Rutger Oelsen Hauer
was born on January 23, 1944 in Breukelen, a town a few miles
south of Amsterdam (The Netherlands). The son of two actors,
Arend and Teunke, who had a very open, modern mentality, and
who also ran - and taught in - an acting school in Amsterdam
(the city where he grew up), he was on stage for the very
first time when he was only five years old, but his real acting
career started in June 1955 in the role of Eurysakes in the
Sophocles tragedy "Ajax".
His U.S. "adventure"
started in 1981, when he played opposite Sylvester Stallone
in "Nighthawks". It was this film that brought him to the
attention of American audiences. Rutger now saw new possibilities
of expressing himself in front of a camera, and so he hired
the well-known dialogue coach, Dr. Robert Easton, and learnt
to speak the American language without a hint of a European
accent, thus becoming the only European actor (except British
ones, of course) in a position to play American characters.
Back home for a short
while in September 1981, he was presented with the "Gouden
Kalf" (Golden Calf) award for Best Actor. A year later he
starred in the critically acclaimed role of the tragically
touching replicant Roy Batty in Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner".
This film became a science fiction classic and the first version
was added to the National Film Archives maintained by the
U.S. Library of Congress. In 1982 he also turned in a stunning
performance as Albert Speer in "Inside the Third Reich", once
more showing his audiences his ability to reveal beauty and
tragedy in all of the characters he portrays.
Rutger is one of the
few internationally successful actors whose body of work is
appreciated by fans of blockbuster action films as well as
devotees of the art-house circuit throughout the world.In
1985, he acted in the Warner Bros. magical, medieval film
"Ladyhawke" opposite Michelle Pfeiffer. That very same year
he starred in "Flesh & Blood", that won two Dutch "Gouden
Kalf" awards, as Best Film and Best Director. This remains
to date the last film he has shot with Paul Verhoeven.
He then played two
important roles: the dark-hearted John Ryder in "The Hitcher",
and the bounty hunter Nick Randall in "Wanted - Dead or Alive".
The latter was his first American movie featuring his name
above the film title. By this time he had definitely moved
to the U.S., he had bought a villa on the Californian coast
(although he prefers to live on his boat) and a motorhome,
which he frequently uses while working on location.In 1987
he impressed British households with what became a milestone
in TV commercials - the Guinness adverts. He succeeded in
turning a merely commercial operation into a strange, memorable
piece of art, increasing the Company's sales by 22% in only
In 1988 for his role
as a compassionate Russian officer in the CBS miniseries "Escape
From Sobibor," he received a "Golden Globe" award from the
Hollywood Foreign Press Association. His performance as a
homeless man in Ermanno Olmi's "The Legend of the Holy Drinker"
won him the "Best Actor" Award at the 1988 Seattle International
Film Festival. The film was awarded the prestigious Golden
Lion at the 1988 Venice Film Festival and in 1990 was voted
by Japanese audiences as "Best Movie of the Year".
At the end of the '80s
Rutger was classified amongst the fifty most "bankable" actors
in the world, in a list made by the important "Hollywood Reporter".
His prolific career also includes the HBO production of "Wedlock"
and "Blind Side" which were also released theatrically worldwide.
Rutger has also produced several documentaries: "Prosit Ermanno!"
(based on Ermanno Olmi's making of "The Legend of The Holy
Drinker"), "Who Are They?" (a view of the life of a homeless
man) and "Kill The Camera" (a look behind the making of "Buffy
The Vampire Slayer").
Other film credits
include "Blind Fury," "Salute of the Jugger, "A Breed Apart,"
"Surviving the Game," "The Beans of Egypt, Maine", "Mariette
In Ecstasy" and TNT's "Amelia Earhart: The Final Flight" opposite
The '90s saw Rutger
looking for stranger, weirder subjects, always bearing in
mind his refusal to be typecast in a defined role or character.
More and more, he preferred to work with independent studios,
where he could find more room to express his art without being
shackled by the Hollywood rule of pouring big money in big
productions which have to become big box-office hits, to the
cost of art and freedom for new ideas and talent. In 1992
"People" magazine, after a readers' poll, included him amongst
the fifty sexiest men alive. In 1994, turning fifty, he received
a Golden Globe nomination for his role in the HBO film "Fatherland".
Holland celebrated his 50th birthday with a retrospective
on his most significant films and a long thorough interview/documentary
entitled "Acteur van Oranje".
Not long ago Rutger
wrapped a co-starring role alongside Noah Taylor, Embeth Davidtz,
Stuart Townsend and Ian Holm in the feature film, "Simon Magus".
This film competed at last year's Berlin Film Festival and
Karlovy Vary Film Festival and was also presented at the Sundance
Film Festival this year, gathering praise from the international
press. It also won the Sigtes International Film Festival
award as Best Director. It was released in Great Britain in
May and in the U.S. its release date is scheduled for the
first months of 2001. Rutger portrays Count Albrecht, a gentle,
poetry-reading Squire, opposite Taylor who plays "Simon".
This film was produced by Robert Jones ("The Usual Suspects").
Soon after this he co-starred in the NBC miniseries "The Tenth
Kingdom" re-teaming with Hallmark Entertainment and producer
Robert Halmi Sr. The fantasy saga which is based on an original
screenplay from Emmy Award winning Simon Moore ("Gulliver's
Travels"), tells the story of the Land of Nine Kingdoms, where
an evil queen plans to usurp the throne from its rightful
In April 1999 Rutger
received the "Best Actor of the Century" award in the Netherlands,
and was celebrated on Dutch television with a compilation
of his films, aired non-stop for a whole day. On the same
occasion, "Turkish Delight" and "Soldier of Orange" were voted
as the first and second "Best Films of the Century", respectively.
A special "Gouden Kalf" award ceremony took place at the Utrecht
Film Festival from September 22 to October 1. At the same
time, the press defined him "still the most attractive man
Now, with an already
impressive number of works in his filmography (over 90!),
many more films are being released. "Partners in Crime", which
is a cop-story with a human heart. "Wilder", a thriller with
a humorous slant, starring Pam Grier as a cop investigating
a murder that leads to an evil conspiracy by a pharmaceutical
company. Rutger plays a doctor who appears to be under suspicion
but soon helps her to solve the crime. "Lying in Wait", where
the lives of three friends are spun into a web of lust, deceit
and murder. "Turbulence 3", based on a group of terrorists
who hijack an airplane that is broadcasting a rock concert
live on the Internet. And finally "Jungle Juice" a comedy
shot in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
It's difficult to sum
up Rutger's talents and skills in few lines, but once he stated,
"I am an Aquarius, which means you carry the water from one
person to the next, that's a spiritual thing and that's exactly
what I do. You know, there are many different levels to the
spirit. Films always tell one story, but below that story
there is another story and I'm really into that and I try
and work on a few different levels. The hardest thing is to
get the level you don't see, that it's not on the surface.
I hate acting when I see it. I don't want to feel it, I don't
want to see it, I want to be taken away with the story. I
don't want the actor's ego in front of me. That's why I try
to live when I do the work. The tongue-in-cheek stuff is sort
of my favourite but it doesn't come along that much. I didn't
do a lot of comedy, and I think I could handle the romantic
side, it's underdeveloped still. And it's also drama that
I'm interested in, it's the craft that I'm interested in.
What draws me basically is the story and the people who do
it. When you're an actor, you're like a string and the music
gets played on you. I have a gift that allows me to make people
understand what I am feeling even if they can't put it in
words. I have a very strange power within me, I can feel it.
The rest I guess is luck and talent, and it's all in the hands
of what's-its-name, I call it fate. It's not just work. It's
the urge to, let's say, fulfill a certain black hole in you
and you just have to follow up on it if you want to get it
done. I think the only form of happiness is fulfillment -
it's what everybody wants but people translate it in different
ways. And there is a cosmic tide that we do not know how to
handle. And there is also a psychic understanding that we
don't know how to handle. Those are very strong and very present
elements in the way we work. Whatever you do, there's always
an element of projected fate. You know, it's like you're doing
it and you are following it at the same time. I'm not going
to travel if I don't feel I'm being pulled...".