"You know I just want to protect you."
- Peter Sarsgaard (John Lotter) to Chloë Sevigny (Lana Tisdel) in Boys Don't Cry.
John Peter Sarsgaard (born March 7, 1971) is an American actor known for his portrayal of John Lotter in Boys Don't Cry.
Early Life Edit
Peter Sarsgaard was born at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, the son of Judy Lea (née Reinhardt) and John Dale Sarsgaard. His father was an air force engineer and later worked for Monsanto and IBM. His surname originates in Denmark, where two of his paternal great-great-grandparents were born. Sarsgaard was raised a Roman Catholic and served as an altar boy. His family moved more than 12 times during his childhood, following his father's job. By the age of 7, Sarsgaard originally wanted to become a soccer player and took up ballet to help improve his coordination. After enduring several concussions while playing the sport, he gave up and became interested in writing and theater.
Sarsgaard attended Fairfield College Preparatory School, a private Jesuit boys' school in Connecticut, where he became interested in movies. Following his graduation from Fairfield Prep, he attended Bard College in New York for two years before transferring to Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) in 1991, where he co-founded an improvisational comedy troupe "Mama's Pot Roast." While at WUSTL, Sarsgaard began performing in plays in an offshoot of New York's Actors Studio; His first role was as the servant Laurent in Molière's Tartuffe. In 1993, he graduated with a degree in history and moved to New York.
Personal Life Edit
Among his notable romantic relationships, Peter Sarsgaard dated burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese and model and actress Shalom Harlow. Early in his film career, he dated photographer Malerie Marder, a close friend from his days attending Bard College, who had featured Sarsgaard in some of her early work. Sarsgaard has been in a relationship with actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, the sister of close friend Jake Gyllenhaal, since 2002. In April 2006, they announced their engagement, and on May 2, 2009, they married in a small ceremony in Brindisi, Italy. They have two daughters, Ramona Sarsgaard, born October 3, 2006, and Gloria Ray Sarsgaard, born April 19, 2012. The family lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Boys Don't Cry Edit
In 1999, Sarsgaard earned crtitical recognition in Kimberly Pierce's Boys Don't Cry, where he was cast as notorious killer John Lotter. The film is based on the real-life story of Brandon Teena, who was raped and murdered in 1993 by Lotter and fellow accomplice Tom Nissen after they found out that he was a trans man. Boys Don't Cry received overwhelmingly positive acclaim from critics, and his performance was critically well received. According to The Boston Globe, "Peter Sarsgaard ... makes the killer's terrible trajectory not only believable, but grounded in the most mundane clodhopper behavior. He isn't a drooling monster, he's a guy you wouldn't look twice at a bar or a convenience store." A contributor from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer wrote "It's a marvelous performance supported ably by ... Sarsgaard as the unpredictable, sociopathic Lotter." The film was screened at a special presentation at the 2000 Venice Film Festival. In regards to his character, as how Sarsgaard made him "likeable, sympathetic even" was because he wanted the audience "to understand why they would hang out with me. If my character wasn't necessarily likable, I wanted him to be charismatic enough that you weren't going to have a dull time if you were with him." In another interview, Sarsgaard said he felt "empowered" by playing Lotter.