Young Lena Headey

British actress Lena Headey was born October 3, 1973 in Bermuda, where her father, a Yorkshire police cadet, was sent shortly before she was born. Lena was raised in the beautiful Bermuda until locating to Huddersfield, West Yorkshire in England at the age of five. She later on she moved to London, which has been her home city ever since. Headey originally intended to be a hairdresser but fate intervened…

At the age of 17, Headey’s performance in a one-off show in the company of six school friends caught the attention of a Hollywood casting agent. Subsequently, Headey was cast as young Mary in Waterland (1992), which became her big-screen debut. A natural talent even at such a young age, Lena took archery classes, horse training and practiced boxing while filming. Her turn as the sexually adventurous schoolgirl led to her being cast in Merchant Ivory’s The Remains of the Day (1993). Lena also made appearances in the lesser-seen film Century (1993) and appeared in several episodes of Spender and Soldier Soldier in 1993.

More period adventure followed with Clothes in the Wardrobe (1993), in which Headey played Margaret, a quiet young woman has no idea why she consented to marriage with a thoroughly unbearable man twice her age. Answering Hollywood’s call, she landed the role of Kitty, the virginal heroine of Disney’s take on Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book (1994). On the set of the movie Lena met and dated actor Jason Flemyng and they remained together for the next nine years. They are still good friends. Headey also made her American TV debut that year in the ABC movie, MacGyver: Trail to Doomsday (1994), based on the long-running adventure series. She finally got to take part in the later half of the 20th century in the BBC miniseries Loved Up (1995), in which she played Sarah, an Ecstasy using raver. That same year, she took part in another BBC mini, Band of Gold, in which she further distanced herself from her period past by portraying Colette, a lesbian prostitute. To prepare for the role, Lena spent time with a Bradford dominatrix. Heady also made appearances in Fair Game (1994) and Devil’s Advocate (1995) before appearing next to Sting in The Grotesque (1995).

‘Aberdeen’ & ‘Gossip’

In 1996 and 1997 Headey appeared a series of episodes for Ballykissangel, Gold, Kavanagh QC and The Hunger before taking on more dominant roles in a series of high profile films. First, Lena brought a spark of humanity to Antonia Bird’s Face (1997), starring as the girlfriend trying to persuade her boyfriend to abandon his life of crime. In the flashback sequences of the period drama, Mrs. Dalloway, she added sass as the daring Sally Seton who flirts with women and in one scene, runs naked through an Edwardian household. Headey lent her grace to role of the magnetic girl whom two guys want to marry in Twice Upon Yesterday in 1998. Next she was cast as Guinevere in the NBC miniseries Merlin (1998), which re-united her with Sam Neill, who portrayed her father in The Jungle Book (1994). After appearing as Liv Tyler’s sister Olga in Onegin (1999), Headey sank her teeth into the role of a bitchy college student in the dark comedy Gossip (2000). She additionally starred in Aberdeen (2000), earning praise for her turn as a lawyer who must reconnect with her estranged parents. This is still the role that Lena is most proud of her whole career. She says: “I think Aberdeen is the one. It still gets to me that it never got released in the UK. I read it and thought, ‘Wow, this kind of material never comes my way. I’m never given this sort of thing.'” Lena also made a smaller part Ropewalk (2000) and in short films, Love (2000), Shuttle (1999), Inside-Out (1999), Round About Five (2001), No Verbal Response (2003) and Vacancy (2006).

Over the next few years Lena Headey continued to expand her resume with a variety of versatile roles. She had key supporting appearances in such projects as Neil LaBute’s romantic mystery Possession (2002), the acclaimed HBO Winston Churchill biopic, The Gathering Storm (2002) and the adaptation of author Patricia Highsmith’s Tom Ripley tale, Ripley’s Game (2002). Lena met actress Piper Perabo on the set of The Cave (2005), and shortly the two became inseparable. “I genuinely really love Piper, I think she’s bright, funny and smart. We definitely got on. I think that by being thrown together sort of made our friendship. She left (the set of The Cave) two weeks before me. That was the longest two weeks ever! I remember crying! I was like ‘Oh no, don’t leave me!'”

‘300’ & ‘The Brothers Grimm’

Although Lena was not director Terry Gilliam’s initial choice to play Angelika, the sassy love interest of the brothers in The Brothers Grimm (2005), producer Harvey Weinstein insisted that she be cast over Gilliam’s personal choice, Samantha Morton. Lena says that the filming of the movie was one of the toughest experiences of her life – and nearly she decided to give up on the profession after an unpleasant on set disagreement with the director, who also blamed the actress for the critical failure of the movie. “Once the film came out and didn’t do so well, he blamed me for absolutely everything. It was pretty appalling, and it made me want to not work for a while.”

After taking a small break from acting, Lena co-starred with best friend Perabo in Imagine Me & You (2005) as a touch-as-nails lesbian florist. Said Piper: “And this picture came along and it made so much sense for both of us. And talk about being three steps ahead by the time you start. Like I borrow her clothes, you know what I mean? Like we’re really, really close. And so you can kind of jump to a much higher level quicker because you have a lot of the groundwork done.” Lena next appeared as Penny/Ultra on Ultra (2006) and as Ballard in The Contractor (2007).

In 2006 Lena also embarked her biggest project to date – at least on a budget level – as she won the role of Queen Gorgo in 300 over Sienna Miller and Silvia Colloca. The visually stunning adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novel is a loose telling of the famed Battle of Thermopylae, where 300 Spartan warriors inflicted heavy damage to a massive Persian army led by Xerxes I. Lena, who was a stand-out for most film critics, portrayed the wife of Gerard Butler’s Spartan King Leonidas.

Headey married Irish singer Peter Paul Loughran in May 19, 2007 and has his last name tattooed on her left wrist. “He’s not an actor, he’s a normal man. Well, he’s not normal; he’s Irish, but you know what I mean. We met at a friend’s wedding and had a little dance together; it was pretty serious, right from the start.”

‘T:SCC’ & ‘The Broken’

In 2007 Headey landed the titular character in The Sarah Connor Chronicles, based on the character from the Terminator movies. The series aired for a total of two seasons and debuted in the USA on Fox on January, 13rd 2008. Unfortunately, the show was cancelled by Fox in May 2009 because of poor ratings after being moved to Friday nights. While working on The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Lena also found time to appear in other movies such as St. Trinian’s (2007), The Red Baron (2007), The Brøken (2008).

We also saw her in smaller roles or cameo appearances in such movies as Laid to Rest, by her friend Rob Hall, and starring alongside The Sarah Connor Chronicles co-star Thomas Dekker, and also another movie directed by him and titled Whore. Earlier this year Lena’s latest movie, Tell-Tale, was also released on DVD. It’s a thriller starring Josh Lucas and Brian Cox and is loosely based on E. A. Poe’s “The Tell Tale Heart”.

On July 2009 Lena also attended the LA’s Short Film Festival in which she presented The Devil’s Wedding (2009), a short movie in which she plays the Devil’s bride, and which she also produced.

On September 1st 2009, the Chicago Tribune announced that Lena had been chosen to play the role of Queen Cersei in a television adaptation of the book series by American author G. R. R. Martin, produced by HBO and titled Game of Thrones. The pilot episode was shot in October 2009 and the series will debut in Spring 2011. Game of Thrones chronicles the violent dynastic struggles among noble families for control of the Iron Throne of Westeros. Game of Thrones‘s budget has been compared to that of Rome and its first shooting of the pilot reportedly costing HBO between US$5 to $10 million. The anticipation for the series is extremely high, with a dedicated fan base closely following the show’s development. This will, no doubt, be one of the biggest roles of Lena Headey to date!

‘Game of Thrones’ & Lena with ex-husband Peter

Also in late November 2009 we learned another piece of major news; Lena’s co-star in Game of Thrones, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, revealed that Lena was expecting her first child! Answering a question about working with Lena, Nikolaj said this: “It was a really good experience. She’s really cute and smart – and she’s also a lot of fun. She was also pregnant during filming, but not so far along that you could see it clearly. But she had to have a stand-in in a nude scene with me.”

On April 1, 2010, Lena gave birth to a son named Wylie Elliot Loughran, in England. Lena and Peter are absolutely thrilled about being first time parents to their bouncy bundle of joy! This, of course, means that Lena’s primary focus will be her family for the time being – but we all can’t wait for the future projects that she will sink her teeth into.

Headey’s current movies include Pete Smalls is Dead (2010), a comedy co-starring Peter Dinklage. It tells the story of two old pals who attend an old friends funeral and find there is more to his death than him being dead. Pete Smalls is Dead is currently circling around film festivals. Old Scratch (2011) is a horror movie directed by friend Robert Hall. This marks the second film by Robert, starring Lena. The project also re-unites Lena with her dear friend Thomas Dekker! Old Scratch follows a washed up musician living in his own faded shadow in Atlanta. One night, after another sparsely attended gig, one of his former bandmates shows up and plays one of their own demo records backwards with fatal consequences. Now he must return to his roots and revisit a past he had hoped would stay forever buried. Lena is also rumored to star in Simon Hunter’s Safe House, with principal photography starting in spring 2011.

Lena Headey now

On top of this all, Lena is also aiming to do more work as a director. She has already directed a short for The Sophisticates (2008), a funny ensemble comedy featuring John Cleese and friend Piper Perabo, among others, which she hopes to get financed in the future. Lena had another directing project in the works, called Kill Drug, a movie which she would have directed, co-written as well as co-starred in but unfortunately it has been since scrapped, at least for the time being.

Lena, Peter and little Wylie have been spending a lot of time in the UK and Ireland as of recent, where she filmed Game of Thrones but, as of November 2010, they are now in the process of moving back to Los Angeles.

Lena Headey is an inspiration. She is a talented actress, an intelligent lady and a fighter in the true sense of the world. Lena recently confessed that she was diagnosed for depression as a teenager. “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.” Lena is also a vegetarian and loves tattoos. There is no doubt that we will hear much more from this talented British actress in the future!

Last updated on November 14, 2010
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