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Lena Headey

Lena HeadeyLena Headey, born the 3rd of October in 1973 on the island of Bermuda, is an English actress. Headey's performance in a one-off show when she was 17 caught the attention of a casting agent, who took a photo and asked her to audition. Eventually she got a supporting role alongside Jeremy Irons and Ethan Hawke in the 1992 British drama film Waterland. She later went on to appear with high profile actors in major films such as The Remains of the Day in 1993, The Jungle Book in 1994, Onegin in 1999 and Aberdeen in 2000. After working steadily as an actress getting small and supporting roles in films throughout the 1990s, she finally found fame for her lead roles in big budget films like the fantasy film The Brothers Grimm in 2005, in which she appeared opposite Matt Damon and Heath Ledger.

Next came the action period film 300 in 2007, playing the role of Queen Gorgo and finally the adventure and biographical feature The Red Baron in 2008. She is known for playing the starring role of Sarah Connor in the Fox television spin-off of James Cameron's Terminator film series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles in 2008–09. At the beginning of 2011 she appeared as Cersei Lannister in the HBO television series Game of Thrones.

Lena HeadeyBorn in Bermuda where her father was stationed in the military, she grew up on the island and in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. Headey had her first taste of acting as a pupil at Shelley College and was noticed at the age of 17 when she was spotted performing in a school production at the Royal National Theatre leading to her being picked for a role opposite Grant Warnock in the 1992 film Waterland. The actress has suffered bouts of clinical depression since the age of 15 and has said in an interview:

"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."

She landed a small role in The Remains of the Day, which came out in 1993 and received eight Academy Awards 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 alone. Headey, alongside her co-stars received favourable reviews with James Berardinelli praising their "solid performances". On the set of The Jungle Book, she met her boyfriend of nine years, actor Jason Flemyng.

Lena HeadeyAfter a string of film roles, she appeared opposite Vanessa Redgrave in the 1997 romantic drama Mrs Dalloway. Headey landed a supporting role in a high profile film titled Onegin, which starred Ralph Fiennes and Liv Tyler. The following year, she had the starring role in the drama Aberdeen. Headey received several good reviews for her performance in the film. She also had roles in 2000's Gossip and The Parole Officer in 2001. She received the Silver Iris Award for Best Actress at the 2001 Brussels European Film Festival for her role in Aberdeen. In 2003, she was also nominated for the Chlotrudis Award for Best Actress for her performance. 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. You meet her and she is masking who she is. I loved that her environment dictated who she is. She lives and grows up and survives in the forest. Terry and I talked about how her instincts are almost animalistic and she can see 360 degrees around her. She is aware of what is going on. That is how she is grounded. She is of the earth".

Lena HeadeyIn 2005 she starred with actress Piper Perabo in both of the films The Cave and Imagine Me & You. The Cave was not well received by critics and did poorly at the box office. The British romantic comedy-drama Imagine Me & You received a limited release but earned positive reviews. Many critics praised Headey's performance as a lesbian in the film; Mick LaSalle from San Francisco Chronicle stated that the actress "has a forthright, irresistible appeal and a face and especially a smile that suggest intelligence, integrity and lots of fun".

Headey played Queen Gorgo in Zack Snyder's 300, based on Frank Miller's graphic novel. 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 so many more", she told Indie London during 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."

Lena HeadeyIn addition to her film work, Headey starred in the Fox Network adaptation of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, a television spin-off of the James Cameron popular Terminator film franchise. Headey played Sarah Connor from January 2008 to April 2009 with the show running for 31 episodes in two seasons until its cancellation in May 2009.

Variety praised "Headey's gritty performance as Sarah – managing to be smart, resourceful and tough, yet melancholy and vulnerable as well" and said that the Chronicles "continue to deliver", getting "considerable mileage out of the constant peril" facing the characters. She was nominated twice for the Saturn Award for Best Actress on Television for the role.

Recent roles include the German film The Red Baron, a biographical film of the legendary World War I fighter pilot Manfred von Richthofen, in which she appeared alongside Matthias Schweighöfer and Joseph Fiennes. Her character was the love interest Käte Otersdorf, a nurse who may or may not have had a romance with Richthofen played by Schweighöfer in real life. She also appeared as the stuffy Miss Dickinson in the 2007 release of the St. Trinian series for which she received third billing for a relatively minor role. She starred in the Ridley Scott production Tell-Tale - a film based on the short story The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe.

Lena HeadeyShe also starred in the 2008 horror film The Broken. The film was directed by Academy Award-nominated Sean Ellis. The film was about a woman who suspects she is being followed around London by a murderous doppelganger. The Broken was screened at the midnight portion of the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, and generally got average 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".

She landed the lead part in another horror film titled Laid to Rest, which was first screened in 2008. However, the film went straight to video on 21 April 2009 and earned mixed reviews. Critic Mark H. Harris for About.com stated that the film "has a great look and boasts an impressive cast," referring to both Headey and co-star Thomas Dekker. Headey also had a part in a short film called The Devil's Wedding as well as providing her voice for an episode of the Cartoon Network TV show The Super Hero Squad Show.

Headey has finished shooting the first two seasons of the HBO series Game of Thrones, based on the first and second books of the series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, where she plays the cruel queen, Cersei Lannister. She had a guest appearance in the hit TV show White Collar in the episode "Taking Account" in which she played the role of Sally. She was nominated for a Scream Award in the category of Best Fantasy Actress.

Lena HeadeyIn 2012, she appeared in the 3D action science-fiction film Dredd alongside Karl Urban and Olivia Thirlby. Her character is Madeline Madrigal (Ma-Ma), the leader of a drug dealing gang, and the project's primary villain. Dredd is a film adaptation of 2000 AD character Judge Dredd. The film was directed by Pete Travis with a script by Alex Garland. In May and June 2012, Lena filmed the fantasy adventure movie Mariah Mundi and the Midas Box throughout south west England, playing the role of Monica. The film is scheduled for release in 2013.

She has appeared on the covers of TV Guide, g3, Sunday Mirror and Germany's Filmstar. She ranked No.64 on the Maxim Magazine Hot 100 of 2007list. She was listed No. 4, No. 10 and No. 3 in afterellen.com's list Hot 100 in 2007, 2008 and 2009 respectively. In 2008, Headey spoke out against animal abuse in an advert for animal welfare group PETA.

Headey was once engaged to Johnny Cicco and dated actor Jason Flemyng for nine years. She and Flemyng met during the filming of The Jungle Book, and she has a tattoo of his name in Thai on her arm. She married musician Peter Loughran in May 2007 and they have a son, Wylie Loughran, who was born on 31 March 2010. Headey and Loughran separated in 2011 and she filed for divorce in Los Angeles Superior Court on 20 July 2012. She is close friends with actress Piper Perabo, is a vegetarian and has campaigned on behalf of animal rights. She practices boxing and yoga. "I also started Bikram Yoga." She said in an interview: "A few years ago I used to box in London and that held me in good stead"

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PETA Video with Lena Headey


Year Title Role Notes
1992 Clothes in the Wardrobe Margaret
1992 Waterland Young Mary
1993 Century Miriam
1993 Soldier Soldier Shenna Bowles TV series (3 episodes)
1993 Spender Emily TV series (2 episodes)
1993 The Remains of the Day Lizzie
1994 Fair Game Ellie TV film
1994 MacGyver: Trail to Doomsday Elise Moran
1994 The Jungle Book Katherine Anne 'Kitty' Brydon
1995 Devil's Advocate Clare Rigby TV film
1995 Loved Up Sarah
1995 The Grotesque Cleo Coal
1996 Ballykissangel Jenny TV series (1 episode)
1996–97 Band of Gold Colette TV series (8 episodes)
1997 Kavanagh QC Natasha Jackson TV series (1 episode)
1997 The Hunger Steph Reynolds TV series (1 episode)
1997 Face Connie
1997 Mrs Dalloway Young Sally
1998 Merlin Queen Guinevere TV film
1998 The Man with Rain in His Shoes Sylvia Weld
1999 Inside-Out Short
1999 Onegin Olga Larina
2000 Ropewalk Allison
2000 Gossip Cathy Jones
2000 Aberdeen Kairo 'Kaisa' Heller
2001 Round About Five Girlfriend Short
2001 Anazapta Matilda
2001 The Parole Officer Emma
2002 The Gathering Storm Ava Wigram
2002 Possession Blanche Glover
2002 Ripley's Game Sarah Trevanny
2003 The Actors Dolores
2003 No Verbal Response Dr. Megan Pillay Short
2004 The Long Firm Ruby Ryder TV series
2005 The Brothers Grimm Angelika
2005 The Cave Kathryn
2005 Imagine Me & You Luce
2006 Ultra Penny/Ultra TV series
2007 300 Queen Gorgo
2007 The Contractor Inspector Annette Ballard
2007 St. Trinian's Miss Dickinson
2008 Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Sarah Connor TV series
2008 The Broken Gina McVey
2008 The Red Baron Käte Otersdorf
2009 Laid to Rest Cindy
2009 Tell-Tale Elizabeth
2009 The Super Hero Squad Show Black Widow "Mystique Comics" TV series
2011–present Game of Thrones Cersei Lannister TV series (19 episodes)
2011 White Collar The Vulture TV series (1 episode: "Taking Account")
2012 Dredd Ma-Ma
2012 Mariah Mundi and the Midas Box Monica
2012 Dishonored Callista (voice) Video game
2013 The Purge
2013 The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Jocelyn Fray
2013 300: Rise of an Empire Queen Gorgo

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Work Result
2001 Silver Iris Award
(at the Brussels European Film Festival)
Best Actress Aberdeen Won
2003 Chlotrudis Award Best Actress Aberdeen Nominated
2007 MTV Movie Awards Best Breakthrough Performance 300 Nominated
2007 Teen Choice Award Choice Movie Actress: Action Adventure 300 Nominated
2008 Saturn Award Best Supporting Actress 300 Nominated
2008 Saturn Award Best Actress on Television Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Nominated
2008 SFX Award Best Television Actress Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Nominated
2009 Saturn Award Best Actress on Television Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Nominated
2011 Scream Award Best Fantasy Actress Game of Thrones Nominated


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