Actors Who Have Played Nikola Tesla, From David Bowie to Ethan Hawke

Hawke plays the inventor in “Tesla,” hitting theaters this Friday


Ethan Hawke’s “Tesla” hits theaters this Friday — let’s take a look at the other TV and film actors who have portrayed Nikola Tesla, the famed inventor who is best known for his contributions to the design of the alternating current electricity system.

Ethan Hawke, “Tesla” (2020)Ethan Hawke stars as Nikola Tesla in the film hitting theaters hits Friday. Directed by Michael Almereyda, Eve Hewson, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Jim Gaffigan, and Kyle MacLachlan also star. The film premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and was acquired by IFC Films. 

David Bowie, “The Prestige” (2006)The late David Bowie played the inventor in Christopher Nolan’s “The Prestige,” which also starred Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale and Scarlett Johansson. 

Nicholas Hoult, “The Current War” (2017)Hoult played Tesla in Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s historical drama, which chronicled the competition between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse over which electric power delivery system would be used in America. Michael Shannon, Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Holland also starred. 

Robert Vilar, “The Tesla World Light” (2017)This 8-minute short film imagines the latter days of Tesla, played by Robert Vilar. It’s a black and white avant-garde film by Montreal director Matthew Rankin.

Petar Božović, “The Secret of Nikola Tesla” (1980)This 1980 film was directed by Krsto Papić and stars Petar Božović in the titular role.

John C. Reilly, “Drunk History”John C. Reilly portrayed Nikola Tesla in the Comedy Central series “Drunk History. The episode aired in 2010 and starred Crispin Glover as Thomas Edison. 

Paul O’Neill, “Nikola Tesla and the End of the World” This award-winning web series starred Paul O’Neill as Tesla alongside Gillian MacGregor. The first season aired in 2015, with the second season airing in 2019.

Goran Višnjić, “Doctor Who” (Season 12)Višnjić played Tesla in the 12th series of “Doctor Who,” appearing in the fourth episode titled “Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror,” which aired in January.

To come: Tomasz Kot, “Nikola” (Release TBD)Last year, it was reported that the “Cold War” actor would play Nikola Tesla in “Nikola,” which will focus on his last big experiment. 
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