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Felicity Jones: Let’s Talk About the Star of Rogue One

Soon to be a household name as the star of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, hitting theaters later this year, the young actor is probably unknown to most, even though she’s been working steadily since the late 1990s. Who is this bright ‘new’ face we’re all falling for? Let’s find out. But first, watch her in the latest trailer for Rogue One and see why she’s getting all the buzz.

Felicity Jones was born in England in 1983, raised by her single mom, growing up with acting becoming her career choice early, landing small parts as young as eleven. It would be 1996 before she got her first significant role as Alice in a British TV movie called The Treasures Seekers about a family needing to raise money quickly before their home is repossessed. This led to other television roles, most notably another British series called The Archers, famous for being the longest-running soap opera in television history. After more TV work and her stage debut in 2007, she turned heads in a British film adaptation of Brideshead Revisited, playing Lady Cordelia Flyte, a smaller part but one that earned praise.

Felicity Jones
Cemetery Junction, 2010

In 2010, she landed a part in a coming-of-age comedy/drama written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephent Merchant, the team behind the hugely popular British series The Office, which had made its way to the Untied States as an American comedy. Cemetery Junction is set in the 1970s, centered on three working class young men and their lives in the dismal suburbs. Jones plays Julie, one of the boy’s former girlfriend and has impact on his future. She charmed critics and though it was a smaller part, was very memorable. But it would be a few more minor British roles before she got her break.

Felicity Jones
Like Crazy, 2011

In 2011, she was cast as British exchange student Anna Gardner in the Drake Doremus directed romantic drama Like Crazy. She stars opposite Anton Yelchin, an American student who wins her heart. She makes a fateful choice to stay in Los Angeles beyond her student visa, unaware of the consequences until she goes home and then tries to return to the United States, where she is denied and sent back. A unique experience, the film is nearly entirely improvised, as the actors worked off a 50-page outline. Both Jones and Yelchin were highly praised for their personal performances.

Felicity Jones
Albatross, 2011

That same year (a busy one for the actor), Jones played Beth in the critically mixed Albatross. Beth befriends an aspiring writer who a descendant of Arthur Conan Doyle and takes a job as a cleaner in Beth’s home. The two explore their rebellious sides, but when an affair begins between Emelia (Jessica Brown Findlay) and Beth’s father, things become strained. While the film earned high marks in Britain, it failed to find an audience or the same adoration in the US. But it didn’t slow down Jones.

Felicity Jones
Breathe In, 2013

For the next few years, she took minor roles, but got back on the radar with another Drake Doremus film called Breathe In. Playing another exchange student, this time named Sophie, she moves into the home of Keith Reynolds (Guy Pierce), a frustrated high school music teacher in a bad marriage and a failed music career. Sophie is also a talented musician but has given up her passion. The two bond and begin a love affair, which naturally has tragic consequences. The film was generally well-received, with Pierce’s work the most notable praised, though Jones holds her own and gives a sensual, emotional performance.

Felicity Jones
The Invisible Woman, 2013

Next up came a starring role. Playing Ellen “Nelly” Ternan, Jones earned very his praise in the Ralph Fiennes directed movie adaptation of Claire Tomalin‘s book, The Invisible Woman. Ellen is an eighteen-year-old actress who catches the eye of then forty-five-year-old writer Charles Dickens (Fiennes). They develop a complicated relationship as the unhappily married man wishes not to compromise the young woman’s reputation but is so enamored it becomes impossible not to. A challenging role, Jones won critical celebration for her work, opening the door to major movie stardom.

Felicity Jones
The Amazing Spider-Man 2, 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is the sequel to the reboot of the series that met with troubling criticism and studio meddling. A superhero franchise that failed to win many fans, it tanked and disappeared, forcing the series to shift gears. In this mix was Jones, playing Felicia Hardy, an assistant to Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), one of many characters lost in the loud, unbalanced story. But as big a mess as that was, she had other things happening that year and would reach a success few in the business achieve.

Felicity Jones
The Theory of Everything, 2014

The Theory of Everything is the fictionalized biography of famed theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, and his struggle with motor neurone disease. Jones plays Jane Wilde, a literary student who falls in love with the brilliant and charming Hawking before he is diagnosed. Earning an Academy Award nomination (among many others) for her moving portrayal in this controversial adaptation, she won many new fans for her work. While she had been acting most of her life, she was finally a star.

Felicity Jones, now 32, is a multi-talented actor with a unique look and wide appeal. A huge departure for her is her upcoming role as Jyn Erso, in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (read our Sneak Peek). Her first action and sci-fi role, she is the second female to take the top spot in the new Star Wars films, after Daisy Ridley‘s turn as Rey in Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens. With the massive global fanbase of the Star Wars name, this is certainly going to be a seismic shift for Jones as her character will forever be iconic, and she will have a place in one of cinema’s greatest legacies. She has two other films releasing his year, a drama/fantasy called A Monster Calls, directed by J.A. Bayona, and Inferno, a follow-up to the popular Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) films based on the book by Dan Brown. We’re sure to see a lot more of this talented star.

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