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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

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Sophia Myles

from Total Film UK, August 2002 / by Ceri Thomas

The Abduction Club‘s feisty tomboy on whining actors, playing the virgin and bedding Johnny Depp

Your average thespian probably can’t remember exactly when they decided an actor’s life was for them. Not Sophia Myles. She recalls the instant with crystal clarity.

“The defining moment was being in bed with Johnny Depp,” laughs the 22-year-old. “I thought: ‘Okay, this is serious now… I obviously haven’t done too badly’.” The bedroom antics in question came about when she was cast as Depp’s wife in Ripper thriller From Hell “I flew out to Prague for one night to do this love scene with him and then came back. It infuriates me when journalists say things like: ‘Oh, it must have been so difficult and so on.’ Um, no. I was paid money to go to bed with Johnny Depp. I have a fantastic life!”

Over the last year, that “fantastic life” has seen her appearing in videos for Bush and Ronan Keating, racking up TV work and starring in this month’s The Abduction Club. Set in 18th century Ireland, it centres on the efforts of dashing but poor noblemen Matthew Rhys and Daniel Lapaine to kidnap themselves a rich heiress for a wife. But they bite off more than they can chew when they abduct Myles’ feisty Lady Anne Kennedy.

“I was so excited about The Abduction Club,” says the star of period telly adaptions Oliver Twist and Mansfield Park. “I’ve been playing the innocent young virgin for a long, long time, always the wronged maiden, suppressed and innocent. And suddenly this role came along that was so much closer to me. Anne’s a tomboy, she’s adventurous, she’s upbeat.”

Filmed during three months in Ireland, the shoot wasn’t always easy. “I was just desperate to go out at lunchtime and fly kites with the boys but the costume department said: “No, you can’t. You’ll get your dress dirty.’ Matthew and Daniel complained that it was cold and they had to trundle through this mud. I said: ‘Try it in a pair of high heels and a corset that’s restricting your waist by five inches!”

She’s not complaining though. “I do get pissed off when actors whinge about how it’s hard and it’s not real and all that. But at the end of the day, it has to be fun. And as soon as it stops being fun, I won’t do it any more.”

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Shooting Star

from The Sunday Herald, June 2002 / by Andrew Burnet

On the face of it – and a dashed pretty face it is too – Sophia Myles is a bundle of cliches. Blonde of hair, blue of eye and rosy of cheek, she’s a vicar’s daughter who was spotted in the school play. Then she was studying Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park and plays by Harold Pinter; within two years she was acting in the BBC’s Mansfield Park with Harold Pinter.

Her looks have prompted comparisons with Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio – but you couldn’t call her a dumb blonde. A self-confessed “terrible swot”, she was top of her class at school in London and with straight As in her A-levels was about to take philosophy degree at Cambridge. But then – whoosh! – her career took off like a space probe.

Her first television role was as Lady Jane Grey in a BBC adaptation of The Prince And The Pauper. She was 16 at the time – four years younger than Helena Bonham Carter was when she played the 16th-century nine-days queen. Bonham Carter has been bemoaning typecasting, and Myles will have to tread carefully to avoid it. Apart from Susan in Mansfield Park, her costumed English roses include Kate Nickleby in Nicholas Nickleby and Agnes Fleming, Oliver’s mother, in Oliver Twist (both for ITV). A minor character in the novel, Agnes was built up as a tragic heroine in Alan Bleasdale’s adaptation, though mostly in flashback, having died at the start. Myles’s characters are prone to dying young, a misfortune also visited on her as Johnny Depp’s wife in From Hell.

This month marks her cinematic debut in a leading role, though as another corseted coquette. In The Abduction Club she stars as Anne Kennedy, one of two wealthy sisters in 18th-century Ireland, pursued by aristocratic but skint young rakes who belong to a club devoted to kidnapping and seducing moneyed maidens with a view to a dowry. But with Anne and Catharine they’ve bitten off more than they can woo.

Now 22, Myles has shrugged off those cleavage-enhancing period gowns once or twice. Her cv includes two pieces by Fay Weldon: the feminist publishing satire Big Women, for Channel 4, and the stage play Alice May And Rowan Baker. She can also be seen soon as a boarding-school bad girl in the spooky British thriller Dead In The Water. “I was stunned by Sophia’s performance,” says its writer/ director Merlin Ward. “She has talent and beauty that truly light up the screen.”

We’ll be seeing more of them.

Dead In The Water is released on VHS and DVD on June 24 The Abduction Club is released on July 19