She’s been a professional actress for 23 years. She’s portrayed a villain, a resistance fighter and a Supreme Court justice. And she’s widely considered the embodiment of inner and outer beauty. Is Felicity Jones the closest thing to a modern-day superhero?
Felicity Rose Hadley Jones became a working actress at an age when most kids are studying algebra rather than studying lines. “Well, my first role was in a costume drama for television called The Treasure Seekers, about a group of children trying to find a fortune to help their single father struggling as an inventor,” she recalls of the 1996 TV movie, for which the then 12-year-old Jones received second billing. “We shot it in a lovely old house just outside of London where there was a huge tree swing, which we would all play on in between scenes.”
A promotional poster shows the young star grinning widely along with the rest of the cast, a sure indication that Jones had found her calling among her fellow thespians. Nowadays that same cheeky smile can be seen on posters and advertisements all over the world, either for her latest blockbuster film — The Theory of Everything, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, On the Basis of Sex come to mind — or in her role as global ambassador for Japanese cosmetics brand Clé de Peau Beauté, a position she’s held since early 2018. But how, one wonders, does she manage it all with such grace, such poise and such an unusual lack of personal turmoil?
“I joined a youth drama group when I was growing up, which I absolutely loved,” says the 35-year-old, who grew up near Birmingham in England’s West Midlands. “We learnt about acting in theatre, film and television. I made some lifelong friends there and that’s where I had auditions for professional work.”
At the time, Jones says, she didn’t have aspirations for a Hollywood career. School and schoolwork took precedence, even when it came to her youth group. “I never knew if I’d be able to act professionally, it was just something that I loved doing,” she says. “It was always such good fun and I loved the camaraderie around it.”
Jones continued acting throughout university, appearing in student plays, as she pursued a degree in English literature at the University of Oxford’s Wadham College. Now her portrait hangs in the college alongside fellow alumnae, including actress Rosamund Pike and author Monica Ali, a testament to the school’s “changing faces”.
Following her graduation, Jones appeared in a number of television movies and series in the UK, including one episode of Doctor Who. But before long the big screen came calling. After bit parts in films such as Brideshead Revisited and Chéri, she was cast as the star in The Tempest, directed by Julie Taymor, and Like Crazy, directed by Drake Doremus.
“Like Crazy was a huge experience. Working with Anton Yelchin and Drake Doremus was one of the most extraordinary acting and life experiences I’ve had,” Jones says. “It was the first time I improvised on camera, which I relished.”
It was reported that Doremus and co-writer Ben York Jones put together an outline, 50 pages long, and had Jones and Yelchin improvise off it. Her performance garnered a number of international awards, including Best Female Newcomer at the Empire Awards, Breakthrough Actor at the Gotham Awards, a tie for Breakthrough Performance from the National Board of Review, and a Special Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival. Doremus must have also been pleased, considering he cast her in his next film, Breathe In, opposite Guy Pearce.
Breathe In was released in 2013, but it was following year that could be considered Jones’s breakout. Besides appearing in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 as Felicia Hardy, aka Black Cat, she captivated audiences as Jane Hawking, first wife of renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, in the biopic The Theory of Everything. A slew of award nominations followed, including Best Actress at both the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes.
But Jones is quick to point out that she’s in it for the craft and the challenge, and not the awards or accolades. Over the years, she’s appeared in several plays and is still fondly remembered for her recurring role as Emma Carter in BBC Radio’s long-running soap, The Archers.
“The most important thing,” she says, “is the story you’re telling rather than the medium. Narrative is everything.”
Indeed, Jones has been known to throw herself into a role, whether she’s playing the villain to Tom Hanks’s protagonist Robert Langdon in Inferno or championing women’s rights as legendary Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in On the Basis of Sex.
“I definitely like a challenge and I have to feel creatively invested in the story. I have to care about that person I’m playing in some way. I usually go for things that I can’t stop thinking about a couple of days after reading the script.”
Once she decides on a role, Jones goes all-in. “I really enjoy researching a character and understanding the world from their perspective. Physical prep is key, too — how does that person move?” she says. “Also finding the look is very important: trying on wigs, different costumes. There’s a huge amount of collaboration with creatives in the hair, make-up and costume departments. The approach is both external and psychological. Understanding what motivates that person: Why are they behaving in a certain way? Why are they making certain decisions?”
When it came to her latest big-budget, box-office sensation, Jones found herself studying kung fu among other “forces”. Rogue One saw her introduction as resistance fighter Jyn Erso in a critically praised portrayal that left audiences clamouring for more: the Kids’ Choice Awards, Teen Choice Awards and MTV Movie Awards all nominated her in categories such as Choice Sci-Fi Movie Actress and Favorite Butt-Kicker.
Jones followed up her Star Wars turn by embracing the life story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the American attorney who championed women’s rights all the way to a seat on the US Supreme Court. “I adored playing Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” she says of On the Basis of Sex, which was released at the end of last year. “I often think of her as someone I would most like to be like!”
Now in post-production, Jones’s next film follows the story of pilot Amelia Wren (played by Jones) and The Theory of Everything costar Eddie Redmayne as they embark on an historic hot-air balloon expedition. “We’re all deeply proud of the film and it was an incredibly innovative story,” she says. “It’s not like anything anyone’s ever seen before. I adored its originality.”
Making so many films back to back doesn’t leave time for much else, although Jones enjoys “swimming, reading, cooking, seeing friends, and going to the theatre and art exhibitions”. She’s also open to looking beyond acting to a more behind-the-scenes role. “I love being involved in all stages of making entertainment. Having studied English literature at university, it feels very natural to be reading books and articles and thinking, could this be a good film or television programme?” she says. “I love exploring this side of production.”
Also keeping her busy is her work with Clé de Peau Beauté, for which she not only serves as muse and spokesperson but also gets involved in its various advocacy and philanthropic programmes. This year saw the establishment of the Power of Radiance, described by the company as “a multi-year philanthropic commitment that honours inspirational women from around the world whose advocacy for women and girls’ education has led to positive long-term impact on lives”.
“It’s an incredible project to be a part of and a highlight was the Power of Radiance event, where women from all over the world were brought together to discuss and celebrate the importance of female education,” Jones says of the global launch event in March in Tokyo honouring the programme’s first Power of Radiance Award recipient Muzoon Almellehan.
Almellehan fled Syria in 2013 and is the first individual with refugee status to be a Unicef Goodwill Ambassador. She spent three years living in refugee camps in Jordan, where as a 14-year-old she went from tent to tent convincing families that their daughters needed an education.
“Muzoon is an extraordinary woman, and her fight for equal education is breathtaking,” Jones says. “She’s articulate and warm and a very strong woman — an inspiration to be around.” While she may be the “face” that sells Clé de Peau Beauté to audiences around the world, Jones’s involvement in the Power of Radiance programme underscores the fact that she’s much more than meets the eye.
“Beauty is about looking after the inside as well as the outside. It’s about figuring out what makes you feel you and not being afraid to be that person. It’s not always an easy path but true beauty comes from that self-belief.”
Source : prestigeonline.com
British celebrities appear in a London Underground campaign promoting the benefits of struggling independent bookshops, in a new campaign created by Just a Card in partnership with Funding Circle.
Just a Card, a grassroots campaign that’s been around since 2015, vigirously champions the work of artists, designers, independent shops and businesses. The ‘Just a Book’ campaign, supported by peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle, brings together 15 of the country’s most famous faces to promote buying from standalone shops. It coincides with Just a Card day, taking place today (June 17th).
The celebrities appear on London Underground posters reading their favourite books, photographed by Charlie Gray, accompanied by the copy ‘what’s your just a book?’
Those taking part are Richard E. Grant, Felicity Jones, Hanif Kureishi, Michael Palin, Natalie Dormer, Dominic Cooper, Nathalie Emmanuel, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Hayley Mills, James Norton, David Oakes, Bruce Robinson, Greta Scacchi and Twiggy.
Sarah Hamilton, artist and founder of Just A Card, said: “Everyone loves independents and wants to support them, but often we don’t appreciate how vital each and every purchase is. Just a card, just a book, just a gift… they all add up and are critical to small business success.
“We’re challenging shoppers to think about where they spend their money, and show how much they value the independent shops that make our High Streets so special.”
Michael Palin said: “I support independent bookshops in the same way that I support independent thinking of any kind. I rejoice in what makes bookshops different. I like the quirkiness and personal touch you find in independent shops.”
Source : prolificlondon.co.uk
“I’ve been shooting in a cold box all day. We’re shooting at freezing temperatures, so it’s a bit like shooting in a refrigerator. It’s been quite the adventure!” says English actress Felicity Jones by phone from the U.K.
The 35-year-old is currently on location filming her next big-screen picture, The Aeronauts, a period action–adventure film produced by Amazon Studios, and directed by filmmaker Tom Harper. Jones has reunited with actor Eddie Redmayne for the Victorian-era story, which began shooting back in August. The two British stars previously worked together in director James Marsh’s The Theory of Everything, for which Redmayne won the Oscar for best actor for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking, while Jones (who starred as Hawking’s wife, Jane) earned a well-deserved nomination for best actress.
Set in 1862, The Aeronauts follows a wealthy young widow (Jones) and an ambitious scientist (Redmayne) as they mount a hot air balloon expedition to fly higher than anyone in history. “One of the major influences for my character is an extraordinary woman called Sophie Blanchard, who was an aeronaut and one of the first women to ever go up in a hot air balloon solo. I’ve just been in absolute awe of her,” says Jones. “[The film] is a full-on immersive cinematic experience, and I think people are in for a treat.”
Born in the small village of Bournville, just outside of Birmingham, England, Jones—who’s been acting since the age of 12—began making her name in indie films. When asked what project she considers to be her official silver-screen break, she credits romantic drama Like Crazy. “That was the first time I had worked in America, and it was my introduction to living and working in L.A., which I absolutely loved,” she says. “It opened up a career on both sides of the Atlantic. That felt like a moment.” Jones’s performance of a love-drunk twenty-something opposite Anton Yelchin was met with critical acclaim, winning her the special grand jury prize at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.
Since then, Jones has hit the big time, building a resumé deep with blockbuster roles of take-charge women. Along with her 2014 Academy Award–nominated performance as Jane Hawking and upcoming portrayal of a pioneering balloonist, the actress has also played soldier and lead heroine Jyn Erso in the epic space opera Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and a doctor one mental leap ahead of Tom Hanks’s character in the mystery thriller Inferno—to name a few. “I like playing women who have a bit of punk about them,” says Jones of the character roles she gravitates toward.
No truer words could be said about her latest role in On the Basis of Sex, a Mimi Leder–directed biopic of iconic U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—the second woman ever to serve on the high court. Set to hit theatres on December 25th, and co-starring Armie Hammer, Kathy Bates, and Justin Theroux, the film features Jones channelling a young Ginsburg. “It was a fantastically written script with an excellent female heroine who is Ruth Bader Ginsburg at its centre, so it was impossible not to do,” says Jones.
The motion picture chronicles the early days of Ginsburg’s life and career, from her admittance to Harvard Law School (she was one of only nine women when she entered in 1956) to the rejection she faced when trying to find work after graduation. A major champion of women’s rights and equality, Ginsburg appears in the film arguing her first landmark gender-discrimination case in the 1970s. “The film is sort of an origin story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” adds Jones. “It’s how she became the woman that she is today. You know, what were those decisions, what were those setbacks—those moments that didn’t go according to plan that make you the person you are. And with Ruth, who’s so well-known now, it is very much showing that journey.”
The release of On the Basis of Sex seamlessly falls in line with Ginsburg’s 25th anniversary on the bench. At age 85—and in no hurry to retire—the left-leaning justice (who was appointed to the high court in 1993 by then President Bill Clinton) is the eldest of the current nine sitting justices. During her quarter century–long tenure, Ginsburg has become a unique cultural rock star: she has inspired an opera, a Saturday Night Live skit, a play, tattoos, t-shirts, the “Notorious RBG” meme (a play on the legendary rapper Notorious B.I.G.), a recent critically acclaimed documentary entitled RBG, and more.
“It’s a huge responsibility playing a living person. You have to take it enormously seriously,” comments Jones, who not only worked hard to disguise her British accent in favour of Ginsburg’s Brooklynese voice, but also went under a physical transformation, too. “I delved into as much footage of her as I could watch—understanding her physicality, the way she moved, the way she looks,” she reveals. “I worked very closely with the makeup and hair departments to do as much as possible to make myself look like Ruth.”
Jones copied Ginsburg’s signature style of Towncliffe suits, she changed her eye colour by wearing grey contact lenses over her green eyes, and she even got her teeth capped so that she could emulate the justice’s mouth shape and movements. “We were quite fortunate because there’s such a bank of photographs of her from when she was in her teens and early 20s. She’s always been extraordinarily photogenic,” she recounts. “So that was really helpful to see how she existed. And then, as she became older and had more responsibility and authority, how that was reflected in her voice, in what she wore, and in how she presented herself.”
Shooting in Montreal last year, Jones was able to pay Ginsburg a visit in Washington a few weeks prior to production. “We started off at her office, which is full of pictures of her family and little mementos that people who admire her have given to her. It’s a real sort of treasure trove of how much love there is for her,” describes Jones. “Then, a day or so later, we met up at her apartment. She was very welcoming of us. She had read every version of the script and had been on board with it from the very beginning, so it helped us know that we had her blessing,” she continues. “It was quite strange meeting her because I had read so many books about her, and felt like I had an encyclopedic knowledge of her. It was interesting to associate the person who I thought Ruth was—with everything that I had read—to the person who I actually met. I was just struck by her humanity.”
When asked what she came to admire most about the trailblazing justice after their encounter: “Her humour,” answers Jones. “Her humour and her commitment to her beliefs. I feel like she’s someone who never wavered from that, and has been quite singular in many ways. And I think in times where we don’t have that many public figures we can look up to, Ruth is very unique in that way. We can admire her.”
Beyond the fact that Ginsburg has spent an incredible 25 years on the Supreme Court, a biopic honouring the judicial firebrand who’s helped move the needle couldn’t seem more timely, given the current 24-hour news cycle and President Donald Trump’s two newly appointed—and polarizing—justices to the high court, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
“I think it’s absolutely of the moment,” comments Jones. “It was incredible when we were shooting the film; it was chiming with everything that was happening in the #MeToo movement. And what we were finding, with the current revolution that we’re in, is that the momentous things happening are, in many ways, things that Ruth had been arguing for years and years and years. There’s to be mutual respect for men and for women,” she continues. “And that’s what was fascinating as well. Ginsburg is arguing that by giving women equality with men, you also make lives better for men. Both sexes need to have that equality, and they will both be happier for it. Putting people into these gender stereotypes is the thing that limits everyone, ultimately.”
Like Ginsburg, Jones has personally found herself being a proud champion and defender of women in the workplace. “I’ve definitely had moments where I’ve been frustrated in scripts with their presentation of women,” she says. “I’ve had to be quite artful in going in and having lots of meetings with directors and writers, and having to change a lot of dialogue and think, ‘this isn’t actually how a woman would speak,’” Jones recounts. “Often the writers, directors, and directors of photography are male. It would be fantastic to see more women behind the camera. And the more that shift happens, the better the landscape will be.”
Source : smagazineofficial.com