Meet the Cast

Thomas Clarkson
played by Rufus Sewell


Thomas Clarkson played by Rufus Sewell

Meet Thomas Clarkson

Thomas Clarkson was a man of deep conviction who devoted his life to battling the Atlantic slave trade. In Amazing Grace, Clarkson and several others active in abolition come to visit Wilberforce for the first time at Wilberforce's house in Wimbledon, in 1782. In the film, Wilberforce hosts a dinner for his guests, but the meal is interrupted suddenly when Clarkson hoists a heavy carpet bag onto the dining room table and take out several of the brutal devices used on slaves. To Wilberforce's horror, Clarkson demonstrates their use, then concludes his demonstration by offering a direct challenge to Wilberforce to take action against the evils of the slave trade. In 1787, Thomas Clarkson, along with Josiah Wedgewood and members of the Quaker Church, helped establish the Committee for Abolition of the African Slave Trade. Clarkson then joined William Wilberforce in fighting to abolish slavery. Clarkson collected testimony from men who had worked on slave ships, also to be used as evidence before Parliament.

About Rufus Sewell

Rufus Sewell has successfully tackled a variety of roles in film, theatre and television. He came to public attention starring in award-winning television adaptation of Middlemarch in 1994, having studied at London Central School of Speech and Drama.

His London theatre debut, in Making It Better, gained him the Best Newcomer Award® at Evening Standard Theatre Awards, and he was nominated for an Olivier Award® for his role in Tom Stoppard's Arcadia. On Broadway, he made his debut in Brian Friel's Translations, and was awarded the Broadway Theatre Award®. In 2006 he took a leading role in Tom Stoppard's latest play Rock 'n Roll at the Royal Court Theatre.

Recent television credits include his much lauded leading role in Charles II: the Power and the Passion, directed by Joe Wright, and The Taming of the Shrew, where he co-starred as Petruchio, alongside Shirley Henderson as Kate.

His recent film credits include Kevin Reynold's Tristan and Isolde, Martin Campbell's blockbuster The Legend of Zorro, Nancy Meyer's romantic comedy The Holiday, with Kate Winslett and Cameron Diaz, and The Illusionist, directed by Neil Burger and co-starring Ed Norton.