The 21-year-old actress – who is dating ‘Bodyguard’ actor Richard Madden – spent six weeks away in Brazil shooting ‘The Seven Sorrows of Mary’ and admitted her absence can be tough on her loved ones, but things are always fine again once they get chance to reconnect.
In an interview with the new issue of Red magazine, she said: ‘Being away puts a strain on family and friends, but my best friends came [to the ‘Nutcracker and the Four Realms’ premiere] and, even though I hadn’t seen some of them in ages, we just picked up where we left off.’
But despite being away from her loved ones a lot, Ellie always gets to spend a lot of time with her mother, as she’s also her manager.
She added: ‘It means we make time to see each other and she’s always got my back.’
Meanwhile, the ‘Nocturnal Animals’ actress doesn’t feel particularly famous but revealed there are aspects of being in the public eye that she finds tough.
She said: ‘[The hardest thing was] moving away from my friends and family… walking to the chip shop on a Sunday with a hangover, that’s not so good.’
‘I don’t acknowledge it, I don’t really feel I am famous in any way.’
Boyfriend Richard starred in ‘Bodyguard’ – one of the year’s biggest TV shows – and he and Ellie enjoyed watching it back together.
She admitted: ‘We watched it together at his house.’
Despite a very successful year herself, the ‘Les Miserables’ actress feels she is still “learning”.
She said: ‘I’m still finding my way, so it can be hard. I’m still growing, still learning, still changing.’
The 21-year-old actress was delighted to film alongside a star-studded cast including Keira Knightley, Dame Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman and Mackenzie Foy in director Lasse Hallstrom’s Disney fantasy and will never forget the experience.
She said: ‘It’s a live-action film and it’s a lot more story based than the ballet but there’s still going to be dancing‘.
”Getting to work with Lasse Hallstrom was so incredible and that cast, I mean… Mackenzie is amazing, Matthew Macfadyen is so brilliant – it was a really cool cast and being able to bring that magical tale to life… well, it was really, really special.”
Next year, Ellie can be seen in ‘The Seven Sorrows of Mary’, which is based on real events and sees her play an exchange student who is kidnapped, raped and beaten while in Brazil and though it was the ‘toughest’ role she’s ever had, the actress embraced doing night shoots in Rio de Janeiro.
She said: ‘It was very intense. I think it might have been my toughest role to date’.
‘We did lots of night shoots so I’d come home to see the sunrise. There was something really special about a beautiful end to the day.’
But it isn’t the British actress’ first difficult role as her big break came in Tom Ford’s dark thriller ‘Nocturnal Animals’, on which she formed a strong bond with her on-screen parents Jake Gyllenhaal and Isla Fisher, which helped her through filming.
She recalled to Britain’s Elle magazine: ‘On set, the three of us formed a really strong relationship together’.
‘We all got on really well and we’d hang out a lot outside of filming. I think that was really important because we had this bond with each other where we felt safe together, no matter what space we were put in.’
When I ask Ellie Bamber for the names of some of the actresses she admired growing up, her answer unintentionally provokes a giggle. “Definitely Nicole Kidman,” she starts. “Moulin Rouge was one of those films that I watched as a kid and was like ‘Oh my god, that’s what I want to do.’ And I love Emma Stone, I think she’s a really amazing actress.” I pause, waiting for the moment of recognition, then laughing, point out the common theme of red hair, shared also by Ellie. All at once, she’s surprised and apologetic, almost as if it didn’t occur to her. “That’s so weird, sorry!” She nervously laughs. “When I was a kid, I was blonde. I’m naturally blonde. It’s weird how as a kid I was already gravitating towards that – that’s funny actually.”
Real or not, Ellie Bamber is a redhead rising through the ranks, her signature strawberry-blonde hair a striking point of difference from many of her peers. It’s this hair that would have played at least a small part in snagging her career-making role in Tom Ford’s haunting 2016 thriller Nocturnal Animals, where she joined a flame-haired acting trifecta completed by Amy Adams and Isla Fisher. After a disturbing, but powerful performance as a daughter on a doomed family road trip, it sparked excited murmurs surrounding the Berkshire-born newcomer. But hair is just one thing. Talent is another.
And talent is something that Ellie has in buckets. She’s been lauded as somewhat of an industry chameleon, seamlessly embodying all manner of roles. Pre-Nocturnal Animals, there was Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, a comic, feminist, gore-filled riff on the Jane Austen classic which saw her train for two months in martial arts. Last year, she made her much-celebrated Donmar Theatre debut for a modern adaptation of the famous Henrik Ibsen play, The Lady from the Sea. In 2017, after the visuals for Shawn Mendes’ hit “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” were released, fans went into a frenzy investigating the identity of his music video love interest – played convincingly by Bamber, a free-spirit in the early raptures of love.
A stint as Tom Ford’s muse means that her style – which she describes as “a combination of classic, pretty things, and street style” – has also snagged her opportunities such as being appointed as a Chanel ambassador. Casual. She’s also the lead in upcoming project, Taipei (High Resolution), a love-in-the-age-of-social-media tale, about “a couple who takes loads of drugs together, film themselves and put it out on the internet.” Currently, she’s speaking to me over the phone from Brazil, where she’s shooting a harrowing abduction true story, The Seven Sorrows of Mary, which she calls a “tough” but also “really important piece of work.”
Harper’s Bazaar UK: Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella: it’s fair to say the traditional Disney princess has come under scrutiny of late.
The notion of a damsel in distress saved only by a man is enough to make the modern woman uncomfortable with the fairytales they read – and accepted, often without question – as children.
Over the past few years, Disney stories have changed with the times, with a rise in strong female characters – thanks to , and a slow move towards more diverse princesses such as Moana and The Princess and The Frog’s Tiana.There was also the #DreamBigPrincess initiative in 2016.
One of Disney’s latest offerings is another modern spin of a classic tale: The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. The all-star cast includes Bazaar cover star Keira Knightley, who takes on the iconic role of the Sugar Plum Fairy alongside Dame Helen Mirren, ballerina Misty Copeland, Jack Whitehall and Ellie Bamber.
For Bamber – who spoke to Harper’s Bazaar ahead of the film’s release and straight after a dress fitting for the London premiere – the movie comes with a plethora of strong female characters to complement this new wave of modern game-changing female Disney leads.
However, while the 21-year-old welcomes this new wave of princesses, she can’t quite bring herself to completely oppose the traditional fairytale role.
“I mean, I think it’s about time really [to have these powerful Disney female leads] but, having said that, I still love Cinderella,” she says. “There is something about that film and about all of the other fairytales that is magical.
“But, in this day and age, it is really important to have strong female characters and there is certainly that in The Nutcracker. So I think it’s about time and [it’s great] to be reimagining the story in this way which is so truthful and also so wonderful for young girls to have role models.”
While Bamber would have liked these new strong female characters to look up to as a child, she wasn’t short of them herself.
“I had two very strong and powerful women in my life,” she says, referring to her mother and grandmother. “So, they were the fairytale I had.”