Alfred Molina stars in the new Dick Wolf drama Law & Order: Los Angeles as Deputy District Attorney Morales, a sarcastic realist who believes moral righteousness is great in theory, but ineffective in a street fight. Though he knows how to manipulate both his public image and behind-the-scenes politics, Morales is still a killer in the courtroom who lives to see justice served.
Molina is an accomplished London-born actor whose diverse and distinguished gallery of performances has led to a lengthy and triumphant career in film, television and the stage. Last fall he opened in the critically acclaimed movie "An Education," and filmed a comedy series for the BBC opposite Dawn French. In late fall 2009, Molina opened in the UK in the highly celebrated Donmar Warehouse production of "Red," which opened on Broadway in April 2010. In summer of 2010, Molina had two movies released: "Prince of Persia" opposite Jake Gyllenhaal and "Sorcerer's Apprentice," where he co-starred with Nicolas Cage. Molina is currently set to star opposite Taylor Lautner in the Lionsgate feature film "Abduction."
In 2002, Molina won rave reviews and nominations for the British Academy Award (BAFTA), the Screen Actors Guild Award, the Broadcast Film Critics prize and the Chicago Film Critics Association Award for his Best Supporting Actor turn as the hedonistic Mexican artist Diego Rivera in "Frida," the docudrama about the life of Frida Kahlo, starring Oscar nominee Salma Hayek. Recent screen roles include "Pink Panther 2" opposite Steve Martin; "The Little Traitor," an adaptation of the Amos Oz novel, "Panther In the Basement," directed by Lynn Roth and produced by Marilyn Hall; and "The Tempest," teaming up with director Julie Taymor in her version of the Shakespearian play in which the gender of Prospero has been switched to Prospera. The latter will be released in 2010.
Following Molina's education at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London, he quickly gained membership in England's prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company, where he performed both in classics like "Troilus and Cressida," and new original works like "Frozen Assets" and "Dingo." In 1979, he won acclaim (and a Plays and Players Award as Most Promising New Actor) as The Maniac in "Accidental Death of an Anarchist" at London's Half Moon Theatre.
Two years later, Molina found himself on the big screen making his American debut in "Raiders of the Lost Ark." And in Stephen Frears' 1987 drama "Prick Up Your Ears," Molina won great notices for his portrait of a vengeful, murderous Kenneth Halliwell, playwright Joe Orton's gay lover.
Molina's career continued to soar in the following decade, with roles as an unhappy upper class husband in Mike Newell's "Enchanted April," the joyous painter Titorelli in David Jones' 1993 adaptation of Kafka's novel "The Trial," and the duplicitous Persian spouse in "Not Without My Daughter."He re-teamed with director Donner in the comic western "Maverick," and played the small but pivotal role of a crazed drug dealer in Paul Thomas Anderson's Oscar-nominated "Boogie Nights" (1997). Molina joined Anderson once again for his epic ensemble drama "Magnolia" (1999), collecting SAG nominations for both as part of the films' ensemble casts. He also continued to display his ability to embody a variety of nationalities, playing a Cuban immigrant in Mira Nair's "The Perez Family" (1995), and a Greek-American lawyer in Barbet Schroeder's drama "Before and After" (1996). Other films over this ten-year span include Roger Donaldson's sci-fi thriller "Species"; Jon Amiel's comic thriller "The Man Who Knew Too Little"; Bernard Rose's "Anna Karenina"; Woody Allen's "Celebrity"; and Stanley Tucci's "The Impostors."
During the current decade, Molina collected his third SAG Ensemble Cast nomination for Lasse Hallstrom's whimsical, Oscar-nominated romantic comedy "Chocolat," and reunited with Hallstrom opposite Richard Gere in "The Hoax."He also turned heads as the villainous Dr. Otto Octavius, a.k.a. Dr. Octopus, in Sam Raimi's blockbuster sequel, "Spider-Man 2."Molina co-starred in such films as "Identity"; Jim Jarmusch's "Coffee and Cigarettes"; Ron Howard's adaptation of one of the most popular books of all time, "The Da Vinci Code"; Isabel Coixet's "My Life Without Me"; Eric Till's biographical drama "Luther"; the bilingual suspense thriller "Cronicas"; Kenneth Branagh's Shakespeare adaptation "As You Like It"; Francois Girard's "Silk"; and John Irvin's "The Moon and the Stars."
On television, Molina starred in two CBS sitcoms. He played a washed-up writer sought out by his estranged daughter in "Bram and Alice" (2002), and Jimmy Stiles in "Ladies' Man," on which he also served as one of the producers. His other television work includes the acclaimed 1983 miniseries "Reilly: Ace of Spies"; "Miami Vice"; the BBC telefilm "Revolutionary Witness"; Granada TV's "El C.I.D."; the BBC miniseries "Ashenden" (based on Peter Mayles' bestseller, "A Year in Provence"); the Hallmark Channel's "Joan of Arc" (as narrator); and guest appearances on "Law & Order: Special Victim's Unit" and "Monk."
Despite his thriving film and television career, Molina has never wandered far from the stage for long. He returned to the RSC to give a much-praised performance as Petruchio in "Taming of the Shrew" (1985) and earned an Olivier nomination for his work in the British production of David Mamet's "Speed the Plow."In his Broadway debut as the good-natured Yvan in Yasmina Reza's "Art" (1998, starring with Alan Alda and Victor Garber), Molina collected the first of his two Tony Award nominations (for Best Actor in a Dramatic Play). He made his Broadway debut as the Irish chatterbox Frank Sweeney in Brian Friel's play "Molly Sweeney" (1995-96), and most recently triumphed as Tevye in the 2004 revival of "Fiddler on the Roof," for which he earned his second Tony nod (Best Actor in a Musical). He also completed a run at the Mark Taper Forum of "The Cherry Orchard" in 2006 opposite Annette Bening.
Deputy District Attorney Ricardo Morales is a sardonic pragmatist who thinks moral rectitude is lovely but ineffective in a street fight. Though he knows how to manipulate both his public image and behind-the-scenes politics, he's still a killer in the courtroom who lives to see justice served.
He's the kind of guy who savvily makes sure every camera is rolling before delivering a properly dignified and sobering statement. He's not a grandstander, but a man with political ambition who understands that in L.A., people like their public officials to walk and talk like stars. Through it all, he has never forgotten where he came from; Morales grew up in Boyle Heights, and his father was a groundskeeper at Hillcrest Country Club.
Morales has reached the end of his rope with all the politics in the DA's office, so he goes back to his roots as a detective, where he feels he can make more of a difference in apprehending criminals. Morales needed this change...