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Paul Dano

Updated on March 22, 2012
© Copyright 2007 Justin Hollar
© Copyright 2007 Justin Hollar

Bursting into prominence with the critically acclaimed independent film L.I.E., Paul Franklin Dano cememented himself as a young actor willing to play controversial roles. Tackling the character of Howie Blitzer, a 15 year-old boy beginning to confront his sexuality, he secured the Best Debut Performance award at the 2002 IFP/West Independent Spirit Awards and Best Male Actor at the 2001 Stockholm Film Festival.

Following on from L.I.E., Dano played a lead performance in a television movie and featured in the cast of a growing number of Hollywood flicks. In 2005 he reached new prominence with his role as Dwaye in the indie hit Little Miss Sunshine. Picked up by Fox's movie distribution arm the film poking fun at modern-day America reached audiences worldwide and helped catapult Paul Dano to an even greater level of celebrity.

His next big role to reaffirm his place as a "celebrity to watch" was in Paul Thomas Anderson's movie production of Upton Sinclair's book Oil! (1927), released as There Will Be Blood (2007). Paul Dano was originally cast in the smaller role of Paul Sunday, but impressed Anderson so much that two-weeks into the 60-day shoot Anderson re-cast the role of Eli Sunday and gave Paul Dano two roles, as both Sunday borthers - Paul and Eli. Paul Dano managed to secure his first BAFTA award nomination for Best Supporting Actor from his outstanding performances.

Recently, Dano has been working as a voice actor in the upcoming Where the Wild Things Are (2009), The Good Heart (2009) and The Extra Man (2010).

Which film do you think will be Paul's best work of 2008/09?

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Promotional photo for Gigantic (2008)
Promotional photo for Gigantic (2008)

Fast Facts

Full Name: Paul Franklin Dano

Birthdate: 19 June 1984 (24 years old)

Graduated high school: 22 June 2002 

Currently resides in: New York, NY, USA (when not popping over to Hollywood of course)

Relationship status: Taken (see below)

Paul Dano also appeared in the 2002 telemovie Too Young to Be a Dad, and has appeared twice on The Sopranos television show as Patrick Whalen.

Things Paul says he couldn't live without "coffee, movies, music, women, cereal, bacon...". 

Michael Appleton for The New York Times
Michael Appleton for The New York Times

Paul Dano's Girlfriend

Paul has been romantically linked to acrtress Zoe Kazan for some time, the inset photo is from January 2008, and in April 2009 she is described by The New York Times as Dano's girlfriend. "It was afternoon, but their day had just started; Ms. Kazan gathered the accessories of an indie couple’s typical lazy weekend — coffee, paper, a rented documentary about Koko the articulate gorilla — and left in a flurry, after a good-boyfriend kiss and delivering a reminder not to smoke. (Bad boyfriend: Mr. Dano ignored the advice.)" Click here to read the full New York Times article by Melena Ryzik.

Paul on the Nylon Guys May 2009 cover
Paul on the Nylon Guys May 2009 cover

Selective Filmography

L.I.E. (Unrated)
L.I.E. (Unrated)

Paul Dano's first breakthrough performance as 15 year-old Howie Blitzer. L.I.E.(2001) was groundbreaking in its head-on confrontation of pedophilia, sexuality and coming of age in modern America - although not as confrontational as Mysterious Skin (2004) - it's still a ground-breaking film with excellent acting from Paul Dano that saw him win the Best Male Actor award at the Stockholm Film Festival.


Paul's Favourite Films

A Man Escaped
A Man Escaped

Paul says: "A really amazing movie, it was really eye-opening for me, in terms of what a film-maker can do, not in terms of acting." A Man Escaped is a 1956 French film directed by Robert Bresson.



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    • pongogirl2 profile image

      Jasmine Pena 

      7 years ago from California, USA

      Never knew about this actor:) his career is so interesting.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      i love u paul franklin dano ur so hot i think u should leave ur girlfriend.

      XOXOXOXOXO love u


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