Profile: Thandie Newton
Birth Name: Thandiwe Newton
Born: November 6, 1972, Zambia
Height: 5' 2"
Background: British, Zimbabwean
Husband: Oliver Parker
Daughter: Ripley, born September 17, 2000 in London
Quote: "I remember one day on the set of Flirting, Nicole telling me she'd got an audition with [Tom] Cruise for his movie Days of Thunder. Jokingly, I asked her why she'd ever want to work with him. We all know the answer to that now."
Thandie Newton Biography
Thandie (pronounced Tan-dee) Newton was born November 6, 1972, in Zambia, Africa. Her exotic and original beauty can be attributed to her mixed heritage: her father Nick Newton, a British artist and former lab technician married Nyasha, a Zimbabwean nurse.
Because of political instability in her native Zambia, Thandie's family relocated to Nick's hometown of Penzance, England, when Thandie was 5 years old. Growing up in England along with her younger brother James, Thandie was originally passionate about dance.
While studying modern dance at the London Art Educational School, a back injury led her to acting when she was forced to miss classes and was encouraged to audition for a film that was on the lookout for fresh talent at her school.
The movie that was holding auditions was entitled Flirting, by Australian director John Duigan. Released in 1991, the film marks Thandie's feature film debut and a switch in career goals -- especially considering the Australian film awards she earned. While playing "Thandiwe" (Duigan chose the name in honor of the actress), Thandie befriended her pal and co-star, Australian actress Nicole Kidman.
Incidentally, Flirting wasn't only the name of the movie, but it was also what was going on between Thandie and director Duigan, as the two were allegedly romantically involved. Duigan continued to play an important role throughout Thandie's film career, having directed her in 1995's The Journey of August King, co-starring Jason Patric, and 1996's The Leading Man, opposite Jon Bon Jovi.
After Flirting, Thandie was cast in the 1994 bloodfest, Interview With The Vampire, starring Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Kirsten Dunst. After a role in 1995's Jefferson in Paris, which featured her as Thomas Jefferson's slave mistress, Thandie tried to diversify her acting portfolio (all the while studying at Cambridge university for her Anthropology degree) with her role in 1997's Gridlock'd (co-starring Tim Roth and the late Tupac Shakur), showcasing the actress as a heroine-addicted jazz singer.
Thandie received critical praise for the latter, and her skills were further underscored by her work in Bernardo Bertolucci's Beseiged, in 1998. That same year, Thandie starred as the title character in Jonathan Demme's adaptation of the Toni Morrison novel, Beloved. Although "Thandie" literally translates into "beloved," and Thandie herself gave a solid performance, the film bombed at the box-office.
Thandie was chosen to join Vanity Fair 's April 1999 cover of the "Up and Comers," although she had not been in a high-profile role. That would all change in the summer of 2000, when she worked with her former Interview co-star, Tom Cruise, in John Woo's Mission: Impossible 2.
As jewel thief Nyah Hall, Thandie practically stole the show from her co-star and the thrilling special effects, and audiences wondered who the "new actress" sharing steamy scenes with Tom Cruise was.
Not only is she far from a new actress, but the steamy chemistry between her and Cruise was surely acting; she is happily married to screenwriter Oliver Parker, who she met when starred in his made-for-TV movie, In Your Dreams.
Thandie was set to join heavenly actresses Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz in the film Charlie's Angels (a part which Lucy Lui ultimately landed), but had to pass due to scheduling conflicts. There will be another Charlie in her life though, as she is set to co-star with Mark Walhberg in the film The Truth About Charlie.
Thandie and her husband recently welcomed a new addition to their family in September 2000, their daughter Ripley.
Thandie Newton Filmography
Chronicles of Riddick, The (2004)--Dame Vaako
The Truth About Charlie (2002)--Regina Lampert
It Was an Accident (2000)--Noreen Hurlock
Mission: Impossible II (2000)--Nyah Nordoff-Hall
In Your Dreams (1997) (TV)--Clare
The Leading Man (1996)--Hilary Rule
The Journey of August King (1995)--Annalees Williamsburg
Jefferson in Paris (1995)--Sally Hemings
Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994)--Yvette
Pirate Prince (1993) (TV)--Becky Newton
The Young Americans (1993)--Rachael Stevens
Flirting (1991)--Thandiwe Adjewa