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Lady Bird

July 2004   |   Written by Pippa Smith

Following in the footsteps of Kate Beckinsale and Keira Knightley, another Brit star has hit the Hollywood big time. After bit parts in From Hell with Johnny Depp, Mansfield Park and Underworld with Kate Beckinsale, 24-year-old Sophia Myles has secured her first leading role in the £50 million summer spectacular, Thunderbirds.

And it’s not just any blonde bombshell she’s playing. It’s Lady Penelope – International Rescue’s pink-loving, Rolls-Royce-riding secret agent. ‘I’m frightened about Thunderbirds coming out, but excited too. The whole experience has been so overwhelming. I have no idea how the film is going to do. It’s a gamble when you’re remaking something but I hope people like it. It’s comedy, action, science fiction and adventure. There aren’t many good, fun films around at the moment, so it’s nice to be a part of that.’

And of course, let’s not forget the chance to get her hands on the wardrobe from heaven! Sophia has 15 costume changes during the film – all Chanel – and naturally everything, including her car, is very, very pink. ‘It was an amazing crash course in fashion,” she says with an excited giggle. ‘Although I did have trouble with the heels. I never really wear stilettos, but Lady P has loads. The producer knocked on my door one day and said, “Can I come in?” I was convinced I was about to be re-cast. He said, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but we’re getting you a movement coach.” I’d been clumping around like a man in drag!’

If all goes well, playing Lady P will give Sophia reason to change her biggest claim to fame so far – romping naked with Johnny Depp. ‘I flew out to Prague to do this love scene with him and then came home. I was paid money to go to bed with Johnny Depp!’ smiles Sophia, recalling her sex scene with Depp in From Hell. ‘I remember seeing his car pull up and feeling sick with fear. I said, “Hello”, blushed and had to stop myself from puking all over his boots. Sometimes I’m sitting at a bus stop and I just want to shout about it. He’s a brilliant actor.’

It’s a long way from her background. Born in Notting Hill, Sophia is the daughter of Reverend Peter Myles and his publisher wife, Jane.’I was a terrible swot,’ she says. ‘My friends were all getting pregnant and smoking dope, but I didn’t start drinking ’til late. Then I went crazy. My 18th was awful, I got hammered on tequila and fell into some cat litter.’

Now Tinseltown is beckoning, Sophia spends a lot of time out on the town in LA with her friend Keira Knightley. ‘We played sisters in Oliver Twist and it was lovely, because neither of us could get work back then. We were like, “Why are we unemployed? Are we mingers?”‘

With her stunning looks, the answer to that question is easy. And there are a few who have fallen for Sophia’s charms. ‘I’ve had relationships, but I’ve only been in love once,’ she says. ‘I’m not involved at the moment. I’m living my dream. The main thing is that it has to be fun. As soon as it stops being fun, I won’t do it any more.’

Beautiful, successful, and down to earth – perfect.