Despite often playing irreverent and smarmy characters in critically acclaimed films and on television, actor Adam Scott never lost the ability to connect with an audience due to equal parts charm and skill. He enthralled as one-half of a barren couple pushed to desperation on the provocative and sexually charged HBO drama series "Tell Me You Love Me" (2007), while his sad sack character on "Party Down" (Starz, 2009-2010), about wannabe actors stuck working for tips while waiting to be discovered, resonated with anyone who had ever worked a dead end job. A darker dramatic turn in the feature film "The Vicious Kind" as a misanthropic scholar on the brink of a breakdown and obsessed with his brother's girlfriend showed new sides to his acting skill, but his breakthrough role as sweetly nerdy civil servant Ben Wyatt on the hit sitcom "Parks and Recreation" (NBC, 2009-15), helped establish Scott as one of the most compelling and versatile of actors working on television. Eclectic roles on shows ranging from the intense drama "Big Little Lies" (HBO 2017) to cult comedy reboot "Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later" (Netflix 2017), along with his own surreal comic experiments on the Adult Swim network and film roles in indie comedies like "Friends With Kids" (2011) and "A.C.O.D." (2013) showed off his remarkable range.
Adam Paul Scott was born on April 3, 1973 in Santa Cruz, CA. He graduated from his hometown's Harbor High School before attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles. Scott made his acting debut in "Cityscrapes: Los Angeles" (1994), a highly stylized film with 10 intertwined stories about young and hip Angelenos, in which the newcomer appeared alongside Ione Skye, Balthazar Getty, and the Beastie Boys' Adam Horovitz. That same year, Scott also appeared on the small screen, playing high school bully Griffin "Griff" Hawkins on the coming-of-age comedy series, "Boy Meets World" (ABC, 1993-2000). He made the move to dramatic acting with recurring roles on the Steven Bochco-created crime drama "Murder One" (ABC, 1995-97) and on the sappy hit series "Party of Five" (Fox, 1994-2000). In 1997, Scott acted alongside Hollywood veterans Mary Tyler Moore and Ed Asner in the ABC made-for-television movie "Payback." He played the son of a small town restaurant owner (Moore) who witnesses the brutal beating of a man by the police and who is later terrorized by the sergeant who engineered the crime. The actor had a notable two-episode arc on "Six Feet Under" (HBO, 2001-05) as a public defender and lover to Michael C. Hall's character.
Scott transitioned into feature film acting in the early 2000s with appearances in independent projects including the thriller "Ronnie" (2002) and the dark comedy "Two Days" (2003), about a failed actor (Paul Rudd) who plans to film his suicide as a desperate and final act. Scott's career kicked into high gear after joining the all-star cast of "The Aviator" (2004), the Martin Scorsese-directed biopic about aviation pioneer and reclusive filmmaker Howard Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio). Scott played Hughes' press agent, Johnny Meyer. Continuing to star opposite A-list talent, his co-stars in the 2005 comedy "Monster-in-Law" were two of Hollywood's biggest stars, Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda. In the hit film, Scott played Remy, the witty gay best friend to a starry-eyed "temp" worker (Lopez) who butts heads with her fiancé's domineering and conniving mother (Fonda) while planning her dream wedding. Even though the film centered around two strong women squaring off, Scott managed to rise above his supporting role to deliver a delightful performance nonetheless. With his boyish good looks, the actor managed to illicit laughs while playing the most selfish of characters, from his minor role as Katherine Heigl's unsympathetic male nurse in Judd Apatow's "Knocked Up" (2007) to Will Ferrell's insult-spewing and creepy sibling in "Step Brothers" (2008).
For his return to television, the actor literally bared all as one of the stars of the documentary-style drama, "Tell Me You Love Me." Scott played actress Sonya Walger's dysfunctional husband, Palek, on the series about three couples dealing with intimacy issues. The program raised eyebrows for its realistic depictions of sexual situations and its gratuitous nudity. However, in an HBO interview, Scott stated that for him, the emotional, non-sexual scenes between the actors were a bigger challenge to shoot and more rewarding to watch. While the network prematurely picked up a second season of "Tell Me You Love Me," poor ratings and production issues caused its cancellation after one controversial season. Scott had a more lighthearted role in "Party Down," about a group of struggling actors who work for a Los Angeles catering company while waiting for their big break. He was irresistibly charming as Henry, an actor in his mid-30s who returns to catering after infamously popularizing the catchphrase "Are we having fun yet?" for a beer commercial. During season three, Scott joined the cast of "Parks and Recreation" (NBC, 2009-15), playing an inexperienced state auditor newly arrived in Pawnee, IN, where he quickly becomes the love interest for mid-level bureaucrat, Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler).
Scott mesmerized critics as Caleb Sinclaire, a troubled man who becomes obsessed with his brother's girlfriend (Brittany Snow) in "The Vicious Kind." His infatuation with the young woman, coupled with his struggle to battle past demons, pushed Scott's character to his breaking point in a solid performance that won him a Best Actor nomination at the 2010 Independent Spirit Awards. No one was more surprised about the nomination than the actor, who felt honored that he was recognized for his portrayal of a man embittered from internalizing his troubles for years. In 2010, Scott starred alongside Zach Galifianakis and Emilie de Ravin in the action-packed "Rogue's Gallery," about a group of government enlisted spies who turn on one another other after their boss' assassination. That same year, he also starred in the Irish-inspired romantic comedy "Leap Year," appearing opposite Amy Adams and Matthew Goode. With both comedy and drama roles under his belt, Scott took on the action/horror genre in "Piranha 3-D" (2010), in which prehistoric piranhas living in Lake Victoria terrorize the local townsfolk. Meanwhile, he had a small supporting role in the comedy "Our Idiot Brother" (2011), starring Paul Rudd and Elizabeth Banks, which earned considerable attention and a $7 million payday from The Weinstein Company at that year's Sundance Film Festival. Supporting roles in Jennifer Westfeldt's "Friends With Kids" (2011), the Rebel Wilson vehicle "Bachelorette" (2012) and Seth Rogen/Barbra Streisand comedy "The Guilt Trip" (2012) set Scott up for his first majoe lead role in the dysfunctional family comedy "A.C.O.D." (2013). Ben Stiller's CGI-heavy fantasy "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" (2013), broad comedies "The Overnight" (2015) and "Hot Tub Time Machine 2" (2015) and romantic comedy "Sleeping With Other People" (2015) were followed by a supporting role in Boston mob drama "Black Mass" (2015).
As "Parks and Recreation" continued, Scott began writing and starring in a series of four oddball live-action specials on the Adult Swim network, "The Greatest Event In Television History" (Adult Swim 2012-14), each of which was dedicated to the shot-by-shot recreations of iconic '70s and '80s TV show openings. Scott next starred in the horror comedy "Krampus" (2015) and roamtnic comedy-drama "My Blind Brother" (2016), and co-starred in and executive produced the comedy "Fun Mom Dinner" (2017). His dramatic turn in the miniseries "Big Little Lies" (HBO 2017) drew considerable critical praise, and was followed by supporting roles in Madalyn Murray O'Hair biopic "The Most Hated Woman in America" and "Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later" (Netflix 2017), the second and final TV sequel to the cult comedy hit.
Cast (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Made film debut in "Cityscrapes: Los Angeles"
Had a recurring role on ABC's "Boy Meets World"
Had first professional acting role on the pilot episode of "Dead at 21"
Appeared on several episodes of the ABC drama "Murder One"
Featured in the film 'Star Trek: First Contact"
Co-starred in "Payback," an ABC movie-of-the-week with Mary Tyler Moore and Ed Asner
Had a recurring role as Josh Macon on "Party of Five" (Fox)
Played a recurring role on the short-lived ABC series "Wasteland"
Appeared in Carl Franklin's "High Crimes," starring Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman
Played David's (Michael C. Hall) love interest Ben Cooper on two episodes of HBO's acclaimed drama "Six Feet Under"
Played the lead in the independent black comedy "Two Days"
Played an FBI Agent in "Torque," starring Ice Cube and Monet Mazur
Portrayed Johnny Meyer, Howard Hughes' smarmy press agent in Martin Scorsese's "The Aviator"
Featured in the romantic comedy "Monster-In-Law," starring Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda
Appeared in Terry Zwigoff's "Art School Confidential" with John Malkovich and Anjelica Huston
Played a male nurse in the Judd Apatow comedy "Knocked Up"
Cast as one half of a married couple who struggle with their attempts to conceive on the controversial HBO series "Tell Me You Love Me"
Co-starred as one of two brothers who fight to keep their start-up company afloat on Wall Street, a month before the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the drama "August"
Had a supporting role in the comedy film "Step Brothers," starring Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly
Played a cocaine-addicted, delirious Tampa Bay Rays representative on the first season of the HBO series "Eastbound & Down"
Co-starred in the independent drama "The Vicious Kind" with Brittany Snow and Alex Frost; earned an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Male Lead
Cast in Starz' ensemble comedy "Party Down"
Cast as Amy Adams' boyfriend in the romantic comedy "Leap Year"
Co-starred opposite Elisabeth Shue in the action thriller "Piranha 3-D"
Joined the cast of NBC's "Parks and Recreation"
Cast in the ensemble comedy "Friends with Kids," written and directed by co-star Jennifer Westfeldt
Cast alongside Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher, and Rebel Wilson in "Bachelorette"
Had a multi-episode arc as Damien Assante on dating-show parody "Burning Love"
Played an antagonist to Ben Stiller's Walter Mitty in "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" remake
Had a small role on "Next Time on Lonny"
Appeared in romantic comedy "Sleeping with Other People"
Co-starred with Jason Schwartzman, Taylor Schilling, and Judith Godrèche in ensemble comedy mystery "The Overnight"
Appeared in "Hot Tub Time Machine 2" as Adam Jr., the son of John Cusack's character in the first film
Played Tom, the patriarch of a family being stalked by the dark holiday spirit Krampus, in horror comedy "Krampus"
Had a guest role on "The Good Place"
Co-starred in "My Blind Brother"
Co-starred on HBO mini-series "Big Little Lies"
Appeared in Netflix's second "Wet Hot American Summer" reboot, "Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later"