William Jack Poulter (born 28 January 1993) is an English actor and screenwriter. He first gained recognition for his role as Eustace Scrubb in the fantasy adventure film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010). Poulter received further praise for his starring role in the comedy film We're the Millers (2013), for which he won the BAFTA Rising Star Award.
Poulter also starred in the science fiction film The Maze Runner (2014), the period epic film The Revenant (2015), the crime drama film Detroit (2017), the interactive science fiction film Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (2018), and the folk horror film Midsommar (2019).
Poulter was born in Hammersmith, England, the son of Caroline (née Barrah), a former nurse, and Neil Poulter, a distinguished physician and Professor of Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine at Imperial College London. His mother was raised in Kenya.
Poulter played various acting roles before landing the role of Lee Carter in the 2007 movie Son of Rambow, which was released to positive reviews, and praise for the performances of Poulter and his co-star Bill Milner. He also performed with other young comedic actors in School of Comedy, which aired its pilot on Channel 4's Comedy Lab on 21 August 2008. School of Comedy was then commissioned for a full series by Channel 4, which began airing on 2 October 2009. The programme finished after a second series.
In 2009, he was selected to play the role of Eustace Scrubb in the film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (filmed in Queensland, Australia), and was accompanied by some members of his family. The movie was first screened on 10 December 2010. The film opened to mixed reviews, but Poulter's performance was well received.
In 2010, he appeared in the BBC Three pilot The Fades, a 60-minute supernatural thriller written by Skins writer Jack Thorne. The pilot was picked up as a six-part series with an almost entirely new cast, which aired in 2011.
Poulter began filming a small British independent film called Wild Bill, directed by Dexter Fletcher, at the end of 2010. It centres around Bill Hayward, played by Charlie Creed-Miles, who, on parole after spending eight years in prison, finds his two sons, Dean (Poulter) and Jimmy (Sammy Williams), living alone and abandoned by their mother. With the attention of social services now focused on the boys, Bill struggles to play good dad while keeping out of jail as Jimmy gets in trouble with some dangerous acquaintances of Bill's past. The film was released on 23 March 2012 to extremely positive reviews, with praise for Poulter's performance. In 2011, Poulter appeared with the popular British blogger and his School of Comedy co-star Jack Harries on his YouTube channel by the name of JacksGap in a video called Jack and Will.
In 2013, he played Kenny in We're the Millers, starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis. While the film opened to mixed reviews, the performances of the cast were well received, especially that of Poulter, who found mainstream recognition with his showy, comedic work in the film. He also appeared as a caretaker in the music video for Rizzle Kicks' song "Skip to the Good Bit". Though he loved the script and auditioned for the role of Augustus Waters, he was denied the part in The Fault in Our Stars.
In 2014, he played Fordy in the crime film Plastic, directed by Julian Gilbey and starring Ed Speleers, Alfie Allen, Sebastian De Souza and Emma Rigby. The film was critically panned on release. The same year, he played Gally in the film adaptation of The Maze Runner, alongside Dylan O'Brien and Kaya Scodelario. The film was a critical and commercial success, with the performances of the cast being praised. Poulter went on to describe the film, and his role in it, as "a turning point" in his career.
In 2015, Poulter starred as Shane in the Irish indie film Glassland, directed by Gerard Barrett and co-starring Jack Reynor and Toni Collette. The film was a critical success, with many reviewers praising Poulter's performance in particular as being his most diverse role to date. In an interview with BBC Radio 1, Poulter stated the film was "the proudest I've been to be a part of a movie".
In 2014, Poulter won the BAFTA Rising Star Award, voted for by the public. Other actors nominated for the award were Lupita Nyong'o, George MacKay, Léa Seydoux and Dane DeHaan. The same year, he also won the MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Performance and the MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss (shared with his co-stars Jennifer Aniston and Emma Roberts) for his performance in We're the Millers.
In 2014, Poulter was chosen as one of 23 upcoming actors to feature in July's issue of Vanity Fair, with all actors being named "Hollywood's Next Wave". Other actors featured included Dylan O'Brien (Poulter's co-star in The Maze Runner series) and Jack Reynor (Poulter's co-star in Glassland, Detroit, and Midsommar).
Poulter played Jim Bridger in the revenge-thriller The Revenant, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy. The film centers on an 1820s frontiersman on a path of vengeance against those who left him for dead after a bear mauling. In 2017, he played the racist police officer Philip Krauss in the film Detroit, about the 1967 Detroit riots. His work in the film was praised with one critic calling it "towering" while another deemed it "terrifyingly confident".
Poulter was initially cast as Pennywise the Clown in the 2017 remake of the Stephen King miniseries It. However, it was announced in June 2016 that Bill Skarsgård had been cast instead because Poulter dropped out due both to scheduling conflicts (the film was set to shoot at the same time as Poulter was set to begin work on Detroit) as well as the departure of its initial director, Cary Fukunaga.
In 2018, Poulter reprised his role as Gally in Maze Runner: The Death Cure, the third and final installment of the Maze Runner film series. Later that year, he starred in the film The Little Stranger as Roderick "Roddy" Ayres, a facially disfigured, haunted war veteran, and as game developer Colin Ritman in Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, a standalone interactive film of the Black Mirror television series. In 2019, he played the character of Mark in Ari Aster’s horror film Midsommar.
|2007||Son of Rambow||Lee Carter|
|2010||The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader||Eustace Scrubb|
|2013||We're the Millers||Kenny Rossmore|
|The Maze Runner||Gally|
|2015||The Revenant||Jim Bridger|
|2016||Kids in Love||Jack|
|2017||War Machine||Sgt. Rick Ortega|
|2018||Maze Runner: The Death Cure||Gally|
|The Little Stranger||Roderick "Roddy" Ayres|
|2007||Comedy: Shuffle||Find Your Folks Presenter||2 episodes|
|2008||Comedy Lab||Various||Episode: "Kids School of Comedy"|
|2008||Lead Balloon||Sweet Throwing Boy||Episode: "Nuts"|
|2009–2010||School of Comedy||various characters||8 episodes; also writer|
|2010||The Fades||Mac||Episode: "Pilot"|
|2018||Black Mirror||Colin Ritman||Episode: "Bandersnatch"|
|2020||The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope||Andrew||Motion capture|
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|2008||Son of Rambow||British Independent Film Awards||Most Promising Newcomer||Nominated|
|2009||Young Artist Awards||Best Performance in an International Feature Film – Leading Young Performers (shared with Bill Milner)||Nominated|
|2010||The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader||Phoenix Film Critics Society||Best Performance by a Youth in a Leading or Supporting Role – Male||Nominated|
|2011||Young Artist Awards||Best Performance in a Feature Film – Young Ensemble Cast (shared with Georgie Henley and Skandar Keynes)||Nominated|
|Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films||Best Performance by a Younger Actor||Nominated|
|London Film Critics' Circle||Young British Performer of the Year||Nominated|
|2013||Wild Bill||London Film Critics' Circle||Young British Performer of the Year||Nominated|
|2014||We're the Millers||Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie Liplock (shared with Emma Roberts and Jennifer Aniston)||Nominated|
|MTV Movie Awards||Breakthrough Performance||Won|
|Best Kiss (shared with Emma Roberts and Jennifer Aniston)||Won|
|Best Musical Moment||Nominated|
|British Academy Film Awards||EE Rising Star Award||Won|
|Empire Awards||Best Male Newcomer||Nominated|
|2015||The Maze Runner||MTV Movie Awards||Best Fight (shared with Dylan O'Brien)||Won|