English actress Emily Mortimer is the daughter of writer and barrister Sir 'John Mortimer (I)' (qv) and his second wife, Penelope. She was educated at St Paul's Girls' School in West London, and it was whilst there she began acting. Mortimer moved on from school to Lincoln College, Oxford University, where she studied English Literature and Russian, and spent two terms at the Moscow Arts Theater Drama School, studying acting. While appearing in an Oxford University student production, Mortimer was spotted by a TV producer who cast her in an adaptation of 'Catherine Cookson (I)' (qv)' s _"The Glass Virgin" (1995)_ (qv). She made her feature film debut in 1996 alongside 'Val Kilmer' (qv) in _The Ghost and the Darkness (1996)_ (qv). Roles in various projects have followed, including _Elizabeth (1998)_ (qv), _Love's Labour's Lost (2000)_ (qv), _Match Point (2005)_ (qv), _Lars and the Real Girl (2007)_ (qv), _Shutter Island (2010)_ (qv) and _Hugo (2011)_ (qv). During the making of _Love's Labour's Lost (2000)_ (qv), Mortimer met her husband 'Alessandro Nivola (I)' (qv). The couple have two children, Samuel and May.
- This is not meant to have happened to me at all. I am a Sloane, from the Chilterns.
- To be in the hands of an auteur like ['Andrey Tarkovskiy' (qv)], that would be just brilliant. But I don't know if those kind of films can ever be made any more. To get art nowadays, in cinema or books or anything, that grapples with the possibility of a meaningless universe . . . it just doesn't happen any more. In even the most indie of the indie films, everything has to come to some kind of neat conclusion. But that's part of the problem with politics and history and everything today, that people think there's a right and a wrong, a good and a bad . . . maybe there just isn't . . . .
- I have to say that, though it sounds so superficial, the accent really does help. I like having accents preparing for a part. It's a hard thing to do, to be given a script, and know that you've got to turn up on the first day of the shoot - generally without having had any rehearsal - and present a character. It's really baffling; it's incredibly hard to know how to begin, to approach it, other than just thinking about it. But how do you think about it? There's no guidebook.
- Until Frankie [_Dear Frankie (2004)_ (qv)], I didn't realise that feeling part of a film was about staying up late, getting drunk, smoking and all that. And I wasn't doing it, obviously; or if I did, I felt racked with guilt about it. That was odd. It felt much more like a job of work.
- It doesn't feel like that. The big producers still want 'Kate Winslet' (qv) and 'Kate Beckinsale' (qv), I suppose. - on whether she has made it into mainstream Hollywood.
- I want any excuse to come home. My dad is not a spring chicken any more. If anyone says, go buy a postage stamp in London, I'll go and do it.
- ...acting was something I pretended I didn't want to do as I was growing up.
- ...you can imagine, or think you can imagine, how to play almost anything - a drug addict, a bank robber, a killer - but the imagination doesn't prepare you for being a mother and those particular feelings.
- I wasn't prepared for the inexplicable, overwhelming feeling of love and protection, or how hard it would be to have to leave this little thing in the morning. The good thing about movies is that while you work hard for three or four months, you can have three months or so off afterward. Hopefully, it all works out. I'm trying to avoid, you know, guilt, even though before the child is born, you're already thinking you're doing things wrong. . . . Why do I think that will probably carry over until the day you die? [on having her son]
- The preparation for a film is so ephemeral and hard -- you're lucky if you get a day of rehearsal or a chat with the director or actors on set. You really don't know what to do. Accents are very tangible, blessedly, and if you have to do one, it's a way of getting into character. I can read it through a few times and pretend I know what I'm doing!
- But, yes, no matter how in character actresses are in a film, the moment they take off their clothes, you start wondering about them as a person. You start checking them out, in a way. It's a self-conscious moment for both the audience and for the actor and always, I think, slightly embarrassing.
- [on 'Martin Scorsese' (qv)] He gives you license to find the lights and darks in a character.