Malkovich, John: Actor Profile (2009)

John Malkovich is one of the most compelling presences in cinema with a twenty-year body of work marked with acclaimed performances in thought-provoking independents as well as mainstream movies. 


Malkovich was last seen in the Coen brothers' comedy, Burn After Reading, where Malkovich was part of a stellar ensemble featuring Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Frances McDormand, and Tilda Swinton. The film premiered at the 2008 Venice Festival. Also this fall, Malkovich re-teamed with Clint Eastwood for the highly-anticipated film, Changeling with Angelina Jolie and Amy Ryan and produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer's Imagine Entertainment.  In the film, Malkovich portrays an activist reverend who champions the poor and disenfranchised.


Other credits include: Gilles Bourdos' Afterwards, Sean McGinly's film The Great Buck Howard, which had its premiere at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival; Disgrace, an independent which tells the story of a Cape Town professor who after having an affair with a student gets caught up in a mess of post-apartheid politics; Robert Zemeckis' Beowulf opposite Angelina Jolie; Brian W. Cook's Color Me Kubrick. He also starred in Raoul Ruiz' Klimt; Liliana Cavani's Ripley's Game, Spike Jonze's Being John Malkovich, Jane Campion's The Portrait of a Lady; Wolfgang Petersen's In the Line of Fire; Gary Sinise's Of Mice and Men; Bernardo Bertolucci's The Sheltering Sky; Stephen Frears' Dangerous Liaisons; Steven Spielberg's Empire of the Sun; Paul Newman's The Glass Menagerie; Roland Joffé's The Killing Fields; and Robert Benton's Places in the Heart. He has twice been nominated for the Academy Award® for Best Supporting Actor, for Places in the Heart (1985) and for In the Line of Fire (1994). Malkovich's performance in Places in the Heart also earned him the Best Supporting Actor Award from the National Society of Film Critics and the National Board of Review. In 1999, he won New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor for Being John Malkovich.


In 1998 John Malkovich joined producing partners Lianne Halfon and Russ Smith to create the production company Mr. Mudd, whose first film was the celebrated film Ghost World directed by Terry Zwigoff. In 2003, Malkovich followed this up with his own feature directorial debut, The Dancer Upstairs, starring Academy Award® winner Javier Bardem. Other Mr. Mudd credits include The Libertine starring Johnny Depp and Samantha Morton and Art School Confidential also directed by Zwigoff and written by Screenwriter/Cartoonist Dan Clowes. Last year, Mr. Mudd landed its biggest box office and critical success with Juno, starring Ellen Page, Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman. The film, distributed through Fox Searchlight, received an Academy Award® for Best Original Screenplay (Diablo Cody) and three nominations for Best Motion Picture, Best Actress (Ellen Page), and Best Director (Jason Reitman).


Malkovich's mark in television includes his Emmy Award winning performance in the telefilm “Death of a Salesman,” directed by Volker Schlöndorff and co-starring Dustin Hoffman. Other notable credits include the miniseries' “Napoleon” and the acclaimed HBO telefilm “RKO 281,” both garnering Malkovich Emmy Award nominations.


Between 1976 and 1982 Malkovich acted in, directed or designed sets for more than fifty Steppenwolf Theatre Company productions. Malkovich's debut on the New York stage in the Steppenwolf production of Sam Shepard's “True West” earned him an Obie Award. Other notable plays include “Death of a Salesman;” “Slip of the Tongue;” Sam Shepard's “State of Shock;” and Lanford Wilson's “Burn This in New York, London and Los Angeles.” He has directed numerous plays at Steppenwolf, including the celebrated “Balm in Gilead” in Chicago and off-Broadway; “The Caretaker” in Chicago and on Broadway; and “Libra,” which Malkovich adapted from Don DeLillo's novel. His 2003 French stage production of “Hysteria” was honored with five Moliere Award nominations including Best Director. In addition to film directorial debut on The Dancer Upstairs, Malkovich has directed three fashion shorts (“Strap Hangings,” “Lady Behave,” “Hideous Man”) for London designer Bella Freud.   Malkovich recently received a Moliere Award as Best Director for his production of Zach Helm's “Good Canary” in Paris.  As a guiding member of Chicago's landmark Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Malkovich as a producer, director and actor has had a profound impact on the American theatre landscape.


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