Skip to main content
Select Source:

Roth, Tim

ROTH, Tim



Nationality: British. Born: Dulwich, London, England, 14 May 1961; moved to United States, 1990. Education: Dick Sheppard Comprehensive School; Brixton and Camberwell College of Art, London. Family: One son, Jack (born 1983), with former long-term partner Lori Baker; married Nikki Butler (1993); one son, Timothy Hunter Roth (born 1995). Career: Acting debut in school production of Dracula; began acting at Glasgow Citizen's Theatre, The Oval House, and The Royal Court Theatre; quit theatre because of stage fright; reputedly still works behind the bar between acting jobs; debut as director, The War Zone, 1999. Awards: British Academy Award (BAFTA) for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, for Rob Roy, 1996; Edinburgh International Film Festival Award for Best New British Feature, Berlin International Film Festival CICAE Award, European Discovery of the Year Award, European Film Awards, Troia Award, Festroia-Troia International Film Festival, Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival Jury Award for Best Director and Best First Feature, and Valladolid (Spain) International Film Festival Silver Spike, all for director of The War Zone, 1999. Agent: Ilene Feldman Agency, 8730 W. Sunset Boulevard, Suite 490, Los Angeles, CA 90069–2277, USA.


Films as Actor:

1982

Made in Britain (Clarke—for TV) (as Trevor)

1983

Meantime (Leigh—for TV) (as Colin)

1984

The Hit (Frears) (as Myron)

1985

Return to Waterloo (Davies) (as Boy Punk)

1987

Metamorphosis (Goddard—for TV) (as Gregor Samsa)

1988

A World Apart (Menges) (as Harold); To Kill a Priest (Le Complot) (Holland) (as Felix)

1989

The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover (Greenaway) (as Mitchel)

1990

Vincent and Theo (Altman) (as Vincent van Gogh); Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Stoppard) (as Guildenstern); Farendj (Prenzina); Yellowbacks (Battersby—for TV) (as Peter Pike)

1991

Jumpin' at the Boneyard (Stanzler) (as Manny); Backsliding (Target) (as Tom Whitton)

1992

El Marido Perfecto (The Perfect Husband) (Feijoo) (as Milan); Common Pursuit (Morahan—for TV) (as Nick); Reservoir Dogs (Tarantino) (as Freddy Newendyke/Mr. Orange)

1993

Bodies, Rest and Motion (Steinberg) (as Nick); Murder in the Heartland (Markowitz—for TV) (as Charles Starkweather)

1994

Who Do You Think You're Fooling? (White) (as Mr. Orange/Chow); Little Odessa (Gray) (as Joshua Shapiro); Heart of Darkness (Roeg—for TV) (as Marlow); Captives (Pope) (as Philip Chaney); Pulp Fiction (Tarantino) (as Pumpkin (Ringo)

1995

Rob Roy (Caton-Jones) (as Archibald Cunningham); Four Rooms (Anders, Rockwell, Rodrigues, Tarantino) (as Ted the Bell Hop)

1996

No Way Home (Giovinazzo) (as Joey); Mocking the Cosmos (as Myron); Everyone Says I Love You (Allen) (as Charles Ferry)

1997

Animals and the Toll Keeper (Di Jiacomo) (as Henry); Gridlock'd (Curtis-Hall) (as Stretch); Hoodlum (Duke) (as Dutch Schulz); Deceiver (Liar) (Jonas and Joshua Pate) (as Wayland)

1998

La Leggenda del pianista sull'oceano (The Legend of 1900) (The Legend of the Pianist on the Ocean) (Tornatore) (as Novecento)

2000

The Million Dollar Hotel (Wenders) (as Izzy Goldkiss [uncredited]); Vatel (Joffé) (Le Marquis de Lauzun); Numbers (Ephron) (as Gig)



Publications


By ROTH: articles—

"The Men's Room," interview with Amy Taubin, in Sight and Sound (London), 2 December 1992.

"Rushes: Tim Roth," interview with Veronica Chambers in Premiere (New York), February 1993.

"English Punk Gets Juiced on American Pulp," interview in Entertainment Weekly (New York), 30 June 1995.

"Englishman in Los Angeles," interview with Brett Anwar in Film Review (New York), June 1995.

"Roth 'N' Roll," interview with Cathy Hoyrn in Vanity Fair (New York), September 1995.

"Revenge of the Working Class," interview with Tim Rice and Tom Allen, in MovieMaker, January/February 1996.

"Big Tim Roth," interview with Theresa Sturley in Interview Magazine (New York), February 1997.

"Welcome to My Nightmare," interview with S. Danielson, in Sight and Sound (London), 9 August 1999.


On ROTH: articles—

Goldstein, Patrick, "The Japes of Roth," in Premiere (New York), 8 April 1995.

Stahl, Jerry, "The Devil in Tim Roth," in Esquire (New York), May 1995.

Bielby, Matt, "The Greats of Roth," in Total Film (London), July 1997.

Mosley, John, "UnAmerican Psycho," in Total Film (London), July 1997.

Stuart, Alexander, "A Brief History With Tim," in The Guardian (London), 15 August 1999.

Romney, Jonathan, "The War Zone," in Film Comment (New York), November 1999.

Bahr, David, "A Brand-New Director Takes on an Age-Old Taboo," in New York Times, 28 November 1999.


* * *

An English character actor who has made his name playing American toughs, Tim Roth is devoted to independent filmmaking and the promotion of new directorial talent. Leaving school with few qualifications, Roth initially signed up for a course at art college, but quit soon after to try his luck as an actor, despite having no formal training. By attending auditions whenever they were advertised in the trade papers, and with the help of bar-work and "dole" money when he was unemployed, Roth managed to establish himself as a stage actor. He moved into films partly because the opportunity presented itself, and partly because of severe stage fright, but although he can now command large fees from the major studios, most of his work has been with independents. His own directorial debut, The War Zone (1999), is a characteristically uncompromising film, about a teenager who discovers an incestuous relationship between his sister and their father. It has been praised for the quality of the direction, which creates a suitably claustrophobic sense of isolation, entrapment, and loss.

Having grown up with politically active left-leaning parents in south London, Roth is interested in making films that take a realistic approach to poverty and violence. His first film appearance was as an alienated neo-nazi skinhead in Alan Clarke's film, Made in Britain, which attempted to depict the social breakdown that took place in Britain in the early 1980s. Roth cites the socialist filmmaker Clarke as his greatest influence, and the person who inspired him to pursue filmmaking as a career. He spent the next seven years appearing in low-budget British films, such as Meantime, The Hit, and Return to Waterloo, generally playing the part of punks and other alienated characters.

After appearing in Peter Greenaway's brutal parable, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover, Roth made his first foray into American cinema in 1990, playing Vincent van Gogh in Robert Altman's Vincent and Theo. His much-lauded performance was the beginning of a new phase in Roth's career, and although he visits Britain about twice a year, since 1992 he has been based permanently in the United States. Even so, Roth remained loyal to independent filmmaking, avoiding being cast as the English-accented villain by meticulously studying American accents and taking Gary Oldman's advice to make the accent very specific so that if you slip up "you'd only slip out of state, not across the pond."

It was in 1992 that his role as the wounded undercover cop, "Mr Orange," in Quentin Tarantino's debut Reservoir Dogs brought him fame and notoriety in America. In one of the longest death scenes in movie history, Roth's character spends almost the whole film slowly bleeding in the corner of a warehouse in which an armed gang takes refuge after a failed robbery. The pool of blood that expands around his prostrate body measures time running out for the gang as they bicker in the foreground. Perhaps what is most impressive about his performance in the film is his depiction of intense pain conflicting with frustration at being unable to resolve the situation and get to a hospital.

Roth has worked with Tarantino twice since, as Pumpkin, the stickup man in Pulp Fiction, and in the comedy Four Rooms, in which he plays a hotel bellhop, a character who ties together four short films each made by a different director. He has also had success with directors as diverse as Tom Stoppard and Woody Allen, and in roles as different as van Gogh and a TV salesman in Bodies, Rest and Motion. Even so, he has acquired a reputation for playing violent heavies, despite the fact that he stands only five-feet seven-inches tall, and is by all accounts a kind and compassionate man.

Reservoir Dogs is the most successful of Roth's performances for first-time directors, but he has made a habit of choosing projects with new filmmakers, such as Jeff Stanzler and James Gray. That is not to say that he is entirely antagonistic towards Hollywood. As evidenced by Rob Roy, which he says earned him his first proper paycheck, and also an Oscar nomination, Roth's attitude towards commercial Hollywood filmmaking is pragmatic: he admires actors like Harvey Keitel who work for the studios in order to free themselves for less popular and more challenging projects. Although he now earns a good living and can choose more carefully the projects he takes on, he still sums up his general approach thus: "You either want to get rich, or you want to be an actor."

—Chris Routledge

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Roth, Tim." International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Nov. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Roth, Tim." International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/movies/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/roth-tim

"Roth, Tim." International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. . Retrieved November 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/movies/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/roth-tim

Roth, Tim 1961–

ROTH, Tim 1961

PERSONAL

Original name, Timothy Simon Smith; born May 14, 1961, in London, England; son of Ernie (a journalist) and Anne (a teacher and painter) Roth; married Nikki Butler (a fashion designer), January 25, 1993; children: Timothy Hunter, Michael Cormac; (with Lori Baker) Jack. Education: Attended Camberwell School of Art.

Addresses: Agent IFA Talent Agency, 8730 Sunset Blvd., Suite 490, Los Angeles, CA 90069; (voice) Cunningham/Escott/Dipene and Associates, 10635 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 140, Los Angeles, CA 90025. Publicist Staci Wolfe, Polaris Public Relations, 8135 West Fourth St., 2nd Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90048.

Career: Actor, director, and writer. Performer with Glasgow Citizens' Theatre, Glasgow, Scotland; Oval House; and Royal Court Theatre, London. Also worked as a mechanic and a bartender.

Awards, Honors: Mystfest Award, best actor (with others), 1984, Film Award nomination, outstanding newcomer, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and Evening Standard British Film Award, most promising newcomer, both 1985, all for The Hit; Piper Heidsieck Award, San Francisco International Film Festival, 1995; Independent Spirit Award nomination, best male lead, Independent Features Project West, 1996, for Little Odessa; Film Award, best supporting actor, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Academy Award nomination, best supporting actor, and Golden Globe Award nomination, best supporting actor in a motion picture, all 1996, for Rob Roy; Independent Spirit Award nomination, best foreign film, Jury awards, best director and best first feature, Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, Best New British Feature Award, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Fassbinder Award, European discovery of the year, European Film Awards, C.I.C.A.E. Award, panorama category, Berlin International Film Festival, British Independent Film Award nomination, best director, Silver Spike Award and nomination for Golden Spike, Valladolid International Film Festival, and Troia Award, first works section, FestroiaTroia International Film Festival, all 1999, and Bodil Award nomination, best nonAmerican film, 2000, all for The War Zone; Saturn Award nomination, best supporting actor, Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films, Empire Award nomination, best British actor, and MTV Movie Award nomination, best villain, all 2002, for Planet of the Apes; DVD Exclusive Award nomination, best supporting actor in a DVD premiere movie, 2003, for Emmett's Mark.

CREDITS

Film Appearances:

Boy punk, Return to Waterloo, New Line Cinema, 1985.

Myron, The Hit, Zenith, 1985.

Harold, A World Apart, Atlantic, 1988.

Feliks, Le complot (also known as To Kill a Priest, Popieluszko, and Zabic ksiedza ), Columbia, 1989.

Mitchel, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (also known as Le cuisinier, le voleur, sa femme et son amant and Spica ), Recorded Films, 1989.

Vincent van Gogh, Vincent and Theo (also known as Vincent et Theo ), Hemdale, 1990.

Anton, Farendj, 1990.

Guildenstern, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Cinecom International, 1991.

Manny, Jumpin' at the Boneyard, Twentieth Century Fox, 1992.

Freddy Nieuwendyk/Mr. Orange, Reservoir Dogs, Mira-max, 1992.

Tom Whitton, Backsliding, Channel 4 Films, 1992.

Milan, The Perfect Husband (also known as El marido perfecto ), 1992.

Nick, Bodies, Rest & Motion, Fine Line, 1993.

Pumpkin (Ringo), Pulp Fiction (also known as Fiction pulpeuse ), Miramax, 1994.

Mr. Orange/Chow, Who Do You Think You're Fooling? (short documentary), Impossible Funky Productions, 1994.

Philip Chaney, Captives, Miramax, 1994.

Archibald Cunningham, Rob Roy, United Artists, 1995.

Joshua Shapira, Little Odessa, New Line Cinema, 1995.

Ted, the bellhop, Four Rooms, Miramax, 1995.

Myrodemnon/Myron, Mocking the Cosmos (short film), 1996.

Charles Ferry, Everyone Says I Love You, Miramax, 1996.

James Walter Wayland, Deceiver (also known as Liar ), MetroGoldwynMayer, 1997.

Henry, Animals (also known as Animals and the Tollkeeper ), Pandora, 1997.

Joey, No Way Home, Live Film and Mediaworks, 1997.

Andrew "Stretch," Gridlock'd (also known as Gridlock and Gridlocked ), PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, 1997.

Dutch Schultz, Hoodlum, MetroGoldwynMayer, 1997.

Danny Boodmann/Lemon Novecento, La leggenda del pianista sull'oceano (also known as The Legend of 1900 and The Legend of the Pianist on the Ocean ), Fine Line, 1998.

Marquis de Lauzun, Vatel, Miramax, 2000.

(Uncredited) Izzy Goldkiss, The Million Dollar Hotel, Lions Gate Films, 2000.

Gig, Lucky Numbers (also known as Le bon numero ), Paramount, 2000.

(Uncredited) Party guest, Bread and Roses (also known as Pan y rosas ), Lions Gate Films, 2001.

General Thade, Planet of the Apes, Twentieth Century Fox, 2001.

Febre, The Musketeer, Universal, 2001.

Hanussen, Invincible (also known as Unbesiegbar ), Fine Line, 2002.

John Harrett/Frank Dwyer, Emmett's Mark (also known as Killing Emmett Young ), Emmett's Mark Productions, 2002.

Joe, Whatever We Do (short film), 2003.

General/Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell, To Kill a King, FilmFour, 2003.

Captain Oh, Beautiful Country, Sony Pictures Classics, 2004.

Silver City, Silver City Films, 2004.

William Pitt, Nouvelle France (also known as New France ), Lions Gate Films/Christal Films, 2004.

Jeremy, The Last Sign, Remstar Distribution, 2004.

Film Work:

Director, The War Zone (also known as Tim Roth's The War Zone and Zona di guerra ), Lot 47 Films, 1999.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Edgar Lawson, Murder with Mirrors (also known as Agatha Christie's Murder with Mirrors ), CBS, 1985.

Charles Starkweather, Murder in the Heartland, ABC, 1993.

Marlow, Heart of Darkness, TNT, 1994.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Trevor, the skinhead, Made in Britain (also known as Tales out of School: Made in Britain ), BBC (England), 1982.

Colin, Meantime, BBC, 1983.

Gregor Samsa, Metamorphosis, BBC, 1987.

Curly Delafield, Knuckle, BBC, 1989.

Peter Pike, Yellow Backs (also known as Yellowbacks ), BBC, 1990.

Nick Finchley, The Common Pursuit, BBC, 1992.

Interviewee, Discovered at Sundance, PBS, 1997.

We Know Where You Live (also known as Amnesty International's We Know Where You Live Live! ), Channel 4 (England), 2001.

The Making of "Planet of the Apes," 2001.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Frankenstein, "Birth of Frankenstein and Dracula," The South Bank Show, 1987.

The Jaguar, "The Day of the Third, Thin, Wrong Woman Who Knew All Too Much about Eve," A Fine Romance, 1989.

Jack Craig, "Easel Kill 'Ya," Tales from the Crypt, HBO, 1991.

Guest, Late Show with David Letterman, 1995.

Guest, The Last Resort, 1997.

Guest, The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, CBS, 2001.

Guest, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, 2001.

Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:

Presenter, The Second Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, NBC, 1996.

Presenter, The 2001 IFP/West Independent Spirit Awards (also known as The 16th Annual IFP/West Independent Spirit Awards ), Independent Film Channel, 2001.

Television Appearances; Other:

Josef K., "Kafka," The Modern World: Ten Great Writers (miniseries), LWT (England), 1988.

Appeared as Matthew Long in the series King of the Ghetto, BBC (England).

Stage Appearances:

Appeared in a production of Metamorphosis.

RECORDINGS

Videos:

FilmFest DVD: Issue 1Sundance, BroadcastDVD, 1999.

Pulp Fiction: The Facts, Miramax Home Entertainment, 2002.

WRITINGS

Screenplays:

The War Zone (also known as Tim Roth's The War Zone and Zona di guerra ), Lot 47 Films, 1999.

OTHER SOURCES

Books:

Newsmakers 1998, Issue 2, Gale, 1998.

Periodicals:

Details, February, 1997, pp. 12227, 172.

Empire, Issue 57, 1994, pp. 5253; Issue 72, 1995, pp. 6873; Issue 96, 1997.

Entertainment Weekly, June 30, 1995, p. 34; NovemberDecember, 1997, p. 44.

Film Threat, February, 1993, pp. 5253.

Harper's Bazaar, January, 1991, p. 22; November, 1992, p. 56; April, 1995, p. 212.

Interview, October, 1990, p. 48; February, 1997, p. 97.

New York Times, November 28, 1999, p. AR13.

People Weekly, January 15, 1996, p. 19.

Premiere, February, 1993, p. 28; September, 2002, p. 83.

Sight and Sound, August, 1999.

Times (London), May 15, 2003.

US, December, 1997.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Roth, Tim 1961–." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Nov. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Roth, Tim 1961–." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/roth-tim-1961

"Roth, Tim 1961–." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Retrieved November 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/roth-tim-1961