New Zealand born gifted actor Martin Henderson had built fruitful career in his native land of New Zealand and in Australia before heading for the bright of Hollywood. An award-winning performer, Henderson, who initially earned recognition for his staring turn as Stuart Neilson in the New Zealand highly successful soap “Shortland Street” (1992-95, won a New Zealand Film and Television Award) and with his movie acting debut as supporting part Tom Bradshaw in Lynda Heys’ Kick (1999, nabbed an AFI Award), is perhaps best known by American audience as the video geek Noah Clay in the blockbuster hit thriller The Ring (2002) and won raves for his bravura performance in the Sweden-produced Sweet Dreams (2003). The model of Britney Spears’ music video “Toxic,” Henderson is also memorable for playing roles in films like Torque (2004), Bride & Prejudice (2004) and Little Fish (2005). He will play roles in the forthcoming Flyboys (2006) and Smokin’ Aces (2007).
Off screen, the brown-haired, green-eyed actor is a close friend to Australian movie star Heath Ledger. The two met when they both starred in the 1996 Aussie soap “Sweat” and soon befriended. At that time, Henderson influenced Heath to move to Sydney to further pursue his acting career and then they lived together.
Childhood and Family:
On October 8, 1974, Martin Henderson was born on Auckland, New Zealand. At age 13, he joined an open audition held by a local TV program named Strangers at his school. Landing a part in the series, the future star quickly realized acting as his true calling. He moved to Australia at age 21 and began a two-year training program at the New York Neighborhood Playhouse two years later. The New Zealander is now a resident of Los Angeles, California.
Martin Henderson knew he wanted to be an actor while still at school, when at age 13 he entered an open casting call and won a part in a renowned regional TV series, “Strangers.” The young Henderson was soon seen in other TV shows like the film Raider of the South Seas, which cast him as the teen son Jack, and the series “Betty’s Bunch” (both 1990), before finally having a big breakthrough as a regular on the popular hospital drama “Shortland Street” (1992-95). Convincingly playing Stuart Neilson, the up-and-coming Henderson nabbed a 1993 New Zealand Film and Television for Best Male Dramatic Performance in a Television Show.
After the victory, he moved to Sydney, Australia, and appeared on the short-lived Aussie soap “Echo Point” (1995) and the long-running drama “Home and Away” (1996). He also scored a lead as an Olympic-inspired athlete named Tom Nash in another short-lived series “Sweat” (1996), which also featured a very young Heath Ledger, before starting a two-year stint as Scotty Gibbs in the drama series “Big Sky” (1997-99), costarring Gary Sweet and Alexandra Fowler.
Already a recognizable face among TV viewers, Henderson made the leap to the big screen when director Lynda Heys teamed him with Russell Page and Rebecca Yates for a movie set in the world of the Sydney ballet, Kick (1999). Playing the supporting turn of Tom Bradshaw, the actor received some attention and was handed an Australian Film Institute for Best Performance in a Supporting Role, that same year. Lured by the triumph, Henderson moved to the U.S to further pursue his career and sharpened his skills at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York, where he was involved in several theater productions like the off-Broadway play “Ophelia Thinks Harder,” at the Samuel Beckett Theatre.
The talented actor returned to the cinematic industry after completing his acting training with a small turn as the naïve soldier Private Nellie in director John Woo’s miserable World War II drama Windtalkers (2002), which starred the heavyweight Nicolas Cage. Henderson began to make a name for himself in Hollywood when he was paired with Naomi Watts to solve the mystery behind a murderer videotape in the Gore Verbinski-helmed horror film The Ring (2002, played the video nerd Noah Clay). The film was a box office hit, which then led Henderson to get more prominent roles as well as opportunity to display his range.
In 2003, the raising star earned good reviews for his fine scene-stealing role, as Ian/Ken, in the Swedish romantic drama Sweet Dreams, which starred Iben Hjejle and Bronagh Gallagher. He followed it up with a starring turn opposite Ice Cube in the motorcycle racing action flip Torque (2004), which was released to mixed reviews, and an independent version of Perfect Opposites (2004) for director/writer Matt Cooper and costarred Piper Perabo. The same year, Henderson took on the lead opposite Indian actress Aishwarya Rai in the Gurinder Chadha-directed musical comedy Bride and Prejudice (2004), based on Jane Austen’s book of the same name. In the crime/thriller Little Fish (2005), the actor found himself acting opposite Cate Blanchett, Sam Neill and Hugo Weaving.
Henderson is set to appear with Max Bollinger, James Franco and Jake Canuso in a war film by Tony Bill, Flyboys (2006), and join Ben Affleck, Jason Bateman and Peter Berg for the 2007 released action Smokin’ Aces, directed and written by Joe Carnahan. He is also scheduled to star along side Juliette Lewis, Larry Lamb and Joe Duttine in the West End revival of Sam Shepard’s “Fool for Love,” for director Lindsay Posner. The play will see Henderson and Lewis as a couple of former lovers who meet at a seclusion motel on the edge of the Mojave Desert for a volatile reunion.