James Frain
Frain at the 2010 San Diego Comic Con
Born (1968-03-14) 14 March 1968 (age 55)
EducationNewport Free Grammar School
Alma materUniversity of East Anglia
Central School of Speech and Drama
Years active1993–present
Marta Cunningham
(m. 2004; sep. 2023)

James Dominic Frain (born 14 March 1968) is an English stage and screen actor. His best known television roles include Thomas Cromwell in the Showtime/CBC historical drama The Tudors (2007–2009), Franklin Mott in the HBO drama True Blood (2010), Warwick the Kingmaker in the BBC drama serial The White Queen (2013), John Sumner in the Sky/Canal+ crime drama The Tunnel (2013), Ferdinand Chevalier in the BBC/Space sci-fi thriller Orphan Black (2015–2017), Theo Galavan/Azrael in Fox's Gotham (2015–2016), and Sarek in Star Trek: Discovery (2017–2019). He also played leading roles in the BBC dramas Armadillo (2001), The Buccaneers (1995) and The Mill on the Floss (1997).

In film, he is best known for playing Daniel Barenboim and Álvaro de la Quadra in the biographical dramas Hilary and Jackie and Elizabeth, respectively (both 1998), Bassianus in the Shakespeare adaptation Titus (1999), and Gérard de Villefort in the historical drama The Count of Monte Cristo (2002).

Early life

Frain was born in Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire,[1] and brought up in Stansted Mountfitchet, near Bishop's Stortford, Essex,[1] the eldest of eight children of a teacher mother and a stockbroker father.[1] He was educated at Newport Free Grammar School,[1] studied Drama and Film at the University of East Anglia[1] and trained as an actor at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London.[1]


In 1993, while in his final year of drama school, he made his film debut in Shadowlands, after being spotted by the film director Richard Attenborough.[1] In 1995, He starred as a Northern Irish terrorist in the Thaddeus O'Sullivan directed film, Nothing Personal.[2]

In 2000, Frain was nominated for Canadian Screen Award for Best Supporting Actor at the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television's 20th Genie Awards in Toronto, for his performance as Gustave Sonnenschein in the István Szabó directed film Sunshine.[3]

He has been a regular on the stage in the United Kingdom, appearing with the Royal Shakespeare Company and Royal Court Theatre, as well as on the West End. He has also appeared on Broadway and was a recipient of the 2008 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Ensemble Performances along with the rest of the cast of The Homecoming (2007).[1][3]

He has appeared in a number of television series, such as Soldier Soldier (1993); Armadillo (2001); 24 (2005); Invasion (2006); and The Closer (2006). His more recent roles include Thomas Cromwell in Showtime's The Tudors; the villainous billionaire 'Chess' in the NBC superhero/crime drama series The Cape; heroic Templar Sir Gregory in the Syfy original film Dark Relic (2010); and vampire Franklin Mott in the HBO drama True Blood. In season 2 of Grimm, Frain joined the cast as a mysterious recurring character named Eric Renard.[1][3]

He appeared in the second season of Gotham as Azrael, and portrayed Sarek, the father of Spock, on Star Trek: Discovery, the second prequel TV series in the Star Trek franchise.[3]

Personal life

In 2004, Frain married director Marta Cunningham; they have two children.[4] The couple announced their separation in February 2023.[5]



Year Title Role Notes
1993 Shadowlands Peter Whistler
1995 An Awfully Big Adventure John Harbour
Nothing Personal Kenny
Bruised Fruit Dan Short film
1996 Loch Ness Adrian Foote
1997 Red Meat Victor
Robinson Crusoe Robert
1998 What Rats Won't Do Jack
Hilary and Jackie Daniel Barenboim
Elizabeth Álvaro de la Quadra
Vigo: A Passion for Life Jean Vigo
1999 Sunshine Gustave Sonnenschein
Titus Bassianus
2000 Zero Eight Short film
Reindeer Games Nick Cassidy
The Miracle Maker Thomas (voice)
Where the Heart Is Forney Hull
2002 The Count of Monte Cristo J.F. Villefort
2005 Into the Blue Reyes
2006 The Front Line Eddie Gilroy
2008 Quid Pro Quo Father Dave
2009 Everybody's Fine Tom
2010 Tron: Legacy Jarvis
2011 Water for Elephants Rosie's Caretaker
2012 Transit Marek
Bert and Dickie Jack Beresford
2013 All Things to All Men Attorney General
The Lone Ranger Barret
Alpha Alert Andrews
2014 Born of War Simon
2015 Olivia Martha Ilse William Bailey Short film
2016 The Architect Miles Moss
2019 Against the Clock Dr. A
2021 Escape Room: Tournament of Champions Henry Extended cut version


Year Title Role Notes
1993 Soldier Soldier Lt. Giles Chapman Episode: "Disintegration"
Prime Suspect 3 Jason Baldwin Miniseries
1995 The Buccaneers Julius Folyat Miniseries
Devil's Advocate Doctor Vesti TV movie
1996 Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny Prince Felix Yusupov TV movie
Tales from the Crypt Elliot Episode: "Report from the Grave"
Strangers Dirk Episode: "Ceremony"
1997 The Mill on the Floss Philip Wakem TV movie
Macbeth on the Estate Macbeth TV movie
2000 Arabian Nights Schahzenan/Harun al-Rashid Miniseries
2001 Armadillo Lorimer Black Miniseries
2001 The Vice Gordon Ellis Episode: "Trade"
2002 Path to War Richard N. Goodwin TV movie
The Project Harvey TV movie
2003 Leonardo Cesare Borgia Miniseries
2004 Spartacus David Miniseries
Pilot Season Jeremy Pilodes Miniseries
2005 24 Paul Raines 10 episodes
Strong Medicine Art Gallery Painter Episode: "Clinical Risk"
Empire Marcus Junius Brutus Miniseries
Medium Calley Episode: "Light Sleeper"
Threshold Reverend Lavory Episode: "Revelations"
2006 Invasion Eli Szura Recurring
The Closer Paul Andrews Episode: "Critical Missing"
2007 Numbers Allister McClair Episode: "The Janus List"
2007–2009 The Tudors Thomas Cromwell Main role; 24 episodes
2008 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Dean Holiday Episode: "Vanishing Act"
2008–2009 Fringe Salman Kohl 2 episodes
2009 In Plain Sight Phillip Ashmore/Phillip Andrews Episode: "Once a Ponzi Time"
Grey's Anatomy Tom Crowley Episode: "I Always Feel Like Somebody's Watchin' Me"
Lie to Me Lance McClellan Episode: "Grievous Bodily Harm"
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Martin Gold Episode: "Users"
Californication Paul Rider Episode: "Mia Culpa"
2009–2010 FlashForward Dr. Gordon Myhill 2 episodes
2010 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Jeffrey Hughes Episode: "Sin City Blue"
Dark Relic Sir Gregory TV movie
Miami Medical Brian Episode: "Man on the Road"
Leverage John Douglas Keller Episode: "The King George Job"
True Blood Franklin Mott[6] 8 episodes
CSI: Miami Richard Ellison Episode: "Sudden Death"
2011 The Cape Peter Fleming/Chess Main cast
Burn Notice James Forte Episode: "Eye for an Eye"
2012 The Mentalist Terry Murphy Episode: "At First Blush"
2012–2013 Grimm Eric Renard 8 episodes
2013 The White Queen Warwick the Kingmaker Miniseries
Sleepy Hollow Rutelidge Episode: "The Sin Eater"[7]
The Tunnel John Sumner Main role; 4 episodes
2014 Reckless Stanford Ashby Episode: "When the Smoke Clears"
Intruders Richard Shepherd Main cast
2015 Agent Carter Leet Brannis 2 episodes
True Detective Kevin Burris Main role; 7 episodes
2015–2016 Gotham[8] Theo Galavan/Azrael[9] Main role; 16 episodes
2015–2017 Orphan Black Ferdinand Chevalier[10] 8 episodes
2017 Hawaii Five-0 Sebastian Wake Episode: "Kama' oma' o ka 'aina huli hana"
2017–2019 Star Trek: Discovery Sarek[11] Recurring role
2019 The Twilight Zone Agent Allendale Episode: "Point of Origin"[12]
Elementary Odin Reichenbach[13] 7 episodes
2020 What We Do in the Shadows Black Peter Episode: "Witches"
2021 Showtrial Sir Damian Campbell Mini-Series

Video games

Year Title Role
2010 Tron: Evolution Zuse
2021 Call of Duty: Vanguard Major Henry Hamms


Year Play Role Venue Notes
1991 All for Love Myris Almeida Theatre, London
1992 The Rules of the Game Giorgo Almeida Theatre, London
1993 She Stoops to Conquer George Hastings Queen's Theatre, London with Peter Hall Company
1995 Zenobia Wahballat Young Vic, London with Royal Shakespeare Company
2000 Other People Mark Royal Court Theatre, London
2001 King Lear Edmund Almeida Theatre, London
2007 The Homecoming Teddy Cort Theatre, New York City
2019 The King's Speech Lionel Logue Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Chicago


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "James Frain". Empire. Retrieved 18 October 2020.
  2. ^ "Nothing Personal". TV Guide. Retrieved 5 November 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d "James Frain". hamiltonhodell.co.uk. Retrieved 5 November 2022.
  4. ^ "True Blood star James Frain reveals what he likes to do on date nights with his wife Marta. Read on for the full scoop". Archived from the original on 27 February 2018. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  5. ^ "'Star Trek' Star James Frain & Marta Cunningham Split". Extra.
  6. ^ "The Tudors James Frain joins True Blood recurring Role". DreadCentral. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  7. ^ "Sleepy Hollow Exclusive: True Blood Baddie to Butt Heads With Ichabod". tvline.com. 18 September 2013.
  8. ^ "Don't watch 'Gotham' Season 2 Episode 12 'Mr. Freeze' while eating; 'Law & Order: SVU' alum BD Wong plays Professor Strange". 13 February 2016.
  9. ^ Nellie Andreeva (24 June 2015). "'Gotham' Casts James Frain As Regular, Will Play New Villain & Tigress' Brother". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  10. ^ "'Orphan Black' Adds 'Shameless' Alum Justin Chatwin, James Frain For Season 3". Variety. 25 November 2014.
  11. ^ "James Frain Joins Discovery As Sarek". Startrek.com. 18 January 2017. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  12. ^ Petski, Denise (7 February 2019). "'The Twilight Zone': Ginnifer Goodwin To Star in Episode of CBS All Access Reboot". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  13. ^ Rudolph, Ileane (20 June 2019). "'Elementary' Sneak Peek: Is James Frain's Odin the Newest Foe to Holmes & Watson? (VIDEO)". TVInsider. Retrieved 5 May 2021.