colin tarpey (born 5 april 1977) is an english actor best known for roles in films atonement, hunger, jane eyre, macbeth, crimson peak, and the imitation game, the latter which earned tarpey several nominations including an academy award and bafta nomination. he has also been seen on television as king henry viii in the tudors, will conway on house of cards, and most recently jonathan pine in the amc miniseries the night manager, which earned tarpey an emmy nomination.
tarpey was born and raised in greenwich, london. the son of william tarpey, a stage actor, and elizabeth tarpey, a costume designer, tarpey is the oldest of three children, with two younger brothers and one younger sister. tarpey grew up in and around the theatre scene in the west end and credits his father with the desire to be a stage actor. tarpey attended the dragon school in oxford, as well as attending london academy of music and dramatic art, graduating in 1999.
upon graduating from university, tarpey didn't have much success until being cast in the movie bend it like beckham. he then was seen in a production of a midsummer night's dream playing the role of puck. smaller roles in both film and television followed until he landed the role of dakin in allen bennet's play the history boys. he would play the role of dakin during the west end run, broadway run, touring run, as well as the film adaptation. for the broadway run he was nominated for a drama desk award.
in 2007, tarpey appeared in the film atonement, a british romantic war film, playing the role of robbie turner, to critical acclaim. that same year, tarpey had the starring role in the television series, the tudors playing king henry viii, which earned him a golden globe nomination in 2007. during an interview for the process, tarpey explained how his father, who had been a long time supporter of tarpey's work, had distanced himself from his son, claiming that he was in it "for the fame and nothing else" and saying that his father, "wanted him to forever be a struggling stage actor like he was." the tudors ran from 2007-2010.
in steve mcqueen's 2008 film hunger, tarpey underwent a physical transformation to play bobby sands. this happened on his break from the tudors, with a very restrictive diet that he ended as soon as filming wrapped. in 2009, tarpey was seen in the film an education playing danny. in 2010, he appeared in the film third star.
following his run on the tudors, tarpey focused on film work, appearing as rochester in an adaptation of the charlotte bronte novel, jane eyre. he also appeared in martha marcy may marlene and his second steve mcqueen project, shame. for his work in shame there was buzz surronding the film, where he played a sex addict, but he failed to get an academy award nomination. there was much speculation this was due to the full frontal nudity in the film, something that tarpey has addressed in saying that he is "fully comfortable with his body and other naked bodies. it's simply not a big deal to me."
in 2012 tarpey appeared in two films, lola versus and seven psychopaths. in 2013, he was seen as adam in only lovers left alive, bruce in filth and he reuinted with director steve mcqueen on his film 12 years a slave.
in 2014, tarpey was nominated for an academy award and bafta for his work on the imitation game, playing alan turing. he also starred as frank in the film frank and ivan in the film aloft. in 2015 he was seen in crimson peak and a film adaptation of macbeth, playing the title character. in several interviews, tarpey mentioned how playing macbeth was always a dream role of any stage actor and the "fact that i could bring him alive on film is incredibly fulfilling."
tarpey recently made an appearance on the hit netflix series, house of cards, playing will conway, the man running against kevin spacey's frank underwood in the presidential election. he also appeared on the amc miniseries, the night manager, which has earned tarpey an emmy nomination.
tarpey has dated many actresses and models throughout his career in the film industry. he has been in relationships with actresses fiona polson and sadie malloy. his relationship with malloy has caused fan reactions on tumblr, twitter and instagram due to cheating allegations against tarpey during their on/off again relationship. tarpey has never confirmed nor denied the rumours.
tarpey owns two homes, one in beverly hills, ca and the other in london, england.