John Malkovich is a world-renowned actor known to audiences for his roles in blockbuster films such as Places in the Heart, In the Line of Fire, Con Air, Johnny English and Being John Malkovich. He has performed several times on Broadway and, in 2016, made his London directional debut with Good Canary at the Rose Theatre Kingston.
Malkovich was born in Illinois where he grew up appearing in several school productions, including a staging of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical Carousel. After graduating at from high school, Malkovich enrolled at university where he majored in Theater.
In 1976, Malkovich became a charter member of Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago, before moving to New York where he starred in a production of Sam Shepard’s play True West. Throughout the 1980s, he appeared in many stage productions including A Streetcar Named Desire and Death of a Salesman, the latter of which saw the actor make his Broadway debut alongside Dustin Hoffman.
This production of Streetcar was adapted for TV, and saw Malkovich win an Emmy Award, opening the door for more screen work in movies. He made his film debut in 1984 in Places in the Heart as Mr Will, the blind lodger of Sally Field’s character Edna. Malkovich was nominated for an Academy Award for his part in the movie.
A number of Hollywood movies followed, including adaptations of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Of Mice and Men, and The Glass Menagerie, plus films like Empire in the Sun. In 1994, he was nominated for his second Oscar for his role in In The Line of Fire.
In 1999, John Malkovich landed a landmark role: himself, in Being John Malkovich. He played a fictional version of himself in Charlie Kaufman’s movie, which saw one character discover a portal that allowed people to experience what it’s like to be in the body of the actor. According to Kaufman, the script was always based on Malkovich, before they expected the actor to read the script, because of his “enigmatic quality about him that works”.
In 2008, Malkovich directed a production of Zach Helm’s French play Good Canary, for which he won a Molière Award for best director. The play opened in English at the Rose Theatre Kingston in 2016, and Malkovich won the Best Director Evening Standard Theatre Award. A decade later, he starred in the world premiere of Bitter Wheat at the Garrick Theatre, playing a role inspired by Harvey Weinstein.