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8
Aug 2003
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from Evening Standard Magazine UK / by Emily Sheffield

Sophia Myles beat Sophie Dahl and Rosamund Pike to the coveted role of Lady Penelope in next year’s ‘Thunderbirds’. Now she’s about to star in Hollywood’s vampire tale ‘Underworld’. Not bad for a vicar’s daughter from Isleworth, says Emily Sheffield

Success, easily attained at a young age, can wreak havoc on the most innocent of characters, especially when Hollywood is involved. Thankfully, 23-year-old actress Sophia Myles appears totally without guile. She arives for our interview exactly on time, leaving her airs and graces wrapped in the gossamer folds of Lady Penelope’s Chanel costumes, and is accompanied by her childhood friend, Olivia – ‘because we are trying to spend time together before I move to Los Angeles,’ she says apologetically.

Dressed casually in jeans and white T-shirt, she sits opposite, hands neatly folded in her lap, answering questions with grave sincerity, often glancing towards Olivia for approval. So quiet and self-contained, you wouldn’t guess that Vanity Fair recently hailed her as the Next Big Thing. Last autumn, she beat Sophie Dahl and Rosamund Pike to the coveted role of Lady Penelope, the glamorous secret agent, in a new

14
May 2003
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from More! (UK) / by Rachel Corcoran

She’s already ravished Johnny Depp, and now Sophia Myles has landed the most fab film role of all – Thunderbirds‘ Lady Penelope

Having snapped up the part all girls dream of playing as sexy upper-class bombshell Lady Penelope in next years’s big-screen version of The Thunderbirds, Sophia Myles is well on her way to becoming the UK’s sexiest new talent.

You may know her better for her prim and proper corsetted-up roles in TV period dramas such as Mansfield Park, Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby. But she’s not afraid to give raunchy a go, as witnessed in her steamy scenes with Johnny Depp in From Hell.

So was she star-struck working with Johnny? ‘It didn’t really hit me until I saw him getting out of a car on the film set. I was almost sick,’ laughs Sophia. ‘Then I had to spend about three hours in bed with him and we’d only just met — but he was sensitive, compassionate and just charming.’

Sophia was spotted by a BBC casting director performing in a school play aged just 16, and landed her first role in BBC costume drama The Prince and the Pauper.

Since then, Sophia has been compared to Kate Winslet and told she also bears a close resemblance to Leonardo DiCaprio. ‘Kate Winslet and then Leonardo DiCaprio? I thought they were having a laugh,’ she giggles. ‘But then magazines said I looked like his younger sister. So maybe if they make Titanic 2, I could be their love child!’

But it could all have been so different. With her good A-level grades, Sophia was set to study philosophy at Cambridge. Instead, she decided to accept a handful of acting offers. ‘There I was on Mansfield Park, trying to bring Jane Austen to life, thinking: “I cannot believe I’m being paid for this”.’

And things are only getting better. Sophia’s recently been spotted around London in the passenger seat of the famous pink Thunderbirds car. ‘FAB 1 is the ultimate dream car,’ she grins. ‘I am so thrilled to be playing this iconic character on the big screen.’

If you can’t wait until next year’s release of the film to check out the gorgeous gal, she can be seen in vampire flick Underworld with Kate Beckinsale in September this year.

‘Sometimes I think it can’t go on like this because it’s too perfect,’ she confides. ‘But it’s fun and, if I could afford to, I would pay to do what I do. That’s how much I love it. I just think that while I’m on the wave I’m going to ride it until it breaks.’

10
Mar 2003
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from The Evening Standard (UK) / by Emily Sheffield

Sophia Myles, a 22-year-old vicar’s daughter from Hammersmith, on the day she was shot for Vanity Fair.

I WAS already in Los Angeles when I heard that Vanity Fair wanted to shoot me for their Hollywood Issue. It was all total chance. I’d flown there in mid-January for meetings after learning I was to star as Lady Penelope in a big budget screen version of the Thunderbirds.

I love Los Angeles and had spent last summer filming a vampire movie called Underworld with Kate Beckinsale. I’ve been acting since I was 18 – I got my first part while I was still at my comprehensive in Middlesex. I adore the terrain, the food, shopping and, of course, the constant sunshine.

I was staying with my manager, Pammy Rosen, on Robertson Boulevard, learning to drive, sunbathing and trying not to spend too much money shopping.

Four days after arriving, Pammy said I had a meeting with the West Coast editor of Vanity Fair, Krista Smith. I went to her offices on 21 January.

Although we got on really well, I didn’t expect to hear from her again. But the next day, Pammy called me at lunchtime, very excited, and said I’d been chosen to appear in their annual Hollywood Issue. I couldn’t believe it. I’d never thought that in a million years I’d be photographed for Vanity Fair.

After all, it’s the Hollywood bible and can make or break a young actor’s career. I was going to appear alongside four other up-and-coming American actresses in a shoot entitled The Ingenues. I was the only Brit. And the photo shoot was tomorrow! Thank God I didn’t have any spots.

I arrived at the studio at 9am, dressed in cargo pants and a T-shirt.

I didn’t know any of the other girls but everyone was really friendly and just as excited as me. I immediately bonded with the actress and model Joy Bryant.

There was quite a big crowd: the The photographer, Peggy Sirota, has shot everyone from Tom Cruise to Nicole Kidman, Rene Zellweger, Meg Ryan and Brad Pitt. Now she was going to shoot me. We all had to wear black – amazing outfits from Dolce & Gabanna, Roland Mouret, Yohji Yamamoto and Yves Saint Laurent were hung on rails.

We started fighting over this stunning black net-and-tulle ball gown from Gai Mattiolo but Peggy had already decided that Joy would wear it. As I’ve appeared in lots of costume dramas in tight corsets and sexy gowns [Mansfield Park and Nicholas Nickleby], Peggy wanted to change my image and so chose a simple silk chiffon dress with puffed sleeves and pleated skirt.

Then for a more quirky and contemporary look, she added a scruffy pair of black Converse trainers. I felt embarrassed standing next to Joy and her fabulous dress.

At least, I wasn’t in a corset and knickers like Alison Lohman, though she couldn’t care less.

EVERYTHING was happening very fast.

Makeup was minimal and only took 10 minutes – just lip gloss, mascara, powder and blusher – and we started shooting at midday. I was standing between Joy and Alison, and had to bend my knees because Alison is five inches shorter.

Peggy made it really fun – she never asked us to pose exactly, just stand naturally, or run around, we even started to sing and jump in the air to create different energies. And I had to arm wrestle with Alison. It was all over in 40 minutes. Sadly, we didn’t get to keep the clothes, I wasn’t even allowed those smelly old trainers.

Four days later I was back in cold, grimy west London, where I live with my parents, Peter, a vicar, and June, who works in publishing. We had to wait six weeks to see the photographs, and my parents were over the moon. They still can’t believe I’m in the same magazine as Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Jack Nicholson. And neither can I.

10
Jan 2003
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from The Evening Standard (UK) / by Richard Allen

BRITISH actress Sophia Myles has won the role of Lady Penelope in the live-action Thunderbirds film.

The no-strings-attached big screen version of the Sixties TV puppet show has finally left the launchpad with shooting due to begin in three months’ time.

Myles has appeared in the films Mansfield Park and The Abduction Club. Ron Cook, who has appeared in Chocolat and Mike Leigh’s Topsy-Turvy, will play her everresourceful chauffeur Parker.

The pound sterling50million film will be made in Britain and the Seychelles by Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner of Notting Hill and Bridget Jones’s Diary fame.