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Rising Star Joe Alwyn
by James Colt Harrison

It’s unfortunate for an actor when he is known by his association with his girlfriend rather than by the roles he played on screen. But handsome young Joe Alwyn seems best known to American audiences because he has been cavorting with pop singing star Taylor Swift. By the time you read this, Ms. Swift may have traded him in for a newer model. She’s notorious for allegedly dating guys for a few minutes, writing songs about them, and then dumping them for the next knock-out hottie. Perhaps it’s an undeserved reputation, but she has cemented this impression by making hit recordings about them.

Joe Alwyn was born in North London, England on February 21, 1991, which makes him a Pisces. His dad Richard is a documentary film maker and his mom Elizabeth is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist (that’s quite a mouthful!). The boy grew up attending the City of London School. He showed an early interest in becoming an actor after obsessing over movies and TV shows. As such, he joined the National Youth Theatre as a teen-ager and began to learn about the theatre and acting. He eventually enrolled at the University of Bristol to study English literature and drama. While attending school, he appeared in two student theatre productions which were produced at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. Alwyn graduated from Bristol in 2012. He went on to complete a BA at the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama.

Apparently Alwyn caught the eye of Oscar® winner Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain and Life of Pi.)  With accolades galore and world-wide acclaim, Ang Lee seemed to be manna sent from Heaven as Alwyn’s discoverer. Lee cast him in his film Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, a mere two weeks after Alwyn’s graduate showcase in 2015. Alwyn played 19 year-old Billy Lynn, an Army soldier in the war in Iraq. Others in the cast were Vin Diesel, Steve Martin, Garrett Hedlund, Chris Tucker and Kristen Stewart. Made by Sony Pictures, in conjunction with a Chinese studio, the story did not capture the audience’s interest and the film was a huge world-wide bomb.

Surviving his first feature flop, Alwyn was cast in various supporting roles in the following films: The Sense of an Ending (2017) with Charlotte Rampling; Operation Finale (2018) starring Ben Kingsley and Oscar Isaac; the provocative gay conversion film Boy Erased (2018); an 18th Century costume epic Mary Queen of Scots (2018) featuring Margot Robbie, Guy Pearce and Saorise Ronan; and The Favourite (2018) starring Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone and Nicholas Hoult. During 2019, Alwyn is already scheduled to be seen in Harriet, director Kasi Lemmons’ story about America’s Harriet Tubman, which also stars Janelle Monae and Cynthia Erivo.

Alwyn has come a long way from his first flop to being featured as potential leads in his latest films. In the coming year he will no longer be known merely as Taylor Swift’s current squeeze. Or, perhaps she will be known as Joe Alwyn’s girlfriend. Or ex. Only fate can tell.

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