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Ben Foster –



About Ben Foster (1980 – )

Ben Foster was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of restaurant owners Gillian Kirwan and Steven Foster. In interviews he has described his parents as "free-spirited, Vietnam-protesting hippies". He has a younger brother, Jon, also an actor. When Foster was four years old, his family moved to Fairfield, Iowa, after their Boston home was broken into by robbers while they were in the house.

Foster was raised Jewish, and had a Bar Mitzvah ceremony. His paternal grandparents were Celia (Segal) and Abraham Foster, who was a prominent judge and Boston politician, whose families emigrated from Russia. Foster practices Transcendental Meditation, and, while living in Fairfield, attended the Maharishi University of Management.

He began to realize his passion for acting after attending the Interlochen Theater Arts Summer Program. After writing, directing, and starring in his first play at the age of 12, it wasn't long before the acting bug had worked its way into him, and he dropped out of high school and moved to Los Angeles to pursue his acting career. In 1996 and 1997 he appeared in the TV series Flash Forward, and auditioned unsuccessfully for the lead in Richard Kelly's Donnie Darko. Over the next three years, Foster got small roles in two made-for-TV movies, as well as two episodes of the TV series Freaks and Geeks.

In 1999, Foster won his breakthrough role in Liberty Heights. Set in 1950s Baltimore, he starred as a Jewish high school student whose socially taboo relationship with a black classmate (Rebekah Johnson) brings intense pressure from family and friends. In 2001, he had a role in the film Get Over It, as well as a recurring role in the HBO series Six Feet Under. After appearing in the films 11:14 and The Punisher, Foster won a part in the movie Hostage alongside Bruce Willis, Kevin Pollak and Michelle Horn. In 2006, he appeared in X-Men: The Last Stand as the comic-book hero Angel/Warren Worthington III. In the crime thriller Alpha Dog, he played the character Jake Mazursky and went so far as to add glaucoma drops to his eyes to simulate the appearance of a drug addict. He made a strong impression as the cold-blooded killer Charlie Prince in the modern Western 3:10 to Yuma, with Ed Harris and Russell Crowe. In 2013 he was set to replace Shia LaBeouf in the Broadway play Orphans as his first theatrical performance. The same year he played William Burroughs in 2013's Kill Your Darlings and also appeared in Ain't Them Bodies Saints and Lone Survivor. In 2014 it was announced that he would star opposite Gillian Anderson and Vanessa Kirby in Benedict Andrews' revival of A Streetcar Named Desire at the Young Vic in London.

Ben Foster's notable movie credits include...

Year Movie Role
1996 Kounterfeit Travis
1998 I've Been Waiting for You Charlie
1998 Breakfast with Einstein Ryan
1999 Liberty Heights Ben Kurtzman
2001 Get Over It Berke Landers
2002 The Laramie Project Aaron Kreifels
2002 Big Trouble Matt Arnold
2002 Bang Bang You're Dead Trevor Adams
2002 Phone Booth Big Q
2003 Northfork Cod
2003 11:14 Eddie
2004 The Punisher Spacker Dave
2004 The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things Fleshy Boy
2005 Hostage Marshall "Mars" Krupcheck
2006 Alpha Dog Jake Mazursky
2006 X-Men: The Last Stand Warren Worthington III / Angel
2007 3:10 to Yuma Charlie Prince
2007 30 Days of Night The Stranger
2008 Birds of America Jay
2009 The Messenger Staff Sergeant Will Montgomery
2009 Blink AJ
2009 Pandorum Bower
2011 Here Will Shepard
2011 The Mechanic Steve McKenna
2011 360 Tyler
2011 Rampart Terry
2012 Contraband Sebastian Abney
2013 North of South, West of East Cass
2013 Kill Your Darlings William Burroughs
2013 Ain't Them Bodies Saints Patrick Wheeler
2013 Lone Survivor Matthew "Axe" Axelson
2015 The Program Lance Armstrong
2016 The Finest Hours Seaman Richard Livesey
2016 Warcraft Medivh
2016 Inferno Bertrand Zobrist

Ben Foster's television credits include...

Year Show/Series Role
Flash Forward Tucker "Tuck" James
1998 You Wish Earl
Freaks and Geeks Eli
2000 Family Law Jason Nelson
Boston Public Max Warner
Six Feet Under Russell Corwin
2005 The Dead Zone Darren Foldes
2007 My Name Is Earl Glenn
2012 Robot Chicken Orville Redenbacher / Time traveller
Ben Foster in 3:10 to Yuma (2007).
Foster in Ain't Them Bodies Saints (2013).
Foster in Alpha Dog (2006).
Ben Foster in Bang Bang You're Dead (2002).
Ben as William S. Burroughs in Kill Your Darlings (2013).
Foster in The Mechanic (2011).
Ben Foster as Lance Armstrong in The Program (2015).

Memorable Quotes

“I'm so sick of sarcasm and irony, I could kill! Sincerely, the real root of things is love and sacrifice. Everything else is an illusion. I'm not trying to preach here. I can't tell anybody anything. But I will say, if you're available to them, there are so many great secrets in the world, so many signs. It's when we stop for a moment and listening that the world gets interesting.”

“When X-men came around, it was a vacation. Like living in a theme park for six months. I got to fly around and kick bad guys' asses.”

“The heat around young actors burns out. Natural ability and magnetism only get you so far. The rest is hard work.”

“[on his Jewish upbringing, in Iowa] There was a Catholic church that got renovated, and they put a Jewish star on it and called it Beth Sholom. That was our temple... [while I'm not] that religious, Judaism has put a great deal of spirituality in my life which I value deeply.”

“[on director Nick Cassavetes] Nick is magic. He doesn't tell you what he wants, he allows. And as long as you're taking chances and he feels that you are being truthful to yourself, then you can do no wrong.”

“(On creating his characters) "Every role, every gig, you have to find a quality and you have to love the person. Not just like him, but love the person so you can care about what they care about."”

“[when asked for acting advice] [...] be bad. Give yourself permission to be terrible and celebrate that 'cause it's really about moving through a room in the darkness, and you're bumping into furniture.”

Did You Know

At age 12, he won second place in an international competition for a play that he wrote and directed.

Casting director Cecily Adams saw the homemade audition tape Foster had sent from his home in Iowa. She called his parents and told them that, while she could make no guarantees, they should put him on a plane to Los Angeles, immediately. They did so and he landed the lead role in the pilot she was casting, Flash Forward (1996).

Has been practicing Transcendental Meditation since he was four years old.

Risked his sight while filming Alpha Dog (2006) by adding glaucoma drops to his eyes for much of the shoot to dilate his pupils, making him appear to be high. He'd hide in the bushes at night and cover his eyes between takes to keep the lights from shining into them and also had to talk to director Nick Cassavetes with his eyes closed.