Lena Headey – MovieActors.com
About Lena Headey (1973 – )
Lena Headey was born in Hamilton, Bermuda, the daughter of Sue and John Headey. Her father was a Yorkshire police cadet who was stationed there at the time. She has one younger brother, Tim. The family moved to Somerset when she was five, then relocated to Shelley, West Yorkshire when Headey was eleven. She took ballet lessons for a time as a child before being told to discontinue.
Headey had her first acting experience as a student at Shelley College and was noticed at the age of 17 while performing in a school production at the Royal National Theatre. This led to her being picked for a role in the 1992 film Waterland. She then landed a small role in the prestigious Merchant-Ivory production of The Remains of the Day, which came out in 1993 and received eight Academy Award 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 and her co-stars received favorable reviews. On the set of The Jungle Book, she first 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, from which she again received several good reviews. She also had roles in 2000's Gossip and 2001's The Parole Officer. In 2002, she had a role in the mystery drama Possession alongside Gwyneth Paltrow and Aaron Eckhart.
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."
In 2005, she starred with actress Piper Perabo in the films The Cave and Imagine Me & You. The Cave was disliked by critics and performed poorly at the box office.
Headey played Queen Gorgo in Zack Snyder's 300. 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 in 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 prior to its cancellation in May 2009.
Headey has also appeared in a number of independent films, such as The Red Baron, a biographical film loosely based on the life of the legendary World War I fighter pilot Manfred von Richthofen, in which she appeared alongside Matthias Schweighöfer and Joseph Fiennes. She played the love interest Käte Otersdorf, a nurse who may or may not have had a romance with Richthofen in real life. She also appeared as the stuffy Miss Dickinson in the 2007 release of the St. Trinian's series. She also starred in the Ridley Scott production of 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, directed by Academy Award-nominated Sean Ellis. The film tells the story of "a woman who suspects she's being followed around London by a murderous doppelgänger". It was screened at the midnight portion of the 2008 Sundance Film Festival to middling 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, Laid to Rest, which was first screened in 2008 and went straight to video on in April of 2009 earning mixed reviews in the process. Headey also 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.
Starting in April of 2011, Headey has starred as queen regent Cersei Lannister on the acclaimed HBO series Game of Thrones, based on George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire novels. Her performance has consistently won wide critical acclaim.
Headey made a guest appearance in the TV show White Collar in the episode "Taking Account", where she played the role of Sally. In 2012, she appeared memorably in the 3D action science-fiction film Dredd, with Karl Urban and Olivia Thirlby. She plays the show's main villain, Madeline Madrigal (Ma-Ma), the leader of a drug dealing gang. Dredd is a film adaptation of the 2000 AD character Judge Dredd. The film was directed by Pete Travis with a script by Alex Garland.
Headey re-teamed with Ethan Hawke to co-star in The Purge, a small-budget horror film that opened in June of 2013 at number one position in the United States, grossing over $36 million on its first weekend.
Following up on the success of 300, Headey reprised her role as Queen Gorgo in the 2014 sequel, 300: Rise of an Empire.
Headey also appeared in the 2014 biopic Low Down, a film that detailed the life of jazz pianist Joe Albany, as well as playing the wife of Patrick Wilson's character in Zipper in 2015.
As of this writing, Headey will next be seen in the upcoming comedy horror film Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, with her former Game of Thrones co-star Charles Dance.
Lena Headey's notable movie credits include...
|1993||The Summer House||Margaret|
|1993||The Remains of the Day||Lizzie|
|1994||The Jungle Book||Katherine "Kitty" Brydon|
|1994||MacGyver: Trail to Doomsday||Elise Moran|
|1995||The Grotesque||Cleo Coal|
|1995||Devil's Advocate||Clare Rigby|
|1997||Mrs. Dalloway||Young Sally|
|1998||The Man with Rain in His Shoes||Sylvia Weld|
|2001||The Parole Officer||Emma|
|2002||Anazapta||Lady Matilda Mellerby|
|2002||The Gathering Storm||Ava Wigram|
|2002||Ripley's Game||Sarah Trevanny|
|2003||No Verbal Response||Dr. Megan Pillay|
|2005||The Brothers Grimm||Angelika|
|2005||The Cave||Dr. Kathryn Jennings|
|2005||Round About Five||Girlfriend|
|2005||Imagine Me & You||Luce|
|2006||300||Gorgo, Queen of Sparta|
|2007||The Contractor||DI Annette Ballard|
|2007||St Trinian's||Miss Dickinson|
|2008||The Broken||Gina McVey|
|2008||The Red Baron||Käte Otersdorf|
|2009||The Devil's Wedding||The Devil's Bride|
|2009||Laid to Rest||Cindy|
|2009||Tell Tale||Elizabeth Clemson|
|2010||Pete Smalls Is Dead||Shannah|
|2012||Dredd||Madeline "Ma-Ma" Madrigal|
|2013||The Purge||Mary Sandin|
|2013||The 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||Gorgo, Queen of Sparta|
|2016||Pride and Prejudice and Zombies||Lady Catherine de Bourgh|
Lena Headey's television credits include...
|1993||How We Used To Live||Grace Palmer|
|1993||Soldier Soldier||Shenna Bowles|
|1996–1997||Band of Gold||Colette|
|1997||Kavanagh QC||Natasha Jackson|
|1997||The Hunger||Steph Reynolds|
|2004||The Long Firm||Ruby Ryder|
|2006||Ultra||Penny / Ultra|
|2008–2009||Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles||Sarah Connor|
|2009||The Super Hero Squad Show||Black Widow/Mystique|
|2011–present||Game of Thrones||Cersei Lannister|
|2014–2015||Uncle Grandpa||Aunt Grandma|
|2015–present||Danger Mouse||Jeopardy Mouse|
“Nothing I do is by design. It's always the result of a happy accident. I didn't have a career plan. It has just become the way it is. It's all good fun.”
“I hate being looked at. Can't stand it. I know, I know - I picked the wrong career. I should have been a doctor. If you play certain parts you have this nice face painted on you, and then you have feel as if you have a responsibility to this idea of being beautiful. I hate that about our business.”
“One day I can be ecstatically up, and the next, I can feel this real blankness, a deadness almost, which is scary.”
“I'm small but quite tough. When incensed, I can swing a punch.”
“There's a perceived inverse relation between looks and talent. Look at Charlize Theron - she made herself ugly for 'Monster' and suddenly everyone said 'she's a genius.' It shouldn't be like that.”
“There's nothing more exciting for an actor than a chance to lose, to be someone who has lost - especially if it's someone who starts off with a veneer of control. To be broken is wonderful.”
Did You Know
Had a tattoo on her arm saying 'Jason' in Thai.
Had to learn how to skin a rabbit for The Brothers Grimm (2005).
Lives in Laurel Canyon, California with her husband and their two dogs: Wizard and Angela Lansbury. [January 2008]
Is close friends with her Game of Thrones (2011) co-star, Peter Dinklage, who suggested she audition for the role of "Cersei Lannister".