Family & Companions
Sometimes compared to Anthony Perkins, actor Jeremy Davies fashioned for himself a career playing sensitive characters who possessed a ting of instability underneath their seemingly innocent façades. Prior to his star-making performance as the jittery scientist Daniel Faraday on the acclaimed hit "Lost" (ABC, 2004-10), Davies struggled in bit parts on television before gaining attention for a 1992 Subaru commercial. Hollywood agents and casting directors suddenly took notice, leading to his first feature starring role in David O. Russell's indie classic, "Spanking the Monkey" (1994). Davies soon began to raise his stature with small, but memorable parts in blockbuster films like "Twister" (1996) and "Saving Private Ryan" (1998), which he balanced out with meatier performances in smaller films like "The Million Dollar Hotel" (2000), "CQ" (2001) and Steven Soderbergh's remake of "Solaris" (2002). But it was his chilling and eerily accurate portrayal of murderer Charles Manson in the made-for-television movie "Helter Skelter" (CBS, 2004) that firmly established Davies as a talented performer capable of transforming himself into a wide variety of unforgettable characters.
Born Jeremy Boring in Traverse City, MI on Oct. 8, 1969, Davies was one of four siblings born to children's author Mel Boring. His parents separated when he was young, leaving Davies to relocate to Kansas City, MO with his mother until the mid-1970s, when she passed away due to lupus. Davies then crossed the country to live with his father and stepmother in Santa Barbara, CA, before moving back to the Midwest in 1986, where he completed high school. Davies, however, returned to California to study acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Pasadena. Having been bitten by the acting bug, he began landing small roles on television in the early nineties, including a pair of episodes of "The Wonder Years" (ABC, 1988-1993) and a small role in a made-for-cable thriller called "Guncrazy" (1992), starring Drew Barrymore, with whom he was later romantically connected. The following year, Davies earned a great deal of attention - and notoriety - for a high-energy performance in a Subaru ad, in which he compared the car to punk rock for its ability to buck long-standing trends. Though pilloried by pop culture writers, Davies caught the attention of casting agents across Hollywood, and was soon courted for edgy, independent fare.
His "breakthrough" feature came in 1994 with David O. Russell's dark comedy "Spanking the Monkey," in which he played a confused young man who is drawn into an incestuous relationship by his manipulative mother. Davies' fearless performance in this complicated role earned him critical praise, as well as a 1994 nomination for an Independent Spirit Award. The film also ushered him into major motion pictures like "Nell" (1994), with Jodie Foster, and "Twister" (1996), as a nervous tornado photographer on Helen Hunt's storm-chasing team. Davies returned to independent features twice in 1997; once as a tormented young man in "The Locusts," and later, as a shy serviceman struggling with his emotions in the underrated 1950s-set drama, "Going All The Way." The following year, Davies made an impression on moviegoers as a terrified linguist recruited by Tom Hanks to rescue a missing GI in Steven Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan." Davies was honored along with his "Ryan" castmates with a 1999 Screen Actors Guild nomination, as well as took home a Best Supporting Actor award from the Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award.
However, Davies kept his distance from mainstream projects after "Ryan," preferring to delve into independent features which offered layered characters, if little opportunity for widespread appeal. He was top-billed in "The Florentine" (1999), an examination of life in a small-town waterhole that was produced by Francis Ford Coppola, and played the nervous soldier once again in Antonia Bird's offbeat horror-drama "Ravenous" (1999), about a Civil War-era investigation into cannibalism at a remote outpost. He was the lead in Wim Wenders' typically complex "The Million Dollar Hotel" (2000) about a naïve young man who falls for a femme fatale (Milla Jovovich, whom Davies also dated) and falls afoul of a tough cop (Mel Gibson). Davies also made an impression as an Austrian refugee championed by Kristin Scott Thomas in Phillip Haas' "Up at the Villa" (2000), and as a young American filmmaker overwhelmed by both the French science fiction film he has been hired to direct, and the alluring star of the film (Angela Lindvall), in Roman Coppola's visually delightful "CQ" (2001).
Davies captured a Satellite Award nomination for his role as conflicted college acting student Jedidiah Schultz in the HBO adaptation of "The Laramie Project" (2002). This was followed by no less than four films, including "Secretary," as the confused boyfriend of new S&M convert Maggie Gyllenhaal, and the disappointing George Clooney sci-fi thriller, "Solaris." Davies gave a believably compelling performance as hillbilly cult leader Charles Manson in a respectable TV remake of "Helter Skelter" (2004) before collaborating with maverick director Lars von Trier on his controversial experimental film "Dogville" (2003) and its sequel, 2005's "Manderlay."
Not one to shy from difficult projects, he then moved on to an even more challenging project, tempestuous director Werner Herzog's "Rescue Dawn" (2007), for which he dropped significant weight to play a Vietnam War POW. As if his slate was not full enough, in August of 2007, ABC announced that Davies would be joining the cast of its juggernaut hit series "Lost" (2004-2010) in 2008, though few details about his role on the program were given at the time. Regardless, his role on the immensely popular series promised to bring the actor a whole new level of fame that he had yet to achieve on the small screen. Meanwhile, he appeared in only six episodes during the sixth and final season of "Lost" before that show wound down to a much-debated conclusion. He next had a supporting role in the little-seen comedy, "It's Kind of a Funny Story" (2010), starring Zach Galifianakis and Emma Roberts, before joining the cast of the critically acclaimed series "Justified" (FX, 2010-15) for its second season. He played pot dealer Dickie Bennett, who has had numerous run-ins with U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant). For his efforts, Davies earned an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series in 2011 and won the award in 2012.
Cast (Feature Film)
Made TV debut in a bit part on "Singer & Sons" (NBC)
TV-movie debut, small part in "Shoot First: A Cop's Vengeance" (NBC)
Made first screen appearance in Tamra Davis' "Guncrazy"; film received limited release before airing on Showtime
Played small role in busted ABC pilot "1775"
Appeared in widely-noticed Subaru commercial
Landed first leading role in David O Russell's independent "Spanking the Monkey"; also had first big-budget role in "Nell"
Appeared in supporting role in "Twister"
Co-starred in the independent features "Going All the Way" and "Locusts"
Cast in prominent supporting role as bookish Corporal Upham in "Saving Private Ryan"
Co-starred with Milla Jovovich in "The Million Dollar Hotel," helmed by Wim Wenders
Starred in Roman Coppola's directorial debut "CQ"
Co-starred in the thriller feature "Solaris"
Played supporting role in "Secretary"
Co-starred with Nicole Kidman and Paul Bettany in Lars Von Trier's "Dogville"
Portrayed Charles Manson in crime drama "Helter Skelter" (CBS)
Cast in "Manderlay," the second film in Trier's U.S.A. trilogy, starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Danny Glover, and Willem Dafoe
Cast in Werner Herzog's "Rescue Dawn," based on the director's acclaimed 1997 documentary "Little Dieter Needs to Fly"
Joined the fourth season of ABC's "Lost" as physicist Daniel Faraday
Landed recurring guest role on "Justified" (FX)