Emily Mortimer



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Emily Mortimer was born December 1, 1971, in London, England. The daughter of acclaimed British dramatist Sir John Mortimer, she grew up in a scholarly, middle-class household. "I did my homework and did not go out much, and had a very highly developed kitsch fantasy life where I dreamed of being a dancing girl," she admits.

This highly developed imagination served her well at St. Pauls Girls School and later at Oxford, where she starred in a number of student productions. Despite her aptitude for the stage, however, Emily never truly envisioned acting as being a viable profession. "Acting was something I pretended I did not want to do as I was growing up."

Emily Mortimer opted to become a writer, landing a job with the Daily Telegraph and later penning a screen adaptation of a memoir of Lorna Sage, Bad Blood. Although writing appealed to her, the call of the stage was too powerful to ignore and Emily soon made her small-screen debut in 1995 playing the titular character in The Glass Virgin. Additional television roles soon followed with Emily appearing in Sharpes Sword (1995), Heartstones (1996), Lord of Misrule (1996), and No Bananas (1996).

Ready for a new challenge, Emily made her big-screen debut in 1996 in The Ghost and the Darkness, a big-budget Hollywood production costarring Michael Douglas, Val Kilmer and Tom Wilkinson.

American audiences didn't truly get a sense of Emily's superb talent, however, until 1998 when she starred in Elizabeth -- a lavish costume drama about the early years of the reign of Elizabeth I. That, in turn, led to even more high-profile projects including 1999's Notting Hill, in which she played Hugh Grant's gorgeous girlfriend, 2000's Scream 3, in which she played actress Angelina Tyler and 2000's Love's Labour's Lost, a musical adaptation of Shakespeare's beloved play.

As impressive as those projects may have been, they were all just a lead up to 2001's Lovely & Amazing, a romantic comedy which Emily Mortimer still considers to be her favorite project. Not only did the film give Emily her most significant screen time to date, it also netted her Best Supporting Female honors from the Independent Spirit Awards.

Emily Mortimer capped off 2001 with another starring role as a deadly hit woman in Formula 51, an enjoyable thriller featuring Samuel L. Jackson. "Formula 51 was one that I loved doing because the character was so out there, and in a way I was sad to leave the character behind," she says. "I'm afraid I could never be that cool in real life!"

Emily did manage to get plenty of cool opportunities which she parlayed into starring roles in Young Adam (2003), Bright Young Things (2003), The Sleeping Dictionary (2003), and A Foreign Affair (2003), featuring David Arquette. On a personal level, 2003 was also a monumental year as Emily Mortimer tied the knot with fellow actor Alessandro Nivola on January 3. The happy couple later welcomed their son, Sam, into the world on September 26.

In 2004, Emily appeared in Dear Frankie, a quirky Scottish film that cast her squarely in the limelight once again. "It was quite nice just being there every day," she recalls. "You do inhabit the part in a way that it's harder to drum up for a more subsidiary role. On Young Adam I was in and out, in and out, and that was quite weird. You feel quite disconnected."

Emily achieved every performer's dream in 2005 when she was cast in Woody Allen's film, Match Point, a bit of luck that still has her dumbfounded. "You might as well have told me I was going to climb Everest or something," she says. That was followed in 2006 with a prominent role in The Pink Panther, opposite Steve Martin. As excited as Emily Mortimer was to work with Woody Allen, she was positively over the moon when her agent confirmed she'd be teaming up with comedy legend Martin. "He's about four times more brilliant than anyone else you could ever meet," she gushes. "I was just totally enamored of him, and I felt incredibly lucky to have that experience working with him."