Emily Mortimer is a British actress and screenwriter. She is best known for her roles in Lars and the Real Girl (2007) and Mary Poppins Returns (2018). In this biography, Mortimer tells her own story of how she got into acting.

Emily Mortimer Biography: Early Life, Family, Education

Emily Kathleen Anne Mortimer was born on December 1, 1971 (Emily Mortimer age: 47). Her mother, Penelope Gallop, was the second wife to the dramatist John Mortimer. He had several other partners over time and was the father of not only Emily and her sister Rosie, but also their half-siblings Jeremy Mortimer, Sally Silverman and Ross Bentley

Mortimer was born and raised in West London, England, where she attended St. Paul’s Girls’ School. She began acting in student productions at St. Paul’s. Mortimer continued both her acting and her education at the University of Oxford. At Oxford’s Lincoln College, Mortimer studied English and Russian, performing in plays on the side. She worked as a columnist for the Daily Telegraph as well as a screenwriter for the film adaptation of Lorna Sage’s memoir Bad Blood. Throughout these busy years, however, Mortimer never forgot her first love of acting. 

Emily Mortimer Biography: In Her Own Words

In September 2018, Mortimer sat down with uInterview to discuss how she got her start in acting. She revealed that acting has been a part of her life since she was young. “I was just acting in plays on the stairs for my mother and father when I was tiny,” she told uInterview exclusively. “I would act out, you know, washing powder adverts for them endlessly, or pretend to do cooking programs from the television.”

According to Mortimer, TV had a major influence on her childhood. “I was a television addict,” she confessed. “I didn’t ever do anything but watch television. And so I would just act out everything I saw on the television for my mom and dad and … force them to sit there for hours at a time.” Laughing, Mortimer added, “And they were very patient. And they had to show quite a lot of fortitude and courage in those moments, too.”

Check out the full interview here.

Emily Mortimer Biography: Movies, TV Shows, Video Games

Mortimer landed her first professional acting gig in 1994. She appeared in one episode of the TV series  Under the Hammer. She went on to play minor characters on the shows Screen Two and The Glass Virgin in 1995. Later that year, she acted in her first film, the TV movie Sharpe’s Sword.

Mortimer’s career began picking up steam in 1996. She acted in two more feature films, The Last of the High Kings and The Ghost and the Darkness. Mortimer appeared in the TV movie Lord of Misrule and guest-starred on a number of shows. These included Jack and Jeremy’s Real Lives, Silent Witness, and The Ruth Rendell Mysteries. Mortimer also acted in six episodes of the series No Bananas.

Mortimer continued to acquire minor roles through 1997. She appeared in one episode each of Midsomer Murders and A Dance to the Music of Time. She then acted in the film The Saint, which featured Val Kilmer. In 1998, Mortimer acted in the films Elizabeth and Cider with Rosie, plus the mini-series Coming Home. The next year, she appeared in the short video “Killing Joe” and the mini-series Noah’s Ark. She then got her first role in a blockbuster, Notting Hill, starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts.

The new millennium brought Mortimer a number of small roles. She played Angelina Tyler in Scream 3 and Amy in The Kid, then voicing the character of Mary in The Miracle Maker. Mortimer’s biggest project of 2000 was the film adaptation of the Shakespearean classic Love’s Labour’s Lost. She acted as Katherine and performed in the musical numbers “I Won’t Dance,” “No Strings (I’m Fancy Free),” “Let’s Face the Music and Dance” and “They Can’t Take That Away from Me.”

Mortimer took a break from music in 2001, appearing in the films Formula 51 and Lovely & Amazing. She took on only one role in 2002 as Princess Diana in the TV movie Jeffrey Archer: The Truth. The following year, Mortimer came back with a vengeance, acting in five films. She played Angela Beck in A Foreign Affair and Emily in Nobody Needs to Know. She also acted in Young Adam, Bright Young Things and The Sleeping Dictionary.

Mortimer took on five more film roles between 2004 and 2006. These included Dear Frankie, Match Point, Howl’s Moving Castle, Paris je t’aime and The Pink Panther. This reboot of the classic 1960s franchise starred comedian Steve Martin and Broadway sensation Kristen Chenoweth. The following year, Mortimer joined stars Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey for three episodes of 30 Rock. She also played Karin in Lars and the Real Girl, which was nominated for Best Screenplay at the 2008 Oscars.

2008 was a less fruitful year for Mortimer. She appeared in three films – Transsiberian, Redbelt and Chaos Theory – but scored no major roles. In 2009, Mortimer followed up her Pink Panther work as a supporting actress in its sequel. She also played Molly in the film City Island and D.I. Alice Frampton in Harry Brown. The next year, Mortimer scored the title role in Leonie and appeared in Martin Scorcese’s Shutter Island. The film boasted a star-studded cast including Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo and Sir Ben Kingsley.

Mortimer began expanding her portfolio in 2011. She continued her live-action work through films Hugo and Our Idiot Brother but also launched a successful career in voice-acting. She provided the voice for Holly Shiftwell in Cars 2, hit sequel to the most popular children’s car movie Cars. Mortimer also voiced Shiftwell in video games Cars 2 (2011), Kinect Rush (2012) Disney Infinity (2013), Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes (2014), Disney Infinity 3.0 (2015).

From 2012 to 2014, Mortimer played MacKenzie McHale in 25 episodes of The Newsroom. This drama series was the brainchild of Aaron Sorkin, famed for his creation of West Wing (1996-2002) and A Few Good Men (1992). During her time on the show, Mortimer also starred in 12 episodes of the series Doll & Em. She wrote and created all 12 and served as an associate producer for one.

The next few years were relatively quiet for Mortimer. She appeared alongside Basil Hoffman in a segment of Rio, I Love You called  “La Fortuna” (2014). In 2015, she played Diane in the film Ten Thousand Saints and Olive in Ladygrey. Mortimer appeared in the 2016 sci-fi film Spectral and the short film Wig Shop, which she also produced.

Mortimer continued producing in 2017 with the short film Broken Night. She went on to act in The Sense of an Ending and The Party. Mortimer’s big break of 2017, though, was The Bookshop. She played the lead in this historical drama and received multiple award nominations.

Emily Mortimer Biography: Exclusive Interview on ‘The Bookshop,’  Independent Films

In September 2018, Mortimer sat down with uInterview to discuss The Bookshop. She described her character, Florence Green, as “a widow living in 1959 on the West Coast of England in a small town.”

According to Mortimer, the story begins when Florence decides to work in a bookshop. “It seems a very innocent idea, and one that shouldn’t cause much trouble,” Mortimer said. “But for some reason, the powers-that-be in the village … take it into their heads that they don’t want Florence to do this.”

Mortimer went on to explain Florence’s fight against the town superiors. According to the actress, Florence works so hard to open her bookshop because she “just doesn’t want to be told that she can’t do it.” The more often she is shut down by people in power, the harder she lobbies to open her business, becoming a “freedom fighter” of sorts.

This determination resonated with Mortimer as she compared herself to her character. “Once I get told no, I do get quite determined to convince whoever it is that are telling me ‘no’ otherwise,” she said. “Something in me decides I’m just going to just meet the challenge. So I definitely understand that part of Florence.”

Mortimer expanded this understanding to the greater indie film community. “I think anyone that tries to get an independent film made understands Florence on some level,” she told uInterview. “Understands the sort of daily acts of courage and determination in the face of massive opposition. The fortitude and resilience that’s required to get a small movie made like this makes one feel very sympathetic to Florence.”

Check out the full interview below.

Emily Mortimer Biography: Mary Poppins Returns, Oscars, Upcoming Projects

Mortimer didn’t slow down after The Bookshop. In 2018, she appeared in the films Head full of Honey and Write When You Can Get Work. She also produced To Dust and acted in the short film One Cambodian Family Please for My Pleasure.

Mortimer’s biggest break of 2018, however, was Mary Poppins Returns. This blockbuster acted as the sequel to Julie Andrews’ 1965 classic, Mary Poppins. Mortimer played Jane Banks alongside Emily Blunt, Lin Manuel-Miranda, Colin Firth, Meryl Streep and Dick Van Dyke. The film was nominated for four Oscars and won numerous awards for its production and score. Mortimer performed the song “Nowhere to Go but Up” in both the movie and on an episode of the Nostalgia Critic series in 2019.

Mortimer has remained busy through the rest of 2019, appearing in the films Lost Holiday and Phil. She also played the characters Julia Price in Good Posture and Sarah in Mary. Mortimer currently has two projects in the post-production stage. One, the movie Relic, is set to release in 2020. The other is a TV series called Don’t Look Deeper with an unknown release date.

Emily Mortimer Biography: Personal Life, Dating History, Husband, Children

Mortimer has kept her dating life relatively under wraps, but two relationships stand out. Between 1997 and 1999, she dated British actor Paul Bettany of The DaVinci Code fame. The two appeared in the TV mini-series Coming Home together during their relationship.

Following their breakup, little is known about Mortimer’s love life until 2001, when she began dating actor Alessandro Nivola. They have been married since 2003 and have two children: Samuel John and May Rose. The family lives in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, New York. 

Emily Mortimer Biography: Quotes

“Acting was something I pretended I didn’t want to do as I was growing up.”

“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.”

“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!”