Ashes to Ashes
“I've been really lucky with my career so far. I haven't been pigeon-holed, which sometimes happens to actors. The exciting thing is having something that you'd have never thought of drop on your mat and thinking 'Oh God, I'd love to do this.' But I can't complain. I'm even lucky enough to have done my pocket version of Lady Macbeth!” Keeley Hawes
British actress Keeley Hawes is famous among television audiences for playing Alex Drake in “Ashes to Ashes” (2008-2010), where she nabbed two TV Quick nominations for her performance, and agent Zoe Reynold on “Spooks” (2002-2004). She is also known for her roles in “The Moonstone” (1996), “Our Mutual Friend” (1998), “Wives and Daughters” (1999), “Tipping the Velvet” (2002), “Lucky Jim” (2003), “Marple: A Murder Is Announced” (2005), “Under the Greenwood Tree” (2005) and “Mutual Friends” (2008). Hawes' big screen credits include “The Avengers” (1998), “The Last September” (1999), “Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story” (2005), “Death at a Funeral” (2007), “The Bank Job” (2008) and “Flashbacks of a Fool” (2008). Since 2006, Hawes has been the voice of Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider Games. She stated, “Lara Croft is such a strong and powerful character, but she also has an edge to her, which was great to portray vocally.”
Hawes is the spokesperson of Boots No7 cosmetics. She and her first husband, Spencer McCallum, have one son together. With her current husband, actor Matthew Macfadyen whom she married in 2004, she has a daughter and a son. Hawes is an avid supporter of Chase hospice care for children. She also supports the breast cancer charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer. She mentions “Lord of the Flies,” by Nobel Prize winning author William Golding, as one of her favorite books.
Childhood and Family:
Born Claire Hawes on February 10, 1976, in London, England, Keeley Hawes is the youngest of four born to Tony, a London cab driver, and Brenda. She has two brothers who are also cabbies and a sister named Jan. She was educated at the Sylvia Young Theater School in Marylebone, London, where she was classmates with future Spice Girl member Emma Bunton.
In December 2001, Keeley married longtime boyfriend Spencer McCallum, an entrepreneur and cartoonist whom she began dating in 1995. However, she left her husband after several months of marriage and they eventually divorced in 2004. The couple shares one son, Myles (born in 2000). She recalled, “Coming from a family where the parents had been together for 40 years, you never imagine that divorce is going to happen to you.”
Shortly after separating from her husband, Keeley started dating fellow British actor and her “Spooks” costar Matthew Macfadyen (born on October 17, 1974). They married on October 8, 2004. Their first child, Maggie, was born in December 2004. They welcomed their second child, Ralph, in September 2006.
Keeley Hawes developed a love for the performing arts as a child and was enrolled in the famed Sylvia Young Theatre School despite the fact that no one in her family had an interest in the field. It was there that she improved on her acting skills and voice. Her first television acting job arrived at age 13 when she landed the role of Carol in an episode of the British series “Forever Green” (1989). It was followed by a regular role on the BBC drama “Troublemakers” (1990).
When she was 16, Hawes was discovered by an agent in London and asked if she modeled. Before long, she began modeling for fashion magazines, but quit after 18 months to become a fashion assistant for Cosmopolitan.
Back to television, Hawes received the starring role of Rachel Verinder, opposite Greg Wise as Franklin Blake, on “The Moonstone” (1996), a TV movie adaptation of the 19th century novel of the same name by Wilkie Collins. The same year, she played an actress named Linda Langer on the TV miniseries “Karaoke” (1996), created by Dennis Potter and starring Albert Finney, and guest starred in such shows as “Cold Lazarus,” “Pie in the Sky” (2 episodes, as Stella Jackson) and “Heartbeat.” She then starred as Angela Harper in the BBC two part TV film “The Beggar Bride” (1997), based on the Gillian White novel of the same title. Costars of the film included Nicholas Jones, Joe Duttine, Kacey Ainsworth and Jean Anderson.
In 1998, Hawes made her feature debut playing Tamara in “The Avengers,” an American action film directed by Jeremiah S. Chechik that starred Ralph Fiennes, Uma Thurman and Sean Connery. She then costarred as Charlotte Ellison in the TV film “The Cater Street Hangman” (1998), which was adapted from the crime novel by Anne Perry, and portrayed Lizzie Hexam in the BBC miniseries “Our Mutual Friends” (1998, aired in the U.S. in January 1999). She closed out the decade with roles in the two part TV film “The Blonde Bombshell” (1999), the Deborah Warner directed movie “The Last September” (1999, opposite Michael Gambon) and the TV miniseries “Wives and Daughters” (1999, as Cynthia Kirkpatrick).
Entering the new millennium, Hawes teamed up with Jonny Lee Miller and Brian Coxx for the British thriller “Complicity” (2000, helmed by Gavin Millar), and Lee Majors for the made for TV film “Hotel” (2001). She then portrayed the role of Dessie Brabant in the modern day TV movie adaptation of Shakespeare's “Othello” (2001), opposite Eamonn Walker as John Othello, and Deborah in the episode “Sleeper” (2001) of the anthology series “Murder in Mind.”
Hawes' career gained a significant boost in 2002 when she was cast with her future husband (Matthew Macfadyen), David Oyelowo, Jenny Agutter and Peter Firth in the first series of “Spooks” (aired in the U.S. as “MI-5”), which was created by David Wolstencroft. The show was a success and she reprised her role of Zoe Reynolds in the following two seasons.
Hawes doubled her television duties with performances in several TV films, including “A Is for Acid” (2002, as Gillian Rogers), “Me & Mrs Jones” (2002, as Jane), “Tipping the Velvet” (2002, as Kitty Butler), “Lucky Jim” (2003, as Christine Callaghan) and “Sex & Lies” (2004, as Kate). She also appeared in episodes of “Canterbury Tales” (2003) and “The Murdoch Mysteries” (2 episodes, 2004) and portrayed Samantha Taggert in the comedy film “Chaos and Cadavers” (2003), opposite Nick Moran.
After leaving “Spooks” in 2004, Hawes played Philippa Haymes in “Marple: A Murder Is Announced” (2005, TV), Fancy Day in “Under the Greenwood Tree” (2005), a television film adaptation of Thomas Hardy's novel of the same name, and Elizabeth in “Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story,” a comedy film directed by Michael Winterbottom that starred Steve Coogan as Tristram Shandy. “Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story” was shown in a number of festivals throughout 2005 and received a limited release in the U.S. on January 27, 2006. She next played Ella in “Shakespeare Re-Told: ‘Macbeth’” (2005).
In 2006, Hawes was cast as the wife of Richard Coyle in the ITV film “The Best Man,” played a mother with an autistic son in the BBC film “After Thomas” and began her two episode role of Rosie Kennedy in the comedy series “The Vicar of Dibley.” It was also in 2006 that Hawes officially succeeded Jonell Elliott as the voice of Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider Games. She first voiced Lara Croft in “Tomb Raider: Legend” (2006), the seventh game in the series, and later reprised her role in “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Anniversary” (2007), a remake of the original Tomb Raider game, and “Tomb Raider: Underworld” (2008).
Hawes returned to the big screen in 2007 when she costarred with her husband Macfadyen in Frank Oz's comedy “Death at a Funeral.” Centering on a family trying to resolve various problems while attending the funeral of the patriarch, the film garnered positive reviews from critics and was a success at the box office where it grossed nearly $47 million worldwide against its budget of $9 million. The following year, she supported Jason Statham and Saffron Burrows in the British movie “The Bank Job,” for director Roger Donaldson, and played Jesse Scot in the drama “Flashbacks of a Fool,” starring Daniel Craig and written and directed by Baillie Walsh. Hawes returned to the TV spotlight when she won the starring role of police officer Alex Drake on the BBC science fiction series “Ashes to Ashes,” a sequel to “Life on Mars.” Created by Matthew Graham and Ashley Pharoah, the series ran from January 7, 2008, to May 21, 2010. For her good acting job, Hawes was nominated for the TV Quick Award for Best Actress in 2008 and 2009. Meanwhile, from August to September 2008, she portrayed Jen Grantham on the series “Mutual Friends,” opposite Marc Warren, Alexander Armstrong and Sarah Alexander.
Recently, in 2010, Hawes reprised her role of Alex Drake in “Sport Relief 2010” and played Martha Lawson in the crime series “Identity.”
Hawes will voice Lara Croft in the video game “Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light” (2010). It is rumored she will also portray Diana Burnwood in the upcoming sequel “Hitman 2,” which is set for a 2012 release.