Though producing pal Brian Grazer recently managed to score some renewed interest in the Dark Tower adaptation, writer / producer Akiva Goldsman isn’t letting the thought that he’ll be polishing that script detract him from finally calling the shots on passion project Winter’s Tale. He’s already reached out to Russell Crowe and Will Smith to take supporting roles and has locked in his female lead, with Jessica Brown Findlay on to star.
Findlay, who appeared in last year’s Albatross, is probably better known these days as Lady Sybil Cawley from Downton Abbey. But she’ll be trading contentious toff types for Noo Yoik attitude, playing a dying young woman who falls for the thief that breaks into her swanky West Side mansion.
Goldsman has adapted the story from Mark Helprin’s 1983 novel, a sprawling narrative that flits between modern-day and 19th century New York. There are also supernatural elements to deal with, as Crowe is in talks to play mob boss / part-demon Pearly Soames.
According to Deadline, Kick Ass’ Aaron Johnson and Tron Legacy’s Garrett Hedlund are the current front-runners to take on the burglar role, and Goldsman is set to start shooting this October.
The trailer for Labyrinth is now available to view online right here. Screen captures of Jessica as Alais are in the gallery! I can’t wait to watch the miniseries!
Many upcoming films that were casting young stars a few months ago have been put on hold, but apparently not Akiva Goldsman’s passion project. According to THR, “A Winter’s Tale”, a time-shifting sci-fi romantic epic will be testing actors in New York next week and actresses on March 12. Back in November, we heard that up for the male lead were Benjamin Walker and Tom Hiddleston, and for the female lead starlets lining up included Elizabeth Olsen, Bella Heathcote, Gabriella Wilde and Sarah Gadon. Now, THR’s new report indicates Heathcote, Hiddleston and Walker are still set to test, and Lily Collins and “Downton Abbey” star Jessica Brown-Findlay will test for the female lead as well. It’s unclear if the previously shortlisted ladies are still in the running.
Mark Helprin’s 1983 novel, on which the movie is based, takes place in a New York City that is markedly different from the island as we know it. It takes place in the 19th Century and follows a man named Peter Lake. A bad childhood forced him to join a gang and become a thief, only to end up estranged from the group and making a mortal enemy of its leader, Pearly Soames. On a house robbery, Peter meets and falls for the terminally ill Beverly Penn. She becomes the catalyst and the force of change in his life. Another major character is a mythical flying white horse, Athansor, who acts as Peter’s guardian. Russell Crowe has committed to playing the role of Soames, along with Will Smith agreeing to cameo as a judge, two strokes of luck (along with a trimmed down budget) that has allowed Warner Bros to allow the project to keep going all the while shutting down everything from “Akira” to “Arthur and Lancelot.” Goldsman wrote the script and will make his directorial debut on the project that he has been trying to get made for at least six years.
Walker himself has become available again to new projects after being a victim of one such shutdown production, Alex Proyas’ biblical epic “Paradise Lost”, which Legendary Pictures pulled the plug on a few weeks ago. Meanwhile, he has committed to starring in HBO movie “Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight.” Hiddleston had an incredibly busy 2011 but is relatively free for future projects with only a fall commitment to vampire flick “Only Lovers Left Alive” opposite Mia Wasikowska. Collins, who frequently shows up to test for high profile female roles, also appears to be readily available having only revisionist Shakespearean tale “Rosaline” to film. British thesp Brown Findlay should be even more eager for this opportunity, having only appeared on British TV series and opposite Felicity Jones in British indie “Albatross” thus far and presumably any future seasons of “Downton Abbey” on her plate.
Actress Jessica Brown Findlay, who plays Lady Sybil in Downton Abbey, shows her dark side for jeweller Dominic Jones’ new campaign.
BY Olivia Bergin | 28 February 2012
Downton Abbey fans will know Jessica Brown Findlay as Lady Sybil, a volunteer nurse who tends to sick soldiers during World War I and who devotes her energies to the Suffragette cause. But the 22-year-old actress has landed her most fashionable – and corset-free part to date with a starring role in jeweller Dominic Jones’ new campaign.
With her face painted white and smoky eyes, the Berkshire-born star cuts a haunting figure as she models Jones’ collection of rings, earrings and necklaces from the autumn/winter 2012 collection.
Having previously cast Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine, punk-rock drummer Alice Dellal and model Lizzie Jagger in his campaigns, Jones was introduced to Brown Findlay after sharing a flat with her ex-boyfriend. The two subsequently became close friends.
“She’s a real English Rose” Jones told us. “The collection is quite aristocratic and she was a perfect fit, she has a real natural beauty and is really engaging.”
Jones said his new collection was inspired by tokens and trinkets which knights brought back from the crusades for their daughters. “They almost look like museum pieces” Jones explains, “but with a modern aesthetic.”
Brown Findlay originally trained as a ballet dancer and was invited to dance with the Kirov Ballet at the age of 15, but her dreams were dashed when an ankle operation left her unable to dance again. She then turned her ambitions to painting, gaining a place at Central Saint Martins to study Fine Art, and enrolled in acting classes. She got down to the last three for the lead in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, and will be gracing our screens again soon in the television adaptation of Kate Mosse’s book Labyrinth.
She is joined in the campaign by Mary Charteris, the model niece of heiress and haute couture collector Daphne Guinness.
DOWNTON Abbey beauty Jessica Findlay-Brown is getting in the mood for her character to have a baby — by gorging on pies.
Lady Sybil wed Irish chauffeur Branson last year and her pregnancy was announced in the Christmas special of the hit ITV1 drama.
The third series, screened later this year, will focus on her and the baby.
Jessica said: “I am eating lots of pies in preparation. I am taking my role very seriously.
“I have watched Call The Midwife and it has made me absolutely terrified.”
She promised that the new series will be just as dramatic as the previous two.
She said: “It has got some killer moments in it.
“I’m so excited to be back with everyone because we all get on so well together.”
Jessica Brown Findlay has confessed that “even the red carpet” leaves her starstruck at showbiz events.
The actress works alongside stars such as Dame Maggie Smith and has an audience of millions on Downton Abbey, but premieres and awards dos still give her the jitters.
The 22-year-old, who attended the Baftas last week, said: “It is completely nerve-wracking. To say it wasn’t would be lying, massively, they are scary… Awards are kind of surreal and it’s just amazing to be invited.
“Even the red carpet starts making me go, ‘Wow!’ Just as I was getting out of my car at the Baftas, George Clooney just got out of his car, which was wonderful, because it massively took the pressure off me, and I could just run up the carpet.”
Jessica will be joined on the next series of Downton by US star Shirley MacLaine, who will play her character Lady Sybil’s maternal grandmother.
“I haven’t met her yet, I’m really excited to meet her, and probably a little bit nervous, I should be I suppose, I should be nervous about that,” Jessica said.
“There’ll be cat fights all over the place (between Shirley and Dame Maggie),” she teased. “No, I’m really excited, it’s going to be wonderful to have those two hugely established actors together.”
Jessica remained tight-lipped about what lies in store for Lady Sybil and her new husband Branson.
“They’re just a really beautiful couple and I’m so glad it worked out for them. I’m really excited to go through all the scripts and see what will happen to them,” she added.
What is your relationship like with Jessica Brown Findlay (Sybil) on the set?
“We laugh a lot, sometimes too much and we get in trouble. she corpses very easily (thats laughing during a take)”
Are you happy that Branson finally gets to kiss Sybil?
“YES!!! It took long enough. In the story Branson has to be the most patient man IN THE WORLD! No wonder he spent so long polishing the Car Horn…… ahem”
If you don’t know the name Jessica Brown Findlay, commit it to memory now. The 22-year-old actress is best known for her role as the vaaaaary posh Lady Sybil Crawley in Downton Abbey, but now, audiences will see her donning a Princess Leia wig – along with that gold bikini – for her film debut in Albatross. Take it from us, the film sees her behaving pretty badly – think bosom-flashing and flings with the father of her best friend, who’s played by Felicity Jones. So Grazia Daily thought it high time to have a chat with the rising star, about her latest role, her sartorial choices and a certain Duchess of Cambridge…
Grazia Daily: You’re quite a girl’s girl in how you dress so what did you make of Emilia’s punky style?
Jessica Brown Findlay: Emilia’s adorable in the sense that she just throws stuff together and demands to be looked at. She doesn’t seem to realise that she’s wearing every single colour under the sun and not the most appropriate footwear! It was really fun playing her and I loved her leather jacket, I didn’t want to give it back!
Grazia Daily: Did you end up buying your own leather jacket?
Jessica Brown Findlay: I did, yes! She inspired me to buy one myself from The Kooples.
Grazia Daily: You dress up as Princess Leia in the film. What would be your fancy dress of choice?
Jessica Brown Findlay: Something from the 1920s. I’d go as a flapper girl.
Grazia Daily: Who’s your favourite designer?
Jessica Brown Findlay: I absolutely adore Alessandra Rich, I think her dresses are stunning and she really knows how to cut and dress the female shape. Her stuff is really beautiful, stylish and a little bit quirky. I love it all!
Grazia Daily: What would be your dream red carpet dress?
Jessica Brown Findlay: Something really comfortable that made me feel a little bit cool because I’m not [laughs] but in general, something understated and black! I constantly wear black and grey but I’m starting to think about wearing a little more colour…
Grazia Daily: You recently met the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. What was Kate like?
Jessica Brown Findlay: She was lovely. They seem very happy and very in love. Kate was very sweet and it’s ridiculous how beautiful she is!
Grazia Daily: Are they avid fans of Downton Abbey?
Jessica Brown Findlay: They said that they’d heard of Downton so who knows if they tune in on a Sunday! I love the idea that they do though, that’d be hilarious!
Grazia Daily: What do you think of Kate’s style?
Jessica Brown Findlay: She just gets it right all the time. She dresses beautifully but she still looks like a young woman. It doesn’t look too put together and still looks really natural. She’s such a lovely confident girl – I can’t imagine having to look brilliant every single day, but she does!
Grazia Daily: What’s your tip for preparing for a premiere?
Jessica Brown Findlay: I do my own make-up and quite often I do my own hair for premieres as I just prefer to go feeling like myself as much as possible. My main tip would be to have a big lunch as you usually have to wait a very long time for dinner. And line your stomach – that would be my mum’s tip!
Grazia Daily: You’ve got Labyrinth coming up – can you tell us a little bit about that?
Jessica Brown Findlay: We filmed Labyrinth in South Africa for two and a half months and it was just the most unbelievable experience. Lots of sword fighting, mud in hair and lots of weeping! It’s very different from Downton because I was going to work and having mud put in my hair – it’s the other extreme of the look!
Grazia Daily: Felicity Jones is becoming quite the style crush, who would you say your style crush is?
Jessica Brown Findlay: My style icons would be people like Brigitte Bardot and old Hollywood actresses who always look so stunning, cool and chic. I like classic and timeless looks.
Grazia Daily: Is that how you’d describe your style?
Jessica Brown Findlay: I just throw stuff on in the morning but a good red brogue and a nice shirt are all you need. I’m obsessed with shirts and a good brogue. I like to accessorise shirts with a little ribbon tied round my collar or a country style ascot. I’ve also sewed little hearts on some of my sleeves which I’ve done for years because I always wear my heart on my sleeve so if you see a little embroidered heart on my clothes, that’s why!
Albatross is available on DVD on 6 February.
by Bettina Palileo
Jessica Brown Findlay, or Lady Sybil as Downton Abbey viewers know her, attended the 2012 BAFTAs at the Royal Opera House in London. On February 12, the Masterpiece Classic star walked the red carpet with the likes of Harry Potter actors Daniel Radcliffe, Jamie Campbell Bower, and Bonnie Wright.
The Albatross actress went for volume on the red carpet. Jessica picked a gown from her favorite designer Alessandra Rich. Her Fall 2011 dress had a demure neckline, long sleeves, and a ball gown skirt. The black taffeta gown’s only revealing detail was a lace back. The belted waist gave some definition to the otherwise austere gown. A matching black clutch and a wavy updo completed Jessica’s BAFTA Awards attire.
Jessica Brown Findlay favors modest, covered-up dresses which call to mind an era, even older than the Downton Abbey setting. While such dresses do look beautiful, Jessica’s lovely figure would be better flattered by something with a more open, face-framing neckline.
Click here for pictures.
10 February, 2012 | By Wendy Mitchell
EXCLUSIVE: Shoplifters of the World to be directed by Stephen Kijak and produced by Lorianne Hall.
Rising stars Jessica Brown-Findlay (Downton Abbey), James Frecheville (Animal Kingdom), Jeremy Allen White (Shameless’ US version) and Thomas Brodie Sangster (Death of a Superhero)have signed on for the ensemble comedy Shoplifters of the World, to be directed by Stephen Kijak.
The film is set in 1987, based on true events when an American man was devastated by the breakup of The Smiths and broke into a heavy metal radio station, taking the DJ hostage and demanding that he play non-stop Smiths songs. The film is about the gunman, the DJ and four best friends during those fateful hours.
The filmmakers have an offer out to Russell Brand to play the DJ. Read full story »
Downton Abbey star Jessica Brown-Findlay can’t wait to see Shirley MacLaine and Dame Maggie Smith acting together.
The Hollywood star is joining the hit ITV show’s third series as Martha Levinson, the mother of Lady Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern), and Jessica’s character Lady Sybil’s grandmother.
Jessica said: “I’m really excited. It’s going to be hilarious, just these two unbelievable actresses in one room, Maggie and Shirley.
“It’s going to be really good fun. I’m really looking forward to it, what a great person to have in the cast.”
Downton Abbey is now a huge hit in the US as well after winning a Golden Globe.
Jessica said: “It’s wild. I was in LA last week and people had told me that a lot of people liked it over there, but I had absolutely no concept that the hype was as realistic as it actually is. People are REALLY into it.”
Her character Lady Sybil has moved to Ireland after marrying chauffeur Branson and has become a mother.
But Jessica is hoping Sybil remains a wild child in the next series.
She said: “I want to dance a Charleston. That would be cool. We’ll see.”
We love the pomp and circumstance of Downton Abbey: the drama, Maggie Smith’s acid-tongue insults, the brilliant costumes, the stellar cast. And while the on-screen antics keep us all talking, we find ourselves talking about the characters’ off-screen lives too, case in point: how good did the Downton girls look at the Evening Standard British Film Awards last night?
Joanne Froggatt hung up her maid’s uniform for the evening and stepped out in a lace Alessandra Rich gown for the awards bash at the London Film Museum, while Jessica Brown-Findlay, who plays Lady Sybil, also opted for a lace-collared black gown from the rising London-based designer.
Not to be left in the shade, the Abbey’s Lady Cora – Elizabeth McGovern looked red hot in a scarlet prom dress at the event which saw the newspaper honour British film talent.
By Lucy Hunter Johnston
Cookham in Berkshire.
Where do you live in London?
Islington. I live with a flatmate and I want to get a rabbit and call him Gerald.
What advice would you give to a tourist?
Don’t stop walking suddenly on the Underground, someone will walk into you. It really annoys me.
What’s the first thing you do when you arrive back in town?
Wrap up warm, put on The Beatles’ Anthology and walk into Soho.
Which shops do you rely on?
Fopp for reasonably priced music. Rough Trade for vinyl. Bar Bruno in Wardour Street is the best old-school caff in London; I like to people-watch with a £1 cup of tea. Annie’s vintage clothing in Camden Passage, N1, is beautiful. I could eat everything off the menu at The Breakfast Club in Angel.
What’s the most romantic thing someone’s done for you?
Hold my hand while walking through the city, letting me show them all my favourite places while putting up with my jokes.
Who are your heroes?
George Harrison and my mum. When Harrison died I was on a school trip; I was inconsolable and my mum had to pick me up. The world is a more beautiful place because of both of them.
Which is your favourite club?
I adore The Lexington on Pentonville Road for music and table football.
How would you like the opening line of your obituary to read?
‘Her jokes were s*** but we laughed anyway.’
Which animal would you like to be?
A dog, so I could sit on a sofa and get constant attention.
What’s your earliest London memory?
My parents would slow down as we drove past Harrods so I could stare at the displays. For years I didn’t realise it was a shop, I thought it just had nice windows.
What’s the best meal you’ve had?
I had the most amazing steak at The Wolseley recently. It was made even more exquisite by the company. I might have been with my boyfriend…
Do you have a recurring dream?
I used to dream that I was being chased and ran so fast I took off and no one could catch me.
Tell me something I don’t know about London…
There are seven noses in Soho; if you find all seven, it means infinite wealth. So far I’ve only tracked down two.
What do you most like wearing?
A skirt, shirt and brogues.
What’s your biggest extravagance?
Each time I finish a job, I buy a ring. By the end of my career I’ll be weighed down with hundreds if I’m lucky.
If you could live in any building, which would it be?
I studied at Central Saint Martins. The old building on Charing Cross Road is empty now. It should be full of artists, so I’d live there with my friends.
What would you do if you were Mayor for the day?
I’d play music on every street and give everyone free tea. You can’t be in a bad mood with tea and good music.
What was the last play you saw?
Ian Rickson’s Hamlet, with Michael Sheen. It really stays with you.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
The director Niall MacCormick said, ‘No one knows what they’re doing, we’re all just making it up as we go along. It’s OK not to know; that’s the fun of it.’
What was the last album you bought?
The Tallest Man on Earth’s latest.
What are you up to at the moment?
Eagerly awaiting the scripts for the third series of Downton. I’d like my on-screen sister Edith to find love.
Which is your favourite London shop?
I have a weakness for Liberty. It’s something both my mum and my bank balance would prefer me to curb.
What are your best London discoveries?
The people that I’ve met. In the countryside I never quite felt I’d found people I fit in with. Then you come to a city like London and find people just like you. That’s special.
Where did you last go on holiday?
I had a day’s holiday in Brighton recently. We ate fish and chips and I lost money in the arcades. I’m desperate to go to Cuba before it all changes.
The third series of Downton Abbey will be out later this year. Albatross is out on DVD on Monday