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 was transformed into the role of 1960s siren Mandy Rice-Davies on Tuesday, as she filmed scenes for The Trial Of Christine Keeler outside Bristol Crown Court.
The former Les Misérables star rocked a blonde beehive, oversized glasses and a mint green frock as she filmed scenes with co-star Sophie Cookson, who plays the model Christine Keeler.
The BBC drama will tell the true story of two models who were embroiled in a political scandal, when Keeler had an affair with the married Secretary Of State For War John Profumo.
The six-part BBC drama is expected to air in November 2019
See the photos by clicking on the thumbnails 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.
Ellie Bamber was spotted filming the new BBC drama ‘The Trial of Christine Keeler’ yesterday in Bristol, UK. She was filming a scene with Sophie Cookson as a mob scream at Keeler and Mandy Rice Davies entering the Old Bailey. Christine Keeler is played by Sophie Cookson and Mandy Rice Davies is played by Ellie.
See the photos by clicking on the thumbnails below.
And it appears Ellie is having a great time on the set with ‘The Trial of Christine Keeler’. In the last week, makeup artist Inma Azorin along with other members of the production and Ellie, Sophie Cookson and James Norton had a small party on the set that seems to have been very lively.
Visualizar esta foto no Instagram.
I love my cast,make up team,costume and AD so much that I organise a tropical dinner-party for them!!! So grateful to work with this bunch!! @laurabernicemua @sarahelizabethharrison @sarawhalleymua @lydianoblemakeup @katherinewarrenmua @jginorton @cookie_soph @elliebamber_ @lxp_f @julesfinch @inma_azorin_mua #funfun #paella #tropicalparty #dancing #headreses #tropicalheaddress #dinnerpartydecor #bestcastandcrew
Ellie Bamber has a confession to make: she judges books by their covers. “Sometimes – and I know people say this is awful – I do just go into a bookshop and think, ‘Oh, that cover looks nice’,” the actor laughs.
But that doesn’t mean the content of the book need be equally palatable. Her current read, My Year Of Rest And Relaxation, which she brings to breakfast with Stylist, has a quaint, period cover. But Ottessa Moshfegh’s second novel “is about this woman who gets loads of sleeping pills and decides to hibernate for a year because she thinks it might help her,” explains 21-year-old Bamber in a Bloomsbury cafe near her central London flat. “It’s intriguing. The author has a dark voice.”
Another less-than-light read is the reason we’re meeting. Bamber recently devoured Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables in anticipation of her role as Cosette in a new dramatisation of the French historical novel. The six-part BBC drama dispenses with songs to stay closer to Hugo’s doorstop of a book. The period piece also draws parallels with contemporary global unrest.
It’s lavish, but it is gruelling. Fans of the novel, the blockbuster musical or this new adaptation on BBC One will know that Bamber’s turn as Cosette comes after several episodes of untold misery. She gets all the nice costumes but she doesn’t escape scot-free. “You see that Cosette is given away by her mother to this extremely abusive family and, as Victor Hugo says, she’s treated like the household drudge by the parents and children.”
We meet the week before Christmas and Bamber is working right up to the break. This is what it’s like when you’re an actor of the moment. She’s just back from shooting a film, The Seven Sorrows Of Mary, in Rio. Currently, she’s juggling work on another British film, The Show (“a comedy shot through an LSD lens”, she laughs) and a second BBC drama. It doesn’t leave much time for rest and relaxation.
“I was filming two different things all last week,” she says. “So I had a fairly chilled out weekend just hanging out and reading this book.”
Bamber has been in demand ever since she started acting at school, where she won drama scholarships. Brought up in Berkshire and with the support of her parents – her mum is her manager – she was on the West End stage with a part in a prestigious Sir Trevor Nunn play, Aspects Of Love, by the age of 13.
Television, theatre and film work followed but it was playing the daughter of Jake Gyllenhaal and Isla Fisher’s characters in Nocturnal Animals that gave her a Hollywood break. Chanel appointed her as an ambassador in 2016. But while Bamber is major red carpet material, she’s much more than outward appearances.
She’s drawn to all sorts of stories, but she excels in dramas that blend her obvious glamour with substantial amounts of grit. It started with Nocturnal Animals. The work of a celebrated designer, Tom Ford’s film looked suitably stylish. But its substance dealt in the knottier, often violent aspects of the human condition. Bamber’s character, in particular, had a grim time of it.
Her new work, discussed over scrambled eggs and Americanos, also sits on the grittier end of the spectrum. The Seven Sorrows Of Mary is a terrifying-sounding thriller about a tourist couple who are kidnapped and tortured by a gang in Rio de Janeiro. The other BBC drama in the works is The Trial of Christine Keeler, a take on the political sex scandal that rocked the British establishment in the Sixties, written and directed by women.
Bamber plays Christine Keeler’s friend and fellow showgirl Mandy Rice-Davies, who challenged the characterisation of herself as a fallen woman. It’s a meaty role that should seal 2019 as Bamber’s year. She shows Stylist a snap on her phone of herself in character, complete with Sixties’ bob and red lipstick.
But while the actor enjoyed the glitzier side to Rice-Davies, she was drawn to the substance of her story. She read her memoir (Bamber really does her homework) in which the former showgirl proves herself to be more than what the headlines of the time portrayed.
“Mandy was so fun and vivacious, she didn’t hold back,” says Bamber, a woman who clearly likes to look beyond appearances. “But the way these girls got labelled by men at the time… it was a lot.”(more…)