The Guy Making Us Swoon This Week is ‘WandaVision’ Star Paul Bettany
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Over the past year, we’ve been getting a good look at actor Paul Bettany. Back in January 2020, he starred in the touching film Uncle Frank as a gay man struggling with his father’s rejection. And then there’s the British actor’s long history in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, first as the voice of “Jarvis” and later as our favorite lovable synthezoid Vision.
But not until now has actor Paul Bettany really been able to shine like he does in the MCU’s first full-throated foray into television, WandaVision. Alongside Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda, the two have introduced an entirely new tone into the MCU thanks to the show’s sitcom-spoofing premise while continuing to treat us to the beloved characters we’ve come to know and love.
Here are six random facts about actor Paul Bettany we came across:
1. Actor Paul Bettany has recently spoken up about having a gay father.
Paul Bettany was born in Shepherd’s Bush, West London, to parents who were both entertainers. Mom was a singer, theater teacher and actor (who actually starred in the ’60s British TV series The Avengers), and dad was a dancer and actor.
In the lead up to Bettany’s performance in Uncle Frank, in which he portrays an openly gay Southern man, he spoke to the press about his recently passed father, who had come out of the closet at 63 and had a 20-year relationship with a man.
2. Bettany’s humble beginnings were as a street performer.
Paul Bettany’s life drastically changed in his youth. When Bettany was 16, his younger brother died at the age of 8 after falling onto concrete from a tennis pavilion roof. The death shocked him and led him to rethink his life. Shortly thereafter, Bettany left home. He first became a street performer in London. After two years of playing guitar in the streets, he got a job in a home for the elderly. While supporting himself that way, Paul enrolled at the Drama Center in London; his acting career started to grow from there.
3. Just like us, he’s a Walking Dead fan.
It’s always interesting to learn what some of your favorite actors consider their favorite TV series. Well, it turns out he’s a big Walking Dead fan, and he’s worried about the show eventually coming to an end.
“It keeps me awake at night, because I love it so, so very much,” actor Paul Bettany once said of the show. “I love everybody in it. I’ve been watching it since the beginning. I’m so frightened of a life without The Walking Dead.”
4. Actor Paul Bettany is a family man who married his teenage crush.
If you’ve been watching him on Disney+’s WandaVision, you’ll know that actor Paul Bettany can play the lovable husband effortlessly. As it turns out, he has plenty of experience to draw from.
Bettany actually married his teenage crush, Jennifer Connelly, whom he first saw as a teen in the 1986 film Labyrinth. The two are now the happy parents of two kids.
5. He has an embarrassing story with his acting hero, Robert De Niro.
Paul Bettany is a huge fan of the great films from the 1970s and ’80s. Because of that, he’s a big fan of actors like Robert De Niro, Marlon Brando and Al Pacino. Funny enough, actor Paul Bettany met Robert De Niro once, and it almost didn’t go well.
When an audition for De Niro for an upcoming project had to be postponed, Bettany was forced to show up with one of his kids in tow. “By the time I walked into the meeting, I had one of those BabyBjörn carriers with the baby,” Bettany says, and he had to audition while wearing a baby. Thankfully, De Niro thought the bite-sized Bettany was adorable.
6. He has a bitter rivalry with fellow MCU star Robert Downey Jr.
“You know, the Marvel stuff is the only thing my kids have ever, ever been interested in, [out of everything] I’ve ever done in my life — ever. So that’s slightly humiliating,” he told Filipino fans at the AsiaPOP Comic Con in 2015.
But it’s not all happy times at the Bettany home. There’s a tiny issue going on between the actor and his daughter. You see, she prefers Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man over her father’s character, Vision.
Bettany once had his daughter record a message to Robert Downey Jr., and as it turns out he should have given her a script, because what she ab-libbed has haunted him to this day: “I love you. I love you. I love you more than my daddy!” he recalled his daughter saying. “It was a very bad and dark moment for me. Damn you, Downey!”
Despite his longstanding grudge with Robert Downey Jr., actor Paul Bettany has seen some big success with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, though it’s a joy to watch him on-screen in just about anything. Here’s hoping the future brings us much more Paul Bettany!
Do you have a favorite performance from actor Paul Bettany?
Featured image of actor Paul Bettany by Rich Polk / Getty Images