Theo James, born Theodore Peter James Kinnaird Taptiklis on 16 December 1984, in Oxford, England, to Mum Jane and Dad Philip. The youngest of five children, he has two brothers and two sisters. Theo attended Aylesbury Grammar School in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire which was founded in 1598, and then went on to graduate from the University of Nottingham with an undergraduate degree in philosophy. He also trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, which has trained actors such as Daniel Day-Lewis, Patrick Stewart & Gene Wilder.
Likely stemming from his studies in philosophy, Theo doesn’t use social media and he believes in being fully present in life. In an interview with Flaunt Magazine, he explained “I think people struggle with that now, being present in a time and place. There’s a lot of talk about mindfulness now and that’s about the ability to be present and not constantly affected by erroneous sources around you—that stimulus through a computer or through worries,” James says. “It’s about being fully present.”
When asked if he would consider using it in the future, he said “I don’t have it and I never will. Other actors I know are really good at it and they rock and roll it, but it’s not for me. If I post a picture of us having a drink now and get loads of views or comments and stuff, then suddenly you’re quite exposed and you’re in a world of work. I just like being present.”
His acting gigs so far include playing Tobias ‘Four’ Eaton in the best-selling book adaptation, Divergent (and their upcoming squeals) with actress Shailene Woodley, playing David alongside Kate Beckinsale in Underworld: Blood Wars & James in The Inbetweeners Movie amongst others.
A list of his favourite movies includes Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless and Steve McQueen’s Shame. He explains that he admires Michael Fassbender for his ability “to evoke so much with so little dialogue” in his portrayal of Brandon Sullivan in the erotic Shame.
Other than his obvious acting talents, Theo rocked out on the guitar and vocals for London-based group, Shere Khan until 2012. And yes, you remember correctly; Shere Khan is the tiger from The Jungle Book.
On top of all of that, Theo is a pround UNHCR supporter, and travelled to Greece in June 2016 to learn more about the work of UNHCR and the situation for refugees. Theo has a deep personal connection to the current refugee situation, so took his visit very seriously. His Grandfather on his Dds’ side, Dr. Nicholas Taptiklis was forced to flee Greece during the Second World War, eventually making his way by boat and then overland through Turkey to Damascus, Syria. When the war ended, Dr. Taptiklis worked in Gottingen, Germany with the group that was the precursor to the UN Refugee Agency, helping to fight typhoid and tuberculosis in the refugee camps.
Theo said “The mission with UNHCR felt deeply personal but more importantly it was eye opening. We are all aware of how complex and politically charged the refugee crisis in Greece is. But to meet these families, these fathers and mothers struggling in the midst of one of the greatest humanitarian crises since The Second World War, was beyond anything I had expected. These are people like you and me fleeing their country out of total necessity. The only other option for them is war and death. UNHCR’s work with its partners, the Greek government and its people is imperative to the millions of refugees and their legacy.”