A Briton with a long face and a slightly roguish look, Toby Kebbell's appearance might have led one to believe -- at the outset of his career -- that he would have been predestined for aggressive and slightly menacing character roles. Such is exactly what happened, though few could have foreseen the breadth that Kebbell imparted to his characterizations. The actor grew up in Newark, England, as the fourth of five children, and endured a parental divorce at the age of two; when he reached 15, he decided to drop out of school. It marked a risky bid, but within a few years his path intersected with that of the Carlton Television Workshop; he witnessed a performance by actor Johann Myers, and -- feeling deeply impressed -- decided to give acting a go by attending one of Carlton's "over 16" auditions. That gave Kebbell the direction and structure he needed to launch an acting career, while his formal training at Carlton under the aegis of the legendary Ian Smith imparted him with a need for exhaustive role preparation.
Kebbell landed his first prominent role in Hollywood as Pausanius in Oliver Stone's flawed but successful epic Alexander (on Alexander the Great); he truly ascended to stardom and began drawing critical praises with top-tiered billing as Anthony, a mentally challenged young man whose older sibling (Paddy Considine) takes psychotic and violent revenge on the thugs who wronged his brother in the thriller Dead Man's Shoes (2004). The actor landed a bit part as a policeman in Woody Allen's thriller Match Point (2005) and eked out a memorably colorful role as a profanity-spewing DJ responsible for lifting Joy Division to stardom in Anton Corbijn's Ian Curtis bio Control (2007), then signed on to work for Guy Ritchie playing mercurial punk rocker Johnny Quid in Ritchie's explosive crime comedy RocknRolla (2008).