James Frain is the oldest of eight children. His father was a stockbroker and his mother a teacher. Born in Leeds, Yorkshire, James was raised in Essex.
He has a degree in drama from the University of East Anglia and also graduated from London's Central School of Speech and Drama.
He was discovered by Sir Richard Attenborough who directed him alongside Sir Anthony Hopkins in 1993's Shadowlands, Frain's feature film debut.
Other roles include Kenny in Nothing Personal, Alvaro de la Quadra in Elizabeth, and Daniel Barenboim in Hilary and Jackie. James has gained a higher profile, appearing in Titus, again alongside Anthony Hopkins, and with his phenomenal portrayal of Forney in Where the Heart Is, opposite Natalie Portman and Ashley Judd. In 2002, James appeared in the remake of The Count of Monte Cristo with James Caviezel and Guy Pierce. Most recently, James has appeared in the television series The Tudors as Thomas Cromwell.