Peter Szymon Serafinowicz (/sɛrəˈfɪnəvɪtʃ/; born 10 July 1972) is an English actor, comedian, musician, writer, and voice artist. He is best known for playing Pete in Shaun of the Dead and providing the voice of Darth Maul in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. He has also appeared in a variety of British and American comedy series.
Acting, directing and writing
Serafinowicz made his broadcasting debut in 1993 on Radio 1 show The Knowledge, a spoof documentary about the music industry. From there he went on to perform in Radio 4 shows Week Ending, Harry Hill's Fruit Corner, Grievous Bodily Radio, The Two Dannys and A Whole New Ball Game.
On 1 May 1997, he appeared in The Election Night Armistice as Moz Bingham, the fictional press secretary to the then shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, who verbally abuses and bullies the BBC's Nick Robinson in a spoof phone call over the politician's news coverage. In 1998 he appeared on TV in Comedy Nation and You are Here. He also had a role in the Simon Nye-penned sitcom How Do You Want Me?.
In 1999, he made a number of appearances in Channel 4 sitcom Spaced, playing principal character Tim Bisley's (Simon Pegg) nemesis, Duane Benzie. He made another appearance in the series when it returned in 2001. In 2001 Serafinowicz took the lead in BBC Two sitcom World of Pub, playing the same character as he had done in the show's run on Radio 4. He was also in The Junkies, an Internet sitcom. In 2002 the critically acclaimed Look Around You, a series of 10-minute 1970s school science video spoofs, debuted on BBC Two in which Serafinowicz played a scientist. He co-wrote the show alongside Robert Popper, whom he met on the set of Spaced. The show returned in 2005 as a spoof of the 1980s show Tomorrow's World, with Serafinowicz playing Peter Packard, one of the presenters.
In 2003, he appeared in another Nye-written sitcom, Hardware, in which he played the affable Kenny. He reprised this role in the second series in 2004. Also in 2004 he appeared in British rom-zom-com (romantic-zombie-comedy) Shaun of the Dead, playing Pete, the tidy flatmate of principal characters Shaun and Ed. He also appeared in boxing film The Calcium Kid. In Sixty Six, the 2006 British film about a Jewish boy whose Bar Mitzvah is scheduled for the same day as the 1966 FIFA World Cup Final, Serafinowicz plays Uncle Jimmy. In the week before the 2006 Academy Awards a video circulated on the Internet of a fake news item (called "O! News", a parody of E! News) about a new Oscar statue, in which Serafinowicz imitated Alan Alda, Paul McCartney and Al Pacino. A second O! News video later appeared, parodying the 2006 Apple Corps v. Apple Computer lawsuit. This attracted the interest of the BBC, and a pilot was commissioned for The Peter Serafinowicz Show. A full series was broadcast on BBC Two in 2007 (with a Christmas special in 2008). For his performance, Serafinowicz was presented with the Best Entertainer prize at the 2008 Rose d'Or ceremony. The series was also nominated for Best Comedy Programme at the 2009 BAFTA Television Awards.
Serafinowicz had also made a number of guest appearances on television, including the comedy shows Smack the Pony and Hippies (both 1999), Black Books (2000), I'm Alan Partridge (2002) and Little Britain (2003), comedy drama Murder Most Horrid (1999) and ITV Drama series Agatha Christie's Marple (2005). He has made a number of guest appearances on both television and radio panel shows. He regularly appeared on The 99p Challenge and appeared on Have I Got News for You in 2005, 2006 and 2008, 8 out of 10 Cats in 2005, and QI in 2003. He also appeared on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross on 19 October 2007, Would I Lie to You? on 8 August 2008 and 30 July 2010 and Never Mind the Buzzcocks on 15 October 2009.
In 2008, Serafinowicz was working with Robert Popper on a new television series, as well as a website, based on a spoof religion "Tarvuism" for US network Adult Swim. In 2009, he appeared in Universal Films' Couples Retreat as Sctanley, the manager of the Eden Resort, directed by Peter Billingsley.
In 2010, Serafinowicz directed the music video for Hot Chip's song "I Feel Better", their second single from the album One Life Stand. He followed this up in 2012 when he directed the music video for the band's song "Night & Day", the first single from their album In Our Heads. The video starred Lara Stone, Terence Stamp and Reggie Watts.
In 2010, he co-starred with Will Arnett in the FOX sitcom Running Wilde, devised by Arrested Development creator Mitchell Hurwitz. It premiered on Fox on 21 September 2010, but was cancelled by the network after 13 episodes.
In June 2013, Serafinowicz provided the English language audiobook recording for the Roald Dahl novel Danny, the Champion of the World. In July 2013 Serafinowicz made his movie directing debut with the dark comedy film I See What You Did There, which he cowrote with Danny Wallace.
In 2014 it was announced that Serafinowicz would play the role Crowley in the BBC Radio 4 adaption of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman's novel Good Omens.
In the same year Serafinowicz featured in Guardians of the Galaxy; playing the role of Garthan Saal, a Denarian ranking pilot of the Nova corps in the well received Marvel Studios blockbuster. Although yet to confirm, Serafinowicz is also rumored to appear in the 2017 sequel.
He has also attracted considerable attention by his YouTube parodies in which he dubs the voice of Donald Trump into an English accent, in videos entitled "Sophisticated Trump" and "Donald Thump".
In 2015 it was announced that Serafinowicz is in the process of writing a television sitcom based on his Brian Butterfield character. He appeared in Series 9 of Doctor Who as The Fisher King thus being another Star Wars actor to appear in the longest running science fiction series along with David Tennant, David Prowse, Jeremy Bulloch and many others.
Serafinowicz is married to actress Sarah Alexander.
In October 2007, Serafinowicz dropped his attempt to use the Human Rights Act to prevent the publication of details revealing his Belarusian grandfather as the first man in Britain to go on trial for Nazi war crimes under the War Crimes Act. Szymon Serafinowicz Sr. was charged with allegedly murdering three Jews while a police chief during the Nazi occupation of his native Belarus in World War II. He was found unfit for trial on grounds of dementia in 1997, and died later that year, aged 86.
- ^Pettie, Andrew (30 September 2007). "The floor is his". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 22 May 2010.[dead link]
- ^"Rose d'Or Winners 2008" (PDF). Rose d'Or AG. 6 May 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 May 2008. Retrieved 7 May 2008.
- ^"Television Awards Nominations in 2009". BAFTA. 24 March 2009. Retrieved 29 March 2009.
- ^Powder Blue Internet Business Solutions. "Say 'Hebbo' to Tarvuism!". chortle.co.uk.
- ^Andreeva, Nellie (11 July 2010), "Peter Serafinowicz Joins 'Running Wilde'", Deadline Hollywood, retrieved 12 July 2010
- ^"Danny, the Champion of the World". Penguin Books. Retrieved 20 November 2015
- ^"Peter Serafinowicz Moves to Directing with 'I See What You Did There'". firstshowing.net. 15 July 2013. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
- ^"Peter Serafinowicz Directing I See What You Did There". empireonline.com. 16 July 2013. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
- ^Brown, Brigid (5 September 2014). "BBC Radio Brings Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's Good Omens to Life". BBC America. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
- ^Cameron K McEwan (26 September 2015). "Peter Serafinowicz joins Doctor Who – more Star Wars actors who have done the same". metro.co.uk. Metro News. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
- ^Philby, Charlotte (30 August 2008). "My Secret Life: Peter Serafinowicz". The Independent. London. Retrieved 10 September 2008.
- ^Fletcher, Ewan (21 October 2007). "BBC star's grandfather faced Nazi war crimes trial". London: Daily Mail. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
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