Xavier Samuel (born 10 December 1983) is an Australian actor. He has appeared in leading roles in the feature films Adore, September, Further We Search,Newcastle, The Loved Ones, Frankenstein, A Few Best Men, and played Riley Biers in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse and Billy in Spin Out.
Early life and education
Samuel was born in Hamilton, Victoria, the son of Maree and Clifford Samuel. He grew up in Adelaide, South Australia and graduated from Rostrevor College in 2001. He has a younger brother, Benedict, a writer, producer and actor, as well as an older sister, Bridget, a stage manager.
Despite completing his senior secondary years at Rostrevor College, Samuel undertook final year drama at Christian Brothers College under the tutelage of Amanda Portus, where he played the part of Tom Snout (the wall) in Rostrevor College’s production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream as well as playing Belvile in CBC’s production of Aphra Behn’s The Rover (The Banished Cavaliers).
Samuel later attended Flinders University Drama Centre in 2005. He played Hamlet in the graduate production.
Acting debut and international breakthrough
Samuel made his debut on the Australian TV show McLeod’s Daughters in 2003. He starred in the Australian horror movie Road Train as Marcus, and also acted in the Australian movie Drowning with Elephant Princess star Miles Szanto, directed by Craig Boreham. In 2009, he was cast as Brent in the Australian horror/thriller movie The Loved Ones in the lead role opposite Robin McLeavy. Although it received several award nominations, the film was a financial failure.
In early 2010, Samuel was cast as Riley Biers in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. The film gave Samuel his first blockbuster film worldwide. Samuel received his first award nomination and win at the 2011 MTV Movie Awards. In an interview with GQ Australia in November 2010, Samuel described the process of his shock Twilight casting. “I sent off the audition tape from Sydney, which landed in a big pile on someone’s desk. So then to actually hear something back was kind of unusual. I guess I was a bit of a gamble, but it’s bizarre and wonderful.”
Samuel appeared in the 2011 film Anonymous. He plays a lead role in A Few Best Men (2011/2012). He was cast in 3D feature Bait, released in September 2012 and short film Sanctuary, which was also released in 2012. In 2013 he played Ian in Adore/Two Mothers alongside Robin Wright and Naomi Watts. In 2016, Samuel plays the titular character in Cris Jones’ The Death and Life of Otto Bloom, with Rachel Ward and her daughter, Matilda Brown. The film is set to open the Melbourne International Film Festival.