Lena Headey, (born 3 October 1976) is an English actress. Headey’s performance in a one-off show when she was 17 caught the attention of a casting agent, who took a photo and asked her to audition and eventually she got a supporting role alongside Jeremy Irons in the 1992 British drama film Waterland and went on to appear in major films such as The Remains of the Day (1993), The Jungle Book (1994), Onegin (1999) and Aberdeen (2000).
Headey co-starred with Matt Damon and Heath Ledger in Terry Gilliam’s The Brothers Grimm (2005). The film received mixed reviews but was a success at the box office. In 2005 she also starred with actress Piper Perabo in the films The Cave and Imagine Me & You. The Cave was not well received by critics and did poorly at the box office.
Headey played Queen Gorgo in Zack Snyder’s 300, based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel. Headey had to do nude scenes in the film. “It’s always weird the thought of taking your clothes off in front of 20 people and then to have it projected in front of many more”, she told IndieLondon during an interview. “I think it was necessary because we only get that scene to establish their relationship. It is a very obvious moment but I think it does it in quite a beautiful way.”
In addition to her film work, Headey starred in Fox’s Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, a television spin-off of James Cameron’s popular Terminator franchise. Headey played Sarah Connor from January 2008 to April 2009. The show ran for 31 episodes in two seasons until its cancellation in May 2009. Variety praised “Headey’s gritty performance as Sarah – managing to be smart, resourceful and tough, yet melancholy and vulnerable as well” and that the Chronicles “continue to deliver”, getting “considerable mileage out of the constant peril” facing the characters. She was nominated twice for the Saturn Award for Best Actress on Television for the role.
Recent roles include the German film The Red Baron (known in Germany as Der rote Baron), a biographical film of the legendary World War I fighter pilot. She also appeared as the stuffy Miss Dickinson in the 2007 release of the St. Trinian’s series (for which she received third billing for a relatively minor role). She starred in the Ridley Scott produced Tell-Tale, a film based on the short story “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe.
She also starred in the 2008 horror film The Broken. The film was about “a woman who suspects she’s being followed around London by a murderous doppelganger”. The Broken was screened at the midnight portion of the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, and received average reviews. Some critics praised Headey’s performance, including Kim Koynar of Cinematical who wrote that Headey “largely carries the film, and does so quite ably”.
She landed the lead part in another horror film titled Laid to Rest, which was first screened in 2008. However, the film went straight to video on 21 April 2009 and earned mixed reviews. Headey had a part in a short film called The Devil’s Wedding. She provided her voice for an episode of the Cartoon Network TV show The Super Hero Squad.
Headey has featured in the first two seasons of the HBO series Game of Thrones, based on the first and second books of the series A Song of Fire and Ice by George R. R. Martin, where she plays the necessarily cruel queen, Cersei Lannister. She was nominated for a Scream Award in the category of Best Fantasy Actress.
She is currently appearing in the action sci-fi film Dredd. Her character is Madeline Madrigal, the leader of a drug dealing gang, and the project’s primary villain. Dredd is a film adaptation of 2000 AD character Judge Dredd, directed by Pete Travis with a script by Alex Garland. In May and June 2012, Lena filmed the fantasy adventure movie Mariah Mundy and the Midas Box, playing the role of Monica, the film is schedule for release in 2013.