Paul Mackenzie Crook is a 35 year old actor, best known for playing Gareth Keenan in The Office, co-written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. Born on September 29th in Maidstone, Kent, to Sheila and Michael Crook, and spent his childhood growing up in Dartford. He graduated from Wilmington Grammar School For Boys, but was rejected a place at Kent Institute of Art and Design at age 18. Crook worked several part-time jobs instead, and began his foray into comedy.
On The Road to The Office
While also writing sketches, Mackenzie performed stand-up comedy along with Iain Lee as a double act called Chalk and Cheese, which performed at the Edinburgh Festival. Crook's first major television role was as a comedy sketch contributor on Channel 4's The Eleven O'Clock Show in 1998, which also featured Ricky Gervais, who would work with Crook again in 2001. He was later a member of the main cast of the BBC sketch show TV to Go in 2001. 2001 saw Mackenzie rejoin Gervais on the latter's sitcom, The Office. The Office provided Crook with his first acting role, and saw him become a cult figure, exposing him to the masses. He featured in every episode.
After the Office had ended, the offers came flooding in for Mackenzie. He appeared in the Johnny Depp blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006), and in Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End (2007), as Ragetti, a pirate with a comically ill-fitting wooden eye. He has appeared in ads for Visa and M&Ms (as his Ragetti character in both).
He also appeared as Launcelot Gobbo in Michael Radford's 2004 film adaptation of William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. Crook played a minor role in the 2004 film Finding Neverland as a theatre usher. Other films he starred in include The Gathering (2002), The Sex Lives of The Potato Men (2004), Churchill: The Hollywood Years (2004), and The Brothers Grimm (2005). He has also featured in an advert for MTV and another advert for Film Four.
Mackenzie has starred in three of Tim Plester and Ben Gregor's short films: as Gary Tibbs in Ant Muzak (2002), as Servalan in Blake's Junction 7 (2004), and as Glorious George in World of Wrestling (2006). All three will be released on DVD in late 2007. He has also voiced in a television series called Modern Toss and has featured in I Want Candy (2007 film) as Mr Dulberg, a quirky University Professor. He has also performed a duet with Ricky Gervais in the Concert for Diana. He has also voiced a main character called Rolli in an animated film from Finland called Quest For A Heart, due in December, 2007. He next will feature in City of Ember and then in Wyndham Price's drama Abraham's Point.
Mackenzie will be making his directorial debut with a pop video for rising London electro outfit Paw Paw. The stop animation video will accompany the band's debut single 'Wired OK', which will be released on July 16, 2007 on Albino Recordings. The video will be posted on Paw Paw's myspace page soon - PawPawMusic
He played Billy Bibbit in the 2004 London West End production of the stage play of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and in 2006 The Exonerated at the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith. He has featured in a production of The Seagull at the Royal Court Theatre as a troubled writer named Konstantin.
Crook has also appeared as a postman in the music video for Paul McCartney's single "Dance Tonight" alongside Golden Globe award-winning actress Natalie Portman. The video for the song was directed by Michel Gondry and was posted exclusively on YouTube on May 22, 2007.
Crook has said that his other ambitions would be to draw and write and he has recently made a deal with the book publisher Faber to illustrate and write two children's books, one about a boy who finds something strange in his garden after the hurricane of 1987. Crook has also written a film script and shown it to director Sam Mendes, about a group of gangsters in 18th century London in which he hopes to play the lead.
He now lives in Peter Seller's former house, North London with his wife, Lindsay and their four-year-old son, Jude.
- He is left handed.
- As a child he collected Star Wars figures and amphibians.
- When he was aged ten, he had to be treated for a growth hormone deficiency, which involved an injection every day for a year.
- Has two sisters, Zoe and Stephanie.
- Formed a heavy metal band but abandoned the idea due to the unsuitability of his voice.
- His hobbies are gardening and breeding fish.
- He has three tattoos, one on his left arm, and two on his right arm.
- Claims "There's more of me in Gareth than I'd like to admit".
- Based the accent of Gareth Keenan largely on Stephen Merchant's West Country accent.