A rough-cut British actor with a dark and slightly brooding presence, Dominic Cooper initially cut his chops on the London and Gotham stages, with two very different roles: adventurer Will Parry in the Royal National Theatre's epic production of Philip Pullman's iconoclastic fantasy His Dark Materials, and that of the womanizer Dakin in the Broadway run of Alan Bennett's The History Boys. Cooper earned favorable notices for each; the success of Boys prompted BBC Two Films and Fox Searchlight to launch a film adaptation in late 2006, also featuring Cooper.
Though Boys scarcely represented Cooper's cinematic debut (he appeared in Neil Jordan's Breakfast on Pluto a couple of years prior, among other films), it did prove a watershed, spurring the young actor on to additional film work. In subsequent years, the thespian played Willoughby in John Alexander's U.K. television miniseries Sense and Sensibility (2008), adapted from the novel by Jane Austen; cut against type as an imprisoned white-collar criminal in the Wyatt Brothers' thriller The Escapist (2008); and essayed a supporting role as Sky, Sophie's (Amanda Seyfried) fiancé, in Phyllida Lloyd's big-screen ABBA musical Mamma Mia! (2008).
From there, Cooper's career took off. He played future British Prime Minister Charles Grey and Keira Knightley's lover in the costume-drama The Dutchess (2008), followed by a supporting role in the Oscar-nominated An Education (2009), for which he shared a Screen Actor's Guild nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. Cooper had a busy 2011, first playing Howard Stark (also known as Tony Stark's father) in Captain America: The First Avenger; followed by a commanding performance in the dual roles of Uday Hussein and his look-a-like in The Devil's Double; and finally, a smaller part as famed photographer Milton H. Greene in My Week With Marilyn. He next took a role in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012), playing Lincoln's mentor in vampire hunting.