Tim Roth (I)

Tim Roth (I)


5/14/1961, London, England, United Kingdom

Birth Name

Timothy Simon Smith



Also Known As

Simon Smith
  • Tim Roth as Cal Lightman on Lie to Me.
  • Tim Roth as Cal Lightman on Lie to Me.
  • Tim Roth on Lie to Me.
  • The cast of season two of Lie to Me.
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Tim grew up in Dulwich, London and went to school at Brixton. Afterwards he attended Camberwell Art College which he left in order to pursue an acting career. His big break was the TV Movie Made in Britain. His film Meantime is one of his favorite movies. His…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Tim ranked #16 on Tropopkin's Top 25 Most Intriguing People.

    • Tim sports five tattoos on his right arm. These tattoos symbolize significant events in his life.

    • Tim was initially offered the role of Snape in the Harry Potter movies but had to turn down the role as he had scheduling conflicts with Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes remake.

    • Tim's eldest son, Jack, is training to be an actor (performing at the Oval House theatre in southeast London) where Tim started out too.

    • When Tim was 17 he wrote a letter to Stanley Kubrick, a letter to Martin Scorsese and a letter to Francis Ford Coppola telling them that he really liked their films and that if they are looking for an English actor, he'd be interested in the work. None of them ever called him.

    • Quentin Tarantino wanted Roth to play the part of Mr. Blonde or Mr. Pink in Reservoir Dogs, however Tim preferred the role of Mr. Orange and eventually got that part, which proved to be a huge breakthrough in his career.

    • Tim played real life gangster Dutch Schultz in the movie Hoodlum. Many critics said he was woefully miscast.

    • Tim claims he's a workaholic.

    • Tim is an avid reader, mostly of books. He has stated that he's not as keen of magazines.

    • Fans can send letters to Tim at the following address:

      Tim Roth
      c/o IFA Talent Agency
      8730 Sunset Blvd.
      Los Angeles, CA 90069

    • Tim's movie, The Deciever was known as The Liar in England.

    • Tim served as president of the jury for the Camera D'Or - a prize awarded to first time filmmakers - at the Cannes Film Festival in 2004.

    • Tim was being considered as a replacement for Anthony Hopkins, when Hopkins was reluctant to return to play Hannibal Lector in Hannibal; however, Hopkins ended up accepting the role.

    • Tim turned down the role of Johnny Rotten in Sid and Nancy, because he felt the film depicted history that he felt was "too recent."

    • Tim's father changed the family name from the more British "Smith" to the German-Jewish 'Roth' in the 40s after World War II because he was a journalist who traveled in countries that disliked the British.

    • Tim and Gary Oldman are very good friends from back in the days of when they worked in London theater.

    • Tim played a villain named "Welch" in Sam Shepard's off-Broadway play The God of Hell at the Actor's Studio in New York, in November 2004. The role marked Roth's American theater debut.

    • Tim appeared in print advertisements for Prada designer clothing in spring of 1996.

    • Tim appeared in print advertisements for H&M clothing stores in fall of 2000.

    • List of Tim's awards:

      Berlin International Film Festival: C.I.C.A.E. Award - Panorama, The War Zone (1999).
      Edinburgh International Film Festival: Best New British Feature, The War Zone (1999).
      European Film: European Discovery of the Year, The War Zone (1999).
      Festróia - Tróia International Film Festival: Tróia Award - First Works Section, The War Zone (1999).
      Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival: Jury Award - Best Director, The War Zone (1999).
      Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival: Jury Award - Best First Feature, The War Zone (1999).
      Valladolid International Film Festival: Silver Spike, The War Zone (1999).
      BAFTA: Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Rob Roy (1996).
      San Francisco International Film Festival: Piper-Heidsieck Award (1995).
      Evening Standard British Film: Most Promising Newcomer (1985).
      Mystfest: Best Actor, The Hit (1984).
      London Evening Standard: Most Promising Newcomer (film), The Hit (1984).

  • Quotes

    • Tim Roth (On bonding with Tupac Shakur while filming the movie "Gridlock'd") Yeah, the thing about working with any actor if you are working with such depth is you have to bond real quick and you have to keep it there. As much as I may have been pissed off with him everyday and he may have been pissed off with me, we had to reveal a lot about ourselves real quick as if our relationship had gone back years and we did that.

    • Tim Roth (On the film "Gridlock'd" and Tupac Shakur) A little bit. Yeah. I first met Pac before he was cast. He wanted to play the part of Spoon and he said to them, if he hasn't seen any of my movies, don't let him see my movies, and if he hasn't listen to my music, then don't let him listen to my music and don't let him see my music videos. Let me meet him as I really am, not as my public person." And he walked in and I met this guy who was twenty five years old and he knew the character. It was a guy who wanted to do a great film. I used to quietly slide into his trailer during the day at some point when no one was around. I would kick back and have a beer and he would be sitting there writing, which was good. Good to see. He worked at it. His success was not a fluke. He was a poet. There as this big tough guy performance that goes on in him and I have never seen anybody so scared in all my life. We were in a back alley shooting the stabbing scene and there were rats running around. And he literally was terrified. He kept jumping up and down shouting, "Did you see that, that was a rat!!" It was like suddenly he was four years old and it made me laugh.

    • Tim Roth (On Tupac Shakur and the film "Gridlock'd") He was actually the straight man in the film. The solid guy. My character was all over the place and he was like my dad in the film. He was constantly having to watch my back because I am always getting myself in trouble saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.

    • Tim Roth (On if Tupac Shakur could have won a Oscar.) Actually, I didn't even want him to be in the film -- I didn't know who he was. I just wanted an actor, not a musician. But we went to a restaurant and he came in with an enormous entourage and he sat down and auditioned for us. He knew so much about the role and I got on with him like a house on fire. There are tapes of me and him rapping together, recorded at Death Row Records! I'm hoping they've been burned, though. It was one of the nicest relationships I've had with another actor -- I found him to be incredibly talented. I used to call him "New Money" because he had a massive Bentley and a different model sat in the car each day, and he used to call me "Free Shit" because I always used to get loads of free stuff from companies. It's a shame what happened -- I think he could have gone on to be quite something as an actor.

    • Tim Roth: (On season 3 of Lie to Me) There's some wild stuff coming! The guys that are running the show and the writers' room now, Alex Cary and Dave Graziano-one's from London and the other's from Brooklyn-the two of them know the kind of world that Lightman comes from and they write to that. For the first time, we're solidly in a place where the scripts really reflect the characters and the stories are fun and quite unusual. And as different as they may be from each other, one episode to the next, they have a consistency about them. They're very, very character-driven and a lot of fun to play.

    • Tim: I think every director has a different take, some are good, some are bad. The directors you get on best with sometimes don't make the best films, so who's to say who is right?

    • Tim: I started off on stage because it was the only work I could get. I haven't been back for 11 years. I think any stage experience is good experience, as far as being an actor is concerned.

    • Tim: Everyone is an abused child, if you think about what governments do.

    • Tim: Doing comedy for film is always a challenge because you are in the hands of the editor after the fact. I am hoping I can do some more soon, I enjoy doing comedy.

    • Tim: (on the Sex Pistols) I remember watching the Sex Pistols on TV when I came home from school - I think it was Johnny Rotten and Siouxsie Sioux from the Banshees - and they started swearing and the guy interviewing them got fired for provoking them. It was a wonderful time. It was like saying, 'Ugly is beautiful, everything you taught us is wrong'.

    • Tim: (on the gore in Reservoir Dogs) There's a lot of blood in that film. I think there's only nine pints in a body; we had about four gallons.

    • Tim: (on being a director) Before I started, I worried about what I was going to say to the actors. It kept me awake at night. Sometimes you get the questions wrong.

    • Tim: I have a bad time between jobs because I'm always convinced I'll never work again. I think it may be an English thing, this fear of unemployment.

    • Tim: (on attending the Academy Awards Ceremony) Like going to Liberace's house on acid.

    • Tim: (on Youth Without Youth) The big question is, does any of this actually happen?. I used to think it was all real, but now I tend towards thinking it's not.

    • Tim: (answering where he's been hiding since the 90's) I don't know. I went off and directed a few years back, then I did a slew of trying-to- get-money-in-the-bank movies, and it's hard to find stuff that you're interested in. Also, I was caught up in the tail end of what was really an interesting time in American film, and then it changed. The way that films are financed and the structure of them became radically different. As a consequence, the stuff that was being made became uninteresting, so I just got bored. This film, and a couple of others I've done recently have made me interested again in acting.

    • Tim: (on the role of Snape in the Harry Potter movies) I was going to do both films [Potter and Planet of the Apes]. We rigged it so that I could fly back and forth. They figured out the schedule but it just got to be overwhelming in my mind. My kids really liked the books. They were really into me doing it, but the idea of being an ape was too good. I would have made [Snape] a very different guy. But in the end I think it was the right decision since Alan's had some success with the character.

    • Tim: (on filming Youth Without Youth) Playing someone who was not me and having Francis push me in all these different directions was very tantalizing. That woke me up a bit. I'd spoken to Ray Winstone about it. It happened to him. He gave up acting years and years and years ago. He quit and went back to work in whatever he was doing. Then he got his buzz back. He swore to me I would, too. And he was right. You just have to wait around long enough and then you'll get it back.

    • Tim: (on his role in the movie 'Funny Games') I'd been the torturer, the one that inflicts. And I thought it would be a very good thing for me to feel what it's like to be in a room and have that happen to me. And it was very good, it helped me as an actor no end. But I don't ever want to go back there. Not to that extreme ever again.

    • Tim: ( on character he played) I don't get to do kissy scenes. I'm not the romantic guy. I mean, I am in life – but I don't get to do what Colin Firth can do.

    • Tim: (on finishing filming "The Incredible Hulk 2") I just literally wrapped last week, and it was such fun. I'm bloody tired by the way. From being in the action stuff, I don't know how the hell they do it, people like Bruce Willis. They must have great stunt doubles. I had three of them! My god, and I was so happy when they were working!

    • Tim: (on appearing in The Incredible Hulk 2) I'm still filming it. This is one for my boys. Pure, on set, all I'm asking is, 'Okay, this has got to be a cool shot for my kids, all right? Am I going to look cool in this shot?' It's truly about that for me, completely about that.

    • Tim: (when asked how he alternates between acting and directing) I have to work so I can get money to not make money. It'll take me two years to make the film, put it out there and finish talking about it. Then I can go back to work. So for me to direct a film – apart from getting the story, the screenplay ready, I have to work. I have to find not just jobs I want to do, which you always hope there will be more of, but you have to go out to do films that maybe you don't believe in so much that will pay you some money. You try to do a good job on that too.

    • Tim: ( when asked if he was disappointed that Quentin Tarantino did not offer him a role in "Kill Bill") Yeah. I wanted to play the guy with the really long mustache. Yeah, you always want to be – he's a mate. But you can't be in everything of his. Don't be ridiculous! Always the same cast. Although there were Norwegian directors who did that. But no, of course not. He's a friend and you want to be in his stuff because it's great. He's fun to work with and he comes up with weird ideas. It's exciting.

    • Tim: (on how he came to be cast in the TV Movie Made in Britain) I was doing some temp work in town, over a telephone, which is what quite a lot of out of work actors do in Britain, or used to do. I don't know if they do it now. And, I was cycling back and I had a flat tyre and I went into this theatre at the Oval that I worked at and they didn't have a pump, but they were telling me that there were these auditions that were going to take place. And they said, 'You don't mind shaving your head do you?' I said, 'No', because I'd done it before. And they said, 'Why don't you go up, play a skin- head?' So I went up to meet Alan and got on with him very well and then they gave me the script, I went away, looked at it, came back. I had, I think there were three meetings: one where the producer came in, and then the next one, and then the writer, I think, as well, or the other way round. It was Margaret Matheson (producer), David Leland (writer), and Alan. And then I got the job. It was the first time I was ever in front of the camera. It was a very, very interesting experience for me.

    • Tim: (when asked what he will do on his day off after finishing the filming of War Zone) I've got construction workers in my house. Tomorrow I'm going to kill some construction workers and bury them in my back garden, just for waking me up.

    • Tim: Bring back dueling, I say. Drive-by sword fight.

    • Tim: I have come close to producing films. But generally by the time they hit the screen, there's about 50 people with producer credits, so what's the point. I usually find scripts I like with no money attached and take them to producers that I know and try to raise finance.

    • Tim: I like the Knicks, the Knicks are okay.

    • Tim: I'd seen musicians act, and it scares me. And they make more money than me.

    • Tim: If you meet somebody who's spent any length of time in prison, you don't let your guard down. Ever. And really, that's what that was about-if you open up too much, you're asking to get your teeth kicked in.

    • Tim: You read a script and its based on Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, and it goes right in the bin.