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Matthew Rhys

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Matthew was born and raised in the historic city of Cardiff, South Wales. He was educated at primary and secondary school through the Welsh medium, which still remains his first language. At the age of seventeen, he realised that a career in farming or the armed forces were not for him, after playing the lead role of Elvis in a school musical. As a result he decided to apply for drama college, auditioned and was accepted at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Upon his application and acceptance to RADA, he was forwarded by the college to apply for the Patricia Rothermere Scholarship' adjudicated by Sir Richard Eyre and Dame Diana Rigg. To his great surprise and joy he won and was presented with the scholarship at the 1993 Evening Standard Awards. Approaching the end of his third year at RADA, Matthew auditioned for a film called _House Of America (1997)_ (qv) (with 'Sian Phillips' (qv) and 'Steven Macintosh' (qv)) and landed the part of Boyo, the son of a dysfunctional family living in the South Wales Valleys. Afterwards he returned to finish his course at RADA, only having to leave again to appear in _"Backup" (1995)_ (qv), the BBC police series about the operational support units also known as Hooli Vans. After three months filming in Birmingham in and out of police vans, he had a chance to return to Cardiff and act in his own language in the Welsh film Bydd yn Wrol (Be Brave) for which he won Best Actor' at the Welsh Bafta's. A year of theatre followed for Matthew when he went to the National Theatre in London for Peter Gill's controversial play Cardiff East. It transferred to Cardiff for a short while, which Matthew found a little daunting - having to play to old school friends wearing nothing but a smile and a bad haircut was not easy. After five months at the National, he moved around the corner to the Old Vic theatre with Geraldine McEwan, under the direction of Dominic Dromgoole. The play Grace Note ran as part of the new writing initiative under Peter Hall. Three months at the Royal Court ensued as part of the international writer's festival and Matthew appeared in two of the three adaptations featured. In January of '98 Matthew went to New Zealand for four and a half months to star in _"Greenstone" (1999)_ (qv), a colonial costume drama for television and enjoyed "one of the best experiences of his life". On flying back from New Zealand, he stopped over in Los Angeles to audition for Julie Taymor's adaptation of _Titus (1999)_ (qv) and was over the moon to be offered the role of Demetrius. Immediately he was flown to Rome to begin filming the Shakesperian tragedy which starred 'Anthony Hopkins' (qv) and 'Jessica Lange' (qv). Returning from Rome in the early part of '99, Matthew travelled to Sheffield to play Tom Courtenay and Lulu's son, Ray for a part in Peter Hewitt's film comedy - _Whatever Happened To Harold Smith? (1999)_ (qv) which was released March 2000. After more than a year and a half of working away, Matthew was happy to return to Wales to do two consecutive films with 'Jonathan Pryce' (qv). The first was _Testimony Of Taliesin Jones, The (1999)_ (qv), a film about a dysfunctional single-parent family in which he plays the elder son, and then he went straight onto Sara Sugarman's comedy - _Very Annie Mary (2000)_ (qv) in which Matthew plays Hobb, one of two gay local shop-owners alongside Ioan Gruffudd who plays Nob. In 2000 he completed filming a lead role in _"Metropolis" (2000) (mini)_ (qv) a drama series for Granada, about the lives of six twenty-somethings living in London; and _Peaches (2000)_ (qv), the feature film of the celebrated play written and directed by Nick Grosso. Set in London, Matthew plays in the lead role of Frank, a discontented and disgruntled student in his final year. He finished filming his fifth film of 2000 just before Christmas in the lead role of Carl in Alex Jovy's film _Sorted (2000)_ (qv) about an innocent Yorkshireman who gets seduced by London's club culture with near disastrous consequences. Although widely acknowledged as one of the UK's most exciting young actors, Matthew is quite adamant he could happily give it all up to play international rugby for his country.
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