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Chris Messina
Chris Messina 2014.jpg
Messina in 2014
Christopher Messina

(1974-08-11) August 11, 1974 (age 49)
  • Actor
  • director
  • writer
  • producer
Years active 1995–present
(m. 1995; div. 2006)

Jennifer Todd
Children 2

Christopher Messina (born August 11, 1974) is an American actor, director, writer, and producer. He is best known for starring as Danny Castellano in the Fox/Hulu romantic comedy series The Mindy Project (2012–2017), which earned him two nominations for the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actor in a Comedy Series.

He has appeared in films such as Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008), Julie & Julia (2009), Devil (2010), Argo (2012), Ruby Sparks (2012), Celeste and Jesse Forever (2012), Cake (2014), Birds of Prey (2020), and I Care a Lot (2020). Messina wrote, executive produced, and starred in the comedy film Fairhaven (2012). He also directed and starred in the drama film Alex of Venice (2014).

On television, Messina appeared in such roles as Ted Fairwell in the HBO drama series Six Feet Under (2005), Chris Sanchez in the Audience Network legal thriller series Damages (2011–2012), Reese Lansing in the HBO political drama series The Newsroom (2012–2014), Richard Willis in the HBO miniseries Sharp Objects (2018), as Nick Haas in the USA Network crime drama series The Sinner (2020) and as Angelo Lano in the Starz political miniseries Gaslit (2022).

Early life and education

Messina was raised in Northport, New York, on Long Island, where he studied theater in high school. He attended Marymount Manhattan College, but dropped out after one semester.


He studied acting privately with teachers around Manhattan, and started his career as an off-Broadway actor. He has appeared in episodes of the television series Law & Order, Third Watch, and Medium. He had a recurring role in the fifth and final season of the HBO drama series Six Feet Under as Ted Fairwell. His film credits include Rounders, The Siege, You've Got Mail, and Towelhead.

He starred in an HBO pilot Anatomy of Hope, directed by J. J. Abrams. Simon Callow also starred, but the pilot was not picked up to series. In October 2007, Daily Variety named him as one of ten actors to watch. He starred in Devil, under the direction of John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle, for producer M. Night Shyamalan and Universal Pictures. In April 2010, Monogamy, directed by Dana Adam Shapiro and starring Messina and Rashida Jones, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, where the film won the jury prize for Best New York Narrative.

Messina joined the cast of Damages for its fourth and fifth seasons. He played a recurring character on HBO's The Newsroom. Messina was a series regular on the Fox/Hulu sitcom The Mindy Project, playing Dr. Danny Castellano, until his character was eventually phased out in seasons 4 & 5. He makes his return in three episodes, including the season and series finale, in season 6.

In 2014, Messina played the role of a cheating spouse in the music video for Sam Smith's "I'm Not the Only One". That same year, he directed the independent drama, Alex of Venice, starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Don Johnson and Matthew Del Negro. He co-starred in Ben Affleck's crime drama Live by Night, which was released in December 2016. In 2018, Messina starred in a leading role alongside Amy Adams in the HBO series Sharp Objects.

In 2020, Chris Messina starred as mob killer Victor Zsasz in Birds of Prey. When asked how he felt about playing a twisted character, Messina replied, "I've played too many nice guys in my career. So it was like just really a lot of fun to let loose."

In 2021, Messina portrayed attorney Dean Ericson in the black comedy thriller I Care a Lot.

Personal life

Messina and his wife Jennifer Todd have two sons, Milo and Giovanni, born in 2008 and 2009, respectively. He was previously married to actress Rosemarie DeWitt for 12 years, divorcing in 2006.



Year Title Role Notes
1995 When Dating Turns Dangerous Zach Educational film
1998 Rounders Higgins
1998 Siege, TheThe Siege Corporal
1998 You've Got Mail Fox Salesperson
2000 Turn It Up Baz
2001 Ordinary Sinner Silvio
2005 Road Larry
2005 Bittersweet Place Seymour
2005 Crooked Corner, TheThe Crooked Corner Nephew
2006 Ira & Abby Ira Black
2007 Security Zelly Short film
2007 Towelhead Barry
2008 Humboldt County Max
2008 Made of Honor Dennis
2008 Vicky Cristina Barcelona Doug
2009 Brief Interviews with Hideous Men Subject #19
2009 Away We Go Tom Garnett
2009 Julie & Julia Eric Powell
2010 Greenberg Philip Greenberg
2010 Monogamy Theo
2010 Devil Detective Bowden
2010 Invisible Sign, AnAn Invisible Sign Ben Smith
2011 Like Crazy Mike Appletree
2011 Trouble with Bliss, TheThe Trouble with Bliss NJ
2012 Celeste and Jesse Forever Paul
2012 28 Hotel Rooms Man Also executive producer
2012 Giant Mechanical Man, TheThe Giant Mechanical Man Tim
2012 Fairhaven Dave Also writer and executive producer
2012 Denise Brad Short film
2012 Ruby Sparks Harry Weir-Fields
2012 Argo Malinov
2013 Palo Alto Mitch
2014 Oven, TheThe Oven Narrator Short film
2014 Showing Up Himself Documentary
2014 Alex of Venice George Also director
2014 Manglehorn Jacob
2014 Cake Jason
2015 Digging for Fire Billy T
2016 Ordinary World Jake
2016 Live by Night Dion Bartolo
2016 The Sweet Life Kenny
2017 Blame Jeremy Woods
2019 The True Adventures of Wolfboy Denny
2020 Birds of Prey Victor Zsasz
2020 She Dies Tomorrow Jason
2020 Love Is Love Is Love Jack
2020 I Care A Lot Dean Ericson
2020 The Secrets We Keep Lewis Reid
2022 Call Jane Will
2022 The Aviary Seth
2022 Dreamin' Wild Matt Sullivan
2023 The Boogeyman TBA Post-production
TBA I.S.S. Gordon Barrett Post-production
TBA Untitled Ben Affleck Nike film David Falk Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1995 Law & Order Tommy Bell Episode: "Rebels"
1996 Law & Order Kevin Turner Episode: "Homesick"
2000 Third Watch Charlie Episode: "History"
2001 Big Apple Ricky Episode: "A Ministering Angel"
2003 Law & Order Don Cushman Episode: "... Box"
2005 Six Feet Under Ted Fairwell 6 episodes
2007 Medium Casey Edward Frank Episode: "The Whole Truth"
2011–2012 Damages Chris Sanchez 16 episodes
2012–2014 Newsroom, TheThe Newsroom Reese Lansing 12 episodes
2012–2017 Mindy Project, TheThe Mindy Project Dr. Daniel Castellano Main role (season 1–4)
Recurring (season 5–6): 89 episodes
2018 Sharp Objects Detective Richard Willis Main role: 8 episodes
2019 Robot Chicken Various voices Episode: "Boogie Bardstown in: No Need, I Have Coupons"
2020 The Sinner Nick Haas Main role (season 3): 5 episodes
2022 Gaslit Agent Angelo Lano Recurring role: 3 episodes


Year Title Role Run Theater and production Notes
1997 American Clock, TheThe American Clock Sidney Margolies/
Charley/ Ralph/
October 19, 1997 –
Signature Theatre Company at
The Peter Norton Space
1999 Group, TheThe Group Director August 9–20, 1999 All Seasons Theatre Group at
The Ensemble Studio Theatre
1999 Refuge Nat November 18 – December 12, 1999 Playwright's Horizon Studio Theater
2000 Hologram Theory, TheThe Hologram Theory Joe Buck March 27 – April 9, 2000 McGinn/Cazale Theater
2000 Light Outside, TheThe Light Outside Frankie November 5 – December 16, 2000 The Flea Theater
2001 Tamicanfly C.J. January 17 – February 4, 2001 McGinn/Cazale Theater
2001 Blur Joey D'Amico May 17 – June 24, 2001 Manhattan Theater Club at
New York City Center Stage II
2001–02 Good Thing Bobby December 16, 2001 – January 6, 2002 The New Group at
The Theater at St. Clements Church
2002 This Thing of Darkness Abbey/ Reef May 30 – June 16, 2002 Atlantic Theater Company at
Linda Gross Theater
2002 Faster Skram September 8 – October 13, 2002 Rattlestick Theater
2002–03 Far Away Todd November 11, 2002 –
January 18, 2003
New York Theater Workshop
2003 Salome by Oscar Wilde:
The Reading
The Young Syrian
(Captain of the
April 30 – June 12, 2003 Ethel Barrymore Theater Broadway debut
for Messina
2003 St. Scarlet Director June 13 – July 12, 2003 Ontological Theater at
St. Mark's Church
2004 Motel Blues: Management Mike March 25 – April 11, 2004 Apartment 929 at
Greenwich Street Theatre
2004 Seagull, TheThe Seagull Treplev May 24–29, 2004 White Heron Theater company at
Second Stage Theatre
2004 Cherry Orchard, TheThe Cherry Orchard Trofimov August 11–22, 2004 Williamstown Theatre Festival at
Adams Memorial Theater
2004 Late Night, Early Morning October 21–31, 2004 2004 Tribeca Theatre Festival

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Work Result
2011 CinEuphoria Award Best Supporting Actor - International Competition Away We Go Won
2012 Awards Circuit Community Award Best Cast Ensemble Argo Nominated
Detroit Film Critics Society Award Best Ensemble Nominated
San Diego Film Critics Society Award Best Ensemble Performance Nominated
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award Best Ensemble Acting Nominated
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award Best Ensemble Nominated
2013 Central Ohio Film Critics Association Award Best Ensemble Nominated
Palm Springs International Film Festival Best Ensemble Won
Critics' Choice Movie Award Best Acting Ensemble Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Won
2014 Critics' Choice Television Award Best Actor in a Comedy Series The Mindy Project Nominated
Seattle International Film Festival New American Cinema Award Alex of Venice Nominated
2015 Critics' Choice Television Award Best Actor in a Comedy Series The Mindy Project Nominated

See also

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