RHYS IFANS Biography - Other artists & entretainers


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Rhys Ifans first hit the big screen in Anthony Hopkins’ directorial debut “August” (1996) and followed up with memorable roles in “Twin Town” (1997) and “Dancing at Lughnasa” (1998), but reached his widest audience and received the most notice as the unkempt and uninhibited Spike in the 1999 romantic comedy “Notting Hill".


Hailing from Cardiff, the tall, thin, blond actor who has worked with some of film’s biggest names including Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant, Julia Roberts and John Hurt got his start on television, with several English and Welsh productions to his credit.


Ifans’ broke through starring alongside his real-life younger brother Llyr Evans (Rhys adopted the Welsh spelling of their surname) as sociopathic brothers in “Twin Town". Presumably setting out to do for Swansea what “Trainspotting” did for Edinburgh (and even executive produced by Danny Boyle and Andrew Mcdonald), the less moralizing “Twin Town” proved a mixed success, with many finding the subversiveness of the film troubling, while others enjoyed its boundless energy and irreverence. Ifans’ grimace laden portrayal of the gleefully violent Jeremy was at once enrapturing and disturbing.


The following year, his supporting role in the Irish drama “Dancing at Lughnasa” showcased a different side to the actor. As the dreaming free spirit Chris, father of an illegitimate son, Ifans deftly played a much more likable and inspiring role, the handsome and endearing dreamer whose pure-heartedness sparks the sisters’ sense of independence and abandon.


While his previous performances were strong and compelling, they did not capture the public notice that would meet his turn as the unwashed oddball Spike, his scene-stealing portrayal adding just the right measure of inane comic relief to the well-received romance “Notting Hill".


Ifans played the roommate of an unsuccessful bookshop owner (Hugh Grant) linked to a world famous actress (Julia Roberts). Spike’s inadvertent efforts to keep the lovers parted and his original way of dealing with the ever-present press were highlights of an already enjoyable film. Unwashed, unshaven and just plain unbelievable, Ifans was virtually unrecognizable in the role (for which he prepared by going unkempt in real life).


He cleaned himself up for a starring turn in “Rancid Aluminum” (also 1999), directed by his friend and fello Welsh-man Ed Thomas, a darkly comic crime caper co-starring Joseph Fiennes, Tara Fitzgerald and Sadie Frost.