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Get ready for… Sophia Myles

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.’

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The day I got my big break

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.

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Sophia is Go as Lady Penelope

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.

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Chat Transcript – Sophia Myles

from Tiscali – The 2002 European Film Awards

Moderator : Sophia Myles is next up, send questions now!

Emily pop : Sophia Myles – It’s every girl’s dream to know Johnny Depp, is he a nice as he appears to be? from Emily

Sophia Myles : Nicer!

Sophia Myles : He’s one of the most charming people I’ve met, really grounded

Chezzy 121 : Sophia Myles: You have done TV mini series and films – is there any difference in the way they are shot? from Chez

Sophia Myles : The process of making films is much longer.

Sophia Myles : TV is made faster.

Sophia Myles : I really enjoy TV as I get bored quickly

Sophia Myles : When we did From Hell we spent about 3 hours doing a scene doing a scene with 6 lines of dialogue.

blimey : Do you ever want to go into directing or is acting your end goal?

Sophia Myles : I really haven’t thought about it because I’m still learning so much about what I do at the moment and barely feel that being here as an actress let along a director.

Sophia Myles : I was spotted in a play when I was 16 so it’s all come as a bit of a shock!

blimey : Which director would you most like to work with?

Sophia Myles : Steven Spielberg

Sophia Myles : Thanks bye

Scanner : George, when can I have your job??? LoL

Moderator : Please do, my back is killing me.

widescreen : what happens when one of you two needs to go to the loo?

Moderator : Some one goes for us, we are now famous.

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Foyle’s War – Sophia Myles

Press Release

Sophia Myles found learning the foxtrot for her role as Susan in Foyle’s War quite a challenge.

“It was a nightmare! I was dancing with Elliot Cowan, who plays Susan’s admirer Peter Buckingham. He is a dancer but I like to take the lead. We were both incredibly strong and in rehearsals we were fighting to win. We marked out all our movements on the floor, but on the day we filmed the ball scene there was nothing there to help us – surprisingly it was quite easy.

“I’ve trained for all the movements before, but on ice. I learned for The Snow Queen, a film that unfortunately collapsed, but it has become my exercise. I love ice-skating and I’m better on ice than on the ground.”

Sophia plays the downtrodden daughter of Lawrence Gascoigne (Oliver Ford Davies).

“Susan is repressed by her family and the society she lives in. She’s a victim of parental bullying and the cold, bleak nature of the house reflects the dynamic of the family. Her parents treat her like a 14-year-old instead of 22 and she still dresses like a child.

“She is sensitive, compassionate and full of life. The film sees her battling between the strong morals imprinted in her brain by her family and what she feels in her heart. She’s fallen in love with Peter, knowing she is going against her family’s morals. It’s a classic struggle against class. She also takes in an evacuee in an attempt to bring some kind of humanity into the house.”

Unlike her character, Sophia bonded with her on-screen parents.

“Cheryl Campbell plays my mother and we clicked immediately. I told her that I get very nervous and giggly in an eating scene and she confessed she felt exactly the same. So we were conspiring together not to laugh. In reality we both love spicy food so we are planning a night out together. And Oliver Ford Davies was dedicated and very frightening when he turned it on as my father!”

Twenty-two-year-old Sophia turned her back on a Cambridge degree to become an actress and her TV credits include Big Women, Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby and Close and True. On film she played Susan in Mansfield Park, appeared as Johnny Depp’s wife in From Hell and starred in The Abduction Club, with Matthew Rhys and Nigel Hawthorne.

“In real life I’m energetic and hardworking, not a demure, corseted maiden. I’ve done a piece called Money Can Buy You Love for Channel 4’s Dogma TV strand where I play the girlfriend of a rent boy living in a council flat in the East End. It was refreshing to do something contemporary – such a change from high-heeled shoes and a corset, I felt like I was acting in my pyjamas.”

Adds Sophia: “I recently visited LA and had 53 meetings in three weeks. It’s an incredible city and I’d be quite happy to uproot and live there if the right projects come off. London is my home, but I’m a nomad and I’ll travel where the work takes me.”

September 2002; Publicity Release