Critically lauded for his versatility, Pryce has participated in big-budget productions such as Evita, Tomorrow Never Dies, Pirates of the Caribbean and The New World, as well as independent projects such as Glengarry Glen Ross and Carrington. His career in theatre has also been prolific, and he has won two Tony Awards—the first in 1977 for his Broadway debut in Comedians, the second for his 1991 role as "the Engineer" in the musical Miss Saigon.
Despite finding RADA "straight-laced", and being told by his tutor that he could never aspire to do more than playing villains in Z-Cars, he graduated and went on to perform with the Royal Shakespeare Company and at the Nottingham Playhouse. He then joined the Everyman Theatre Liverpool Company, eventually becoming the theatre's Artistic Director. While working at the Everyman Theatre Pryce met Irish actress Kate Fahy. The two married in 1974 and based their home in the Hampstead area of London, where they currently live with their three children: Patrick (b.1983), Gabriel (b.1986) and Phoebe (b.1990). It is during this time that he made his first screen appearance in a minor role on a 1972 episode of the British science fiction programme Doomwatch, called Fire & Brimstone. It was not until 1976, however, that he got his first movie role, playing the character Joseph Manasse in the film drama Voyage of the Damned, starring Faye Dunaway. He did not however abandon the stage, appearing from 1978 to 1979 on the Royal Shakespeare Company's productions of The Taming of the Shrew as Petruchio, and on Antony and Cleopatra as Octavius Caesar.
After appearing mostly in TV films, such as Something Wicked This Way Comes and the Ian McEwan-scripted film The Ploughman's Lunch, he achieved a breakthrough with his role as the subdued protagonist Sam Lowry in the ex-Monty Python Terry Gilliam's 1985 film, Brazil. The film, an analogy to Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, was acclaimed in Europe and won two BAFTA Film Awards. In the American version, Universal Pictures tried to remove numerous scenes in order to make the film "shorter" and more consumer-friendly. the movie was also well received in the United States and won three awards from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and two Academy Awards nominations. Brazil became a cult film, and is still frequently mentioned in "best film" lists and rankings, such as Time magazine's list of the 100 best films of all time and Total Film magazine's 2004 list of the 20th greatest British movies of all time (which Brazil topped). The film was described by Harlan Ellison as "the finest SF movie ever made" and it holds a 97% freshness rate at Rotten Tomatoes. After Brazil, Pryce appeared in the historical thriller The Doctor and the Devils and then in the Gene Wilder-directed film Haunted Honeymoon. During this period of his life, Pryce continued to perform on stage, and was particularly noteworthy as the successful but self-doubting writer Trigorin in a London production of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull in late 1985. From 1986 to 1987 Pryce played the lead part on the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Macbeth, which also starred Sinéad Cusack as Lady Macbeth.
In 1988 Pryce worked once again with Gilliam in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, playing "The Right Ordinary Horatio Jackson". The film is one of the most famous fiascos in film history, with production costing more than $40 million, when the original budget was $23.5 million. The film has gained cult favorite status over time, however, and in a commentary track on the DVD edition of his 2007 feature Tideland, Gilliam now says that Munchausen is one of the films that his fans most often cite as a favorite (along with Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Brazil, Twelve Monkeys and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas). During the last year of the decade, Pryce appeared on three of the earliest episodes of the improvisation show Whose Line Is It Anyway?, alongside Paul Merton and John Sessions. During this year he again appeared on a play by Checkhov, this time it was Uncle Vanya at the Vaudeville Theatre.
In 1993 Pryce featured, alongside Kathy Burke and Minnie Driver, in the BBC mini-series "Mr Wroe's Virgins". Later that same year Pryce was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award and for a Golden Globe Award for his work in the HBO produced made-for-TV movie Barbarians at the Gate. Also during 1993, Pryce was set to star alongside River Phoenix and Judy Davis in the film Dark Blood, but production had to be shut down when, 11 days shy of completing production, Phoenix died of a drug overdose. Director George Sluizer, who owns the rights to what has been filmed, has made available some of the raw material, which features Pryce and Phoenix on a field in Utah, on his personal website. Between 1993 and 1994, Pryce became a spokesman for Infiniti in a series of American television commercials, notably for the Infiniti J30. These advertisements were widely ridiculed because of the campaign's general "snobiness". These commercials were parodied on Saturday Night Live in 1993, with Mike Myers doing an impersonation of Pryce, spokesmodeling for sleek luxury toilets instead of automobiles. In 1994, Pryce portrayed Fagin in a revival of the musical Oliver!, and would star the following year alongside Emma Thompson in the film Carrington, which centres on a platonic relationship between gay writer Lytton Strachey and painter Dora Carrington. Pryce's portrayal of Strachey gained him the Best Actor Award at that year's Cannes Film Festival.
The following year Pryce starred alongside Madonna and Antonio Banderas in his first musical film, Evita. In this Oscar-winning adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's stage musical, Pryce portrayed the Argentinian dictator Juan Peron. The movie's soundtrack was an international success. It contains over 30 songs sung mainly by Madonna, Banderas and Pryce, of which two are solos for Pryce: "She Is A Diamond" and "On The Balcony Of The Casa Rosada". Both his acting and his singing received mixed reviews from the press. After Evita, Pryce went on to portray a James Bond villain, billionaire media mogul Elliot Carver, in the 1997 film Tomorrow Never Dies. During the rest of the decade Pryce would play to his new acquired villain fame, portraying an assassin in Ronin, a corrupt Cardinal in the controversial Stigmata and, for Comic Relief, the Master in the Doctor Who special, Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death. In 1998, Pryce performed in Cameron Mackintosh's gala concert Hey, Mr Producer!, as Professor Henry Higgins from My Fair Lady and reprising his role as the Engineer from Miss Saigon.
April of 2003 saw Pryce's return to the non-musical stage with A Reckoning, written by American play writer Wesley Moore. The play co-starred Flora Montgomery and after premiering at the Soho Theatre in London was described by the Daily Telegraph as "one of the most powerful and provocative new American plays to have opened since David Mamet's Oleanna. That year Pryce also landed a role in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, where he portrayed a fictional Governor of Jamaica, Weatherby Swann, a movie he described as "one of those why-not movies". After Pirates Pryce has appeared in several large-scale productions, such as De-Lovely (Pryce's second musical film), a chronicle of the life of songwriter Cole Porter, for which Kevin Kline and Pryce covered a Porter song called "Blow, Gabriel, Blow", The Brothers Grimm, Pryce's fourth project with Terry Gilliam, starred Matt Damon and Heath Ledger, and The New World, in which he had a minor role as King James I. In 2005, Pryce was nominated for another Olivier Award in the best actor category for his role in the 2004 London production of The Goat or Who is Sylvia?, where he played Martin, a goat-lover that has to face the recriminations of his cheated-on wife, played by his real life wife Kate Fahy. Pryce's performance was highly praised, but he lost the Olivier to Richard Griffiths.
The following year, Pryce voiced over the French adult animated film, Renaissance, which he stated wanted to do because he had never "done something quite like it before". That same year he reprised the role of Governor Weatherby Swann for the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. Both were filmed at the same time but released a year apart. Also, during 2006, Pryce returned to the Broadway stage replacing John Lithgow, from January to July, as Lawrence Jameson in the musical version of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. During early 2007 Pryce played Sherlock Holmes in a TV miniseries, the BBC production Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars. From September 2007 through June 2008, he returned to the theatre scene appearing as Shelly Levene in a new West End production of David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross at London's Apollo Theatre.
Jonathan Pryce will also be appearing in Command & Conquer Red Alert 3
|1983||Something Wicked this Way Comes||Mr. Dark|
|1986||Haunted Honeymoon||Charles Abbot|
|Jumpin' Jack Flash||Jack|
|1987||Man on Fire||Michael|
|1988||Consuming Passions||Mr Farris|
|The Adventures of Baron Munchausen||Right Ordinary Horatio Jackson|
|1992||Glengarry Glen Ross||James Lingk|
|1993||Dark Blood (unreleased)||Harry|
|Barbarians at the Gate||Henry Kravis|
|1996||Evita||Colonel Juan Perón|
|1997||Regeneration / Behind the Lines||Dr. William Rivers|
|Tomorrow Never Dies||Elliot Carver|
|2001||The Affair of the Necklace||Cardinal Louis de Rohan|
|2003||Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl||Gov. Weatherby Swann|
|What a Girl Wants||Alistair Payne|
|2005||The Brothers Grimm||General Vavarin Delatombe|
|The New World||King James|
|2006||Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest||Gov. Weatherby Swann|
|2007||Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End||Gov. Weatherby Swann|
|Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars||Sherlock Holmes|
|Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3||Allied General Robert Bingham|
|My Zinc Bed||Victor Quinn|
|2009||G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra (post-production)||U.S. President|