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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Ellie Bamber and James Frecheville (Animal Kingdom) are set to headline crime pic The Seven Sorrows of Mary.

The film will be directed by Portuguese writer-director Pedro Varela (Os Filhos Do Rock) from his own screenplay, with shoot getting under way this month in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Inspired by true events, the harrowing story follows Mary (Bamber), a 21 year old American exchange student, who is about to finish up her year abroad in Brazil. While out for a night on the town with her boyfriend Gabriel (Frecheville), they are both kidnapped. Gabriel is repeatedly beaten while Mary is raped by her captors during a six-hour abduction nightmare. After she gets away Mary is forced to choose between seizing a chance at freedom and letting Gabriel be killed, or returning to her brutal attackers.

The English-language film is produced by Blanche Filmes, Brazil and René Bastian of Belladonna Productions (Transamerica, Cold In July).

On paper, Bamber’s role has an echo of her memorable turn in Tom Ford’s Oscar-nominated Nocturnal Animals. The rising actress will next be seen in Disney’s The Nutcracker And The Four Realms and BBC’s Les Miserables.

Frecheville recently starred in BBC-Netflix gothic drama Requiem and will next be been starring opposite Hugo Weaving, Jim Broadbent and Barry Keoghan in Irish historical drama Black 47.

Bamber are Frecheville are repped by UTA. Bamber is additionally repped by Curtis Brown in the UK and Frecheville by MGMT and Sloan Offer.