John Peter Sarsgaard (born March 7, 1971) is an American film and stage actor. He landed his first feature role in the movie Dead Man Walking in 1995. He then appeared in the independent films Another Day in Paradise (1995) and Desert Blue (1996). In 1998, Sarsgaard received a substantial role in The Man in the Iron Mask (1998), playing the son of John Malkovich's character. Sarsgaard later achieved critical recognition when he was cast in Boys Don't Cry (1999) as John Lotter. He landed his first leading role in the 2001 film The Center of the World. The following year, he played supporting roles in Empire, The Salton Sea, and K-19: The Widowmaker.