10 Things You Never Knew About Clive Owen
Clive Owen returns this week in FX's Impeachment: American Crime Story, playing one of the most iconic real-life roles imaginable: 42nd President Bill Clinton. From his Oscar-nominated performance in dark romantic movie Closer to his edgy medical drama series The Knick, the British actor has always prided himself on picking varied projects that prevent him from being typecast. Along the way, he's also managed to maintain an impressive level of privacy, but here are a few things you probably don't know about him.
1. He has described his upbringing as "tough."
Owen is estranged from his father, a country singer who left the family when he was just three years old. "I was a working-class boy from Coventry. I was brought up on a big council estate and my stepfather was unemployed," Owen told the Daily Mail in 2006. "There was a lot of that around in those days, especially in the Midlands [region of England]. It was pretty standard poverty."
2. David Bowie played a pivotal role in his career.
"He might have more to do with me being an actor than anything," Owen said during an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. "He was the first person to spark my imagination. I come from a small town in England and here was this unbelievably imaginative guy who was so creative, and it sparked things in me. And you know, I ended up acting, but [seeing Bowie] was the first time my imagination was fueled."
3. He believes the key to his acting technique lies in his eyes.
"I've heard people say I have a dull and monotonous voice, but the truth is that I put all my effort into communicating to the audience via my eyes," Owen told The Independent in 2014. "An actor can say so much with their eyes. I would have loved to have been an actor in the days of silent movies. Sounding interesting doesn't interest me. Looking interesting is another matter entirely."
4. Director Alfonso Cuarón believes Owen should have received a screenwriting credit for his work on 2006's Children of Men.
In one of his most acclaimed roles, Owen stars as a civil servant who helps an asylum seeker escape to safety in a dystopian near-future. "We worked with Clive a couple of weeks in a hotel room in New York, focusing [on] his character," Cuarón told Ain't It Cool News. "His instincts were so great that then we asked, 'Can we pester you with the rest of the script?' He [worked with us] with that and he was amazing."
5. Adorably, he met his wife Sarah-Jane Fenton when they starred together in a 1988 U.K. touring production of Romeo & Juliet.
She later retired from acting and is now Dr. Sarah-Jane Fenton, a Lecturer in Mental Health Policy at Birmingham University's Institute for Mental Health.
6. Their daughter Eve Owen is a fast-rising singer-songwriter who has worked with cult indie band The National.
Check out her beautiful song "Tudor" below.
7. He's sanguine about never playing Bond — a role he was linked to when Pierce Brosnan completed his 007 stint.
"Bond was the best thing that never happened to me," Owen told The Independent. "People keep on saying I missed my chance with not being James Bond, but my films still appear with the tedious inevitability of an unloved season."
8. He once appeared in a somewhat meta Spanish TV spot for Burger King.
Seriously, this commercial doesn't end the way you expect it to...
9. He was once hailed as the "sexiest man alive" by Glamour magazine, but doesn't let it go to his head.
"I don't think about it at all," he told The Guardian in 2009. "I think any actor who ever thinks about that or considers himself to be a sex symbol has got serious problems, so I don't spend time reflecting on that."
10. And finally, when he's not on set, he keeps it super low-key.
"America's been very, very good to me. I've been very lucky and worked a lot there, and appreciate and love the work that I've done. I go home to London in between jobs, and in London, my life has nothing to do with the business," Owen told Interview magazine. "It's a family life, hanging with friends. I don’t like being consumed by work all the time. I consume myself so much when I do a part that I like to step away from it, and living in London gives me that opportunity. I know that if I lived in L.A., the business would be around me all the time, and I much prefer to have a time out. So I go home and chill with the family."
Have we missed out on an interesting detail about Clive Owen?