Joseph Matthew Alwyn (born 21 February 1991) is an English actor. He made his feature film debut as the titular character in Ang Lee's 2016 war drama, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, and has since played supporting roles in films such as The Favourite (2018), Boy Erased (2018), Mary Queen of Scots (2018), and Harriet (2019). His accolades include a Trophée Chopard, a Critics' Choice Movie Award, a Satellite Award, and a Grammy Award.

Joe Alwyn
Joe Alwyn (Grazia UK interview).png
Alwyn in October 2022
Joseph Matthew Alwyn

(1991-02-21) 21 February 1991 (age 31)
Other namesWilliam Bowery[note 1]
Alma mater
  • Actor
  • songwriter
Years active2015–present
PartnerTaylor Swift (2016–present)[1]
RelativesWilliam Alwyn

Born in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England, and raised in North London, Alwyn developed an interest in acting during his teenage years and joined the National Youth Theatre in 2009. He acted in two student productions at Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and graduated with a BA degree in English literature and drama from the University of Bristol (2012). He received another BA in acting from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (2015). He won the Trophée Chopard at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, following his appearance in various critically acclaimed films.

Alwyn has also worked with American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift on ten of her songs; he co-wrote tracks such as "Exile", "Betty", "Champagne Problems" and "Coney Island" from Swift's 2020 albums, Folklore and Evermore. "Exile" charted inside the top 10 in eight countries. For his contributions to Folklore, Alwyn won the Album of the Year at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards. In 2022, he appeared in a lead role of Hulu series Conversations with Friends, starred in the romantic thriller film Stars at Noon, which won the Grand Prix at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, and featured on the Time 100 Next list.

Early life and education

Joseph Matthew Alwyn was born on 21 February 1991 in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England.[2][3] Raised in Tufnell Park and Crouch End areas of North London,[4][5] Alwyn is the son of a psychotherapist mother and a documentary filmmaker father.[6] He is the great-grandson of composer William Alwyn.

Alwyn was educated at the City of London School.[4] He briefly took guitar lessons, and was part of the school band called "Anger Management" around the age 13. He later played football and rugby in school.[7] Although an "introverted" child,[8] Alwyn secretly wanted to be an actor[9] and became a member of the National Youth Theatre in his late teens.[10] While pursuing Bachelor of Arts (BA) in English literature and drama at the University of Bristol,[8] he acted in two student productions at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.[11] He graduated in 2012, and applied for four drama schools, but got rejected by all except one—the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama,[12] where he completed a BA, in acting.[10] During the third year of the course, Alwyn signed with an agent who had come across Alwyn at a student showcase. Soon after, the agent informed Alwyn that a production company was looking to cast the title character of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (2016), which would go on to mark Alwyn's debut in a feature film.[7]



Within a fortnight of his graduate showcase, in early 2015,[13][14] Alwyn was cast in the lead role of Taiwanese director Ang Lee's 2016 war drama film, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk,[15][16] which is a film adaptation based on the 2012 novel of the same name by American writer Ben Fountain.[17] Lee stated he selected Alwyn because of his "ability to communicate the book's paradox of war with just his facial expressions".[18] In the film's reviews, critics praised Alwyn's performance for its naturalism.[12] Journalists went on to describe the film as his "breakout".[19][14] He then played a supporting role in the 2017 mystery drama film, The Sense of an Ending, directed by Indian filmmaker Ritesh Batra.[19]

Alywn in August 2018

Alwyn appeared in a number of 2018 films. He played the British nobleman Samuel Masham, alongside actors Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone and Nicholas Hoult, in the period black comedy film, The Favourite,[20] directed by Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos.[21] The film garnered 10 nominations at the 91st Academy Awards.[22] He portrayed Klaus Eichmann, son of German Nazi official Adolf Eichmann, in Chris Weitz's historical drama Operation Finale, featuring Oscar Isaac and Ben Kingsley in the lead roles,[23][24] and a minor role in Joel Edgerton's Boy Eraseda biographical drama film based on a 2016 memoir by American LGBT+ activist Garrard Conley.[23] Alwyn then appeared as English statesman Robert Dudley, the favourite of Queen Elizabeth I, in the historical drama Mary Queen of Scots, alongside Saoirse Ronan as Queen Mary and Margot Robbie as Elizabeth.[25][26] Acknowledging his talent, Alwyn was awarded the Trophée Chopard alongside Australian actress Elizabeth Debicki at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.[27]

In 2019, Alwyn played a slave owner named Gideon Brodess in Harriet, a biographical drama about American abolitionist Harriet Tubman, starring Cynthia Erivo and Janelle Monáe.[28] He appeared as Bob Cratchit in the dark fantasy television miniseries A Christmas Carol, based on the 1843 novella of the same name by English writer Charles Dickens.[29] In 2021, he had a minor role in drama film The Souvenir Part II,[30] and played a 1960s industrialist in the film adaptation of English novelist Jojo Moyes' 2008 romantic novel, The Last Letter from Your Lover, alongside Felicity Jones, Callum Turner and Shailene Woodley.[31]

Leading opposite Jemima Kirke and Sasha Lane, Alwyn appeared in the 2022 drama series Conversations with Friendsa Hulu adaptation of the 2017 novel of the same name by Irish author Sally Rooney.[32] He also appeared in two 2022 films: paired with Margaret Qualley in the romantic thriller film Stars at Noon, directed by French filmmaker Claire Denis,[33] and as the uncle of the titular character (played by Bella Ramsey) in Lena Dunham's medieval comedy film, Catherine Called Birdy, based on the 1994 children's novel of the same name by American writer Karen Cushman;[34] both the films were met with generally positive reviews,[35][36] with the former premiering at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival and winning the Grand Prix.[37] Alwyn has been cast alongside Riz Ahmed and Morfydd Clark in Aneil Karia's modern adaptation of William Shakespeare's Hamlet.[38]


Alwyn explored his music prospects with American singer-songwriter and girlfriend, Taylor Swift. He explained that he had not planned on working with Swift, but "it came about from messing around on a piano, and singing badly," and then "being overheard by Swift, and being, like, 'Let's see what happens if we get to the end of it together'."[39] He co-produced the songs "Exile", "Betty", "My Tears Ricochet", "August", "This Is Me Trying" and "Illicit Affairs" on Swift's eighth studio album, Folklore (2020);[40] he also co-wrote "Exile" and "Betty", under the pseudonym William Bowery.[41] "Exile" reached the top 10 of the charts in various countries, including number six on the US Billboard Hot 100[42] and number eight on the UK Singles Chart.[43] At the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards in 2021, "Exile" was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, while Folklore won the Album of the Year, garnering Alwyn his first Grammy win.[44] He (as Bowery) also co-wrote "Champagne Problems", "Coney Island" and the title track on Swift's second 2020 album, Evermore.[45] In April 2022, Alwyn revealed to The Wall Street Journal that the name "William Bowery" was derived from the first name of his great grandfather William Alwyn, who was a music composer, and the last name in honor of the New York City neighbourhood Bowery, where he had spent "a lot of time" when he first arrived to the U.S.[7] He worked with Swift on her tenth studio album, Midnights (2022), as well, co-writing its penultimate track, "Sweet Nothing", as Bowery.[46]

Personal life

Alwyn keeps his personal life mostly discreet, which he self-described as a "knee-jerk response to the culture we live in".[7] He dislikes media's invasion of privacy.[47] GQ labelled Alwyn a "notoriously low-key actor".[48] The Wall Street Journal went on to call him "Hollywood's Most Private Leading Man".[7] Since 2016, Alwyn has been in a relationship with Taylor Swift.[note 2][52][53] Media outlets have taken note of the privacy Alwyn and Swift maintain about their relationship, as Swift was more open about her romantic life in the past.[54] Nevertheless, their relationship is a subject of constant tabloid scrutiny. Swift's 2022 song "Lavender Haze" discusses the rumors about the relationship.[55]

In April 2022, when Elle questioned Alwyn about his discretion, he replied "It's not really [because I] want to be guarded and private, it's more a response to something else. We live in a culture that is so increasingly intrusive... the more you give—and frankly, even if you don't give it—something will be taken."[56] Commenting on rumors about alleged engagement with Swift, Alwyn told The Wall Street Journal: "If I had a pound for every time I think I've been told I've been engaged, then I'd have a lot of pound coins. I mean, the truth is, if the answer was yes, I wouldn't say, and if the answer was no, I wouldn't say."[7]


Alwyn has won seven awards out of eight nominations from notable organizations. He appeared in the 2022 Time 100 Next, a listicle by Time recognizing "100 rising stars from across industries and around the world."[57][58]

List of awards and nominations received by Alwyn
Award Year Category Nominated work Result Ref.
BMI London Awards 2021 Most Performed Songs of the Year "Betty" Won [59]
2022 "Exile" Won [60]
Cannes Film Festival 2018 Trophée Chopard Himself Won [61]
Critics' Choice Movie Awards 2019 Best Acting Ensemble The Favourite Won [62]
Florida Film Critics Circle Awards 2018 Best Ensemble The Favourite Won [63]
Grammy Awards 2021 Album of the Year Folklore Won [64]
2022 Evermore Nominated [65]
Satellite Awards 2019 Best Cast – Motion Picture The Favourite Won [66]


  Denotes productions that have not yet been released


Year Title Role
2016 Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk Billy Lynn
2017 The Sense of an Ending Adrian Finn
2018 Operation Finale Klaus Eichmann
The Favourite Samuel Masham
Boy Erased Henry Wallace
Mary Queen of Scots Robert Dudley
2019 Harriet Gideon Brodess
2020 Miss Americana Himself
2021 The Souvenir Part II Max
The Last Letter from Your Lover Laurence Stirling
2022 Stars at Noon Daniel
Catherine Called Birdy George


Year Title Role Notes
2019 A Christmas Carol Bob Cratchit Miniseries; 3 episodes
2022 Conversations with Friends Nick Conway Main role; 12 episodes


Year Album Song Credit[note 1]
2020 "Exile"
"My Tears Ricochet"
"This is Me Trying"
"Illicit Affairs"
"Betty" Co-writer; co-producer
"Champagne Problems"
"Coney Island"
2022 "Sweet Nothing"

See also


  1. ^ a b Alwyn uses his songwriting pseudonym, William Bowery, for co-writer credits in songs. He uses his original name for co-producer credits.
  2. ^ He has been referenced in much of Swift's music since 2016, such as her albums Reputation (2017), Lover (2019), Folklore, Evermore (both 2020), and Midnights (2022).[49][50] Alwyn stated he finds it "flattering" that Swift writes songs about him.[51]


  1. ^ Sources on recognition of Swift as Alwyn's "partner"
    • Malone Kircher, Madison (11 December 2020). "Thank You, Taylor Swift, for Making My Sad Yuletide Gay(er)". Vulture. Retrieved 15 September 2021. For "betty", it was "William Bowery" a.k.a. her partner Joe Alwyn who, according to Swift's folklore concert film, plays the piano "just beautifully" and roams the house singing fully formed songs.
    • "Netflix's Miss Americana Unveils a New Taylor Swift". Slate. 24 January 2020. Retrieved 15 September 2021. Although Swift credits much of her recent evolution to her long-term relationship with Joe Alwyn...
    • "Paul McCartney & Taylor Swift". Rolling Stone. 13 November 2020. Retrieved 15 September 2021. McCartney: So how does that go? Does your partner sympathize with that and understand? Swift: Oh, absolutely.
  2. ^ "Joseph Matthew Alwyn". England and Wales Birth Registration Index, 1837–2008. Southport, England. 16: 2586 – via FamilySearch.
  3. ^ "Joe Alwyn". Glamour. UK. Archived from the original on 8 January 2018. Retrieved 13 September 2017. Joe Alwyn (Joseph Matthew Alwyn) was born 21 February 1991
  4. ^ a b McLean, Craig (9 February 2017). "Joe Alwyn: the Crouch End boy taking Hollywood by storm". London Evening Standard. UK. Archived from the original on 9 February 2017. Retrieved 16 May 2017. ...26-year-old Crouch Ender...
  5. ^ Flynn, Paul (4 November 2016). "Joe Alwyn Was Destined To Be a Star". i-D. Archived from the original on 26 February 2017. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  6. ^ Hattersley, Giles (27 September 2018). "Joe Alwyn On Fame, Romance, And His Blockbuster-Filled Autumn". British Vogue.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Mechling, Lauren (20 April 2022). "Joe Alwyn is Hollywood's Most Private Leading Man". The Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 20 April 2022.
  8. ^ a b "Bright Future". Esquire. UK. 11 November 2016. Archived from the original on 21 May 2017. Retrieved 20 May 2017 – via Alt URL
  9. ^ Powers, John (16 August 2016). "Breakout Star Joe Alwyn on Landing the Role of a Lifetime". Vogue. Archived from the original on 21 June 2017. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  10. ^ a b "Joe Alwyn on CSSD". Royal Central School of Speech & Drama. Archived from the original on 1 March 2017. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  11. ^ Ford, Rebecca; Kit, Borys (25 February 2015). "Ang Lee's 'Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk' Finds Lead". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 30 March 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  12. ^ a b Handler, Rachel (9 May 2022). "'What Would You Like to Know?'". Vulture. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  13. ^ "Royal Central School of Speech And Drama BA Acting Showcase 2015". The Stage. 26 January 2015. Archived from the original on 9 June 2017. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  14. ^ a b Fear, David (11 November 2016). "Joe Alwyn: Meet the Breakout Star of 'Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk'". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 17 November 2016. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  15. ^ Erbland, Kate (10 November 2016). "Meet Joe Alwyn, Breakout Star of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk". Archived from the original on 15 January 2017. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  16. ^ Akel, Joseph (13 September 2016). "Front and Center with Joe Alwyn". VMan. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  17. ^ Kroll, Justin (25 February 2015). "Ang Lee Picks Newcomer Joe Alwyn for TriStar's 'Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk'". Variety. Archived from the original on 28 February 2017. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  18. ^ Lee, Ashley; Giardina, Carolyn (14 October 2016). "Ang Lee's 'Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk': Only Two U.S. Theaters Will Be Equipped to Show "the Whole Shebang"". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  19. ^ a b Fleming, Mike Jr. (8 September 2015). "CBS Films Pre-Buys 'The Sense of an Ending' – Toronto". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on 16 February 2017. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  20. ^ Ford, Rebecca (3 March 2017). "'Billy Lynn' Star Joe Alwyn Joins Emma Stone in 'The Favourite' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 4 March 2017. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  21. ^ McCarthy, Lauren (28 November 2018). "I Saw "The Favourite," and Now I Get Joe Alwyn". W Magazine. Retrieved 12 May 2022.
  22. ^ "Oscar Winners 2019: The Complete List". Variety. 24 February 2019. Retrieved 12 May 2022.
  23. ^ a b Kroll, Justin (8 September 2017). "'Billy Lynn' Star Joe Alwyn Joins Russell Crowe in 'Boy Erased,' Oscar Isaac in 'Operation Finale' (Exclusive)". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  24. ^ Erbland, Kate (28 August 2018). "'Operation Finale': Why Joe Alwyn Wanted to Play a Real-Life Nazi After His 'Billy Lynn' Breakout". IndieWire. Retrieved 12 May 2022.
  25. ^ "Joe Alwyn Joins Margot Robbie in 'Mary Queen of Scots' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. 13 June 2017. Retrieved 13 June 2017.
  26. ^ Poenisch, Emily (7 December 2018). "Prepare to See Joe Alwyn in, Well, Everything". Esquire. Retrieved 12 May 2022.
  27. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (16 May 2018). "Joe Alwyn, Elizabeth Debicki Receive Trophee Chopard at Cannes Film Festival". Variety. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  28. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (13 September 2018). "Focus Features Moving Forward With Harriet Tubman Pic Starring Cynthia Erivo". Deadline. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
  29. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (28 November 2017). "Steven Knight To Adapt Charles Dickens Novels For BBC One; Ridley Scott, Tom Hardy Exec Producing". Deadline. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  30. ^ Barfield, Charles (13 August 2019). "Harris Dickinson, Charlie Heaton & Joe Alwyn Cast In Joanna Hogg's Upcoming 'Souvenir' Sequel [Exclusive]". ThePlaylist. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
  31. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (29 April 2021). "Felicity Jones & Shailene Woodley Movie 'The Last Letter From Your Lover' Sets Summer Release On Netflix". Deadline. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  32. ^ Gonzales, Erica (17 February 2021). "Sally Rooney's Conversations with Friends Is Coming to Hulu—Here's What to Know". Harper's Bazaar. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  33. ^ Rooney, David (25 May 2022). "Margaret Qualley and Joe Alwyn in Claire Denis' 'Stars at Noon': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 27 May 2022.
  34. ^ Hullender, Tatiana (23 September 2022). "Andrew Scott & Joe Alwyn Interview: Catherine Called Birdy". ScreenRant. Retrieved 5 October 2022.
  35. ^ "Stars at Noon Reviews". Metacritic. Red Ventures. Retrieved 27 September 2022.
  36. ^ "Catherine Called Birdy". Metacritic. Retrieved 12 September 2022.
  37. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (28 May 2022). "Cannes Film Festival Winners Announced – Live". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 28 May 2022.
  38. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (11 May 2022). "Oscar Winners Riz Ahmed & Aneil Karia Team For Modern 'Hamlet' With Morfydd Clark, Joe Alwyn & WME Independent; Duo Give Exclusive Interview About Their Timely Adaptation — Cannes Market Hot Package". Deadline. Retrieved 12 May 2022.
  39. ^ "How Joe Alwyn Really Feels About Winning Grammy Alongside Taylor Swift". E!. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  40. ^ "Credits / Folklore". Tidal. Retrieved 24 April 2021.
  41. ^ Aubrey, Elizabeth (25 November 2020). "Taylor Swift confirms the identity of 'Folklore' song co-writer William Bowery". NME. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  42. ^ "Taylor Swift Debuts at No. 1 on Hot 100 With 'Cardigan,' Is 1st Artist to Open Atop Hot 100 & Billboard 200 in Same Week". Billboard. 3 August 2020. Archived from the original on 3 August 2020. Retrieved 3 August 2020.
  43. ^ Ainsley, Helen (31 July 2020). "Joel Corry & MNEK hold on to Number 1 with Head & Heart". Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 1 August 2020. Retrieved 11 September 2020.
  44. ^ "2020 Grammy Winners & Nominees". The Recording Academy. 15 December 2020. Archived from the original on 23 April 2021. Retrieved 24 April 2021.
  45. ^ Wood, Mikael (10 December 2020). "Review: Taylor Swift's surprise LP 'Evermore' is more — and less — 'Folklore'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  46. ^ Siroky, Mary (29 August 2022). "Everything We Know About Taylor Swift's New Album Midnights (So Far)". Consequence. Retrieved 18 October 2022.
  47. ^ O'Malley, Katie (13 April 2022). "Joe Alwyn On The Invasion Of Privacy And What Fans Can Expect From 'Conversations With Friends'". Elle. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  48. ^ Allen, Ben (9 May 2022). "Joe Alwyn Is About To Be Very Famous (And There's Nothing He Can Do About It)". GQ. Retrieved 9 May 2022.
  49. ^ Singh, Olivia; Samshian, Jacob (31 October 2019). "Everything we know about Taylor Swift's mysterious boyfriend and muse, Joe Alwyn". Insider Inc. Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  50. ^ "Taylor Swift's 'Long Story Short' Lyrics Reveal How Joe Alwyn Has Changed Her 4 Years Into Dating". Elle. 11 December 2020. Retrieved 13 December 2020.
  51. ^ Dresdale, Andrea (24 May 2019). "Joe Alwyn finds it 'flattering' that Taylor Swift writes songs about him". Good Morning America. Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  52. ^ Poenisch, Emily (7 December 2018). "Prepare to See Joe Alwyn in, Well, Everything". Esquire.
  53. ^ Boucher, Ashley (24 May 2019). "Taylor Swift and Boyfriend Joe Alwyn Hold Hands as They Stroll the Streets of Paris". People.
  54. ^ Ruiz, Michelle (22 April 2022). "The Exquisite Privacy of Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn". Vogue. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  55. ^ Chiu, Melody (21 October 2022). "Taylor Swift Addresses Engagement Rumors on 'Midnights' : 'The 1950s S— They Want from Me'". People. Retrieved 22 October 2022.
  56. ^ O'Malley, Katie (13 April 2022). "Joe Alwyn On The Invasion Of Privacy And What Fans Can Expect From 'Conversations With Friends'". Elle. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  57. ^ Reynolds, Ryan (28 September 2022). "2022 TIME100 Next: Joe Alwyn". Time. Retrieved 28 September 2022.
  58. ^ "How We Chose the 2022 TIME100 Next". Time. 28 September 2022. Retrieved 28 September 2022.
  59. ^ "2021 BMI London Awards". BMI Foundation. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  60. ^ "2022 BMI London Music Awards". BMI. Retrieved 5 October 2022.
  61. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (16 May 2018). "Joe Alwyn, Elizabeth Debicki Receive Trophee Chopard at Cannes Film Festival". Variety. Retrieved 9 May 2022.
  62. ^ Crist, Allison (13 January 2019). "Critics' Choice Awards: 'Roma,' 'Americans,' 'Mrs. Maisel' Top Winners". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 9 May 2022.
  63. ^ "The 2018 Florida Film Critics Circle (FFCC) Winners". Next Best Picture. Retrieved 9 May 2022.
  64. ^ Grein, Paul (26 April 2021). "Taylor Swift's Boyfriend Joe Alwyn Is Officially a Grammy Winner". Billboard. Retrieved 9 May 2022.
  65. ^ "2022 GRAMMYs Awards Show: Complete Winners & Nominations List". Retrieved 9 May 2022.
  66. ^ "2019 Winners". International Press Academy. Retrieved 9 May 2022.

External links