James Dean of Ballet
A principal dancer of the Matthew Bourne's impressive dance company Adventures in Motion Pictures (AMP), Will Kemp, nicknamed “James Dean of Ballet,” gained widespread acclaim for such accomplishments as his lead contribution in several of groundbreaking choreographer/director Matthew Bourne's ballets, including “Swan Lake,” “Cinderella,” “The Car Man,” and “Play Without Words.”
The handsome 5' 11" British dancer later launched into print modeling as well, becoming a sensational hit when he was featured in a television and print campaign for The Gap's loose-fitted jeans "For Every Generation." He also has famously turned down a lucrative modeling contract with Giorgio Armani, citing not wanting to be confused as a model as opposed to an actor as the reason for his decision.
Kemp also acting in films, portraying Velkan/The Wolf Man in Stephen Sommer's Victorian-era supernatural thriller "Van Helsing" (2004; opposite Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale), and playing Rafe Perry, a very intelligent, caffeine-powered FBI trainee, in Renny Harlin's thriller "Mindhunters" (released in 2004; lensed in 2002; opposite Val Kilmer and LL Cool J).
He went on to portray legendary English poet and playwright William Shakespeare in "Miguel and William" (2007) and appear with Channing Tatum and Robert Hoffman in the dance-themed urban drama "Step Up 2 the Streets" (2008). TV viewers also could caught him as the evil puppet master Stromboli in the TV movie "Pinocchio" (2006).
Kemp is married and has one daughter.
Childhood and Family:
In Hertfordshire, England, UK, William Kemp was born on June 29, 1977. The son of Rosi, a former model, and Barry Kemp, a graphic designer, Will has one brother and one sister. At age 9, Will began attending dance classes under his mother's encouragement. Trained at the Royal Ballet School, Will was not hired by the dance company. At age 17, he auditioned and was accepted at Matthew Bourne's impressive dance company, Adventures in Motion Pictures (AMP).
On December 31, 2002, Will married his present wife, Gaby Jamieson. They have one daughter, Thalie, born in October of 2005.
Matthew Bourne Protege
Trained at the Royal Ballet School, Will Kemp joined the Matthew Bourne's dance company AMP, where he worked as a principal dancer for 6 years. He appeared in Matthew Bourne's "Swan Lake" (London, UK Tour, L.A and Broadway 1997-2000; aired on BBC/NVC), playing multi-roles of the Big Swan, Queen's Soldier and Jealous Italian lover. He also played multiple roles in "Cinderella" (London and L.A 1998 – 1999), as The Angel and The Pilot, and in Matthew Bourne's "The Car Man" (London UK Tour and USA Tour 2000 – 2001; aired on Channel 4), as Angelo and Luca. In fact, as the lead role of the Pilot in Cinderella, he was nominated for a Los Angeles Critics Drama Award for Outstanding Featured Performer.
Additionally, he plays Anthony in "Play Without Words: The Housewarming" (August 2002), a dance theater piece by Matthew Bourne (Royal National Theater: Lyttelton, London, England, UK), and created the role of Ratty, a water vole who spends all his days in and around the river, in William Tuckett-directed "Wind in the Willows" at the Royal Opera house, London (2002).
Meanwhile, Kemp became a sensational hit when he danced in The Gap Fall 2002 Campaign and the Gap "For Every Generation" campaign (2002). Later in 2004 he starred in GAP Winter Campaign and two TV commercials with Sarah Jessica Parker. During this time, the handsome rising star has famously turned down a lucrative modeling contract with Giorgio Armani, citing not wanting to be confused as a model as opposed to an actor as the reason for his decision.
In 2004, Kemp, dubbed "James Dean of Ballet" by Paramount Studio head Sherry Lansing, made his acting debut opposite Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale in writer/director Stephen Sommer's action/horror film about the vampire hunter, “Van Helsing,” in which he played the dual role of Velkan, the brother of Beckinsale's Anna Valerious, and Wolf Man. He later provided his voice for a third-person shooter video game based on the film. Also in that year, Kemp played The Narrator in "The Soldier's Tale," which was performed in London under the direction of Will Tuckett.
Afterwards, Kemp could be seen playing Rafe Perry, a very intelligent, caffeine-powered FBI trainee, in Renny Harlin's thriller "Mindhunters" (released in 2004; lensed in 2002), alongside Eion Bailey, Clifton Collins Jr., Patricia Velasquez, Kathryn Morris, LL Cool J, Jonny Lee Miller, and Christian Slater. He also played the role of the evil puppet master Stromboli in the Royal Opera House's all singing, all dancing theatre production of Will Tuckett's “Pinocchio” (2005), which was also filmed for BBC4 (2006).
Returning to stage, Kemp played the leading role of James in Matthew Bourne's romantic wee ballet "Highland Fling," based on the ballet "La Sylphide" in the UK (February 14 to May 14, 2005; touring) and Tokyo (from June 23 to July 10, 2005). Two years later, in February 2007, he appeared as the horse Nugget as well as The Young Horseman in London's West End revival of Peter Shaffer's play “Equus,” alongside Daniel Radcliffe and Richard Griffiths. The part of Nugget required him to don a wire horse mask and metal hooves/horseshoes, and carry Daniel Radcliffe on his back whilst galloping.
On screen, the British performer portrayed legendary English poet and playwright William Shakespeare, opposite Juan Luis Galiardo's Miguel de Cervantes, in writer/director Inés París' romantic comedy movie "Miguel and William" (2007), and supported Briana Evigan, Channing Tatum, and Robert Hoffman in Jon M. Chu's dance-themed urban drama, "Step Up 2 the Streets" (2008), sequel of the 2006 movie "Step Up" in which he played Blake Collins, the proprietor of a dance school.
Kemp still stays very loyal to physical theatre dance company "New Adventures" directed by Matthew Bourne. He is rumored to star in a TV series-based TV movie called "Ny-Lon," alongside Elisha Cuthbert.