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Sophia Myles

August 2004   |   Written by Henry Cabot Beck

BLESS HER, FATHER, WHY DOES SHE GRIN? THE VICAR’S DAUGHTER-TURNED-SAUCY SCREEN VIXEN IS READY FOR HER CULT READY CLOSE-UP

Who could ever fill the iconic pink boots of Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward, the socialite/secret agent of the ’60s puppet TV series Thunderbirds? In this month’s live-action version of the British cult favorite, the daunting task falls to Sophia Myles – and the boots fit just right.

The 24-year-old actress is the product of a sedate middle-class English upbringing, a vicar’s daughter who never did anything more daring than pinch the occasional communion wafer or sip of sacramental wine. “I didn’t really get up to any mischief when I was younger,” Myles claims. She seems to have saved many of her naughtier impulses for film, playing everything from a rapacious vampire in last year’s hit Underworld to the philandering female lead in the upcoming historical romance Tristan & Isolde. “My alter ego must be creeping out,” she admits, “which may be why people keep casting me in vixenish parts.”

As Lady Penelope, Myles is required to save the world and look smashing in her all-pink Chanel wardrobe, cruising land, sea, and sky in her T -Bird limousine. In real life Myles is scared of both heights and water, though her anxieties aren’t without remedy. “I was recently given a copy of the children’s book Lady Penelope’s Secrets,” she says. “But I confess I haven’t really found an opportunity to use any of her secrets in my daily life. Perhaps Lady Penelope can help me deal with my fears.”