulholland Drive. The film premiered at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival, winning her the National Society of Film Critics Award as Best Actress and the National Board of Review award as Breakthrough Performance of the Year. The surrealist film attracted controversy with its strong lesbian theme. Having worked with director/screenwriter Scott Coffey on Mulholland Drive, they teamed up to co-produce her next film, the semi-autobiographical Ellie Parker, which grew out of the friendship forged between Naomi and Coffey.
In 2002, she starred in one of the biggest box office hits of that year, the English language remake of the Japanese horror film The Ring. The film received favorable reviews; Watt's performance was praised by critics, including Paul Clinton of CNN.com, who stated that she "is excellent in this leading role, which proves that her stellar performance in Mulholland Drive was not a fluke. She strikes a perfect balance between skepticism and the slow realization of the truth in regard to the deadly power of the videotape."
The following year, she starred in the film Ned Kelly opposite Heath Ledger, Orlando Bloom, and Geoffrey Rush, as well as the Merchant-Ivory film Le Divorce with Kate Hudson. Her performance opposite Sean Penn and Benicio del Toro in director Alejandro González Iñárritu's 21 Grams earned Naomi her first Academy Award nomination as Best Actress. She said of the nomination, "It's far beyond what I ever dreamed for - that would have been too far fetched". She also was nominated for Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role, as well as many other nominations and acclaim.
She produced and starred in the well-received independent film We Don't Live Here Anymore. The film is a drama which was based on the short stories We Don't Live Here Anymore and Adultery by Andre Dubus. She reunited with Sean Penn and Don Cheadle in The Assassination of Richard Nixon, in which she played Marie Andersen Bicke, the wife of Penn's character, Samuel J. Bicke. She also teamed up with Jude Law and Dustin Hoffman in David O. Russell's ensemble comedy I ♥ Huckabees.
Naomi landed the lead role in the sequel to the Ring, The Ring Two. The film received several negative reviews, but was a major success at the box office, with a over $ 161 million worldwide gross. She starred in the much-anticipated remake of King Kong (2005) as Ann Darrow. The role, immortalized by Fay Wray in the original film, proved to be Watts's most commercially successful film yet. Helmed by The Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson, the film won high praise and grossed $550 million worldwide.
Naomi with her partner Liev Schreiber. Naomi starred in the American Japanese drama The Painted Veil with Edward Norton and Liev Schreiber, released in December 2006. Her character in the film was Kitty Garstin Fane. Also that year, she provided the voice of a small role, Suzie Rabbit, in the psychological thriller film Inland Empire. The following year, she appeared in David Cronenberg's British thriller Eastern Promises with Viggo Mortensen. The film was released to critical acclaim for the film itself and for her performance. Critic Matthew Turner of View London wrote that Naomi "strikes an intriguing balance between strength and emotional vulnerability." In 2008, she received a Saturn Award nomination for Best Actress.
Funny Games, a 2008 remake of the 1997 Austrian film by director Michael Haneke, was co-starred Tim Roth. In the film, she portrayed the character of Ann Farber, the wife of Roth's character. The film opened on 20 October 2007 at the London Film Festival. The press has labeled her the "queen of remakes" because she has starred in so many of them; she is scheduled to star in the remake of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds (1963). Naomi has stated only that there have been "discussions" about the remake.
Naomi at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. In 2009, Naomi had the starring role alongside Clive Owen in the political thriller film The International. Her character was Eleanor Whitman, a Manhattan assistant district attorney who partners with the agent to take down the bank. In an interview, she said about her role: "She was operating in this fast-moving world and was a great bouncing board for her colleague, Salinger, but also trying to balance that with motherhood as well, and I think I definitely relate to that now and hopefully other career mothers will too." The International was well received by critics and grossed over $ 60 million worldwide.
Naomi next appeared in the American drama Mother and Child, which was screened at the Sundance Film Festival. She personified the role of Elizabeth, a lawyer who never knew her biological mother. The film offered her the chance to act with the actors Annette Bening, Kerry Washington and Samuel L. Jackson. Mother and Child received several favorable reviews, and Watts' performance was praised by Tom Long of Detroit News, who stated that she "has the ability to make such a ragged transition somehow work." She was nominated for the "Best Actress" award at the Australian Film Institute International Awards. She is also nominated for an Independent Spirit Award in the category of Best Supporting Female.
The comedy-drama You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger – starring Naomi – opened at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival on 15 May 2010. She portrayed Sally, a woman who has a troubled marriage with author Roy (played by Josh Brolin). Antonio Banderas, Freida Pinto, Lucy Punch and Anthony Hopkins also co-starred in the film. The film received mixed or average reviews from critics and has grossed $23,053,338 worldwide.
In January 2010, she was cast for the thriller film Dream House, which will be directed by Jim Sheridan. She starred in the film Fair Game, which opened at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010, and was later released in the United States on 5 November 2010. In Fair Game, she co-appeared with Sean Penn again; the film marks the third pairing of Naomi with Peen after 21 Grams and The Assassination of Richard Nixon. It's based on Valerie Plame's memoir, Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House. Naomi was nominated for the Satellite Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama.
In 2010, it was announced that Naomi landed the role of Marilyn Monroe in the film Blonde. which is set to start shooting in January 2011.
Naomi became a goodwill ambassador for Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, it helps to raise awareness of AIDS issues. She has used her high profile and celebrity to call attention to the needs of people living with this disease. Naomi participates in events and activities, including the 21st Annual AIDS Walk. She is presented as an inaugural member of AIDS Red Ribbon Awards. She has participated in campaigns for fundraising.
On 1 December 2009, Naomi was meeting with United Nations Secretary-General
Ban Ki-moon and joined the AIDS response at a dramatic public event
commemorating World AIDS Day 2009. During the event, she said:
“ “It has been both unfortunate and unfair for HIV infection to be considered a shameful disease, for people living with HIV to be judged as blameworthy, and for AIDS to be equated with certain death. I have personally seen that dignity and hope have been strongest among those whose lives were changed by HIV.” ”
Naomi's father's manic laugh can be heard in Pink Floyd's "Speak to Me" and "Brain Damage" from The Dark Side of the Moon. Naomi is pictured in her mother's arms with her father, brother, the band, and other crew members, in the hardback/softcover edition of drummer Nick Mason's autobiography of the band Inside Out.
Naomi dated director Stephen Hopkins in the 1990s and actor Heath Ledger from August 2002 to May 2004. Since the spring of 2005, Watts's partner has been the actor Liev Schreiber. She confirmed in an interview in late January 2009 that Liev had in fact given her a ring (which she was not wearing at the time) but that neither of them wanted to rush into marriage. Liev, known to play tricks on the media, had once before called her his wife in 2007, but later revealed that it was a joke.
The couple's first son, Alexander "Sasha" Pete, was born on 25 July 2007 in
Los Angeles, and their second son, Samuel "Sammy" Kai, on 13 December 2008 in
New York City. After a temporary hiatus from acting, she returned to work with
The International, her first project since becoming a mother. Naomi stated in
April 2010 that she would have a third child if she could guarantee a baby girl.
Naomi is a close friend of Benicio del Toro, with whom she co-starred in 21 Grams. Naomi is friends with actress Isla Fisher, and is godmother to The Mentalist's Simon Baker's oldest son, Claude. She is also best friends with fellow Australian actress Nicole Kidman, after having met when they were in their teens during an audition. Naomi even moved in with Kidman for a time as nanny to the children of Kidman and her then husband Tom Cruise when Watts's own career had yet to gain commercial success.
After filming The Painted Veil, she became attracted to Buddhism, claiming,
"I have some belief but I am not a strict Buddhist or anything yet. There was a
lot of excitement and energy there."
On 25 March 2010, she was voted one of the 20 People Who've Gotten More Attractive with Age by Nerv.
This Naomi Watts Biography Page is Copyright © 2004 - 2009 Chuck Ayoub