Actor Luke Evans discusses his career to date at An Audience with event in Cardiff
Luke pledges support for BAFTA’s charitable work to reach diverse audiences to promote roles in the film, games and television industry
30 November 2018: The British Academy of Film and Television Arts in Wales, BAFTA Cymru, have announced that actor Luke Evans has become the charity’s ambassador and will support BAFTA to reach out to individuals from all backgrounds throughout Wales to encourage them to consider roles in the film, games and television industry.
The new role was announced at a special event for 300 public and industry guests at the National Museum of Wales, where Luke spoke about his career path and the importance of his Welsh roots with fellow actor Celyn Jones.
The event, supported by Wales Screen, offered young people from Welsh Universities and Into Film Cymru the chance to hear about Luke’s early years training in Cardiff and his swift trajectory to feature films such as Beauty and the Beast, The Girl on the Train and High Rise and television series The Alienist.
BAFTA Cymru exists to celebrate, inspire and inform those interested in working in the creative media industry by hosting the annual British Academy Cymru Awards, now in its 27th year, and 100 varied events each year.
These events offer access to those working at the height of their profession, many of whom are BAFTA nominees and winners. In 2018 alone, these events will have engaged with 7,500 individuals and have resulted in employment, personal network development and signposting of career starters to additional support. BAFTA Cymru also opens its network of members to student and career starter members, offering them access to advice and events to help them develop their pathway into the industry.
Luke, who is originally from Aberbargoed, said: “Acting isn’t about class, but passion. If it’s in your blood and it’s your passion, it doesn’t matter where you’re from, you’ll make it. My dad is a builder and my mum was a cleaner. So if I can make it, anybody can. I’m looking forward to helping BAFTA reach out to communities across Wales and encourage everyone to find out more about this charity and investigate their potential future in this growing Welsh industry.”
Luke Evans was born in Pontypool and grew up in Aberbargoed, in South Wales. He moved to Cardiff at the age 17. He then won a scholarship to the London Studio Centre, and graduated in 2000.
Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, Lord Elis-Thomas, said: “We’re very proud of Luke and his achievements, and delighted that he’s been the star of our recent tourism marketing adverts. As well as being a fantastic ambassador for Wales and a passionate Welshman, he’ll be an excellent Ambassador for BAFTA Cymru. Increasing diversity within the industry is something I am passionate about and, we recently hosted a large film and TV Diversity event in Cardiff, aimed at introducing under-represented creative people to routes of entry into careers in production. It’s wonderful to hear that Luke is also helping to promote roles in the film, games and television industry to a much more diverse audience, and I wish him well in his role."
Hannah Raybould, Director BAFTA Cymru, said:
“BAFTA Cymru has celebrated creative media talent through our annual Awards for 27 years and we are engaging with a sector that is growing in scope, reach, size and success. As one of Wales’ leading charities, we need to play out part in encouraging new talent, from all backgrounds and from across the country, to consider a career in the industry and then support them to make their first connections.
As a membership organisation, we can offer a support structure and network which includes international filmmakers, network television producers, game producers and more and we want to make it clear that we are open to all – members and the public.”
“The ideal scenario would be for a filmmakers to join when at college or University and that we can help them find the information and contacts needed to develop their career and in a few years time, they are standing on stage at our Awards making an acceptance speech. And then we get them to offer a masterclass and the cycle starts again!”
About BAFTA Wales
BAFTA Wales – or BAFTA Cymru – extends the Academy’s charitable mission across the UK in support of Wales’ creative communities. The highlight of BAFTA’s events calendar in Wales is the annual British Academy Cymru Awards, an independent platform showcasing the work that truly reflects the best of the country across film, television and games, making a difference to those producing creative work as well as those watching it. www.bafta.org/wales
BAFTA relies on income from membership subscriptions, individual donations, trusts, foundations and corporate partnerships to support its ongoing outreach work. To access the best creative minds in film, TV and games production, visit www.bafta.org/guru. For more, visit www.bafta.org.
Wales Screen encourages film and television productions to use locations, crew and facilities throughout Wales.
Part of the Welsh Government’s Creative Industries Sector team, Wales Screen assists both inward investment and indigenous productions on a practical basis, ensuring that their spend within the Welsh economy is maximised.
LUKE EVANS Biography
An established star in film and on London's West End and, Welsh actor Luke Evans continues to make an impression in Hollywood.
Luke was most recently seen starring as ‘John Moore’ in the crime TV series The Alienist, alongside Daniel Bruhl and Dakota Fanning. The show tells the story of crime reporter John Moor (Evans), who meets with psychologist Dr. Laszlo Kreizler to investigate a serial killer in New York during the late 19th century. The 10-episode series premiered at Sundance Film Festival and was released in January on TNT in the US and internationally on Netflix on 19th April. A sequel series, The Angel of Darkness has been commissioned to begin filming next year.
Luke recently wrapped filming on Roland Emmerich’s historical drama, Midway, alongside Woody Harrelson and Patrick Wilson. The film explores the story of the battle of Midway, told by the leaders and the soldiers who fought it. It is slated for release in November 2019.
Luke has a number of other exciting upcoming projects ahead in 2019. He will be seen in comedy Murder Mystery, alongside an all-star cast including Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Gemma Arterton, and David Walliams. The film is directed by Kyle Newacheck and tells the story of a New York cop and his wife who go on a European vacation but end up getting framed for the death of an elderly billionaire. Tate Taylor’s Ma sees Luke join a cast including Juliette Lewis, Allison Janney, and Octavia Spencer. This psychological horror-thriller follows a lonely woman who befriends a group of teenagers with questionable intentions .He will also star in Luc Besson’s next film, Anna, alongside Helen Mirren, Cillian Murphy, and newcomer Sasha Luss. In Angel of Mine, he stars alongside Noomi Rapace and Richard Roxburgh and he will also voice the role of Felix in StarDog and TurboCat alongside Gemma Arterton and Bill Nighy. The story follows a loyal dog, Felix (Evans) and a vigilant cat as they embark on a space age voyage to find their way home.
Luke was most recently seen on the big screen in Professor Marston & the Wonder Women. Also starring Rebecca Hall and Bella Heathcote, the film told the story of the Harvard psychologist and inventor who helped invent the modern lie detector test and created Wonder Woman in 1941. It premiered at Toronto Film Festival and was released in late autumn. He starred in thriller 10x10 alongside Kelly Reilly. The film is directed by Suzi Ewing and tells the story of an ordinary guy hiding an obsession for revenge against one particular woman. After kidnapping her in broad daylight, he locks her in a soundproof cell where he hopes to extract a dark secret from her past. He was also seen in indie film State Like Sleep, alongside Kathryn Waterston and Michael Shannon.
In 2017, Luke was seen in Disney’s highly anticipated, live-action adaptation of the animated classic Beauty and the Beast. Luke stared as lothario and villain ‘Gaston’ alongside Emma Watson’s ‘Belle’. Directed by Bill Condon, the film boasts an all-star cast including Ewan McGregor, Sir Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci, Kevin Kline and Josh Gad, and was released in March.
2016 saw Luke in the much anticipated psychological thriller The Girl On The Train alongside Rebecca Ferguson, Emily Blunt and Justin Theroux. Luke played the character of ‘Scott’ - a married man compulsively watched by the stories main protagonist - who becomes embroiled in a murder mystery. The film was released in October 2016.
In 2015, Luke starred in Ben Wheatley’s suspenseful High Rise for which he received a ‘Best Supporting Actor’ nomination at the British Independent Film Awards. The film is set in a dystopian society that soon finds itself divided among class lines, calling into question issues of morality. Starring Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller and Luke as ‘Richard Wilder’.
Luke was also seen in Message from the King, starring alongside Teresa Palmer and Chadwick Boseman, directed by Fabrice Du Welz. The film follows a mysterious outsider named Jacob King from South Africa arriving in Los Angeles to avenge his younger sister's death and premiered at the 2016 Toronto Film Festival.
In 2014, Luke reprised his role as the iconic dragon slayer and archery expert, 'Bard the Bowman' in the final instalment of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Prior to this he appeared as ‘Bard’ in the third instalment, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. The films were released in December 2014 and 2015 and co-starred Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen and Richard Armitage. Before this, Luke was seen in the lead role of the heroic Dragon-slayer, ‘Vlad’ in Gary Shore’s Dracula Untold. The role saw him star alongside Charles Dance, Dominic Cooper and Sarah Gadon and strengthened his global recognition.
For BBC, Luke starred in Chris Chibnall's ("Broadchurch") The Great Train Robbery, as the infamous, real-life train robber ‘Bruce Reynolds’. The special aired in December 2014 and detailed the great train robbery of 2.6 million pounds from a Royal Mail train from Glasgow in 1962 and the aftermath when Reynolds spent five years on the run before being jailed in 1978. The mini-series garnered awards recognition from the BAFTA TV committee as well as the Monte Carlo Television Festival.
Summer 2013 saw Luke star as the villain ‘Owen Shaw’ in the sixth instalment of Universal's The Fast & Furious franchise. Directed by Justin Lin, the film opened in May and has grossed over $700 million world-wide. He returned to Fast Seven and has also been immortalized in the new Fast & Furious: Super Charged attraction at Universal Studios amusement park.
Between 2010 and 2012, Luke’s career began to take off with supporting and starring roles in films such as Immortals for director Tarsem Singh, The Three Musketeers for director Paul Anderson, The Raven starring opposite John Cusack for director James McTeigue and No One Lives for director Ryuhei Kitamura.
Luke’s first co-starring role came in Fall 2010 when he portrayed the lead role of 'Andy' in acclaimed director Stephen Frears' Tamara Drewe, based on the hugely successful Guardian newspaper comic strip and graphic novel by the same name. This romantic comedy, which premiered at The Cannes Film Festival, told the story of a young newspaper reporter (Gemma Arterton) who returned to the town she grew up in as her family sold her childhood home. Luke earned many fans and turned the heads of critics and journalists both stateside and internationally for his charming performance.
Prior to his film career, he had successfully carved out an enviable stage career starring in West End plays and musicals such as La Cava, Boy George's Taboo, Avenue Q, Dickens Unplugged, A Girl Called Dusty, and, at the acclaimed Donmar Warehouse, Small Change and Piaf. His powerful, trained voice and engaging stage presence made him the perfect choice for leading roles such as 'Chris' in Miss Saigon and 'Roger' in Rent.
Luke made his UK feature film debut in the role of 'Clive' in the 2009 British Independent Film Academy nominated feature Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, Mat Whitecross's biopic of the London punk-rock scene founder Ian Dury of "Ian Dury and the Blockheads." It was Warner Brother's action/fantasy/drama Clash of the Titans, however, that put him on the map, where he portrayed the charismatic god, 'Apollo.' Following this, he was next seen in the Ridley Scott remake of Robin Hood, playing the Sheriff's head henchman to Russell Crowe's interpretation of 'Robin Hood.'
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) is a world-leading independent arts charity that brings the very best work in film, games and television to public attention and supports the growth of creative talent in the UK and internationally. Through its Awards ceremonies and year-round programme of learning events and initiatives – which includes workshops, masterclasses, scholarships, lectures and mentoring schemes in the UK, USA and Asia – BAFTA identifies and celebrates excellence, discovers, inspires and nurtures new talent, and enables learning and creative collaboration. For advice and inspiration from the best creative minds in working in film, games and television, visit www.bafta.org/guru. For more, visit www.bafta.org.