Birthdate: February 21, 1991
Birthplace: London, England, UK
Getting your first movie role as the lead in an Ang Lee production would seem to be like winning the lottery, but even though Joe Alwyn (birthname: Joseph Matthew Alwyn) was unlucky enough for that movie to be the box-office bomb, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (2016), he has gone on to amass an impressive roster of credits in the past five years. Joe Alwyn capped this run with another lead role, in Claire Denis’ thriller set during the Nicaraguan revolution, Stars at Noon (2021), with John C. Reilly and Margaret Qualley.
Though trained in theater, Alwyn scored the lead in Billy Lynn straight out of drama school. He landed a plum role alongside the stunning ensemble of Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, and Nicholas Hoult, in Yogos Lanthimos’ acid-sharp court comedy, The Favourite (2018), nominated for ten Oscars.
Alwyn portrayed a run of historical figures in subsequent movies: As the son of Adolf Eichmann in Chris Weitz’s Operation Finale (2018), with Oscar Isaac and Ben Kingsley; as Henry Wallace in Joel Edgerton’s drama, Boy Erased (2018), with Nicole Kidman, Lucas Hedges, and Edgerton; as British statesman Robert Dudley in Josie Rourke’s Mary, Queen of Scots (2018) with Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie; and as slaveowner Gideon Brodess in Kasi Lemmons’ slave history thriller, Harriet (2019), with Cynthia Erivo as Harriet Tubman.
In 2022, Alwyn also appears in Lena Dunham’s medieval British comedy, Catherine Called Birdy, with Bella Ramsay. Alwyn is also set to play opposite Riz Ahmed, as Laertes, in a contemporary version of Hamlet directed by Anell Karia.
Born in the Kent region of England and raised in North London by author-psychotherapist Elizabeth and non-fiction filmmaker Richard Alwyn, Joe Alwyn comes from a distinguished family tree. His grandfather, Jonathan Alwyn, was a producer-director, while his great-grandfather, William Alwyn, was a composer-conductor. His great-uncle was one of the leaders in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Bruce Kent.
After attending the City of London School, Alwyn joined the U.K.’s National Youth Theatre and earned a Bachelor’s in English literature from the University of Bristol in 2012, and another degree in drama and acting from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in 2015. Alwyn has been in a relationship with Taylor Swift since 2016. Alwyn’s height is 6’ 2½”.
Rejected: Joe Alwyn was rejected by every drama school he applied to, except one: Royal Central School of Speech & Drama.
Long Wait: After auditioning and failing to land a role at age 11 in Love, Actually (2003), Alwyn didn’t land a movie role until the lead in Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (2016).
Grammy Winner: Unusually for an actor, before he has won any major acting awards, Joe Alwyn is co-winner (as co-songwriter) of the Grammy’s top award, Album of the Year, with artist and girlfriend, Taylor Swift.