Douglas John Booth
9 July 1992
|Alma mater||National Youth Music Theatre|
Guildhall School of Music and Drama
Douglas John Booth (born 9 July 1992) is an English actor. He first came to public attention following his performance as Boy George in the BBC Two film Worried About the Boy (2010). He also starred in the BBC adaptations of Great Expectations and Christopher and His Kind (both 2011) and Netflix biopic The Dirt (2019).
In 2013, Booth starred in Carlo Carlei's film adaptation of Romeo & Juliet. In 2014, he appeared in Darren Aronofsky's Noah and Lone Scherfig's The Riot Club, and in 2015, co-starred in The Wachowskis' Jupiter Ascending.
Douglas John Booth was born in Greenwich, London, to Vivien (née De Cala), a painter, and Simon Booth, a shipping finance consultant and former managing director of both CitiGroup and Deutsche Bank's shipping finance divisions. Booth's father is English, and his mother is of Spanish and Dutch ancestry. His older sister, Abigail, is a Chelsea School of Art graduate. Booth was raised in Greenwich but moved to Sevenoaks, Kent, at the age of ten.
Booth is severely dyslexic and found it "very hard" to read or write up until the age of ten; he remains "a really slow reader." He struggled at school, "having to put in double or triple the amount of effort as everyone else," but said the condition made him "more resilient in every sense." He played the trumpet as a child. Booth developed an interest in drama at the age of twelve, after starring in a school production of Agamemnon: "I found myself feeling really engaged for the first time ... I thought, 'I rather like being the centre of attention. This is where I want to be.'" By the age of thirteen, he was involved with the National Youth Theatre and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Booth joined the Curtis Brown acting agency at the age of fifteen. He won his first professional acting role at the age of sixteen and quit his AS levels in drama, media studies and English literature.
Booth was partly privately educated, attending Solefield School, a boys' junior independent school in the town of Sevenoaks in Kent, followed by Bennett Memorial Diocesan School, a Church of England state Voluntary Aided school in the town of Royal Tunbridge Wells (Kent), and Lingfield Notre Dame School, an independent school in the village of Lingfield in Surrey.
Booth's first professional role was in the children's adventure film From Time to Time (2009), directed by Julian Fellowes and starring Maggie Smith and Timothy Spall. Following the film's release, Booth signed to the UTA talent agency for American-based representation. He then had a minor role as Prince Eustace in the Channel 4 miniseries The Pillars of the Earth (2010), a medieval saga filmed in Budapest with Ian McShane and Donald Sutherland. Also in 2009 and 2010, Booth modelled in several Mario Testino-shot campaigns for the luxury fashion label Burberry; he starred in the Autumn 2009 campaign with Emma Watson, the Autumn 2010 campaign with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and the Burberry Sport fragrance campaign with Lily Donaldson.
Booth rose to prominence in 2010 following his performance as the pop star Boy George in the BBC Two drama Worried About the Boy. He underwent a physical transformation for the role, shaving off his eyebrows and wearing heavy makeup. Booth met Boy George during filming, with the singer remarking: "He just gets it. There's something about him that reminds me of me when I was 17." Howard Male of The Arts Desk was reminded of Cillian Murphy's performance in Breakfast on Pluto and praised the "emotional resonance" Booth brought to "his occasionally uncannily accurate portrayal of George." Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Ceri Radford said Booth delivered a "mesmerising" performance: "He offered a convincing portrayal of O'Dowd as a beautiful young man who oozed ambiguous sex appeal and protected his feelings with a carapace of prickly wit." Mike Higgins of The Independent declared Booth "a discovery": "Moving, witty, he also got the singer's wheezy enunciation down pat."
Booth next played the role of Pip in the BBC One adaptation of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations (2011), alongside Gillian Anderson and Ray Winstone. Broadcast over the Christmas period, the miniseries was a huge ratings success. Anne Billson of The Telegraph felt it was a misstep to cast someone "so distractingly lovely" in the role of Pip: "It’s not that Douglas Booth was bad, it’s just that one can’t imagine Dickens ever intended Pip to be more beautiful than Estella, who, after all, has been brought up to break men’s hearts." Mike Hale of The New York Times dismissed Booth as "a CW-style actor whose exceptionally pretty face doesn't convey much beyond puzzlement and petulance." Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times, however, found the actor's performance "haunting" while Emma Jones of The Huffington Post dismissed the "debate over the extreme prettiness of Douglas Booth", arguing that "Booth's beauty is only a backdrop to Pip's naivety."
Also in 2011, Booth appeared in the BBC film Christopher and His Kind, which explored novelist Christopher Isherwood's formative years in 1930s Berlin. He played Heinz, a German street-sweeper who became the lover of Matt Smith's Isherwood.
In 2012, Booth starred opposite Miley Cyrus and Demi Moore in the teen drama LOL. He witnessed the paparazzi interest surrounding co-star Cyrus during filming: "It was bizarre and, interestingly, not at all glamorous." Filmed in 2010, when Booth was seventeen, the movie received a very limited theatrical release and unfavourable reviews. Later that year, Booth read selected extracts from David Copperfield as part of Sky Arts's In Love With Dickens documentary; other contributors included Simon Callow and Miriam Margolyes.
In 2013, Booth starred opposite Hailee Steinfeld in Carlo Carlei's film adaptation of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times praised Booth's memorable performance: "It's not so much that he makes a great Romeo; frankly DiCaprio's was better in Luhrmann's version, as was Leonard Whiting in Zeffirelli's … But it has been a while since a camera has so loved a face ... If anything, the movies in general are too intent on reducing Booth to that singular feature, when he is actually a fine actor." R. Kurt Osenlund of Slant felt that Booth gives "a rather fantastic breakthrough performance, offering a poignant interpretation of one of literature's greatest lovers." Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle bemoaned the poor casting of Steinfeld: "And this is especially a shame because Douglas Booth as Romeo is quite good and could have been better, if only he had someone to play off of. It's almost pitiful to see him here, trying to inject emotion and wit into his scenes with Steinfeld, who is a blank wall." Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter remarked that Booth "seems to have a grasp of what he's saying and behaves in credibly laddish fashion ... but Booth's vocal range is very narrow, and he speaks in a monotone." Claudia Puig of USA Today found Booth "more skilled" than Steinfeld "in the passionate intonation department" while The Independent's Geoffrey MacNab asserted that Booth "shows a certain star quality."
In March 2014, he appeared as Shem in Darren Aronofsky's biblical epic Noah. Emma Watson played his character's wife; she first met Booth while shooting a Burberry fashion campaign in 2009: "There's something old-mannish about Doug, which he had even then. He knows who he is. He doesn't get intimidated, doesn't hold back, and is generally fearless."
In September 2014, Booth starred alongside Sam Claflin, Max Irons and Freddie Fox in the black comedy The Riot Club, directed by Lone Scherfig. Based on the stage play by Laura Wade, the ensemble piece centres around ten members of an exclusive Oxford University dining club known as The Riot Club, based on the real-life Bullingdon Club. Booth made "friends for life" during the film shoot, and has said of the characters: "When you meet these sort of guys, they're always so charming. It's almost more discomfiting for the audience to be charmed by them, to like them a lot, and to see how far they'll go with them." In February 2015, he appeared in The Wachowskis' science-fiction film Jupiter Ascending, starring Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum and Eddie Redmayne. "They're just the most original people," Booth has said of the Wachowskis. "They've created something very exciting and special and bonkers." He played Mr. Bingley in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016), an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Seth Grahame-Smith.
In November 2017, Booth starred in the international film Loving Vincent, as Armand Roulin, one of the models for Vincent Van Gogh’s Roulin Family portraits. Booth played Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx in the 2019 film The Dirt.
Booth has been supporting UNHCR since 2015. He has travelled to Iraq to visit refugees and internally displaced persons. Booth has highlighted the work of UNHCR in media interviews and has helped raise awareness of the global refugee crisis via his social media channels. Booth has supported UNHCR fundraising events and campaigns including World Refugee Day and the Nansen Refugee Award.
|2006||Hunters of the Kahri||Sagar|
|2009||From Time to Time||Sefton|
|2013||Romeo & Juliet||Romeo Montague|
|2014||The Riot Club||Harry Villiers|
|2015||Jupiter Ascending||Titus Abrasax|
|2016||Pride and Prejudice and Zombies||Mr. Charles Bingley|
|2016||The Limehouse Golem||Dan Leno|
|2017||Loving Vincent||Armand Roulin|
|2017||Mary Shelley||Percy Bysshe Shelley|
|2019||The Dirt||Nikki Sixx|
|2020||My Salinger Year||Don|
|TBA||The Way of the Wind||Post-production|
|2010||Worried About the Boy||Boy George||Television film|
|2010||The Pillars of the Earth||Eustace IV||Miniseries|
|2011||Christopher and His Kind||Heinz Neddermayer||Television film|
|2011||Great Expectations||Philip "Pip" Pirrip||Miniseries|
|2012||In Love with Dickens||Ham Peggotty||Television film|
|2015||And Then There Were None||Anthony Marston||Miniseries|
|2017||Northanger Abbey||John Thorpe|
|2017||Scarlet City Part I, II, III||Jonah|