Spall in February 2013
Spall has appeared in films including A Good Year (2006), One Day (2011), Anonymous (2011), Prometheus (2012), Life of Pi (2012), The Big Short (2015), The BFG (2016), The Ritual (2017), and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018). Spall played the title role of Pete Griffiths in Pete versus Life from 2010–2011, and has portrayed characters on the TV series The Shadow Line and Black Mirror. Spall also appeared in the Men in Black spin-off film Men in Black: International (2019).
Spall was born at King's College Hospital in Camberwell, London, the second of three children of Shane (née Baker) and actor Timothy Spall. Named after the protagonist in The Knight of the Burning Pestle, a role his father played in the Royal Shakespeare Company and one he would later play himself, he always had ambitions to act. When he was 12, his father was diagnosed with myeloid leukaemia and spent the next 18 months in treatment.
Rafe was overweight as a teen, which he calls a "painful" experience. Having achieved poor grades at his school, Haberdashers' Aske's Hatcham College, he left to become an actor and joined the National Youth Theatre at 15. He failed to get into his chosen drama schools, such as RADA, at 17, but worked anyway. After being perennially cast in "fat" roles, he lost 77 lbs at age 19, which brought more acting opportunities.
Spall has frequently collaborated with Edgar Wright, appearing in his films Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World's End alongside Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Spall was also featured in Wright's segment in the 2007 Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez film Grindhouse.
In 2012, Spall portrayed Canadian author Yann Martel in the Academy Award-winning drama film Life of Pi, directed by Ang Lee and starring Suraj Sharma and Irrfan Khan. The film was a critical and financial success, winning four Academy Awards and making over $600 million at the box office. In 2013, he played the newlywed husband in I Give It a Year, a comedy about the trials and tribulations of a couple during their first year of marriage.
In 2014, Spall appeared in the coming-of-age drama X+Y, alongside Asa Butterfield and Sally Hawkins, and the seasonal family comedy Get Santa. In 2015, he played John Hancock in the History Channel three-part series, Sons of Liberty, alongside Jim Broadbent, and appeared in the Academy Award-winning biographical comedy-drama The Big Short, alongside Christian Bale, Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling and Steve Carell. Also that year, Spall played Harry Price in Harry Price: Ghost Hunter, ITV's adaptation of Neil Spring's debut novel, The Ghost Hunters. The film aired on ITV1 on 27 December.
Since 2020, Spall has a leading role in the Apple TV+ comedy series Trying, opposite Esther Smith and Imelda Staunton. The first season premiered on 1 May 2020. A second season has already been commissioned by Apple Inc.
Spall says he has always struggled with his weight, going up to 114 kg (251 lb), but said that he was given so many character parts that he attempted to slim down, losing over 32 kg (71 lb). Like his father, he is a keen supporter of Crystal Palace. He is a patron of the Actors' Centre.
In February 2008, Spall met actress Elize du Toit; they were married on 14 August 2010 and live in West Kensington, London. They have three children: a daughter Lena, born 2011, a son Rex, born November 2012 and another son born in 2015.
|2004||Shaun of the Dead||Noel|
|2004||The Calcium Kid||Stan Parlour|
|2005||Green Street Hooligans||Swill|
|2005||The Last Drop||Pvt. David Wellings|
|2006||A Good Year||Kenny|
|2007||Hot Fuzz||D.C. Andy Cartwright|
|2007||Grindhouse||Featured Ghost||Segment: "Don't"|
|2009||The Scouting Book For Boys||Steve|
|2009||Modern Life Is Rubbish||Liam|||
|2010||Behind the Door||Bobby|
|2011||One Day||Ian Whitehead|
|2012||Life of Pi||Writer|
|2013||I Give It a Year||Josh Moss|
|2013||The World's End||Young Man|
|2013||The F Word||Ben||Also released as What If|
|2014||X+Y||Martin Humphreys||Nominated — BIFA Award for Best Supporting Actor|
|2015||The Big Short||Danny Moses||Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture|
|2016||The BFG||Mr. Tibbs|
|2016||Swallows and Amazons||Jim Turner / Captain Flint|
|2018||Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom||Eli Mills|
|2019||Men in Black: International||Agent C|
|2019||Just Mercy||Tommy Chapman|
|2002||Out of Control||Ray||Television film|
|2003||The Lion in Winter||Prince John||Television film|
|2004||The Legend of the Tamworth Two||Crustie||Television film|
|2005||The Rotters' Club||Sean Harding||3 episodes|
|2005||Twisted Tales||Dominic||Episode: "Death Metal Chronicles"|
|2006||The Romantics||John Clare||Miniseries|
|2006||The Chatterley Affair||Keith||Television film|
|2006||Cracker||DS McAllister||Television film|
|2006||Wide Sargasso Sea||Edward Rochester||Television film|
|2006||Dracula||Jonathan Harker||Television film|
|2007||A Room with a View||George Emerson||Television film|
|2008||He Kills Coppers||Frank Taylor||Television film|
|2008||Frankie Howerd: Rather You Than Me||Dennis Heymer||Television film|
|2009||Agatha Christie's Marple||Roger Bassington||Episode: "Why Didn't They Ask Evans?"|
|2009||Desperate Romantics||William Holman Hunt||6 episodes|
|2011||The Shadow Line||Jay Wratten||6 episodes|
|2010–2011||Pete Versus Life||Pete Griffiths||11 episodes|
|2014||Black Mirror||Joe Potter||Episode: "White Christmas"|
|2015||Harry Price: Ghost Hunter||Harry Price||Television film|
|2015||Sons of Liberty||John Hancock||Miniseries|
|2016||Roadies||Reg Whitehead||10 episodes|
|2018||Grandpa's Great Escape||Adult Jack (voice)||Television special|
|2019||The War of the Worlds||George||3 episodes|
|2020||The Salisbury Poisonings||DS Bailey||TV series|
- Death of England by Roy Williams and Clint Dyer at the Royal National Theatre (2020)
- Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen at the Royal National Theatre as Brack (2016)
- Betrayal by Harold Pinter at the Ethel Barrymore Theater as Jerry (2013)
- Constellations by Nick Payne at the Royal Court Theatre as Roland (2012)
- If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet by Nick Payne at the Bush Theatre as Terry (2009)
- Hello and Goodbye by Athol Fugard with the English Touring Theatre as Johnny (2008)
- Alaska by DC Moore at the Royal Court Theatre as Frank (2007)
- John Gabriel Borkman by Henrik Ibsen at the Donmar Warehouse as Erhart Borkman (2007)
- The Knight of the Burning Pestle by Francis Beaumont at the Young Vic Theatre/Barbican Theatre as Rafe (2005)
- Just a Bloke by David Watson at the Royal Court Theatre as Nathan (2002)
- A Prayer for Owen Meany by Simon Bent at the National Theatre as Harold Crosby/Coach Chickering/Larry Lish (2002)
- Amok Audible.co.uk as Oliver (2015)
- Capital narrator (2012)
- Words and Music: Crushed BBC Radio 3 as a guest reader (2008)
- Hide BBC Radio 3 as the convict (2007)
- The Real Thing BBC Radio 4 as Billy (2006)
- England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1916-2007
- Yahoo! Movies profile Archived 22 December 2014 at the Wayback Machine
- "Rafe Spall: From fat boy to slim son of Tim". Evening Standard. 28 July 2010. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
- Raphael, Amy (25 May 2012). "Rising son: Rafe Spall's time has come". Evening Standard. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
- Raphael, Amy (27 October 2007). "Rafe and Timothy Spall joint interview". Guardian. London. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
- "I give it a year next year". www.stephenmerchant.com. 22 November 2012. Archived from the original on 3 February 2013. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
- Blanket, Jo (27 August 2015). "Rafe Spall to star in new ITV drama Harry Price: Ghost Hunter". ITV. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
- Kroll, Justin (7 November 2016). "Toby Jones and Rafe Spall in Talks to Join Sequel to 'Jurassic World' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety.
- "Trying's Esther Smith confirms series 2 filming could be affected by coroanvirus". Metro. 1 May 2020. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
- McIntosh, Steven (14 June 2020). "TV drama revisits Salisbury poison attack 'horror'". BBC News. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
- Babb, Fran (19 August 2011). "Rafe Spall One Day Interview". Guardian. London. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
- "Rafe Spall, Patron". actorscentre.co.uk/. Retrieved 18 September 2014.
- Gilbert, Gerard (20 August 2011), "Rafe Spall Profile", Independent, London
- "Rafe Spall My London", Evening Standard, 2009, archived from the original on 25 November 2009
- "Close", Pollibee Pictures, 2008[permanent dead link]
- "Modern Life Is Rubbish", BBC, 2009, archived from the original on 8 March 2012
- "X Plus Y announces cast". 18 July 2013. Archived from the original on 1 August 2013. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
- Kit, Borys (29 June 2018). "'Men in Black' Movie Spin-Off Adds 'Jurassic' Actor to Cast (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
- Chitwood, Adam (5 December 2018). "The 'Men in Black' Reboot Is Titled 'Men in Black International'". Collider. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
- "'Mad Men' Star Jon Hamm Joins 'Black Mirror'", Variety, 2004
- "Constellations at The Royal Court Theatre". royalcourttheatre.com. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
- "Bush Theatre". Bush Theatre. 21 November 2009. Archived from the original on 17 August 2009. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
- "Hello and Goodbye - Athol Fugard - 2008 - Productions - English Touring Theatre". Ett.org.uk. 17 May 2008. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
- "Alaska at The Royal Court Theatre". royalcourttheatre.com. 23 June 2007. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
- "John Gabriel Borkman". Donmar Warehouse. 14 April 2007. Archived from the original on 14 December 2006. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
- "The Knight of the Burning Pestle". British Theatre Guide. Archived from the original on 18 November 2011. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
- "Just a Bloke at The Royal Court Theatre". royalcourttheatre.com. 17 November 2002. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
- "A Prayer for Owen Meany - Productions". National Theatre. Archived from the original on 21 November 2008. Retrieved 2 February 2012.