New Again: Jude Law

Long before Sherlock Holmes, Alfie, and Sienna Miller takes one and two, Jude Law was one of the most promising young British actors stealing the show in cerebral sci-fi thrillers such as Gattaca, with Ethan Hawke and Gore Vidal, and David Cronenberg’s eXistenZ (1997) with Willem Dafoe and Jennifer Jason Leigh (1999). He gained worldwide acclaim (and a much deserved Oscar nod) for his portrayal of priviledged, cocky, vaguely Adonis-like Dickie Greenleaf, the object of Matt Damon’s lust, in The Talented Mr. Ripley, and Hollywood’s hopes in Law seem justified. Somewhere along the way, Law’s personal life overshadowed his acting portfolio, and his integrity as an actor was nearly eradicated. This seems unfair, with a new Law film coming out this week—360—we decided to revisit our first meeting with the man in May of 1995. At just 22, Law ressembles a young Leonardo DiCaprio, but with the wise-beyond-his-years weariness of today’s young promising Brit, Aaron Johnson. -Emma Brown

Here Comes the Law
by William Stevenson

At 22, English actor Jude Law radiates an inner mystery that no amount of physical activity can shed light on. He does this whether he’s playing an impassive BMW thief in the film Shopping (1994), due here later this year; exploring what he calls “motionless emotions” in the title role of Euripides’s Ion for the Royal Shakespeare Company; or igniting “a sort of explosion of character” in Cocteau’s Les Parents Terribles at London’s National Theatre, which opens as Indiscretions on Broadway this month—with Kathleen Turner and Roger Rees as Law’s suffocating parents. Growing up playing characters who are also growing up has led to a certain degree of self-examination. “It makes you dig up something you haven’t dug up before,” he says, “so bits rub off.” But Law’s intensity, in both dynamic and quiet roles, originates deep inside him: “I model each character on me, really.”


For more New Again, click here.