Welcome to Admiring Felicity Jones, your best source for everything Felicity Rose Hadley Jones since 2016. Felicity is known for her roles in The Theory of Everything, Inferno, A Monster Calls & Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Our goal is to keep you updated with every project, photoshoot and news from the career of the British actress. Enjoy your stay.
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The actress has dealt with stormtroopers, Stephen Hawking and the US Supreme Court during her career, but as the release of her latest film approaches, she tells Gavanndra Hodge how having a baby during lockdown was her most challenging role yet

It’s one of those dreaded conversations. You’ve just started your dream job when you discover you’re pregnant. How do you tell your new boss? This was what happened to the actress Felicity Jones, who had taken the role of the astronaut Sully in The Midnight Sky, a film starring and directed by George Clooney. Production had already begun when Jones had to make the call.

“I think I might have told George Clooney that I was pregnant before I told some of my friends and family,” Jones says over Zoom, sitting in an upstairs bedroom of her terrace house in London, late on a dark Friday afternoon. “But George was very determined to keep me in the film, and the more we explored it, the more it felt right to include the pregnancy as part of the story. It was really nice that I could play what was happening to me personally as well as playing the character. George was very modern in his approach and actually quite revolutionary in not wanting to hide it. In the end it was a much cooler way of navigating the story.”

The Midnight Sky is an end-of-days space opera set in the near future. Jones’s character is part of a crew manning the last ship in space, returning home after investigating the potential of another planet to sustain life. Meanwhile, back on Earth, an apocalyptic event seems to have killed most people except Clooney. Life and art intersected in troubling ways during filming, the insularity and joy of the set — “George is even nicer and funnier than you would expect,” Jones says. “He is just very honest, very straightforward, very unvain, very intelligent” — contrasting with news reports about Covid-19’s spread in China. “Soon after shooting we went into lockdown. It was so strange to be acting something and then, within weeks, going through it in reality. I remember thinking, I much prefer pretending.” Furthermore, Jones gave birth to her son in April, as deaths and hospital admissions were reaching their (first) peak in the UK. “To have a baby in an apocalyptic moment is pretty scary,” she admits.

Jones, 37, was raised in Bournville, just outside Birmingham. Her parents divorced when she was three and her mother was “quite a hippy. It was that time of the Body Shop and she very much believed in making your own fun, playing outside, using your imagination, rather than being plonked down in front of the television.” There was no video player at home, so Jones and her older brother, Alex, spent a lot of time at the local multiplex watching Nineties blockbusters. “But my uncle Michael Hadley, who died recently, was an actor, so we used to see him in the theatre, in things like Ibsen and Shakespeare. We had the full high-low cultural education.”

Jones was working as a professional actress from the age of 12, in children’s TV series and films such as The Treasure Seekers, which also starred an equally youthful Keira Knightley. From 15 she played Emma Grundy (née Carter) in the Radio 4 series The Archers, which she continued to do while studying English at Wadham College, Oxford — in between reading Virginia Woolf, participating in student theatre productions and trips to London for all-nighters at the nightclub Fabric. The lack of a drama-school education has been no impediment to Jones’s rise; her career encompasses everything from (numerous) period dramas and the snowboarding caper Chalet Girl to blockbuster franchises such as the Star Wars spin-off Rogue One. Jones was also nominated for a best actress Oscar for her portrayal of Jane Hawking in The Theory of Everything. Eddie Redmayne, who played Stephen Hawking in the film, as well as starring opposite Jones in last year’s hot-air balloon action drama, The Aeronauts, is extravagant in his praise. “She’s a great pal. A wonderful, wonderful person and a formidable actor,” he says. “I’m glad the bribery is paying off!” she says when I tell her.

The parts Jones chooses tend to be fighters, rebels and trailblazers. One of her defining roles was that of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the late associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, who Jones played as a young woman in On the Basis of Sex. They became friends during the making of the film. “She was very open and very vulnerable with me and that is quite special for someone who seems quite scary on the outside.” Jones describes Ginsburg’s death in September as “a massive shock. I read it on my phone … it took my breath away. You don’t realise how much you are pinning on someone. I constantly come back to thinking what would she do in certain situations and how would she navigate them. The way that she managed to make such huge changes in history and just did it through grit and determination and perseverance without seeking any personal glory is pretty remarkable.”

On the Basis of Sex examines gender equality in the home as well as in the wider world, particularly the relationship between Ginsburg and her husband, Martin. Jones married Charles Guard, a British film director she met in Los Angeles, at Sudeley Castle in the Cotswolds, in 2018. She won’t say who does what around the house (she’s adept at swerving questions that get too personal, such as the name of her baby boy), but, to be honest, it sounds like the couple haven’t had the time for a gender-equality chat. “Parenting is just a rollercoaster of fatigue, celebrating that you have got through each day at about 7.05pm, and then realising you have to live your entire life between the hours of 7 and 10.30,” she says.

Despite the challenges, having a baby in lockdown hasn’t been all bad. “My husband and I have been calling it double lockdown. You’re pretty much removed from the world anyway in those first few months. And at least I don’t have to feel a sense of missing out.” In an attempt to embrace this moment of communal pause fully, Jones has been reading a book about hygge. “It’s the Danish theory of comfort. It’s a doctrine of enjoying the ordinary, and that seems very appropriate.” Much like the rest of us, she has been making banana bread — “I’ve burnt three loaves” — and working out in the living room with her mini weights, listening to Lizzo “and a bit of drum’n’bass out of nostalgia for my student days”. She has, though, started thinking about having a bit more variation in her life beyond her 7pm G&T (“Cotswolds Gin, I highly recommend it”) and the tracksuit bottoms and baggy jumpers that she has been wearing for the past six months. “I’m really ready for a few crazy parties. I am even thinking about the possibility of wearing jeans again.”

There will be no premiere for The Midnight Sky and there probably won’t be one for Jones’s next film, Last Letter from Your Lover, an adaptation of a Jojo Moyes novel co-starring Shailene Woodley that will be released in 2021, by which time, hopefully, cinemas will be open once more. “I feel that theatre and film will return with a vengeance,” Jones says. “We will be craving group activity and community. I know I can’t wait for that.” [Source]

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Current Projects
The Midnight Sky

Role: Sully Ginsburg
Release Date: 2020
A scientist, alone in the Arctic, tries to make contact with a spacecraft returning to Earth.
Last Letter from Your Lover

Role: Ellie Ginsburg
Release Date: 2020 - 2021
A young journalist in London becomes obsessed with a series of letters she discovers that recounts an intense star-crossed love affair from the 1960s.
Borderland

Role: Unknown
Release Date: Unknown
An IRA member hunts for his wife's murderer, while also being tracked by the same killer.
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