Ellie gave an interview to Women’s Wear Daily talking about ‘Les Misérables’, which is coming to American TV this weekend on PBS.
Ellie Bamber has been shuffling back and forth between various points in history. Up until recently she was in Bath and Bristol, filming Sixties-era bioseries ”The Trial of Christine Keeler.” In between filming, she revisited the 19th century and her role as Cosette in a new adaptation of “Les Misérables,” which premiered in Britain at the end of last year and is being released Stateside on April 14.
It wasn’t her first time portraying the iconic character from Victor Hugo’s iconic 1862 novel.
“I actually played Cosette in the school musical,” says the 22-year-old British actress, a frequent face in the front row at Chanel, who shares most of her screen time in the series with costar Dominic West. “She’s really this iconic representation of hope.”
While many viewers are familiar with the musical version of the story, the miniseries presents a more fleshed out adaptation of the book’s various characters and plot lines. “I mean, the book’s massive. There are so many stories and little details that most audiences haven’t seen before because they’ve just seen the musical,” says Bamber.
There’s been a literary through line in Bamber’s career thus far. Her first major on-screen role was in Tom Ford’s “Nocturnal Animals,” an adaptation of Austin Wright’s novel “Tony and Susan,” and she also starred in a 2018 adaptation of Tao Lin’s novel “Taipei.” For the voracious reader, it’s been an opportunity to delve deeper into character study.
“I’m always reading. I’ve loved reading since I was young, and I’ve always loved sinking my teeth into a different world, especially one that you begin to create in your head,” she says. “I had the privilege to do that with ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,’ and with Cosette,” she says. “I feel like the books that I’m reading at any given time will really help me with my work, because it’s just more characters, and you see new people while you’re reading,” she says.
Despite her busy shooting schedule, she recently finished Sally Rooney’s “Normal People,” and is onto Elif Batuman’s “The Idiot”; both are coming-of-age stories. And yes, she read the entirety of Hugo’s tome, all 1,400-ish pages.
“I actually broke the book into sections to make it a bit more manageable, which I’ve never done with a book before. It’s probably not a good thing to do, but I was trying to carry it around while I was traveling,” says Bamber.
The show is similarly broken up, into six hourlong episodes. “Hugo goes so far into Cosette’s backstory — it’s unreal. I mean, the amount of information I had to play with was such a big portion of how I then created Cosette, because I really wanted her to be as faithful to Hugo’s novel as I possibly could, and obviously there’s a script, but we can work with both of them. It’s a real gift to have a book to work alongside with.”
While still very early in her career, Bamber has taken on several challenging roles, and her next projects, which take cues from real events, are no exception. In “The Seven Sorrows of Mary,” her character is tasked with escaping a violent kidnapping situation abroad; for “The Trial of Christine Keeler,” which she wrapped in early April, she portrays Keeler’s friend Mandy Rice-Davies. The upcoming BBC miniseries explores the Profumo scandal and its implications from the women’s point of view: That they were used as scapegoats for the wrongdoings of men in high power.
“The interesting thing about that is that they were living in a time where men were allowed to sleep around, but women, if they did so, were accused of being prostitutes and named all kinds of awful names,” says Bamber, who attributes a shift in public perception — and certainly a different perspective on the situation when considering it in 2019 — to the two women.
“I think now when people see ‘The Trial of Christine Keeler,’ I just think and hope it will mean that people aren’t so quick to judge and put labels on these two young women,” says Bamber. “And try to understand the situation they were in, because they were both so young. Mandy was 18, and to be thrown to the lions at that age is an incredible thing to have to go through.”
And like Cosette, Bamber views Rice-Davies’ path as ultimately representative of hope: She leveraged the media attention for success and fortune.
“So she takes this horrible situation where she’s named a prostitute and a poor girl, and she just kind of drives on,” adds Bamber. “And it’s just amazing to see like a woman who wasn’t defined by that one situation and who just then lives her life afterwards.”
In addition to the interview, Ellie’s new portraits were made for publication. The photos were taken by Olivia Thompson and you can see them by clicking on the photos below;
Ellie gave an interview to the Evening Standard where she talked about ‘The Trial of Christine Keeler’. Read the interview below.
Rising star Ellie Bamber has said she was “drawn” to the complex female roles in her new drama about one of the great scandals in British politics.
The Les Miserables actress, 22, finished shooting The Trial Of Christine Keeler, a six-part BBC One drama about the Profumo Affair, this week.
It also stars James Norton, of McMafia and Grantchester fame, Silent Witness star Emilia Fox and Sophie Cookson, best known for her role in the hit Kingsman movies, who plays Keeler, a 19-year-old model who had a brief affair in 1961 with prime minister Harold Macmillan’s secretary of state for war, John Profumo. It sparked a political crisis for the government in 1963.
Bamber plays model and showgirl Mandy Rice-Davies, the friend who introduces Keeler to Profumo’s wealthy set. The actress said: “I don’t think the story of Christine and Mandy has ever been told from a woman’s point of view. This [drama] is definitely from that side. I think it’s really important because they weren’t prostitutes, they weren’t whores, they were just two very, very young women who were totally manipulated and called names that they definitely weren’t.”
Bamber, who gained recognition for her turn in Tom Ford’s Oscar-nominated film Nocturnal Animals, in which her character is brutally raped and murdered, also recently completed filming a “really harrowing” crime movie, The Seven Sorrows Of Mary
She had to wear a hairpiece for the role in the Keeler drama, meaning she could walk down the street unnoticed. “My hair is a lot shorter and I have my fake fringe on when I’m playing Mandy, so I have to walk around in that sometimes,” she told the Evening Standard shortly before filming ended. “I haven’t really noticed it [fan attention] at all. I’m just really enjoying the work.”
Bamber, whose profile rose on winning an Ian Charleson Award for her 2017 performance as Hilde in Ibsen’s The Lady From The Sea at the Donmar Warehouse, is keen to return to the London stage. She said: “I really, really, really want to get back to the stage soon … I don’t really have one particular role in mind, but I would just like to be stretched and to find a few interesting female characters who go on a real journey throughout the play.”
From this week, Bamber’s portrait will hang alongside stars such as Natalie Dormer, of Game Of Thrones, in J Sheekey, a restaurant in Covent Garden. The exhibit, shot by celebrity photographer Chris Floyd, “recognises the new wave of talent” in the capital. Bamber said she feels “really honoured” to be included.
Les Miserables and Nocturnal Animals star, Ellie Bamber goes speed dating with GLAMOUR’s @JoshSmithHosts and reveals some surprising facts about her. Ellie reveals what crisp flavour she would be “Spaghetti Bolognese” (NICHE!), sums her character in contemporary dance and that her dream role would be Britney Spears in ‘Britney Spears: The Musical.” Who else is praying that might actually happen IRL?
See the screen captures by clicking on the thumbnails below.
Ellie Bamber was photographed by David Oldham for the Spring/Summer 2019 issue of the GLAMOUR UK’s. I added the beautiful photoshoot to the gallery. Check out below!
You can check out the full interview with Ellie by clicking here.
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.”