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Inside One Day star Leo Woodall’s famous family as he soars to fame after heartbreaking new Netflix series

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He’s the star of Netflix’s latest heartbreaking drama series One Day that has seen viewers around the world left in floods of tears.  

And Leo Woodall looks set to become a household name after his starring role as Dexter Mayhew in the TV adaptation of David Nicholls’ 2009 novel. 

Initially wanting to pursue a career as a PE teacher or stunt man, it wasn’t until his late teens that he decided to look into acting. 

Inspired by performances in gritty British dramas Skins and Peaky Blinders, he enrolled in drama school aged 19 before landing his first acting job in short film, Man Down. 

Yet while he may not have initially been drawn to acting, it’s no surprise that Leo pursued a career in the arts, as he comes from a family of thespians. 

Leo Woodall looks set to become a household name after his starring role as Dexter Mayhew in the Netflix adaptation of One Day (pictured with co-star Ambika Mod)

Leo Woodall looks set to become a household name after his starring role as Dexter Mayhew in the Netflix adaptation of One Day (pictured with co-star Ambika Mod) 

While he may not have initially been drawn to acting, it's no surprise that Leo pursued a career in the arts, as he comes from a family of thespians (pictured at the 2023 SAG Awards)

While he may not have initially been drawn to acting, it’s no surprise that Leo pursued a career in the arts, as he comes from a family of thespians (pictured at the 2023 SAG Awards) 

Leo’s parents met at drama school, and his stepfather is also an actor.

His father Andrew Woodall, 60, has appeared in films such as The Count of Monte Cristo, Belle, and most recently Solo: A Star Wars Story. 

He has also worked on several TV series, including Grantchester, Endeavour, the Reckoning and Des. 

Leo’s mother Jane Morton did not pursue a career in acting after graduating drama school but after her relationship with Andrew came to an end she married another actor. 

Leo’s stepfather Alexander Morton, 78, is best known for playing the ghillie Golly Mackenzie in the BBC series Monarch of the Glen.

He also appeared in gangster film Get Carter, and has featured in shows such as Luther and Casualty.

Leo is also a descendant on his mother’s side of the late silent-film actor Maxine Elliott who was a star in the 1910s.  

Leo attended Arts Educational School (ArtsEd) in London, graduating with a BA in Acting in 2019.

With a degree behind him, roles came to Leo quickly.

His first was in an episode of hospital drama Holby City, and shortly afterwards he was cast in upcoming science fiction film Nomad, chosen from 28,000 submissions for the role.

Leo filmed in 20 countries over a three-year period for the film.

In the meantime, he made his film debut in Cherry, directed by the Russo brothers, and appeared in the Peacock series Vampire Academy. 

Leo's father Andrew Woodall, 60, has appeared in films such as The Count of Monte Cristo and Belle and several TV series, including Grantchester, Endeavour, the Reckoning and Des

Leo’s father Andrew Woodall, 60, has appeared in films such as The Count of Monte Cristo and Belle and several TV series, including Grantchester, Endeavour, the Reckoning and Des

Andrew most recently starred in Solo: A Star Wars Story (pictured left, in the 2018 film)

Andrew most recently starred in Solo: A Star Wars Story (pictured left, in the 2018 film)

Leo's mother Jane Morton did not pursue a career in acting after graduating drama school but after her relationship with Andrew came to an end she married another actor (Leo pictured with brother Gabriel, right, and mother Jane)

Leo’s mother Jane Morton did not pursue a career in acting after graduating drama school but after her relationship with Andrew came to an end she married another actor (Leo pictured with brother Gabriel, right, and mother Jane) 

Leo's stepfather Alexander Morton, 78, is best known for playing the ghillie Golly Mackenzie in the BBC series Monarch of the Glen

Leo’s stepfather Alexander Morton, 78, is best known for playing the ghillie Golly Mackenzie in the BBC series Monarch of the Glen

Leo is also a descendant on his mother's side of the late silent-film actor Maxine Elliott who was a star in the 1910s

Leo is also a descendant on his mother’s side of the late silent-film actor Maxine Elliott who was a star in the 1910s

Leo is dating an actress, having struck up a romance with The White Lotus co-star Meghann Fahy (pictured at the Emmys afterparty in January)

Leo is dating an actress, having struck up a romance with The White Lotus co-star Meghann Fahy (pictured at the Emmys afterparty in January) 

It was in 2022 that he had his first major breakthrough role as Jack in anthology series The White Lotus, the troubled ‘nephew’ of Tom Hollander‘s character.

Discussing his introduction to the role, Leo told GQ: ‘Do you remember that episode of Friends when Joey’s written a script for Chandler and Ross to read, and he writes “a handsome man enters”. 

‘It was kind of like that, it was like “Handsome Jack walks up to the pool. Portia looks at handsome Jack”.

‘There was a tagline in the breakdown of the character that was like, “Guy from Essex, is a magnetic person who causes some trouble in the hotel”. I wish I could paraphrase it better than that.’

He walked away from the show with a score of fans as well as a girlfriend, striking up a romance with co-star Meghann Fahy. 

But his experience on the set of the White Lotus didn’t make One Day any less daunting for Leo, who said it felt like a ‘mountain to climb’.

He told The Hollywood Reporter: ‘I was struck by how much pressure I felt being a lead.

‘I didn’t know if I should behave like the captain of a sports team. And I struggled with not having any kind of moment to myself, like you can’t tie your own shoelace or spit your own gum out.

‘There was one day when I noticed I was being followed by a paparazzi photographer and I thought, “I don’t know how people deal with this on a daily basis.” 

‘I want to be as successful as I can be as an actor, but I don’t think it would be that fun to be categorically famous.’

Leo attended Arts Educational School (ArtsEd) in London, graduating with a BA in Acting in 2019. With a degree behind him, roles came to Leo quickly (pictured in Peacock series Vampire Academy with co-star Daniela Nieves)

Leo attended Arts Educational School (ArtsEd) in London, graduating with a BA in Acting in 2019. With a degree behind him, roles came to Leo quickly (pictured in Peacock series Vampire Academy with co-star Daniela Nieves) 

In 2022 Leo had his major breakthrough role as Jack in anthology series The White Lotus, the troubled 'nephew' of Tom Hollander's character (pictured with Haley Lu Richardson)

In 2022 Leo had his major breakthrough role as Jack in anthology series The White Lotus, the troubled ‘nephew’ of Tom Hollander’s character (pictured with Haley Lu Richardson) 

Leo stars alongside Ambika Mod, 27, as Emma Morley in the 20 year love story, One Day. 

The series follows Emma and Dexter who meet on the 15th July 1988, the night of their Edinburgh University graduation. 

The next morning, they go their separate ways but the novel and TV series catches up with them on the same day every year. 

Each episode finds Dex and Em, one year older, on this one particular date, as they grow and change, move together and apart, experience joy and heartbreak. 

The One Day cast is rounded out by some big names including Eleanor Tomlinson, and Joely Richardson.

The decades-spanning love story is based on the 2009 novel by David Nicholls, which has sold over five million copies worldwide.

It’s not the first time Emma and Dexter’s story has found its way to screen. A movie starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess was released in 2011, but received mixed reviews.

Leo stars alongside Ambika Mod, 27, as Emma Morley in the 20 year love story, One Day

Leo stars alongside Ambika Mod, 27, as Emma Morley in the 20 year love story, One Day

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