Rhys Ifans biography

Rhys Ifans

Last updated: 07 October 2010

Rhys Ifans was born in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, on 22 July 1968. His father Eurwyn Evans was a primary school teacher, and his mother Beti-Wyn taught at a nursery school.

Ifans grew up in Ruthin, Denbighshire. He went to Ysgol Pentrececleyn and Ysgol Maes Garmon. A Welsh speaker, he later claimed he adopted the Welsh spelling of his surname at the age of 13 "just to be difficult".

He took part in acting classes at Theatr Clwyd, Mold. After leaving school he presented Sdwnsh, a children's quiz show which aired on S4C, and a number of other Welsh-language programmes.

Ifans left Wales at the age of 18 and moved to London to study acting. He appeared in productions with the Royal National Theatre, London, and the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester.

In 1991 he appeared in the UK sitcom Spatz. A succession of minor roles followed, including a feature film debut in 1996, acting alongside Anthony Hopkins in August.

Ifans' profile began to rise significantly after he co-starred with his brother Llŷr Evans in the 1997 film Twin Town. Set in Swansea, the film featured a compelling performance from Ifans which highlighted much of his natural wit, and proved a launchpad for bigger film roles.

His break into the mainstream occurred after being cast as Hugh Grant's flatmate Spike, in 1999's Notting Hill. Many critics praised Ifans' performance, which often overshadowed those of his better-known fellow cast members.

Further roles included appearances in Human Nature (2001), The 51st State (2001) and The Shipping News (2001).

In 2004 he put in a strong performance as Jed in an adaptation of Ian McEwan's Enduring Love. The same year he starred as Peter Cook in the TV film Not Only But Always, which won him a Bafta.

Ifans made a memorable appearance in Oasis' 2005 video for The Importance Of Being Idle; he accepted their award for Video Of The Year at the 2005/6 NME Awards. He had previously appeared in videos for Hometown Unicorn and God! Show Me Magic by Super Furry Animals, Mulder And Scully by Catatonia, and Mama Told Me Not To Come by Tom Jones and Stereophonics.

His passion for music has often run parallel to his acting. Ifans was briefly the frontman for an early incarnation of Super Furry Animals, and he is the lead singer in The Peth, whose debut album The Golden Mile was released in 2008. The group features the Super Furries' Dafydd Ieuan and Guto Pryce.

In June 2010 he attended the European première of Mr Nice at the Edinburgh Film Festival, in which he plays the title role of former drugs baron Howard Marks. The film is based on Marks' best-selling autobiography, is directed by Bernard Rose and is set for general release in the UK on Friday 8 October 2010.

Selected appearances

  • Twin Town (1997)
  • Notting Hill (1997)
  • The Shipping News (2001)
  • Human Nature (2001)
  • The 51st State (2001)
  • Enduring Love (2004)
  • Hannibal Rising (2007)
  • Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)
  • The Boat That Rocked (2009)
  • Mr Nice (2010)

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