Hayley Elizabeth Atwell, born April 5, 1982, is a British and American actress. She’s known for her work in stage productions such as A View from the Bridge, and onscreen, for period pieces as the 2008 drama The Duchess, the 2010 historical drama miniseries The Pillars of the Earth and for her portrayal of Peggy Carter in various movies and television series in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Take a look below for 27 more interesting and awesome facts about Hayley Atwell.
1. Atwell was born in London, England, an only child.
2. Her father, Grant, is part Native American from Kansas City, Missouri, photographer turned shaman, who also goes by his Native American name, Star Touches Earth.
3. Her mother Alison is British.
4. Atwell has a dual citizenship of the United Kingdom and the United States.
5. By the time Atwell was two years old, her parents separated. Her father returned to the United States, and Atwell and her mother lived in a bohemian enclave in the Ladbroke Grove area of west London, where Atwell was raised.
6. While Atwell visited her father in the United States every summer, she grew close to her mother, and has described their relationship as more akin to friends in the vein of “Ab Fab” than that of mother and daughter.
7. After attending Sion-Manning Roman Catholic Girl’s School in London, she took A-levels at the London Oratory School.
8. Atwell was offered entry to Oxford University to read theology and philosophy, but she failed to acquire the requisite A-level grades. She would later reflect on this, saying, “I think I kind of sabotaged it to be honest. I remember after it all happened and it was clear I wasn’t going to go to Oxford I felt liberated.”
9. Atwell took two years off to travel with her father and work for a casting director.
10. After her travels, Atwell enrolled at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she trained for three years.
11. Her contemporaries at Guildhall included actress Jodie Whittaker, whom Atwell would later describe as a “great friend,” and Michelle Dockery, with whom she would later work in Restless.
12. At Guildhall, Atwell met television writer Gabriel Bisset-Smith, with whom she would later enter into a long-term relationship. She graduated in 2005.
13. When she was 9 years old, she walked over hot coals at a Power Into Action workshop that she attended with her mother.
14. As a teenager, she went on anti-vivisection and Free the Dolphins marches.
15. When she was 8 years old, she became a committed vegetarian after seeing Loyd Grossman put a live lobster into boiling water.
16. She auditioned for the role of Dr. Carol Marcus in Star Trek: Into Darkness, which went to Alive Eve.
17. Although Atwell played Lily James’ mother in Cinderella, she’s only seven years her senior in real life.
18. Atwell can do ventriloquism with her mouth closed.
19. She has the same birthday as her Cinderella co-star, Lily James. Coincidentally, both actresses are alumnus from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
20. She admits that the toughest word to pronounce with an American accent is “murderer.” Brits tend to soften the letter “R” as in “muh-d’ruh.”
21. A year before she began her studies at Guildhall School, Atwell’s first on-screen role was in a television commercial for Pringles potato crisps, the proceeds from which Atwell used to pay her first year tuition.
22. Within eight moths of graduation from Guildhall, Atwell won her first feature film role, in Woody Allen’s 2007 movie Cassandra’s Dream, playing stage actress Angela Stark.
23. In a 2015 interview, Atwell discussed how her role as Peggy Carter influenced a then-recent tweet she made to her 319,000 Twitter followers about having her image digitally altered on the cover of a German magazine.
24. Seven years after meeting television writer Gabriel Bisset-Smith at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Atwell began a long-term relationship with him. By December 2012, the relationship ended.
25. As of 2010, Atwell lived in a flat in the Primrose Hill area of London. In 2015, she moved to Los Angeles to be close to the production of Agent Carter.
26. During the filming of Captain America: The First Avenger in 2010, Atwell took a three month course in art history and haiku at the Open University.
27. On August 2, 2017, it was announced that Atwell will star as Evelyn in Disney’s live action Winnie the Pooh movie Christopher Robin directed by Marc Forster, co-starring Ewan McGregor.