Age and Hometown: 27; London
Current Role: A Broadway debut as Phillip, the housebound brother who forms a bond with a mysterious father figure (Alec Baldwin) in Orphans.
In the Blood: The son and the grandson of celebrated British actors, Sturridge made his professional debut at 11 in a Gulliver’s Travels miniseries directed by his father, Charles, and co-starring his mother, Phoebe Nicholls. But, he insists, “I didn’t have any idea what I wanted to be when I grew up.” At 17, he began to embrace the family business after István Szabó cast him as Annette Bening’s son in Being Julia, filmed during a “glorious” summer in Budapest. The director “was an extraordinary teacher who wanted to make a piece of art,” Sturridge recalls. “After spending time with him, I decided that it wouldn’t be a ridiculous notion to be an actor.”
Audition Angst: You might assume that Sturridge was cast in Orphans on the strength of his award-winning London stage work and film resume (On the Road, Pirate Radio). Wrong: He had to audition, American style. “In England, theater auditions are gentler experiences,” he says wryly. “You sit down with the director and talk about the play. Here, there were 100 [actors] pumping themselves up and shouting the lines. I don't function well in that situation. Then I went into a room the size of a gymnasium, with six people behind a table, and one of them said, ‘Read.’” The angst was worth it. “To be an English person in my 20s, doing a Broadway show—it’s one of the mountains I wanted to climb.”
Dream Role: Sturridge has won raves for his athletic, vulnerable and very American performance as sheltered brother Phillip in Orphans. “I was incredibly moved by the play when I read it,” he says, adding that his stage partnership with Alec Baldwin and Ben Foster has been “invigorating and exciting. I’ve admired them from afar, and what's been beautiful is that we’ve shared this [experience], which is still evolving.” Away from the theater, Sturridge loves exploring New York with his longtime girlfriend, actress Sienna Miller, and their nine-month-old daughter, Marlowe. “It’s the only city in the world apart from London that, when the plane lands, it feels like home.”