While most of the cast were announced at the press conference or in the press release that followed, Helen McCrory was one of two actors confirmed for Skyfall via the official 007 Twitter feed on 7th November. Her role was announced during an appearance on British television when she revealed she would play a British politician named Clair Dowar.
Helen McCrory was born on the 17th of August 1968 to parents Anne Morgans, a physiotherapist and Ian McCrory, a diplomat. Her earlier education took place at the Queenswood, Herefordshire. Following a short period abroad in Italy, she returned and commenced training at the Drama Center in London.
She began her career on stage quickly gaining a reputation for her brilliance in the theatre. Her performance in “Blood Wedding” won her the Manchester Evening News Best Actress Award. She also won the Ian Charleson award for classic acting for her performance in Trelawney of the Wells where she played the role of Rose Trelawney. Other notable performances include her productions at the Almeida Theatre such as Five Gold Rings and The Triumph of Love (with Chiwetel Ejiofor) as well as work at the Royal Shakespeare Company which includes “Les Enfant du Paradis“—a role that she played opposite James Purefoy, Joseph Fiennes and Rupert Graves.
At the Donmar Warehouse, where she worked with Sam Mendes, her list of achievements includes playing the lead roles in “Uncle Vanya” and “Twelfth Night.” Her performance in Twelfth Night earned her nominations from the New York Drama Desk awards and the Evening Standards Best Actress Award while Uncle Vanya, McCrory drew a nomination for the London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actress. She was nominated for the 2006 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award based on her performance in London’s West End production As You Like It.
After a handful of movies, she gained onscreen critical recognition for her role in Streetlife (1995), a television film directed by Karl Francis. For her Performance as “Jo”, she won the BAFTA award for best actress. She would also win the Critics Circle Best Actress Award for her performance as Rose Fitzgerald in North Square (2000), a Channel 4 series.
Other notable work on television includes her lead roles the series Anna Karenina (2000) and Carla (2003). She also played supporting roles in Dad Savage (1998), Interview with the Vampire (1994), Lucky Jim (2003) and The Count of Monte Cristo (2002). She guest starred in the popular BBC television show, Doctor Who, in the episode “The Vampires of Venice” where she played the character Rosanna Calvierri.
For her supporting performance as Cherie Blaire in the The Queen (2007), she was nominated for the ALFS award. Initially cast in the role of Bellastrix Lestrange for the Harry Porter movies, she was forced to pull out when she got pregnant. She would however return in the role of Narcissa Malfoy (Bellastrix’s sister) for the final three movies.
As well as being an Actress, Helen is also a co-founder (alongside Michael Sheen) of the production company “The Public”. Helen McCrory is married to Damian Lewis, an English actor and producer. Together they both have two children—a daughter, Manon and son, Gulliver. She is the eldest of three children (which includes a brother and sister).