Thandie Newton made her film debut alongside Nicole Kidman in 1991’s FLIRTING. In 1994 Neil Jordan cast her as Brad Pitt’s maid in INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE: THE VAMPIRE CHRONICLES also starring Tom Cruise. Newton gained international recognition in the Merchant Ivory production of JEFFERSON IN PARIS in which she played Jefferson’s slave, co-starring with Nick Nolte and Gwyneth Paltrow. In 1997 GRIDLOCK’D followed, in which Newton starred alongside Tupac Shakur and Tim Roth, and then Jonathan Demme’s BELOVED in 1998, also with Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover. In the same year, she was seen in Bernardo Bertolucci’s BESIEGED with David Thewlis, and in 2000, she was the female lead in John Woo’s MISSION IMPOSSIBLE II alongside Tom Cruise. She also starred in IT WAS AN ACCIDENT that year, appearing for the first time with Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Jonathan Demme cast her again in THE TRUTH ABOUT CHARLIE (2004), alongside Stephen Dillane and Mark Wahlberg. That same year, she joined Vin Diesel and Judi Dench in sci-fi adventure, THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK and took on the role in CRASH for which she won a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress. Newton played a wealthy woman who becomes the target of Matt Dillon’s racist policeman in Paul Haggis’ film which went on to win three Academy Awards.
In 2006, Newton starred as Will Smith’s wife in THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS and the following year as Eddie Murphy’s love interest in the comedy NORBIT. Also that year she played the jilted lover that Simon Pegg must win back in David Schwimmer’s RUN FATBOY RUN. ROCKNROLLA, Guy Ritchie’s 2008 London thriller, saw her playing opposite Gerard Butler and Tom Wilkinson.
Two US presidential roles followed, as Newton portrayed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in W. (2008), Oliver Stone’s film biography of George W. Bush, and shortly afterwards the President’s First Daughter in 2012 (2009), a disaster film directed by Roland Emmerich. In HUGE, Newton co-starred with Noel Clarke in Ben Miller’s 2010 film about stand-up comedy, and that same year, she was seen in VANISHING ON 7TH STREET, a horror with Hayden Christensen and John Leguizamo, directed by Brad Anderson. The next year she was seen in RETREAT, a three hander with Cillian Murphy and Jamie Bell. Tyler Perry directed Newton in FOR COLOURED GIRLS (2010) based around poems dealing with issues for women of colour, and then Perry directed and co-starred with Newton in 2012’s GOOD DEEDS.
Between 2003 and 2005, Newton had a pivotal role as Dr John Carter’s lover and later wife on the hit TV series ER. In 2013 Newton played the lead in detective TV series, Rogue, an original series for DirecTV, the second series of which she will start shooting later this year. In 2011, Newton performed in Ariel Dorfman’s tense moral thriller, DEATH AND THE MAIDEN on stage at the Harold Pinter theatre in London.
Newton is actively involved in the V-Day foundation. In 2011 she attended the opening of the City of Joy in Bukavu, DRC. It houses and supports women survivors of sexual violence and provides them with opportunities to develop their leadership skills through innovative programming. On February 14th this year she was actively involved in One Billion Rising; The Biggest Mass Global Action To End Violence Against Women & Girls In The History Of Humankind.
Newton also spoke at the Ted Global Conference in 2011 on the topic of “Embracing Otherness”, which has been viewed over a million times.