Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Danish pronunciation: [neɡolaj kʌsdɐ ˈvaldɑw]; born 27 July 1970) is a Danish actor, producer and screenwriter. He graduated from the Danish National School of Theatre in Copenhagen in 1993. Coster-Waldau's breakthrough performance in Denmark was his role in the film Nightwatch (1994). Since then he has appeared in numerous films in his native Scandinavia and Europe in general, including Headhunters (2011) and A Thousand Times Good Night (2013).
Coster-Waldau at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con International
27 July 1970 |
|Alma mater||Danish National School of Theatre and Contemporary Dance|
|Occupation||Actor, producer, screenwriter|
|Spouse(s)||Sascha Nukâka Motzfeldt (m. 1998)|
In the United States, his debut film role was in the war film Black Hawk Down (2001), playing Medal of Honor recipient Gary Gordon. He then played Detective John Amsterdam in the short-lived Fox television series New Amsterdam (2008), as well as appearing as Frank Pike in the 2009 Fox television film Virtuality, originally intended as a pilot. He became widely known for his current role as Ser Jaime Lannister, in the HBO series Game of Thrones.
Coster-Waldau was born in Rudkøbing, Denmark, the son of Hanne Søborg Coster, a librarian, and Jørgen Oscar Fritzer Waldau (died 1998). He has spoken in interviews about his father's problems with alcohol, as well as his parents' divorce. He has two older sisters, and was raised mainly by his mother. He grew up in Tybjerg, a small village between Ringsted and Næstved in southern Zealand. Coster-Waldau was the youngest actor to enter the Danish National School of Theatre and Contemporary Dance (Danish: Statens Teaterskole), where he was educated from 1989 to 1993.
Early career and breakthrough (1993–2000)Edit
Coster-Waldau made his stage debut as Laertes in Hamlet at the Betty Nansen Theater. His role in the film Nightwatch (1994) brought him fame in his native country. He then went on to play in Simon Staho’s Wildside (1998), which he also cowrote, and starred in Danish films such as Misery Harbour (1999). He made his British début alongside Clive Owen, Jude Law and Mick Jagger in Bent (1997).
Transition to United States film and television (2001–2010)Edit
In 2001, he began his U.S. career in Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down as Medal of Honor recipient Gary Gordon. Coster-Waldau says "My first U.S. movie was Black Hawk Down and a friend helped me put myself on tape up on the attic over my apartment in Copenhagen. We shipped it out and I got lucky."
He next landed a lead role in Michael Apted's Enigma and also appeared as a villain in the action film My Name is Modesty (based upon the Modesty Blaise comic strip). Scott brought Coster-Waldau back for his 2005 film Kingdom of Heaven. Richard Loncraine, who cast the actor in Wimbledon in 2004, cast him in Firewall two years later, in 2006. In 2007, he played John Amsterdam, an immortal New York homicide detective who will become mortal after he finds his true love, in the short-lived Fox TV drama series New Amsterdam. As a result of filming that series' pilot, Coster-Waldau obtained his Screen Actors Guild card. He later recalled in a 2015 interview in TV Guide, "Finally getting my SAG card was huge for me...I got so excited I went straight to the SAG online shop and bought four mugs with SAG logo. [I] still have those mugs!"
Mainstream and critical success (2011–present)Edit
Since April 2011, Coster-Waldau has played Jaime Lannister on HBO's hit series Game of Thrones, based on George R. R. Martin's best-selling A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy novel series. He commented about the character "What's not to like about Jaime? As an actor I couldn't ask for a better role". For his role as Jaime Lannister he has received several awards nominations, including a Critics' Choice Television Award, a Saturn Award and People's Choice Awards nominations.
In 2011, he also starred alongside Sam Shepard in Mateo Gil’s feature Blackthorn, which premiered in Tribeca Film Festival. Later the same year he starred in Morten Tyldum’s Headhunters. The film went on to be the highest-grossing Norwegian film of all-time and received very positive reviews including a BAFTA Award nomination for Best Foreign Film. Coster-Waldau starred in the 2013 horror film Mama alongside Jessica Chastain, which debuted at number one in the US box office and grossed over $140 million worldwide. He went on to play Sykes, a military weapons expert in the science fiction action thriller film Oblivion. The same year he co-starred with Juliette Binoche in Erik Poppe's drama A Thousand Times Good Night. In 2014, he starred in Susanne Bier's Danish thriller A Second Chance as Andreas, a police officer forced to make a difficult choice. In 2016, Coster-Waldau appeared in the action-fantasy film Gods of Egypt as Horus.
In early 2017, he starred in E.L. Katz's dark comedy Small Crimes which premiered at South by Southwest film festival on March 11, 2017, to positive reviews. Coster-Waldau then appeared in the Danish film 3 Things, a thriller about a prime suspect of a bank robbery who negotiates the terms of his witness protection deal. He starred in Roman Waugh's prison film Shot Caller, which premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival on June 16, 2017. Since January 2018 he has been named L'Oréal Paris new global spokesperson for their Men Expert’s series.
Coster-Waldau married Nukâka, a Greenlandic actress and singer, in 1998, and they live in Kongens Lyngby with their two children, daughters Filippa (born October 2000) and Safina (born November 2003), as well as two dogs.
In September 2017, Coster-Waldau has signed on to narrate one of the fairytales for GivingTales, the celebrity storytelling app for children and adults alike. He is going to narrate The Steadfast Tin Soldier, on which he commented with the following: “I am from Denmark and Hans Christian Andersen is part of our culture and I am very proud being part of this project. The Steadfast Tin Soldier is a beautiful love story which we can all relate to.”
UNDP ambassadorship and other humanitarian causesEdit
Coster-Waldau has been supporting the Danish Red Cross since 2003. In 2016, he announced a Game of Thrones campaign-contest in order to support the RED foundation which aims to raise awareness and fight AIDS.
Since September 2016 he has been appointed a UNDP Goodwill Ambassador to raise awareness and support the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, an action to end poverty, fight inequality and stop climate change. In 2017 Coster-Waldau partnered with Google, using Street View to document the impact of global warming in Greenland, in order to increase awareness and highlight climate change. After participating in a female empowerment initiative in Kenya, on the occasion of International Women's Day in 2017, he wrote a pledge calling for all fathers to support gender equality and women's empowerment, including those women who live in extreme poverty and are exposed to practises like child marriage. In September 2017 he was one of the speakers in The Spotlight Initiative, a European Union-United Nations action to eliminate violence against women and girls, after kicking off the women’s amateur World Cup. In October 2017 he traveled to Maldives to report the global warming effects resuming his role as a United Nations Development Program Goodwill Ambassador.   In early 2018 he and several other Danish artists signed a manifesto demanding zero tolerance for sexism, sexual harassment and sexual assault in the Danish film and stage arts industry.
|Nightwatch||1994||Martin Bork||Ole Bornedal|
|Wildside||1998||Ossy||Simon Staho||Also writer|
|Nattens engel||Frankie||Shaky González|
|The Cable Club||1999||Rocker||Søren Fauli|
|Misery Harbour||Espen Arnakke||Nils Gaup|
|På fremmed mark||2000||Holt||Aage Rais-Nordentoft|
|Black Hawk Down||Gary Gordon||Ridley Scott|
|24 Hours in the Life of a Woman||2002||Anton||Laurent Bouhnik|
|Stealing Rembrandt||2003||Kenneth||Jannik Johansen|
|The Bouncer||Svend||Jesper W. Nielsen|
|My Name Is Modesty||2004||Miklos||Scott Spiegel|
|The Good Cop||Sune||Lasse Spang Olsen|
|Wimbledon||Dieter Prohl||Richard Loncraine|
|Kingdom of Heaven||2005||Village Sheriff||Ridley Scott|
|The Headsman||Martin||Simon Aeby|
|Triple Dare||Martin||Christina Rosendahl|
|The Baker||2007||Bjorn||Gareth Lewis|
|Wonderful and Loved by All||Micke||Hannes Holm|
|The Early Years: Erik Nietzsche Part 1||Sammy||Jacob Thuesen|
|The Kautokeino Rebellion||2008||Biskop Juell||Nils Gaup|
|Himmerland||Thomas||James Barclay||Also co-producer|
|At World's End||2009||Severin Geertsen||Tomas Villum Jensen|
|Blackthorn||2011||James Jovin||Mateo Gil|
|Headhunters||Clas Greve||Morten Tyldum|
|Mama||2013||Lucas / Jeffrey Desange||Andrés Muschietti|
|A Thousand Times Good Night||Marcus||Erik Poppe|
|The Other Woman||2014||Mark King||Nick Cassavetes|
|A Second Chance||Andreas||Susanne Bier|
|Klovn Forever||2015||Himself||Mikkel Nørgaard||Cameo|
|Gods of Egypt||2016||Horus||Alex Proyas|
|Chicken / Egg||Kenneth||James D'Arcy||Short Film|||
|Small Crimes||2017||Joe Denton||E. L. Katz|||
|3 Things||Mikael||Jens Dahl||Executive producer|||
|Shot Caller||Jacob 'Money' Harlon||Ric Roman Waugh|||
|Domino||2018||Brian De Palma||Filming|
|Denotes films that have not yet been released|
|Slaget på tasken||1993||Christian||Television film|
|Who's Hitler?||1995||Nattevagten||Television short|
|Jacobs liste||1997||Jacob||Television film|
|Lock, Stock...||2000||Jordi||Channel 4||2 episodes|
|Filthy Gorgeous||2006||Alex||Showtime||Television film|
|New Amsterdam||2008||John Amsterdam||FOX||8 episodes|
|Virtuality||2009||Commander Frank Pike||Television film|
|The Left Wing Gang||2009–10||Jan Weimann||TV 2||5 episodes|
|Game of Thrones||2011–present||Jaime Lannister||HBO||Main Role; 50 episodes|||
|Saturday Night Live||2015||NBC||Episode: "Taraji P. Henson/Mumford & Sons"|
|The Simpsons||2017||Markery||FOX||Episode: "The Serfsons"|||
|Hamlet||1992–93||Laertes||Betty Nansen Theater|||
|Morgen og aften||1994||Colin Henderson||Husets Theater|||
|Uidentificerede menneskerester og kærlighedens sande væsen||Royal Danish Theatre|||
|I en Fremmeds Øjne||1996||Daniel||Café Teatret|||
|Paradis||1997||Lars Emberg||N. Cederholm/Dante|||
|Drengene i Skyggen||2000||Christoffer||Betty Nansen Theater|||
|Becket||2002||Becket||Gladsaxe Ny Teater|||
|Øjeblikket||2009||Betty Nansen Theater|||
Awards and nominationsEdit
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