The Biography of Matt SmithThe youngest Doctor Who in history, the best Prince Philip on British TV, a promising English star, and the most stylish actor in London - Matt Smith has been awarded titles many times throughout his career. It's remarkable that he stumbled into the acting profession almost by chance: from childhood, he dreamed of becoming a footballer, but a injury destroyed his sports future.
By the twists of fate, he found himself in the theatre world, and from there he made his way to the small screen. In 2009, an invitation to play the lead role in the BBC series "Doctor Who" turned Matt into a superstar. And yet, he had not even intended to accept the role, since he knew nothing about this iconic character.
The situation repeated itself in 2022 when Smith was offered a role in the prequel to the legendary "Game of Thrones" series, "House of the Dragon," and he initially wanted to refuse. The actor did not believe in the success of the project, but he changed his mind in time. Matt was given one of the most prominent characters - the ruthless and cynical Daemon Targaryen. After just a few episodes, the actor was recognized as an undisputed star of the cast.
ChildhoodMatt Smith was born on October 28th, 1982, in the English county of Northamptonshire. The boy became the second child in the family - he has an elder sister named Laura. His family was quite well-off and well-known in the city - his parents had a business in plastic recycling.
As a child, Matt was a sports enthusiast. His father, David Smith, was a former professional footballer who played for the club "Notts County." His son did not just want to follow in his father's footsteps, he wanted to surpass him. At the same time, the energetic boy managed to pursue music and theatre and served as a class prefect at his boys' school. Matt's sports career developed steadily: in 1993, he began playing in the youth team of "Northampton Town," and a year later, he moved to "Nottingham Forest." In 1997, Matt joined the junior football team of "Leicester City."
In 1998, he injured his spine and succumbed to his father's urging to take a break from sports. Together, they went for physiotherapy and therapeutic exercises every day for a year. The exercises helped Matt, but he could never fully recover his previous form.
The decision to end his football career was not an easy one for the 17-year-old young man. "It was very difficult for me to tell my acquaintances that I was finished with football," the actor later admitted. Matt's theatre arts teacher noticed his depressive state. Despite the fact that the young man attended the courses more for entertainment, the teacher - Terry Hardingem - immediately noticed his talent. Without even asking Matt, the teacher cast him in the play "Twelve Angry Men."
As a teenager, he performed brilliantly on stage, but he flatly refused to dedicate his life to acting, as he considered it an unserious and "unmanly" profession. He planned to follow in the footsteps of his friends and attend either Cambridge or Sheffield after graduating from high school, with the latter known for its political science program. It took a great deal of effort on Hardingem's part to persuade Matt to enrol in the National Youth Theatre.
In the end, the teacher's calculations paid off: the stage eventually captivated Smith. In 2001, he enrolled in the University of East Anglia, choosing a course in acting and literature.
TheatreMatt quickly became a sought-after actor and landed his first theatre roles even before finishing his studies. In 2002, he played Thomas Becket in "Murder in the Cathedral" and Fagot in "The Master and Margarita," working with the National Youth Theatre.
As the offers for work poured in, the student hired an agent. In 2003, he landed roles in the Royal Court Theatre productions of "Fresh Kills" and "On the Shore of the Wide World." Then he was offered a stage role at the Royal London Theatre in the production of "The History Boys." Due to the demanding rehearsal and premiere schedules, Matt made an agreement with the university to complete his last two courses as an external student.
In 2007, Smith made his West End debut in the stage adaptation of the film "Swimming with Sharks" at the Vaudeville Theatre. He co-starred with Christian Slater. Additionally, Matt landed a role in the teenage production "Burn/Chatroom/Citizenship" and the play "That Face" at the Royal Court Theatre.
A year later, "That Face" moved to the Duke of York's Theatre in the West End. The show was successful, and critics highly praised Smith's performance. He played Henry, a young artist forced to drop out of school and take care of his mother, who suffered from harmful addictions. According to the actor, while preparing for the role, he interviewed people with addictions to alcohol and drugs to better understand their worldview. The cast of the production, including Smith, was nominated for the 2008 Laurence Olivier Award, and Smith received a special mention in the Evening Standard.
In 2013, Smith played Patrick Bateman in the musical adaptation of the film "American Psycho" at the Almeida Theatre in London. Then in 2019, he was invited to another renowned English theatre, the Old Vic, to participate in a production of Duncan Macmillan's play "Lungs." In this extravagant production, a young couple talked extensively, pondering whether it's worth having children in the modern world, full of dangers and environmental catastrophes. Smith's stage partner was actress Claire Foy.
First film rolesWhile Smith made a name for himself with ease in the theatrical world, he had to put in some effort to win over movie audiences. His first experience on screen can be considered the small roles he had in the TV series "The Street" and the 2006 film adaptations of Philip Pullman's "The Shadow in the North" and "The Ruby in the Smoke."
A year later, Smith landed the leading role in the BBC series "Party Animals". The project was dedicated to the work of political advisers to the British Parliament and specifically the lives of the sons of a former senator. Smith played a timid intellectual obsessed with his job.
The actor agreed to any supporting roles. In 2007, he appeared in the series "The Secret Diary of a Call Girl," where he reunited with actress Billie Piper, with whom he had previously worked on film adaptations of Philip Pullman's works.
Matt also got a role in the crime drama "In Bruges", where he played a younger version of Harry, Ralph Fiennes' character. However, during the editing process, all scenes involving Smith were cut.
Doctor WhoHowever, his work on the set of "Party Animals" was so memorable to BBC producer Piers Wenger that he immediately cast Matt as the Eleventh Doctor in "Doctor Who." It was a fairly bold decision, as the actor knew nothing about the character's history, and his name was not well-known to audiences. Additionally, Smith had to replace the previous Doctor, David Tennant, and competing with his popularity was not an easy task.
The young actor admitted that he was quite skeptical about the offer to audition for the role, but eventually gave in to his agent's persuasion. The name of the new Doctor, the eleventh in the series, was announced in early 2009. And Smith's home was immediately surrounded by paparazzi: reporters were searching for any details about the actor's personal life among his close friends and family. "It felt like a real intrusion into my private life," Smith recalled.
Despite criticism from fans, the first episodes with Matt Smith, which aired in 2010, showed unprecedented ratings. Over the next three years, Matt played the Doctor in three seasons of the original series, several short films and special episodes, the full-length movie "The Day of the Doctor" in 2013, and a couple of episodes of the spin-off "The Sarah Jane Adventures". In addition, he appeared in this role on TV shows and performed on stage with the band "Orbital" at the Glastonbury festival.
For his role as the Doctor, Smith received nominations for the National Television Awards and a British Academy Television Award for Best Actor (BAFTA). "The Doctor is just a wonderful character," said Smith enthusiastically about his role.
Nevertheless, in 2013 it became clear that Smith had said goodbye to the role of the Doctor. In the eighth season of the series, he was replaced by Peter Capaldi. The actor did not elaborate on the reasons for his decision, stating that it was due to "circumstances". Much later, Smith admitted that leaving the show was difficult for him - even his mom asked him to stay as the Doctor. And while reading the script for his character's final lines, Matt shed tears.
The heyday of his careerIn the wake of his Doctor Who role, Matt ventured beyond British television. He starred in the films "Lost River" (2014) and "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" (2015), and had a supporting role in the action movie "Terminator: Genisys" (2015). It was planned that he would have a much larger role in the franchise's next installments, but the movie flopped at the box office and sequels were not made.
In 2016, another major career milestone began for the actor - he was entrusted with the role of Prince Philip in the series "The Crown". The project tells the story of the British royal family. Smith played the husband of Elizabeth II in the first two seasons.
His partner was actress Claire Foy. In the third season, they passed on their roles to their colleagues - the creators of the series immediately assumed that the performers would change as the characters aged. Matt was incredibly proud to be able to show the world an unknown side of the Queen's consort, especially since the Prince Consort was radically different from the image of Doctor Who that fans were used to seeing Smith in. In 2018, the actor had several memorable roles. He starred in the biographical drama "Mapplethorpe," the thriller about the Manson cult "Charlie Says," and the horror film "Patient Zero." There were rumors that Matt might join the cast of the new "Star Wars" episode as a young Emperor Palpatine, but they turned out to be false. A year later, Smith appeared in the Oscar-winning director Gavin Hood's military drama "Official Secrets." The actor received one of the main roles alongside Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes, and Rhys Ifans. The film was recognized as the best political film of the year.
In 2021, Matt had a role in the retro horror film "Last Night in Soho" alongside Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy. Although the movie didn't do well at the box office, it received several nominations from BAFTA, the Hollywood Critics Association, and the Venice Film Festival. Additionally, the actor starred in the drama "The Forgiven", alongside Ralph Fiennes and Jessica Chastain.
Matt Smith's personal lifeAfter starring in "Doctor Who," the press was focused on Matt Smith's personal life, especially since he often had romantic relationships with colleagues. As early as 2005, he was rumored to have a relationship with actress Billie Piper from "Doctor Who." In 2008, he was often seen in the company of Brazilian singer Mayana Moura, but that relationship did not last long either.
And a romance with model Daisy Lowe lasted for several years, from 2010 to 2013, during which they would break up and get back together again. The relationship came to an end after the actor attended the Cannes Film Festival with actress Lily James in 2014. The press immediately linked the colleagues romantically, and these rumors were later confirmed. The actors attended events together and often posed for joint photos on social media.
However, in 2019 they announced their breakup, citing conflicting work schedules as the official reason. But it's likely that Smith's close relationship with his "The Crown" co-star Claire Foy was the real reason. Amid rumors of a romance between Smith and Foy, the latter quickly filed for divorce, with both insisting that they were just friends.
During the quarantine, Smith and Lily James rekindled their relationship, but not for long. Soon there were rumors of a romance between the actor and "Game of Thrones" star Emilia Clarke. Although nothing further developed beyond a few outings, the end of the relationship with Lily was final.
And after filming in the movie "Last Night in Soho," there were rumors in the press about a romance between Matt and rising star Anya Taylor-Joy. The actor himself did not comment on the press speculation.
Matt Smith is not a big fan of social media. He much prefers to spend his free time watching football matches, playing the piano, taking photographs, and listening to music. His favorite bands are Radiohead and Pink Floyd. Matt is also interested in playing chess and collecting antique furniture.
Matt Smith nowIn 2022, an new opportunity to demonstrate different facets of his talent came to the actor. In March, the Marvel comics-based action film "Morbius" was released, in which Smith played a negative character. According to the plot, the character played by Jared Leto found a way to cure a serious illness, and his friend played by the English actor stole the miraculous serum from him to use his new powers for cruel purposes.
Despite the fact that the anticipation rating for the premiere was off the charts, the film flopped at the box office. The only positive aspect of the film was said to be the performances of Leto and Smith.
In August 2022, the "Game of Thrones" prequel series "House of the Dragon" premiered on HBO. Matt Smith was cast in one of the main roles in the series as the complex and enigmatic character of Daemon Targaryen. Throughout the show, his character plays a game for his own interests and schemes in the best traditions of George R. R. Martin's novels.
As the younger brother of King Viserys, Daemon had the right to the throne, but he yielded it to his niece Rhaenyra, with whom he had tender feelings, at the decision of the ruler. These feelings did not prevent the experienced dragon rider from participating in the war that erupted. "He's somebody who instinctively behaves very cruelly, but has this strange sense of morality," the actor said about Daemon. It was initially a lighthearted approach for Smith when he was offered the role in "House of the Dragon" just like with "Doctor Who". But this time the reasons were different. The actor was aware of the success of "Game of Thrones" and doubted that its spin-off could achieve the same results. However, after learning that Paddy Considine had agreed to join the project, he changed his mind because he had always wanted to work with this actor. In addition to Considine and Smith, the series also stars Emma D'Arcy, Rhys Ifans, Eve Best, and Milly Alcock.
In 2023, the horror movie "Starve Acre" with Matt's participation was planned to be released. Together with Morfydd Clark, the star of "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" series, he played a couple of spouses raising a child with peculiarities in 1970s England.
- Matt Smith became the youngest actor to play the role of the Eleventh Doctor in the long-running series "Doctor Who" when he was 26 years old.
- In 2012, he participated in the Olympic torch relay ahead of the Summer Olympics in London. He admitted that he was proud of the opportunity, but was very afraid of dropping the torch as he is quite clumsy.
- In 2013, Smith directed a short film called "Cargese," which was shown on the Sky Arts channel.
- In 2021, he appeared in several music videos for Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds. Smith is a big fan of Gallagher's music and treasures their friendship.
- For his role as Daemon Targaryen in the series "House of the Dragon," the actor learned the fictional Valyrian language.
- In September 2022, Smith revealed that he once bumped into Prince Harry at a polo match. As it turned out, the royal family member enjoyed the actor's performance in "The Crown." He extended his hand to Smith and called him "grandad." Smith's friends also told him that the real Prince Philip only snorted when he heard about the show.
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