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Guy Pearce : Rising Star of Hollywood

Updated on April 1, 2013

Guy Pearce continues to be in demand in Hollywood, his performances in films such as Prometheus, Memento and LA Confidential have received rave reviews from critics. He is also set to play a major role in the next Iron Man film, alongside Robert Downey, Jnr. The Australian actor has grown in stature and ability since he started off his acting career at school, and is always eager to try something new and different. Pearce is an actor who takes on every aspect of his character, and his performances are always honest and intense.

Guy Pearce in...

Australian Soapstar

From humble beginnings in the long running Australia soap opera "Neighbours", it is hard to imagine that any actor would become one of the stand out character actors of his generation. The Australian soap opera's of the mid 1980's produced a number of successful film, television and recording artists. Among the actors to progress past their fairly low budget early careers include Jason Donovan, Kylie Minogue and Guy Pearce.

Guy was born in England in 1967, and his family moved to Australia while Guy was still a toddler. His father was employed as a test pilot by the Australian government and they decided to settle down under. By the age of eight his father had died due to a test flight accident, this left his mother to raise Guy and his sister by herself. Guy drifted towards the performing arts and by his mid-teens had started fencing and body building.

Guy Pearce is possibly one of the most versatile actors to appear in the last couple of decades, and his stock as an actor has continued to rise year on year. From a successful three year spell on Neighbours, he did the unthinkable and joined the cast of rival series Home and Away. Having spent five years in the fairly low key Australian television arena he resisted the urge to follow fellow cast members and rejected the urge to enter the popular music scene.

Guy is an actor who comes from a strong performing arts background, and joining the banal mainstream pop industry was never going to be an option. Instead he joined the cast of "Snowy River: The McGregor Saga", in this role he worked with future Hollywood stars Hugh Jackman( X-men) and Josh Lucas( Stealth). This brought Pearce into an even greater audience, and soon an unorthodox film role would be pivotal to his career path.

Memento Trailer

His role as the drag queen Felicia in Stephan Elliot's 1994 comedy "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" brought Guy international recognition and acclaim. Rather than jumping onto the wave of the films success and running off to Hollywood to take any part that was offered, Pearce chose to pick parts that had depth and character. Pearce is quick to state that life Stateside does not appeal to him, he is happiest when at home in Australia.

LA Confidential

The next major role Pearce undertook was that of Ed Exley, in the Academy Award winning LA Confidential. The film needed a completely different performance from Pearce, and his acting alongside the then relatively unknown Russell Crowe( Gladiator ) delighted critics and fans. Rather than embracing the Hollywood glamour and accepting the run of the mill film script.

Pearce married his wife and decided to be involved and star in alternative and independent pictures such as " A Slipping-Down Life"(1999) and "Wounding's"(1998). His next film was the Cannibalistic horror "Ravenous"(1999) alongside Robert Carlyse ( Trainspotting ), with a budget of $12 million it failed to be a box office smash but it did polarise the opinions of film critics globally.


Pearce then went on to star in the Christopher Nolan film Memento,(2000) in the film Pearce impressed audiences and critics alike in playing a man with a form of Amnesia, trying to piece together the events for his wife's murder. Pearce's character is shown in a series of non-linear events trying to make sense of his world using Notes, Photographs and Tattooing his truth on his own skin. With the inability to add new information to his memory, Pearce was able to portray a man fighting to learn more than he knew the day before. The film was massive in European theatre's and was richly rewarded with many awards.

From the artistic success of Momento, Pearce then starred in the Time Machine(2002) and The Count of Monte Cristo (2002). Both films allowed Pearce to try different roles, that he had not visited in previous films. Pearce tends to play the outsider and the alienated character of a movie and these two roles were a flirtation with a more mainstream character.

The film "The Proposition(2004) saw Pearce play one of two brothers attempting to kill their elder brother so they could escape execution themselves. Set in turn of the century Australia and written by Australian singer Nick Cave, the film explores the complex relationships of family. Although it did not take millions at the box office it was a film were the acting of all the cast was of a very high standard.

Over the next few years Pearce picked his roles wisely with the films he got involved with. In Factory Girl in 2006 he played the part of Artist Andy Warhol with great effect. And "The Hurt Locker" 2008 was met with a great reception at the box office.His next two standout films were " The King's Speech"(2010) and "Prometheus"(2012). In the King's Speech he played the role of Prince Edward, the scandalous Prince of Wales. While in the Sci-Fi epic Prometheus he played the part of Peter Weyland, the CEO of Weyland Corp. The film was nominated for nearly a dozen industry awards and was one of Pearce's biggest budget films to date.

TV Roles to Iron Man 3

For an Actor who could have gone "Hollywood" Pearce has kept close to his television background and has returned to television to play interesting parts such as Jack Irish (2012) and appear in 2011 mini series "Mildred Pierce". With several films in production including Iron Man 3, it seems that Guy Pearce is beginning to become a film actor who Hollywood values. There is no reason not to believe that Pearce cannot make a major impression in the future. If he continues on his current career path, it is entirely likely an Oscar award is not too far from his grasp.


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