A prolific Canadian actor of German and Inuit decent, Eric Schweig has excelled onscreen since his feature debut in the 1990 drama The Shaman's Source. A notable key player in such subsequent features as The Last of the Mohicans, Squanto: A Warrior's Tale, and Ron Howard's The Missing, the stocky, physically imposing Schweig has built a lucrative career in Hollywood by both embracing his Inuit heritage and delivering performances that are thoughtful and moving. Schweig was adopted by a German family living in the Western Arctic shortly after his birth in the Canadian Northwest Territories in the summer of 1967, and though he would spend much of his youth living in Bermuda with his adopted family, the clan eventually returned to Canada to settle in Northern Ontario. Striking out on his own at the age of 16, the resourceful teen made a living by framing houses in his native Canada before a role in a 1987 Ontario stage production of The Cradle Will Fall sparked an interest in acting. In 1992, Schweig's career received just the boost it needed when he was hired by director Michael Mann to appear in The Last of the Mohicans, and the remainder of the 1990s found his onscreen career flourishing thanks to roles in such features as Squanto: A Warrior's Tale, The Scarlet Letter, and Tom and Huck. Schweig's 2000 portrayal of a quiet and unassuming general store owner who unexpectedly falls for a New York artist in the independent drama Big Eden offered what was perhaps his most emotionally complex role to date, and the grateful actor earned almost unanimous critical praise for his memorable performance. Though Schweig's strong leading performance as a policeman attempting to save his brother from self-destruction in Skins also earned positive critical notice, the film unfortunately went largely unseen. Following a pair of supporting roles in 2003's Mrs. Barrington and Cowboys and Indians: The J.J. Harper Story, Schweig could next be seen as the menacing mystic whose powers border on the supernatural in acclaimed director Ron Howard's brutal Western The Missing. In addition to his acting career, Schweig has also gained a solid reputation as an artist thanks to his remarkable series of Inuit-inspired masks.
Biography by Jason Buchanan
- Was adopted by a German-French family in the Western Arctic at six months old.
- Is of German and Inuit descent.
- Began acting in a 1986 Ontario stage production of The Cradle Will Fall.
- Made his feature film debut in 1990's The Shaman's Source.
- Won the 2000 Grand Jury Award at LA Outfest for his performance in Big Eden.