In the early 2000s, New Zealand helped Hollywood find some of the film industry's new and exciting talent. In addition to offering high-profile efforts by such visionary directors as Peter Jackson and Lee Tamahori, the South Pacific island country was also the birthplace of talented actor Martin Henderson. A native of Auckland who stumbled into acting when a popular local TV show held a casting call at his school, the 13-year-old soon realized his true calling. He landed the part on Strangers and soon thereafter was cast in the popular hospital drama Shortland Street -- a role which earned the up-and-coming star a Best Male Dramatic Performance award at the 1993 New Zealand Film and Television Awards. Henderson moved to Sydney, Australia, where he stepped into the lead as an athlete with Olympic aspirations in Sweat. By this point, he was beginning to court international recognition, and made his feature debut with a supporting role in 1999's Kick. Henderson opted to hone his craft further at the New York Playhouse, where he appeared in a number of stage productions. Though he was lost in the shuffle with a small supporting role in John Woo's ill-fated World War II drama Windtalkers (2002), things soon began to look up for Henderson in Hollywood. With the release of The Ring later that year, the actor had both more screen time and a character that afforded him a better opportunity to exhibit his talent. Indie romance followed when Henderson was cast opposite Piper Perabo in the 2002 drama A Piece of My Heart (adapted for the screen by playwright Matt Cooper). Then, in an unpredictable move, the rising star received positive notice for his role in the Swedish romantic drama Skagerrak (aka Sweet Dreams). In 2004, Henderson rode fast and furious in the motorcycle action thriller Torque, which offered him his first lead in a large-scale Hollywood production. He also appeared later that year in the U.K. musical comedy Bride and Prejudice, a Bollywood-style adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. AFI nominated for a "Best Supporting Actor" trophy as a result of his affecting role as a disabled man drawn into a dangerous crime sceme in the 2005 Australian crime drama Little Fish, Henderson could next be seen taking to the sides as an American pilot helping his French allies fight the good fight in the World War I adventure Flyboys. He had a small part in Smokin' Aces, and had a major role in the political drama Battle in Seattle. He also had a major part in the 2010 WWII film Home By Christmas.
Biography by Jason Buchanan
- Has been acting since he was 13, when he won a part on the TV series Strangers in his native New Zealand after a casting call at his elementary school.
- Played rugby in high school.
- Received the 1993 Best Male Dramatic Performance in a Television Show award at the New Zealand Television and Film Awards for his work on the New Zealand series Shortland Street.
- Studied acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York for two years.
- Played Britney Spears' ex-boyfriend in her "Toxic" video.
- Became friends with Heath Ledger when they both worked on the Australian series Sweat; Ledger later helped him when he was struggling to make it in Hollywood.