Paul Dano first caught major attention in 2006, when he played the grumpy, nihilistic teenager Dwayne in the sleeper hit Little Miss Sunshine. Dano had actually been paying his dues in the industry for five years when the indie comedy put him on the map, first starring in the tense 2001 drama L.I.E. at the age of 17, when he performed under the name Paul Franklin Dano. Even before that, young Dano appeared in several Broadway productions including A Christmas Carol and Ragtime. He went on to appear in the crime thriller Taking Lives as well as the critically acclaimed The Ballad of Jack & Rose. Then, in 2006, Dano took the infamous role in Little Miss Sunshine of a surly teenage brother who's taken a vow of silence. He immediately followed it with the subversive Fast Food Nation before signing on to re-team with his Ballad of Jack & Rose co-star Daniel Day-Lewis in the Paul Thomas Anderson historical drama There Will Be Blood. Dano also lent his voice to the big-screen computer-animated adaptation of the classic children's book Where the Wild Things Are, voicing the main character of Alexander.
Biography by Cammila Collar
- Made his Broadway debut at the age of 12, acting alongside George C. Scott and Charles Durning in Inherit the Wind.
- Made his feature-film debut in the 2000 family drama The Newcomers.
- In 2002, he won an Independent Spirit Award for Best Debut Performance for his work in the 2001 indie L.I.E.
- Was nominated for a 2007 Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male against Little Miss Sunshine costar Alan Arkin.
- Plays guitar and sings; has performed in the alt rock bands Cherry Revision and Mook.