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.”
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Sophie Cookson (Kingsman: The Secret Service, Gypsy, Red Joan) leads the cast in the role of Christine Keeler. James Norton (McMafia, War and Peace, Happy Valley) stars opposite Cookson in the role of Stephen Ward together with Ellie Bamber (Les Miserables, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Nocturnal Animals) as the model Mandy Rice-Davies. Ben Miles (The Crown, The Last Post) will play John Profumo and Emilia Fox (Silent Witness, Delicious) stars as Valerie Profumo. Nathan Stewart-Jarrett (Angels in America, Mope) plays Johnny Edgecombe and Anthony Welsh (Journeyman, Black Mirror, Starred Up) plays Aloysius “Lucky” Gordon.

Written by Bafta award-winning novelist and screenwriter Amanda Coe (Apple Tree Yard, Room at the Top, Life in Squares) and directed by Andrea Harkin (Come Home, Clique), The Trial of Christine Keeler takes a fresh look at one of the most infamous British stories: the chain of events in the 1960s that came to be known as the Profumo Affair.

At the centre of the storm was 19-year-old Christine Keeler (Cookson) – a young woman whom the powerful, male-dominated establishment sought to silence and exploit, but who refused to play by their rules.

The Trial of Christine Keeler takes us behind the headlines to tell a human story about the sexual and cultural politics of one of the most revealing and iconic stories of modern times.

Filming began this week in Bristol.

Sophie Cookson says: “I’m delighted to be playing Christine Keeler in this new drama. Amanda Coe has written an illuminating script about a vivid, complex woman who has previously, it seems, been reduced and misunderstood. Now feels like the perfect time to reconsider her life, and redress the balance.”

James Norton says: “I’m delighted to be working with the BBC on this fantastic drama. The opportunity to play Stephen Ward alongside this stellar cast and crew is something I’m really looking forward to.”

Kate Triggs, Executive Producer for Ecosse Films, says: “I am thrilled that Amanda’s wonderful scripts have attracted such an exciting and stunning cast. They all bring something unique and fresh to the story and will be so compelling to watch. Sophie Cookson is the perfect Christine, embodying all her complexity and incredible spirit”.

Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, says: “Casting actresses who could authentically convey the age and experience of the young women at the centre of this piece was key to achieving Amanda’s vision for this story. I’m delighted that we have two actresses of such calibre in the roles of Christine and Mandy, and actors of real skill and complexity in James and Ben, to play alongside them.”

The Trial of Christine Keeler is an Ecosse Films and Great Meadow co-production for BBC One. The executive producers are Kate Triggs and Douglas Rae for Ecosse Films, Amanda Coe and Lucy Richer for BBC. Rebecca Ferguson will produce.

The series is commissioned by Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content, and Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama.

Keshet International will distribute internationally, while working alongside Endeavor Content to co-distribute the six-part series in the US.

The Trial Of Christine Keeler is the first title to benefit from financial support from the KI Content Fund. Launched earlier in March this year by Keshet International with several of Israel’s largest holding and asset management companies, KI’s five year content fund aims to bring high-profile projects with global appeal to a wider audience by also utilising KI’s worldwide distribution prowess.

PBS’ Masterpiece and BBC has released the first trailer for Les Misérables, the upcoming six-part event adaptation of Victor Hugo’s classic novel. A co-production from Lookout Point and BBC Studios, the drama stars Dominic West as Jean Valjean, David Oyelowo as Javert, Lily Collins as Fantine and Adeel Akhtar and Olivia Colman as Monsieur and Madame Thénardier.

Penned by Andrew Davies (Pride & Prejudice), the non-musical adaptation of the beloved tale delves deep into the many layers of Valjean and Javert’s cat-and-mouse relationship, and set against the epic backdrop of France at a time of civil unrest. Tom Shankland is directing.

Cast also includes Ellie Bamber as Cosette, Josh O’Connor as Marius and Erin Kellyman as Eponine.

Davies exec produces with Faith Penhale for Lookout Point, Bethan Jones for BBC Studios, Mona Qureshi for BBC One and Rebecca Eaton for Masterpiece. West and Oyelowo have also taken executive producer credits. Chris Carey is producing.

The first episode of ‘Les Misérables’ will air Sunday 30th December at 9pm on BBC1.

And premieres April 14, 2019 on Masterpiece PBS on USA.

Check out the trailer below.

Narration from multi award-winning actor Glenda Jackson; Bafta Breakthrough Brit director, Hope Dickson Leach; and a performance from rising star, Ellie Bamber – late film director Alex Mackendrick’s unmade movie Mary Queen of Scots airs on Radio 4 on Saturday 8 December.

The screenplay follows the tragic life of 16th century monarch, Mary Stuart; from exile to reign, to demise, and was developed with Jay Presson-Allen (The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Marnie, Cabaret). Originally Mackendrick imagined Mary Queen of Scots as a western, a portrait of a woman trying to survive internecine battles for power between rival clans; but he also described the screenplay as “a gangster study”.

Mackendrick first began the film’s development whilst at Ealing Films in the 1950s, but studio head Michael Balcon vetoed it as “too disrespectful of royalty.” Later, at different points, Mackendrick worked on drafts of the script with Gore Vidal and Anthony Burgess. By 1969 Mary Queen of Scots was due to start production, backed by Universal Studios and with Sandy Lieberson producing. When this was derailed Mackendrick followed a new opportunity in a teaching position at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). Whilst he never completed his final film project Mackendrick will be remembered for pivotal cinematic works including The Ladykillers and Sweet Smell of Success.

For this radio adaptation, director Hope Dickinson Leach and producers Dancing Ledge Productions have collaborated with the film’s intended producer, Sandy Liberson, and the Mackendrick estate. Glenda Jackson narrates, providing a theatrical parallel given her role as Elizabeth I in the 1971 BBC Two television drama series Elizabeth R. Bridging the generations of acting talent, Jackson is joined by stage and screen actor Ellie Bamber in the role of Mary Stuart. The cast for Radio 4’s production also includes Mark Bonnar as Scottish politician William Maitland, Emun Elliot as Bothwell and Kerr, and as Darnley, Edward Holcroft.
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The official Facebook page of ‘Extracurricular Activities’ has released the first official images of the movie that will debut in theaters in 2019!

In one of the photos we can see Ellie as Mary Alice Walker and in another we see her dressed as a cheerleader with The Washington High Cheerleading squad.


The stunning Ellie Bamber as Mary Alice Walker


The Washington High Cheerleading squad

Extracurricular Activities is a dark comedy that follows the life of Reagan Collins, a high school student with a killer job after school. He organizes … accidents. When the parents of their classmates become too authoritarian, self-obsessed, or simply inconvenienced, Reagan offers himself to them. For a price. But when seasoned police detective Cliff Dawkins begins to piece together, it’s a battle of reasoning to see if Reagan can keep business up, while the rising body count brings Cliff closer to the truth.

Soon we will have more information and news about the film. Stay tuned!