Williams in July 2014
Olivia Haigh Williams
26 July 1968
North London, England
Olivia Haigh Williams (born 26 July 1968) is a British actress who has appeared in British and American films and television.
After studying drama at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School for two years followed by three years at the Royal Shakespeare Company, her first significant role was as Jane Fairfax in the British television film Emma (1996), based on Jane Austen's novel. She made her film debut in 1997's The Postman, followed by Rushmore (1998) and The Sixth Sense (1999). Williams then appeared in several British films, including Lucky Break (2001), The Heart of Me (2002) and An Education (2009). In 2010, she won acclaim for her performance as Ruth Lang in Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer. Since 2017, she has played Emily Silk(s), on the television series Counterpart.
Williams was born in North London. Both her parents are barristers. Williams was educated at South Hampstead High School, an independent school for girls in Hampstead in north London, followed by Newnham College, Cambridge, from which she graduated with a degree in English literature. She then studied drama at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School for two years and spent three years at the Royal Shakespeare Company.
After graduation, Williams worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company in both Stratford-upon-Avon and London. In 1995, she toured the United States in a production of Shakespeare's Richard III starring Ian McKellen. Her first significant appearance before the cameras was as Jane Fairfax in the British TV film Emma (1996), based on Jane Austen's 1816 novel.
Williams made her film debut in the 1997 movie The Postman, after doing a screen test for Kevin Costner. She later won the lead role of Rosemary Cross in Wes Anderson's Rushmore (1998). She then starred as Bruce Willis' wife in the blockbuster The Sixth Sense (1999), a film she would later parody during her brief appearance in the British sitcom Spaced. Since then, Williams has appeared in several British films, including Lucky Break (2001), The Heart of Me (2002), for which she won the British Independent Film Award for Best Actress, and An Education (2009). She played Mrs. Darling in the 2003 film adaptation of Peter Pan. Williams was uncredited for her role as Dr. Moira MacTaggert in the 2006 film X-Men: The Last Stand.
In 2010, she won acclaim for her performance as Ruth Lang in Roman Polanski's Ghost Writer, winning the National Society of Film Critics Award, London Critics Circle Film Award for best supporting actress and was runner-up for best supporting actress at the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards 2010.
In Hanna (2011), she played Rachel, a bohemian mother travelling across North Africa and Europe, who comes into contact with the eponymous teen assassin, who is on the run. The film starred Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett, and was a critical and sleeper hit. In 2014, Williams co-starred in David Cronenberg's Maps to the Stars, a dark comic look at Hollywood excess. In 2014 she portrayed Meg Hamilton in the British mystery film Altar.
In 2017 Williams began appearing in the Starz science-fiction series, Counterpart, playing Emily, the (ex)wife of lead character Howard Silk. In one universe she is still married to him, but her counterpart in the other universe is divorced from him.
Williams had a seven-year relationship and then engagement to the actor Jonathan Cake which ended two weeks before their planned wedding. In 2003, she married the actor and playwright Rhashan Stone, with whom she has two daughters.
|1999||The Sixth Sense||Anna Crowe|
|2000||Four Dogs Playing Poker||Audrey|
|2000||Dead Babies||Diana||aka Mood Swingers|
|2001||The Body||Sharon Golban|
|2001||Lucky Break||Annabel Sweep/Lady Hamilton in show|
|2001||The Man from Elysian Fields||Andrea|
|2002||The Heart of Me||Madeleine|
|2003||To Kill a King||Lady Anne Fairfax|
|2003||Peter Pan||Mrs. Darling|
|2006||X-Men: The Last Stand||Moira MacTaggert||Uncredited|
|2008||Flashbacks of a Fool||Grace Scott|
|2009||An Education||Miss Stubbs|
|2010||The Ghost Writer||Ruth Lang|
|2010||Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll||Betty Dury|
|2012||Anna Karenina||Countess Vronskaya|
|2012||Now Is Good||Mother|
|2012||Hyde Park on Hudson||Eleanor Roosevelt|
|2013||The Last Days on Mars||Kim Aldrich|
|2013||Justin and the Knights of Valour||Queen (voice)|
|2014||Sabotage||Investigator Caroline Brentwood|
|2014||Maps to the Stars||Cristina Weiss|
|2015||Seventh Son||Mam Ward|
|2016||The White King||Sophia (voice)|
|2017||Victoria & Abdul||Jane Spencer, Baroness Churchill|
|2019||Nyet!||Ms Pyke||Short film|
|1992||Van der Valk||Irene Kortman||1 episode: "Still Waters"|
|1992||The Ruth Rendell Mysteries||Jennifer Norris||1 episode: "The Speaker of Mandarin"|
|2000||Jason and the Argonauts||Hera|
|2001||Spaced||Knocked-down Cyclist||1 episode: "Help"|
|2004||Agatha Christie: A Life in Pictures||Agatha Christie|
|2006||Krakatoa: The Last Days||Johanna Beijerinck|
|2008||Miss Austen Regrets||Jane Austen|
|2009–2010||Dollhouse||Adelle DeWitt||Series regular|
|2011–2012||Case Sensitive||DS Charlie Zailer|
|2014||Salting the Battlefield||Belinda Kay|
|2014–2015||Manhattan||Liza Winter||Series regular|
|2017||The Halcyon||Lady Hamilton|
|2017–2019||Counterpart||Emily Burton Silk||Series regular|
|2021||The Nevers||Lavinia Bidlow||Main cast|
|2003||Love's Labour's Lost||The Princess||Olivier Theatre, National Theatre, London|
|2003||The Hotel in Amsterdam||Annie||Donmar Warehouse, London|
|2006||The Changeling||Beatrice-Joanna||Cheek by Jowl production at the Barbican Centre, London|
|2011||In a Forest, Dark and Deep||Betty||Vaudeville Theatre, London|
|2015||Waste||Amy O'Connell||Lyttelton Theatre, National Theatre, London|
|2017||Mosquitoes||Alice||Dorfman Theatre, National Theatre, London|
|2019||Tartuffe||Elmire||Lyttelton Theatre, National Theatre, London|
Awards and nominations
- 2001: Lucky Break
Nominated: Empire Award for Best Actress
- 2002: The Heart of Me
- 2009: An Education
- 2010: The Ghost Writer
Won: London Film Critics Circle Award for British Supporting Actress of the Year
Won: National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated: Empire Award for Best Actress
Nominated: Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
- "Olivia Williams: The actor on poor pay for women in Hollywood, Bill Murray, and Bolivian spectacled bears". The independent. Retrieved 24 May 2015
- Gilbert, Gerard (15 November 2009). "Olivia Williams: 'I just do what I'm told'". The Independent. London. Retrieved 15 November 2009.
- Hodgkinson, Will (20 January 2001). "Dead good : Returning from Hollywood to star in British movies would be a step back for most, but Sixth Sense star Olivia Williams was tempted by sex, drugs and cruelty". The Guardian. London.
- British Independent Film Awards - 2003 Winners Archived 13 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine
- Andreeva, Nellie (3 April 2008). "Olivia Williams cast in 'Dollhouse'". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 10 May 2008. Retrieved 16 May 2008.
- "Mia Wasikowska & More Join David Cronenberg's 'Maps To The Stars,' Some Story Details Revealed". Retrieved 17 March 2013.
- Opening Lines
- Costa, Maddy (9 January 2008). "Maddy Costa talks to actor Olivia Williams". The Guardian. London.
- Hoggard, Liz (13 April 2003). "How we met? Olivia Williams & Susanna Paisley". The Independent on Sunday (republished on LookSmart).
- Ojumu, Akin (4 July 1999). "Everyone's talking about... Olivia Williams". The Observer. London.
- Bassett, Kate (2 March 2003). "Love's Labour's Lost, NT Olivier, London; Honour, NT Cottesloe, London; The Green Man, Bush, London; Accidental Death of an Anarchist, Donmar Warehouse, London : Parting is such sugary sorrow". The Independent.
- Bassett, Kate (21 September 2003). "The Hotel in Amsterdam, Donmar Warehouse, London; A Woman of No Importance, Haymarket Theatre Royal, London; The Recruiting Officer, Garrick, Lichfield : Charming, funny... and totally vile". The Independent. Taylor, Paul (22 September 2003). "The Hotel In Amsterdam, Donmar Warehouse, London : Lounging around can be highly entertaining". The Independent.
- Williams, Olivia (4 May 2006). "Diary of a nervous star : Olivia Williams, star of The Sixth Sense, is appearing on stage in The Changeling. In her tour diary, she says it's scarier than Hollywood". The Independent. London. Coveney, Michael (17 May 2006). "The Changeling, Barbican, London". The Independent. Bassett, Kate (21 May 2006). "The Changeling, Barbican, London : Lost in the labyrinth". The Independent.
- Billington, Michael (14 March 2011). "In a Forest Dark and Deep - review". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077.
- Billington, Michael (26 July 2017). "Mosquitoes review – sparring sisters collide in Lucy Kirkwood's science stormer". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077.
- "My Story - Olivia Williams". The Independent on Sunday. London. 6 September 1998.
- "Getting personal with Olivia Williams". The Guardian. London. 17 August 1999.
- Matheou, Demetrios (20 August 1999). "Olivia in La-La land: For years she was a jobbing actor in regional theatre. Then Olivia Williams got the call from Kevin Costner. She's never looked back". The Guardian. London.
- Brett, Anwar (23 April 2003). "Olivia Williams: The Heart of Me". BBC.
- Tennant, Laura (25 April 2003). "Olivia Williams: Growing up in public". The Independent. London.[permanent dead link]