Icelandic actress Anita Briem began her career on the London stage after graduating from RADA. She has since made successful transformation to television and then movies. A former child performer at her native country Iceland, Briem is popular to American TV audience as the doomed Queen Jane on the well-liked Showtime historical drama “The Tudors” (2008) and Emily Stevens in the ABC short-lived series “The Evidence” (2006). She also has guest starred in the BBC shows “Doctors” and “Doctor Who.” On the big screen, Briem starred as Hannah in “Journey to the Center of the Earth” (2008). She is currently set to play roles in the upcoming “The Storyteller” (2009) and “Everything Will Happen Before You Die” (2009).
Briem speaks fluent English, in addition to German and Danish. She is also a skilled flautist and dancer. Briem enjoys traveling, reading, going to theater and spending time with family.
Commenting about living in Los Angeles, she stated, “ What is it like?” with a negative tone. But for me, I'm surrounded by the most talented and passionate people in the industry.”
Winner of John Barton Award
Childhood and Family:
Anita Briem was born on May 29, 1982, in Iceland, to musician parents. Her father, Gunnlaugur Briem, plays drum for Mezzoforte and her mother, Erna Þórarinsdóttir, is a back-up vocalist. Anita launched her career with The National Theater of Iceland when she was nine years old.
Having moved to London by age 16, Anita got a three-year entering at the reputable Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) when she was 19 years old, and later won the John Barton Award for Stage Fighting. She also appeared in various stage productions at RADA.
Journey to the Center of the Earth
Starting out as child actress, 9-year-old Anita Briem had her first taste of performing with the National Theater of Iceland in an Astrid Lindgred play. She continued to perform in several stage productions as well as did several TV shows and radio programs in Iceland, but the active girl did not decide to choose acting as a profession until age 16. Briem then moved to London to begin her formal training in theater and by age 19, she has been accepted into London's celebrated RADA. During her three-year stint, she acted in a number of plays, including Lorca's “The House of Bernarda Alba” and Chekhov's “The Cherry Orchard,” and even won the John Barton Award for her skill in stage fighting.
After graduating in 2004, Briem added her resume on the stage with appearances in such plays as director Mike Figgis' “Catalogue of Misunderstanding” at the National Theatre Studio and the successful West End production of “Losing Louis.” Briem also ventured into the British television with a one episodic gig on the BBC long-running drama “Doctors.” She played Anneka Marsh in the episode “Golden Girl,” broadcast on December 17, 2004.
Within a year, Briem had made the jump into the feature films with a major role as Eva in “La, Monja/The Nun.” Directed by first time director Luis de la Madrid, the horror film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on May 12, 2005 before being shown at such film festivals as the Ravenna Nightmare Film Festival in Italy and the Festival Internacional de Cinema de Catalunya in Spain. Also in 2005, Briem made guest appearance in an episode of the BBC series “Doctor Who” called “The Christmas Invasion,” as Sally.
Briem's television career gained important increase when she landed a regular role on the ABC crime series “The Evidence” (2006), playing Emily Stevens. The show, however, was axed after only a season of 8 episodes. Although a short living, “The Evidence” did offer the newcomer chance to act along side the more popular Orlando Jones and Rob Estes as well as the veteran Martin Landau. Briem returned to Iceland to make her second film, “Köld slóð/Cold Trail,” released on December 29, 2006. The drama/mystery won Iceland's Edda Awards for Best Artistic Direction and Best Sound or Music.
Briem gained even more recognition on the small screen when she won the role of Jane Seymour, the young woman who was intended to become the third wife of King Henry VIII, on the second season of the Showtime hit series “The Tudors,” starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers as King Henry VIII. She is set to continue her role on the much-awaited third season of the 2007 ASCAP Award winner (for Top TV Series) and the 2008 Golden Globe nominee (for Best Television Series – Drama), which will air in 2009.
Still in 2008, Briem teamed up with Brendan Fraser, Josh Hutcherson and Seth Meyers for the new version of “Journey to the Center of the Earth.” Helmed by Eric Brevig, the film, which cast her as Hannah Ásgeirsson, was nominated for a Teen Choice Award in the category of Choice Summer Movie: Action Adventure. Telling about her role in the movie, she said, “I must have auditioned for this movie at least 25 times. This was a 4-month process. I have to check my sources on this but, I think I beat out Cameron Diaz's record for how many times she auditioned for “The Mask,” with how many times I auditioned for this movie.”
27-year-old Briem will portray Karen in “Everything Will Happen Before You Die” (2009), a comedy film directed by Dan Finkel. She will costar with Nick Stahl, Bret Roberts and Brian McGuire, who also co-wrote the script. She also has a starring role on the forthcoming drama/fantasy “The Storyteller” (2009), opposite America Olivo, Jesse Spencer and Katharine McPhee.
“I love the theater; the theater sort of raised me. So I'm quite sure I will go back to the theater. Right now I'm sort of captured in the all-consuming, fantastical world of movies.” Anita Briem