Rupert Graves has repeatedly impressed audiences with his dead-on portrayals of upper-class twits since 1985, when he appeared in Ismail Merchant and James Ivory's classic adaptation of E.M. Forster's A Room With a View. However, Graves' own background could not be more different from those of the characters he brings to the screen.
Born June 30, 1963, Graves grew up in the small town of Weston-Super-Mare (coincidentally also the birthplace of John Cleese), located in western England. By his own account a terrible student who resented authority, Graves left school at 15 and joined the circus. After his stint with the circus ended, Graves made his way to London, where, at 19, he landed his first acting role in a stage production of The Killing of Mr. Toad. His performance caught the attention of a film industry figure, which in turn led to his first film role in A Room With a View. As the irresponsible and irrepressible Freddy Honeychurch (brother of the film's heroine, played by Helena Bonham Carter), Graves gave a performance that set the pattern for the roles he was to be typcast in for much of the next decade.