English actor. He is best known to international audiences as James Bond, debuting in the role in Casino Royale (2006) to critical acclaim. Known for his intense performances in a variety of dramatic roles, he was well known in the UK before reaching Hollywood audiences in the early 2000s, playing the son of a mob boss in Sam Mendes's crime drama Road to Perdition (2002) and English poet Ted Hughes in the Sylvia Plath biopic Sylvia (2003).
His film debut was in The Power of One (1992), a coming-of-age story of a white boy in South Africa during apartheid. Work in television followed, including the British mini-series Our Friends in the North and The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders (both 1996). His films include the the Francis Bacon biopic Love is the Devil (1998), the World War I drama The Trench (1999), the crime thriller Layer Cake (2004), the drama Enduring Love (2004), an adaptation of the novel by English author Ian McEwan, and the dark thriller The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011).
He was born in Chester, Cheshire, and grew up in Liverpool. After moving to London he studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Theatre work includes a critically acclaimed performance in A Number at the Royal Court (2002). He also appeared in a television version of the Michael Frayn play Copenhagen (2002).