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Romola Garai Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (37) | Personal Quotes (37)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 6 August 1982Hong Kong, British Crown Colony
Birth NameRomola Sadie Garai
Nickname Romster
Height 5' 8½" (1.74 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Born in Hong Kong to father Adrian (banker) and mother Janet (journalist), Romola Garai's unusual name is the female version of Romolo, an Italian name for boys (from Latin Romulus, the founder of Rome). She grew up in Singapore and Hong Kong until she was eight when her family returned to lay roots in Wiltshire. At sixteen, she left her parents and youngest sister, Roxy, to live in London with her older sister, Rosie, and attend school at City of London's School for Girls, where her major studies were based on theatre. She got her beginnings as a professional actress when she was spotted in a school production by a casting director looking for girls to play Judi Dench in the ITV drama The Last of the Blonde Bombshells (2000). After that role, she went on with her studies, eventually enrolling in University of London where she majored in English, planning to become a journalist like her mother once was. But after offers for other roles began to come in, she deferred her degree and eventually quit altogether to focus more on her acting career. Romola went on to film Daniel Deronda (2002), I Capture the Castle (2003), Nicholas Nickleby (2002), Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004) and Vanity Fair (2004) with Reese Witherspoon. Not to mention her role in the West End play by Michael Hastings, Calico as Lucia Joyce for which she was nominated Outstanding Newcomer by the Evening Standard Theatre Awards.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Cherie (revised by Albert Sanchez Moreno)

Spouse (1)

Sam Hoare (2014 - present) (1 child)

Trivia (37)

She was at university studying English Literature. She used to sing in a jazz band. A casting agent, scouting at her school for young girls, chose her for her first acting role in The Last of the Blonde Bombshells (2000).
Can play the violin.
Was brought up in Hong Kong and Singapore until she was 10.
She has three siblings: one brother named Ralph and two sisters named Rosie and Roxy.
Romola's paternal great-grandfather, Bernhard "Bert" Garai, was a Hungarian Jewish immigrant who founded the Keystone Press Agency in London in 1924. Romola's other ancestry is English.
Her two oldest siblings Ralph and Rosie were adopted as babies before she and her sister were born.
She had no professional dancing experience before arriving on the set of Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004).
Director François Ozon affectionately calls Romola "his muse".
Has visited Hong Kong, Singapore, Malta, Venice, Australia, Italy, Belgium and Indonesia.
Real hair color is blonde but she occasionally dyes it in real life and for movie roles.
Is a huge fan of The Simpsons (1989), in fact her favorite TV character of all time is Lisa Simpson.
Was François Ozon's first and only choice for the role of Angel Deverell in Angel (2007).
While filming Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004), she became good friends with Diego Luna. They remain close and have a very strong bond.
Her favorite movies are The Wizard of Oz (1939), Orlando (1992) and Fargo (1996).
Was Joe Wright's first choice for the role of Elizabeth Bennett in Pride & Prejudice (2005) before Keira Knightley auditioned. But Joe being a huge admirer of Romola's talent then offered her the role of Briony Tallis in Atonement (2007) as he really wanted to work with her.
Her proudest work as an actress is Angel (2007).
Cites Mike Leigh, Michael Winterbottom, Ken Loach, The Coen brothers, David Lynch and Todd Haynes as her favorite directors and would love to work with them in the future.
Very good friends with Jamie Bell and Charlie Hunnam, whom she met while filming Nicholas Nickleby (2002).
Lives in London, England.
Her last name, "Garai", is Hungarian and is pronounced like "Garaie".
Romola has said her ideal role would be to play the eighteenth century feminist Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797).
Frequently appears dancing in scenes from her films, including Angel (2007), Daniel Deronda (2002) (TV), Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004), I Capture the Castle (2003), Rory O'Shea Was Here (2004) and Vanity Fair (2004).
Her favorite horror movie is The Blair Witch Project (1999).
Loves watching documentaries, her favorites include Bowling for Columbine (2002), The Road to Guantanamo (2006) and Iraq in Fragments (2006).
Favorite actresses are Samantha Morton and Emily Watson.
Received a standing ovation at the Berlin Film Festival for her performance in Angel (2007).
Was officially in the BAFTA long list (equivalent to the semi-finals) for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, for her role in Atonement (2007), which consisted of 15 finalists for each category (except Animated Film). However, she was eliminated in the next round, during which the five official nominees were selected [2008].
Attended the National Youth Theatre.
Finishing her degree in English Literature from Queen Mary, University of London (2008).
Was considered for the female lead in Good (2008), but was not able to do it due to schedule conflicts.
Named as one of the Actresses of the Year by The Independent (2008) for Angel (2007).
Hailed by The Sunday Times Magazine as one of Britain's finest Rising Stars along with Matthew Goode, Hugh Dancy, Eddie Redmayne, Gemma Arterton, Hayley Atwell, Andrea Riseborough, Richard Coyle, Tom Sturridge, Rachel Hurd-Wood, Eliza Bennett, Daniel Mays and Kaya Scodelario (2009).
In January 2008, Romola visited the Syrian-Iraqi border to make a short film called 'No Man's Land' for UNHCR about the 800 Palestinian refugees living in Al Tanaf refugee camp, who have been displaced since the Iraq war.
In her Master's degree, she graduated with a first in English Literature from Open University (2010).
Gave birth to her 1st child at age 30, a daughter in March 2013. Child's father is her boyfriend, Sam Hoare.
Was 1 month pregnant with her daughter when she completed filming on The Last Days on Mars (2013).
Returned to work 6 months after giving birth to her daughter to film Legacy (2013).

Personal Quotes (37)

[on the project Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004)] The filmmakers were obsessed with having someone skinny. I just thought, why didn't they get someone like Kate Bosworth, if that's what they wanted? An actress like that wouldn't worry about whether or not the political ideas were being sensitively or subtly dealt with. They'd do the job, smile and look pretty on the cover of Teen Vogue. There I am, 135 pounds and trying to make art! I was so wrong for it!
[on the premiere of Vanity Fair (2004)] I [showed] my boobs and teeth. I'm useless at it. About 40 per cent of success as an actor is now based on whether you're good at being interviewed and how you conduct yourself. And I'm really bad at that.
[on her dating habits] I date nothing but older men. I've reached a stage in my life where I've started to worry whether it's a fetish or not. What did I find out? I suppose that the only real effect of ageing is deep cynicism - that, and you are maybe a little more comfortable with yourself.
[on the Olympics] I do think the Olympics are a curiously male obsession. Who can run the fastest from here to here? You know what I think? Who gives? Because if you're not running to catch a bus or running to buy me a bunch of flowers, I don't care.
For a long time, I was worried about being typecast. But costume drama is a large part of the work in this country. It's just a bit sniffy to turn up your nose at it.
[on working with Mira Nair in Vanity Fair (2004)] She has the extraordinary capacity to push you as a performer, and yet never make you feel as if you should be afraid to experiment.
The single biggest surprise about acting is how unsexy the lead actors can be when you work with them.
[on her co-star Charlie Hunnam while filming Nicholas Nickleby (2002)] He is a beautiful looking man but you are soon sitting down between scenes, having a cigarette, comparing blisters and talking about your agent.
I am so clumsy. If there's a chance of dropping something or crashing into something, I do it. How sexy is that?
[on discovering a passion for dancing during Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004)] I had the time of my life. I have used every part of my body, plus muscles I did not know I had, because the dancing is a combination of salsa and Latin ballroom. It felt like daily aerobics.
[on Hollywood] ... Hollywood? Well, it's still there, last time I looked.
If you do a lot of period drama, those female characters, nine times out of 10, are going to represent all the good in the world. As a young actress, there's not a lot that you can do to get away from those roles except try and move within them.
[on Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004)] I wouldn't have done something that I thought had no merit in it at all, but I did experience a fall-out from being calculating about your career, believing that you should do something in order to get you somewhere else. It was just creatively unfulfilling.
An actor is just a medium through which the director makes his dreams and imagination come to life. An actor should concentrate on his or her character.
I didn't decide to take the role because I deliberately wanted to further my career, but so I could be proud of my work.
I'm very much into self-improvement - particularly with cinema. I've just started watching Hitchcock films and I recently saw Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine (2002), which was a revelation for me. I do my best to extend my knowledge, but I always seem to be ten steps behind everyone else - but I do try.
It's taken me a while to realize it takes a lot to be a good actor, and you have to respect the craft. Every job I do, I realise how little I know.
[on working with Rose Byrne] She's brilliant. I think that we were good friends and I liked her a lot. She's a lovely, very sensitive actress. That was one of the most enjoyable parts of the film, working with her.
I don't read everything that's written about me. But it filters through. And I know that for everybody that thinks I'm talented and promising, there is somebody out there that thinks that I'm s***!
I'm desperate to find a contemporary film with a character that's interesting, dignified and complex. I struggle to find those parts, and when I do, they usually go to other actresses.
[on playing Nina in "The Seagull"] It's very distressing doing that journey every night, and I have to do whatever I can not to get upset. It's a very sad part.
[on playing Angel Deverell] I think the main challenge is that she's essentially a pretty unattractive person in many ways but you have to approach a character like that believing in them, liking them, trying to understand them and appreciating what their world view is, and so I think that was a challenge occasionally because she wasn't always an easy character to like.
I think for me, the really wonderful and memorable moments was the way that I was able to learn so much working with François who's a very, very specific director and because he's engaged in every single element of the process.
I hate going to places like Soho House [a trendy London members' club] where everyone is an actor who knows everyone else. If you are all actors how are you going to expand your mind?'
Hollywood people have their own trailers, but I'm usually in a three-way. I like the camaraderie. But I read somewhere that Nicole Kidman had the whole top floor of a hotel redecorated when she was staying there. I think that's quite a good idea.
The worst thing you can do as a performer is to judge your character in any way, positively or negatively.
[on François Ozon] He's monumentally gifted - that sounds so terrible and pretentious, I know - but he's made nine brilliant films, all of them so different. So you think to yourself, I might disagree with you on one small thing, but I'm guessing you know what you're doing.
I've done pieces of work that people have hated that I've been incredibly proud of, and other pieces of work that I've done my best, but I, personally, haven't been very fulfilled by, that people have thought is the best thing since sliced bread.
I try and do things that I think will be interesting. Sometimes, I get it right in terms of the fact that people like it, and sometimes, I get it wrong in terms of the fact that people don't like it, but I always try and do jobs which I think will be interesting to me and will help me improve as an actor.
[on playing Briony Tallis in Atonement (2007)] There has to be a real ambiguity about which way her life is going to go. It's a genuine crossroads at the point that I play it. So I think it's important for people to know that she is deeply struggling with this moral conundrum, but not necessarily know whether she is going to find the strength of character to truly absolve herself of this responsibility and find Atonement.
I feel that it's important to fail now and again. For instance, if I go for a job and I don't get it, that makes me not a better person, but more balanced, more aware of what life is really like.
When I was a child, I always wanted to be funny and to please people in my family. As you grow up, that instinct becomes more refined, but it's still there. How can it not be? I just don't believe you're capable of being an actor unless you have a desire to experience your emotions in a public way.
I was 20 years old when, despite mass protests against military action, Iraq was invaded in 2003 - it didn't make for motivated political participation, I can tell you. Yet the last year has brought some hope that the horrors of war might soon end and that I might finally be able to take down my press clipping of Tony Blair's head with a dartboard drawn on it. Unfortunately, my trip to Syria in January destroyed any of this optimism, as I saw first hand the colossal mess that the war has made of the lives of the 1.2 million Iraqis who fled their country.
I live in London and am lucky to have many friends from school, university and work who are from diverse backgrounds. Some of my closest friends are the children of refugees and I have always been fascinated by their stories and the struggle of how they came to the UK and assimilated into society.
[on her visit to the Syrian Iraqi border] I learned a lot about the troubled histories of three different groups: the Palestinians from Iraq, the Iraqis themselves, and the Syrian people. This was a lot of information for someone who is no expert on the Middle East to take in, but it was all absolutely necessary to understanding the situation in Syria.
It's too simplistic to say that people start to believe what's written about them. But what happens is that you become a certain way to please people, to be liked, to be what's expected of you, to change yourself so that you become the best possible version of yourself for people who don't know you. And I think that's a terrible, pernicious thing.
After the recent birth of my child, I had the misfortune of getting 23 stitches in my vagina, so I didn't think I'd be laughing at anything for a long time.

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