Having established himself in a number of Danish films, actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau made himself a known presence in America and abroad with both supporting and leading roles in high-profile projects. After getting his feet wet in international waters with the British-made World War II drama "Bent" (1997), Coster-Waldau was cast by Ridley Scott to participate in the director's acclaimed war thriller "Black Hawk Down" (2001). He subsequently had turns in the action thriller "My Name is Modesty" (2004) and the romantic comedy "Wimbledon" (2004), before reuniting with Scott for the less well-received medieval adventure "Kingdom of Heaven" (2005). Coster-Waldau made a brief, but memorable splash playing a cop trapped on Earth as an immortal on the short-lived series "New Amsterdam" (Fox, 2008), before joining the acclaimed cast of the epic medieval drama, "Game of Thrones" (HBO, 2011- ), which allowed him to display his considerable talents to a wider audience.
Born on July 27, 1970 in Denmark, Coster-Waldau received his education at Statens Teaterskole - or National Theater School - in Copenhagen in 1993, where he made his debut as Laertes in a production of "Hamlet." Coster-Waldau made his Danish film debut a year later in the psychological thriller "Nightwatch" (1994), before co-starring opposite Clive Owen in "Bent" (1997), a British film about two gay men (Owen and Brian Webber) who tried to flee Nazi Germany. Having established himself in a number of Danish-made films, the actor broke through internationally with the U.S. release, "Black Hawk Down" (2001), in which he played a Delta Force sniper, and the British production "Enigma" (2001), a romantic thriller about two cryptologists (Kate Winslet and Dougray Scott) trying to crack the infamous Nazi Enigma machine. Coster-Waldau played a Polish cryptologist willing to betray secrets to the Nazis in order to take down Stalin. Following supporting turns in the action thriller "My Name is Modesty" (2004) and the romantic comedy "Wimbledon" (2004), he reunited with Ridley Scott in the medieval epic "Kingdom of Heaven" (2005).
Coster-Waldau continued to make regular appearances in U.S. fare, though often in only a supporting capacity, as he did in the high-tech thriller "Firewall" (2006) starring Harrison Ford. He finally landed his first lead role in America, playing a New York homicide detective who constantly searches for true love in order to break his curse of immortality on the short-lived series "New Amsterdam" (Fox, 2008). With some critics drawing obvious comparisons with the syndicated "Highlander" series from the previous decade, "New Amsterdam" failed to catch on and was duly canceled after eight episodes. Undeterred, Coster-Waldau again was the star of "Virtuality" (Fox, 2009), a one-time pilot turned two-hour television movie about 12 astronauts caught in space with a malfunctioning computer and a saboteur crew member. Coster-Waldau next co-starred in the epic medieval series, "Game of Thrones" (HBO, 2011- ), in which he played the bodyguard to the King of the Seven Kingdoms (Michael Addy), while also remaining reluctantly aloof from the political machinations that surround him.