About the Players
Claudie Blakley (Mabel Nesbitt)
Gosford Park is Claudie Blakley's second feature film, following her screen debut in Peter Bogdanovich's The Cat's Meow.
At the West Yorkshire Playhouse, she was honored with the London Critics Circle's Ian Charleson Award for her portrayal of Nina in Chekhov's The Seagull (directed by Jude Kelly). In that same season at the Playhouse, she also portrayed Miranda in Shakespeare's The Tempest (again directed by Jude Kelly) and Daphne in Noel Coward's Present Laughter (directed by Malcolm Sutherland). With the Royal National Theatre, she played Wendy in J. M.
Barrie's Peter Pan (directed by John Caird) and Ophelia in Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (directed by Matthew Francis). Among her many other stage credits are The Hampstead Theatre production of David Haig'sThe Good Samaritan (directed by John Dove) and, at the Soho Theatre, Holly Phillips' Billy and the Crab Lady (directed by Mark Brickman).
Blakley's U.K. television credits include four seasons as a series regular on Playing the Field; and such telefilms as An Unsuitable Job for a Woman (directed by David Evans) and the recently filmed Mr Charity (directed by Nick Wood).
Charles Dance (Raymond , Lord Stockbridge)
Charles Dance joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1975, appearing in Terry Hands' acclaimed productions of the Henry IV, Henry V, and Henry VI history plays as well as Trevor Nunn's staging of As You Like It. In 1976, he took over the title role in Henry V at New York's Brooklyn Academy of Music.
He left the RSC in 1979, returning in 1990 to play the title role in Terry Hands' production of Coriolanus.
His other U.K. stage credits include productions of John Gay'sThe Beggar's Opera, Alexandre Breffort's Irma La Douce, Anton Chekhov's Three Sisters, Ruth and Augustus Goetz' The Heiress, C.P. Taylor's Good, and, most recently, Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night (opposite Jessica Lange in the production directed by Robin Phillips).
Dance attained worldwide recognition, including a BAFTA Award nomination, for his performance as Guy Perron in the miniseries The Jewel in the Crown, directed by Christopher Morahan and Jim O'Brien. Among his other television credits are the miniseries Edward the King (directed by John Gorrie), Out on a Limb (opposite Shirley MacLaine, directed by Robert Butler), The Phantom of the Opera (directed by Tony Richardson), and Rebecca (again directed by Jim O'Brien).
His film credits include Fred Schepisi's film of David Hare's Plenty (opposite Meryl Streep), Michael Ritchie's The Golden Child, the Taviani brothers' Good Morning Babylon (in which he portrayed D.W. Griffith), Hidden City and Century (both directed by Stephen Poliakoff), Michael Radford's White Mischief, James Dearden's Pascali's Island, David Fincher's Alien3, Claude Massot's Kabloonak (for which he won the Best Actor award at the Paris Film Festival), John McTiernan's Last Action Hero, Neil Jordan's Michael Collins, Philip and Belinda Haas' The Blood Oranges, Anand Tucker's Hilary and Jackie, Jan Sverak's soon-to-be-released Dark Blue World, and Mark Mylod's recently completed Ali G is in Da House.
Stephen Fry (Inspector Thompson)
For his portrayal of the celebrated wit Oscar Wilde in Wilde (directed by Brian Gilbert), Stephen Fry was nominated for Golden Globe and Golden Satellite Awards, and won a Golden Space Needle at the Seattle International Film Festival.
Fry's other films include Jeroen Krabbé's upcoming The Discovery of Heaven, Pete Hewitt's Whatever Happened to Harold Smith?, Steven Zaillian's A Civil Action, Bob Spiers' Spice World, Fred Schepisi's I.Q., Charles Crichton's A Fish Called Wanda, and Kenneth Branagh's Peter's Friends (in the title role).
At Cambridge, with Hugh Laurie and Emma Thompson, he took part in the famed Footlights revues and appeared in over 40 plays. During this time, he also wrote his first play, Latin, which won a Scotsman Fringe First Prize at the Edinburgh Film Festival in 1980 and was subsequently performed at Oxford, the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith, and the New End Theatre Hampstead.
He is best known to U.K. television viewers for his role as Jeeves in the three Jeeves and Wooster series based on the novels of P.G. Wodehouse, starring alongside Hugh Laurie. He has also written and performed comedy programs with Hugh Laurie; and starred in the comedy series Blackadder. His recent television credits include the miniseries Gormenghast (directed by Andy Wilson).
Fry's first novel, The Liar, was published in 1991, and remained on the bestseller list for several months. His other books include Paperweight, a collection of writings; Moab is My Washpot, an autobiography; and three other novels, The Hippopotamus, Making History, and The Stars' Tennis Balls.
He wrote the book for the musical Me and My Girl, which ran for several years in London's West End (where it originally starred Emma Thompson). When the show transferred to Broadway, Fry was nominated for a Tony Award.
Michael Gambon (Sir William McCordle)
Sir Michael Gambon started his career with the Edwards/MacLiammor Gate Theatre in Dublin. In 1963, he became one of the original members of the National Theatre Company at the Old Vic, under Laurence Olivier. Gambon appeared there in many plays before leaving to join Birmingham Rep, where he played Othello. Also in repertory, he played the title roles in Shakespeare's Macbeth, Coriolanus, and Othello (the latter this time at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough).
His West End stage work includes Simon Gray's Otherwise Engaged; the London premieres of three plays by Alan Ayckbourn: The Norman Conquests, Just Between Ourselves, and Man of the Moment; Alice's Boys (with Ralph Richardson); Harold Pinter's Old Times; and the title role in Chekhov's Uncle Vanya. With the Royal Shakespeare Company, Gambon played leading roles in premieres of Harold Pinter's Betrayal and Mountain Language; Simon Gray's Close of Play; Christopher Hampton's Tales from Hollywood; and three more plays by Alan Ayckbourn: Sisterly Feelings, A Chorus of Disapproval (for which Gambon won an Olivier Award), and A Small Family Business. He has also starred in Shakespeare's Richard III and Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge (which transferred to the Aldwych, and for which he won all the major drama awards in 1987).
Gambon opened in David Hare's Skylight at the Royal National Theatre in 1995, before transferring to Wyndham's Theatre, and then, in 1997, to New York's Royale Theatre (marking his Broadway debut). His recent U.K. stage appearances include Yasmina Reza's The Unexpected Man and Nicholas Wright's Cressida (directed by Nicholas Hytner).
His work on U.K. television includes the title role in Dennis Potter's miniseries The Singing Detective (directed by Jon Amiel), for which he won awards from BAFTA, the Broadcasting Press Guild, and the Royal Television Society; and, more recently, the miniseries Wives and Daughters (adapted from Elizabeth Gaskell's novel and directed by Nicholas Renton), which also starred Tom Hollander of Gosford Park.
His films include David Hare's Paris by Night, Peter Greenaway's The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (starring opposite Helen Mirren of Gosford Park), Mike Figgis' The Browning Version (1994), Suri Krishnamma's A Man of No Importance, Nicolas Roeg's Two Deaths, Stephen Frears' Mary Reilly, Iain Softley's The Wings of the Dove, Pat O'Connor's Dancing at Lughnasa, Karoly Makk's The Gambler, Michael Mann's The Insider, Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow, Deborah Warner's The Last September (starring with Maggie Smith of Gosford Park), Conor McPherson's filmization of Samuel Beckett's Endgame, Mel Smith's High Heels and Low Lifes, Gillian Armstrong's forthcoming Charlotte Gray, and Jimmy T. Murakami's (animated) Christmas Carol: The Movie. He is currently at work on John Frankenheimer's HBO telefilm Path to War, in which he portrays U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson.
Richard E. Grant (George)
Gosford Park is Richard E. Grant's third film for Robert Altman, following The Player and Pret-a-Porter/Ready to Wear.
The Swaziland native received international recognition and acclaim for his film debut in Bruce Robinson's cult film classic Withnail & I. He subsequently has been seen in, among other films, Bruce Robinson's How to Get Ahead in Advertising, Philip Kaufman's Henry & June, Steve Miner's Warlock, Mick Jackson's L.A. Story, Bob Rafelson's Mountains of the Moon, Michael Lehmann's Hudson Hawk, Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula, Martin Scorsese's The Age of Innocence, Peter Capaldi's Academy Award-winning short film Franz Kafka's 'It's A Wonderful Life,' Tim Sullivan's Jack & Sarah, Trevor Nunn's Twelfth Night, Jane Campion's The Portrait of a Lady, Bob Spiers' Spice World, Robert Bierman's A Merry War, and Ulrich Edel's The Little Vampire.
Grant's theater credits include Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest (staged by Nicholas Hytner) and Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream (staged by David Conville).
His television work includes the BBC productions of Dennis Potter's Karaoke and Cold Lazarus (directed by Renny Rye), Tennessee Williams' Suddenly Last Summer (directed by Richard Eyre), and David Jones' Hallmark Entertainment adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol (opposite Patrick Stewart and Saskia Reeves). He was most recently seen in a telefilm series of The Scarlet Pimpernel adventures, starring in the title role of the BBC/A&E productions.
Grant has published his film-location diaries from the late 1980s and early 1990s in a collection entitled With Nails. More recently, he has published a novel entitled By Design.
Tom Hollander (Lieutenant Commander Anthony Meredith)
While at Cambridge, Tom Hollander was in the university's Cambridge Footlights revue; and played a much-celebrated Cyrano de Bergerac (directed by Sam Mendes). His honors include a Best Actor nod from Time Out; and four Ian Charleson Awards from the London Critics Circle.
His stage and radio credits include productions of The Judas Kiss, The Government Inspector, Tartuffe, Mojo, and The Threepenny Opera. On U.K. television, he has appeared on Absolutely Fabulous, among other series; and with fellow Gosford Park star Michael Gambon in the miniseries Wives and Daughters (adapted from Elizabeth Gaskell's novel and directed by Nicholas Renton).
Hollander's film credits include two more USA Films releases (Neil LaBute's upcoming Possession and Ben Elton's Maybe Baby), as well as Tom Hunsinger and Neil Hunter's recently completed The Lawless Heart, Michael Apted's Enigma (the first of three films that both he and Jeremy Northam have appeared in, the others being Possession and Gosford Park), Rose Troche's Bedrooms and Hallways, Nick Hamm's Martha., Meet Frank, Daniel and Laurence (a.k.a. The Very Thought of You), and Terry George's Some Mother's Son.
Derek Jacobi (Probert)
Sir Derek Jacobi is one of the U.K.'s best and busiest actors, with successful careers in television, theater, and cinema.
Gosford Park is his third feature with Kristin Scott Thomas: the two have previously costarred in Philip and Belinda Haas' Up at the Villa and Jack Gold's telefilm adaptation of The Tenth Man (for which Jacobi earned an Emmy Award).
Jacobi's performance as the Roman emperor Claudius in the classic BBC miniseries I, Claudius made him a household name in Britain and entranced international audiences. His other television credits range from the title role in the popular U.K. mystery drama series Cadfael to a recent guest appearance on NBC's Frasier (for which he won a second Emmy Award).
He starred as real-life scientist Alan Turing in Hugh Whitemore's Breaking the Code, for both theater (in London's West End and on Broadway) and on television; and more recently starred in the U.K. world premiere of Whitemore's latest play, God Only Knows.
On stage, Jacobi has also given critically acclaimed performances as, among others, Benedick (receiving a Tony Award for his performance), Hamlet, Macbeth, Peer Gynt, Prospero, Cyrano de Bergerac, Becket, and Uncle Vanya.
His screen credits include Ridley Scott's Academy Award-winning Gladiator, John Maybury's Love is the Devil (as Francis Bacon), and three films for Kenneth Branagh: Henry V, Dead Again, and Hamlet (in which he played Claudius, opposite Julie Christie as Gertrude).
Kelly Macdonald (Mary MacEachran)
Kelly Macdonald arrived on the international film scene with a memorable screen debut as Diane, the beautiful and precocious schoolgirl in Danny Boyle's Trainspotting. The native Glaswegian was cast in the film version of Irvine Welsh's novel from an open audition.
She has since gone on to star in a number of films. These include Coky Giedroyc's Stella Does Tricks (in which she played the title role), Des McAnuff's Cousin Bette, Shekhar Kapur's award-winning Elizabeth (as the illfated lady-in-waiting Isobel Knollys), Phil Joanou's Entropy, Mike Figgis' The Loss of Sexual Innocence, Gregg Araki's Splendor, Amy Jenkins' "Mr Cool" segment of the U.K. omnibus telefilm Tube Tales, Simon Cellan Jones' Some Voices, Julian Kemp's House!, Peter Capaldi's Strictly Sinatra, and Raymond De Felitta's Two Family House (for which she received an IFP/West Independent Spirit Award nomination).
Macdonald starred onstage as Donna in David Rabe's Hurlyburly, directed by Wilson Milam, at the Old Vic. On BBC Radio, she played Mary in Life House.
In February 2000, she was selected for the Berlin Film Festival's Shooting Stars European Film Promotion, the Festival's annual showcase of rising European talent.