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Tim Roth

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Tim Roth

By Geoffrey Macnab

Tim Roth (b. 1961)

Born in London, an art-school dropout. The bulk of his work in this country has been done for television, a clear indication that in the 80s, when directors like Mike Leigh, Alan Clarke and Stephen Frears were working on the small screen, it was infinitely the more dynamic medium. "Clarke," he once told Sight & Sound, "was the King... he made films about real people who were in sad situations."

Roth's debut was as the livewire skinhead in Clarke's coruscating Made In Britain, and he has sought to match this pitch of intensity in his subsequent work. Although he has appeared in British movies (A World Apart, The Cook the Thief His Wife and Her Lover, Captives) he soon turned to the American independent scene (Reservoir Dogs) to find the kind of roles he craves.

There's a long-standing tradition, stretching from Ronald Colman to David Niven, of British Screen actors decamping to the US. But it's hard to imagine either Roth or his contemporary Gary Oldman becoming mainstays of the ex-pat cricket team.

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