Headey at the 2007 Scream Awards
3 October 1973 |
|Residence||Los Angeles, California, United States|
|Spouse(s)||Peter Loughran (m. 2007; div. 2013)|
After being scouted at age 17, she worked steadily as an actress in small and supporting roles in films throughout the 1990s, before finding fame for her lead performances in big-budget films such as the fantasy film The Brothers Grimm (2005), in which she acted opposite Matt Damon and Heath Ledger, the action film 300 (2007), portraying the role of Gorgo, Queen of Sparta, and the adventure and biographical feature The Red Baron (2008).
Headey is also known for playing the title role Sarah Connor on Fox's television spin-off of James Cameron's Terminator film series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and villainous drug lord Ma-Ma in Dredd. She has portrayed Cersei Lannister in the HBO TV series Game of Thrones since 2011. Her performance on the show has earned her an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.
Headey was born in Hamilton, Bermuda, the daughter of Sue and John Headey. Her father, a Yorkshire police cadet, was stationed there at the time. She has one younger brother, Tim. She grew up in Shelley, West Yorkshire from the age of five. As a child, Headey took ballet lessons for a time before being told to discontinue. She also suffered from teenage acne.
Headey had her first experience of acting as a pupil at Shelley College and was noticed at seventeen, when performing in a school production at the Royal National Theatre, being picked for a role opposite Grant Warnock in the 1992 film Waterland.
Headey has suffered bouts of clinical depression since the age of 15 and she said in an interview: "I was diagnosed when I was 15, and it comes and goes. I may suffer from it once or twice a year, but I now recognise it and deal with it. I don't use medication because I'm so worried about becoming dependent on it, but I can understand people who do, because you go through the most horrendous feelings of isolation." She has also spoken about suffering from post-natal depression following the birth of her son.
At the age of 17, Headey performed in a one-off show and afterwards a casting agent took a photo and asked her to audition. Later, she got a supporting role in the drama Waterland, in which she had the opportunity to work with actors who had been in the business several years before her. She landed a small role in The Remains of the Day, which came out in 1993 and received eight Academy Awards nominations.
She played Katherine in Disney's The Jungle Book, released in 1994. The film had positive reviews and earned nearly $44 million in the United States. Headey, alongside her co-stars received favourable reviews with James Berardinelli praising their "solid performances". On the set of The Jungle Book, she met her boyfriend of nine years, actor Jason Flemyng.
After a number of film roles, she appeared opposite Vanessa Redgrave in the 1997 romantic drama Mrs Dalloway. Headey landed a supporting role in a higher-profile film titled Onegin, which starred Ralph Fiennes and Liv Tyler. The following year, she had the starring role in the drama Aberdeen. Headey received several good reviews for her performance in the film. She also had roles in 2000's Gossip and 2001's The Parole Officer.
She received the Silver Iris Award for Best Actress at the 2001 Brussels European Film Festival for her role in Aberdeen. In 2002, she had a role in the mystery drama Possession alongside Gwyneth Paltrow and Aaron Eckhart.
Rise to prominence
Headey co-starred with Matt Damon and Heath Ledger in Terry Gilliam's The Brothers Grimm, which was released in August 2005. The film received mixed reviews. In an interview Headey spoke about her character in the film: "I loved the fact that she was a tomboy. That is what attracted me to her, that she wasn't this predictable female character in this big film. You meet her and she is masking who she is. I loved that her environment dictated who she is. She lives and grows up and survives in the forest. Terry and I talked about how her instincts are almost animalistic and she can see 360 degrees around her. She is aware of what is going on. That is how she is grounded. She is of the earth".
The romantic comedy-drama Imagine Me & You received a limited release and earned positive reviews. Critics praised Headey's performance as a lesbian in the film; Mick LaSalle from the San Francisco Chronicle stated that the actress "has a forthright, irresistible appeal and a face and especially a smile that suggest intelligence, integrity and lots of fun".
Headey played Queen Gorgo in Zack Snyder's 300, based on Frank Miller's graphic novel. Headey had to do nude scenes in the film. "It's always weird the thought of taking your clothes off in front of 20 people and then to have it projected in front of many more", she told IndieLondon during an interview. "I think it was necessary because we only get that scene to establish their relationship. It is a very obvious moment but I think it does it in quite a beautiful way."
In addition to her film work, Headey starred in Fox's Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, a television spin-off of James Cameron's popular Terminator franchise. Headey played Sarah Connor from January 2008 to April 2009. The show ran for 31 episodes in two seasons until its cancellation in May 2009. Variety praised "Headey's gritty performance as Sarah – managing to be smart, resourceful and tough, yet melancholy and vulnerable as well" and that the Chronicles "continue to deliver", getting "considerable mileage out of the constant peril" facing the characters. She was nominated twice for the Saturn Award for Best Actress on Television for the role.
Recent roles include the film The Red Baron, a biographical film of the legendary World War I fighter pilot Manfred von Richthofen, in which she appeared alongside Matthias Schweighöfer and Joseph Fiennes. Her character was the love interest Käte Otersdorf, a nurse who may or may not have had a romance with Richthofen (Schweighöfer) in real life. She also appeared as the stuffy Miss Dickinson in the 2007 release of the St. Trinian's series. She starred in the Ridley Scott produced Tell-Tale, a film based on the short story "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe. The movie went straight to DVD on 25 May 2008.
In 2008, Headey starred in the horror film The Broken. The film was directed by Academy Award-nominated Sean Ellis. The film was about "a woman who suspects she's being followed around London by a murderous doppelganger". The Broken was screened at the midnight portion of the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, and generally got average reviews. Some critics praised Headey's performance, including Kim Koynar of Cinematical who wrote that Headey "largely carries the film, and does so quite ably".
Headey was cast in the lead part in another horror film titled Laid to Rest, which was first screened in 2008. However, the film went straight to video on 21 April 2009 and earned mixed reviews. Critic Mark H. Harris for About.com stated that the film "has a great look and boasts an impressive cast," referring to both Headey and co-star Thomas Dekker. Headey had a part in a short film called The Devil's Wedding. She provided her voice for an episode of the Cartoon Network TV series The Super Hero Squad Show playing Black Widow and Mystique.
Game of Thrones
Since its premiere in April 2011, Headey has portrayed queen regent Cersei Lannister on the HBO series Game of Thrones, based on George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels. In 2011, she was nominated for a Scream Award in the category of Best Fantasy Actress for the role. In July 2014 Headey was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for portraying Cersei.
Headey made a guest appearance in the television show White Collar in the episode "Taking Account" in which she played the role of Sally. In 2012, she appeared in the 3D action science-fiction film Dredd alongside Karl Urban and Olivia Thirlby. Her character is Madeline Madrigal (Ma-Ma), the leader of a drug dealing gang, and the project's primary villain. Dredd is a film adaptation of 2000 AD character Judge Dredd. The film was directed by Pete Travis with a script by Alex Garland. In May and June 2012, Lena filmed the fantasy adventure movie The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box throughout South West England, playing the role of Monica. The film is scheduled for release in 2014.
She re-teamed with Ethan Hawke to co-star in The Purge, a 'micro-budget' horror film, which opened on 7 June 2013 at number one position in the United States, grossing over $US36 million over the weekend.
In the media
She has appeared on the covers of TV Guide, G3, Sunday Mirror and Germany's Filmstar. She ranked No. 64 on the Maxim magazine Hot 100 of 2007 list. She was listed at No. 4, No. 10 and No. 3 in AfterEllen's list of the Hot 100 in 2007, 2008 and 2009, respectively. In 2008, Headey spoke out against animal abuse in an advert for animal welfare group PETA.
Headey was once engaged to Johnny Cicco, and dated actor Jason Flemyng for nine years, from 1994 to 2003. She and Flemyng met during the filming of The Jungle Book, and she has a tattoo of his name in Thai on her arm. She was reportedly dating a Brazilian model Marcos Domina following her breakup with Flemyng. She married musician Peter Loughran in May 2007. Headey and Loughran have a son, Wylie Loughran, who was born on 31 March 2010. Headey and Loughran separated in 2011 and she filed for divorce in the Los Angeles Superior Court on 20 July 2012. The divorce was finalized on 26 December 2013.
She is close friends with actress Piper Perabo. She has also campaigned on behalf of animal rights. Lena was a vegetarian, however in a 2011 interview she stated she now eats meat again, albeit rarely. She practices boxing and yoga. "I also started Bikram Yoga," Headey said in an interview, "A few years ago I used to box in London and that held me in good stead."
Headey has a number of tattoos, and has stated "I was born wearing ink." Her tattoos include a large floral design on her back as well as a Pema Chödrön quote on her ribs. She told Esquire magazine that "I love tattoos. I find it calming." Her tattoos often require covering when Headey works, although she has stated that "you can usually get away with it by keeping your clothes on."
|1993||The Summer House||Margaret|
|1993||Remains of the Day, TheThe Remains of the Day||Lizzie|
|1994||Fair Game||Ellie||Television film|
|1995||Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book||Katherine "Kitty" Brydon|
|1994||MacGyver: Trail to Doomsday||Elise Moran||Television film|
|1995||Grotesque, TheThe Grotesque||Cleo Coal|
|1995||Devil's Advocate||Clare Rigby||Television film|
|1995||Loved Up||Sarah||Television film|
|1997||Mrs Dalloway||Young Sally|
|1998||Man with Rain in His Shoes, TheThe Man with Rain in His Shoes||Sylvia Weld|
|1999||Inside-Out||Window Dresser||Short film|
|2001||Parole Officer, TheThe Parole Officer||Emma|
|2002||Anazapta||Lady Matilda Mellerby|
|2002||Gathering Storm, TheThe Gathering Storm||Ava Wigram||Television film|
|2002||Ripley's Game||Sarah Trevanny|
|2003||Actors, TheThe Actors||Dolores|
|2003||No Verbal Response||Dr. Megan Pillay|
|2005||Brothers Grimm, TheThe Brothers Grimm||Angelika|
|2005||Cave, TheThe Cave||Dr. Kathryn Jennings|
|2005||Round About Five||Girlfriend||Short film|
|2005||Imagine Me & You||Luce|
|2006||Vacancy||Pam Bishop||Short film|
|2007||Contractor, TheThe Contractor||DI Annette Ballard||Direct-to-video|
|2007||St Trinian's||Miss Dickinson|
|2008||Broken, TheThe Broken||Gina McVey|
|2008||Red Baron, TheThe Red Baron||Käte Otersdorf|
|2009||Devil's Wedding, TheThe Devil's Wedding||The Devil's Bride||Short film|
|2009||Laid to Rest||Cindy|
|2009||Tell Tale||Elizabeth Clemson|
|2010||Pete Smalls Is Dead||Shannah|
|2012||Dredd||Madeline 'Ma-Ma' Madrigal|
|2013||Purge, TheThe Purge||Mary Sandin|
|2013||Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, TheThe Mortal Instruments: City of Bones||Jocelyn Fray|
|2014||The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box||Monica|
|2014||Low Down||Sheila Albany|
|2014||300: Rise of an Empire||Queen Gorgo|
|2015||Pride and Prejudice and Zombies||Filming|
|1993||Screen Two||Margaret||Episode: "The Clothes in the Wardrobe"|
|1993||Spender||Emily Goodman||2 episodes|
|1993||How We Used To Live||Grace Palmer||3 episodes|
|1993||Soldier Soldier||Shenna Bowles||3 episodes|
|1996||Ballykissangel||Jenny Clark||Episode: "The Things We Do for Love"|
|1996–1997||Band of Gold||Colette||8 episodes|
|1997||Kavanagh QC||Natasha Jackson||Episode: "Diplomatic Baggage"|
|1997||Hunger, TheThe Hunger||Steph Reynolds||Episode: "Menage a Trois"|
|1998||Merlin||Queen Guinevere||3 episodes|
|2004||Long Firm, TheThe Long Firm||Ruby Ryder||2 episodes|
|2008–2009||Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles||Sarah Connor||31 episodes|
|2009||Super Hero Squad Show, TheThe Super Hero Squad Show||Black Widow / Mystique (voices)||Episode: "Deadly Is the Black Widow's Bite!", credited as "Lena Heady"|
|2011||White Collar||Sally||Episode: "Taking Account"|
|2011–present||Game of Thrones||Cersei Lannister||36 episodes|
|2014||Uncle Grandpa||Aunt Grandma (voice)||Episode: "Aunt Grandma"|
|2009||Risen||Patty / Cathy / Jasmin / Lily (voices)|
|2012||Dishonored||Callista Curnow (voice)|
|2014||Game of Thrones||Cersei Lannister||Both voice and likeness|
Awards and nominations
|2001||Silver Iris Award||Best Actress||Aberdeen||Won|
|2007||MTV Movie Awards||Best Breakthrough Performance||300||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie Actress: Action Adventure||Nominated|
|2008||Saturn Awards||Best Supporting Actress||Nominated|
|Best Actress on Television||Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles||Nominated|
|SFX Awards||Best Television Actress||Nominated|
|2009||Saturn Awards||Best Actress on Television||Nominated|
|2011||Scream Awards||Best Fantasy Actress||Game of Thrones||Nominated|
|2014||Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series||Nominated|
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Wylie was a year old yesterday ..
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- Lena Headey at the Internet Movie Database
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