Joan of Arc
"It can't be a bad thing that people think we look alike." Leelee Sobieski (on her resemblance to Helen Hunt)
5' 10" tall, blue-eyed actress Leelee Sobieski received initial notice while playing Karen Kempster in John Pasquin's Disney movie Jungle 2 Jungle (1997, starring Tim Allen) and portraying Elijah Wood's young wife Sarah Hotchner Beiderman in Mimi Leder's sci-fi thriller Deep Impact (1998, also starring Robert Duvall and Tea Leoni). The young actress later earned critical acclaim for portraying Kris Kristofferson and Barbara Hershey's daughter, Charlotte Anne 'Channe' Willis, in an adaptation of Kaylie Jones' novel, A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries (1998) and playing the title role of young heroine Joan of Arc (1999) in a miniseries with the same name. She was also nominated for a Golden Globe award for her leading role of Tosia Altman in the war drama Uprising (2001, TV).
Leelee Sobieski, who bares an uncanny resemblance to Helen Hunt, is widely remembered for acting in such films as Eyes Wide Shut (1999), Here on Earth (2000), My First Mister (2001), Joy Ride (2001) and The Glass House (2001). Recently in 2005, she became Hercules' lover, Deianeira, in the miniseries Hercules and is currently working on the upcoming films, London, Heavens Fall and The Optimist.
"If only I could find a guy who wasn't in his 70s to talk to me about white cranes, I'd be madly in love." Leelee Sobieski.
Polish and French Heritage
Childhood and Family:
Born on June 10, 1982, in New York City, New York, Liliane Rudabet Gloria Elsveta Sobieski was raised in both her native land and on a ranch in the Carmarque region of France. She also followed her family when they briefly shuttled to Miami. Her father is painter and writer Jean Sobieski, who reportedly is a descendant of Jan III Sobieski, the king of Poland between 1674 and 1696. Her mother is novelist Elizabeth Sobieski, who later became Leelee's manager. The eldest of two children, Leelee has one younger brother named Roby (born in 1989).
"My parents are my best friends. They kept me very protected, so I couldn't get hurt physically or emotionally by anybody." Leelee Sobieski
Leelee Sobieski, nicknamed Lee, is of Polish and French heritage and speaks French fluently. Her hobbies include collecting strands of hair from various celebrities appearing with her in films. She loves painting, ceramics, poetry, martial arts and horseback riding, and is a hopeless romantic who agrees with the words from and old Beatles song, "All You Need Is Love."
"I did try to get a few of those teen high-school movies, but they just didn't like me. I guess I wasn't a certain type." Leelee Sobieski
A casting agent spotted Leelee Sobieski while scouting in her school cafeteria. The agent encouraged her to join an audition for the role of Claudia in the film Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994), which Leelee later lost to actress Kirsten Dunst.
Despite her initial failure, Leelee continued to audition for roles.
At age 12, Leelee won her first acting job as Marlo Thomas' daughter, Anna Yates, in Lee Grant's screen version of Linda Gray Sexton's book, the CBS movie Reunion (1994). She followed it up with another starring role as the smart daughter of a horse trainer (played by Robert Urich) in the family drama A Horse for Danny (1995, TV) and played Mark Harmon's daughter, Jenny Grace, in the ABC short-lived crime drama series Charlie Grace (also in 1995). After frequently appearing on the small screen, Leelee was spotted as a guest in such series as Grace Under Fire, The Home Court and NewsRadio (all in 1996).
Playing Martin Short's daughter, Karen Kempster, in John Pasquin's family comedy Jungle 2 Jungle (1997, starring Tim Allen) was Leelee's debut performance on the silver screen. The next year, she won the breakout role of Elijah Wood's young wife in Mimi Leder's blockbuster sci-fi thriller Deep Impact (also with Robert Duvall and Tea Leoni).
She also received praise for portraying Kris Kristofferson and Barbara Hershey daughter, who has trouble adapting to American life, in James Ivory's film based on the family life of writer James Jones (from the novel by Kaylie Jones), A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries (1998).
After playing geeky high school student Aldys Martin in Raja Gosnell's romantic comedy Never Been Kissed (1999, starring Drew Barrymore), Leelee garnered rave reviews for portraying Joan of Arc (1999) in the CBS dramatic miniseries with the same name. The title role of the young woman who tried to unify France, was convicted of heresy and burned at the cross, earned Leelee a Golden Globe Award and Emmy nomination as well as a YoungStar Award. Meanwhile, Leelee joined director Stanley Kubrick in his adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler's novel, Eyes Wide Shut (1999, alongside Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman), playing the supporting role of an enticing daughter of a costume-shop owner (played by Rade Serbedzija).
Entering 2000, Leelee became a girl living with a terminal illness in Mark Piznarski's romantic drama Here on Earth (2000, opposite Chris Klein). The next year saw Leelee playing wacky teenager Jennifer Ann 'J' Wilson, who has a close relationship with her middle-aged boss (played by Albert Brooks), in Christine Lahti's dramatic comedy My First Mister and became Paul Walker's high school sweetheart, Venna Wilcox, in John Dahl's thriller Joy Ride (costarring Steve Zahn).
Leelee also starred as Stellan Skarsgård and Diane Lane's adopted daughter, Ruby Baker, in Daniel Sackheim's spooky thriller The Glass House.
Another Golden Globe Award nomination knocked when Leelee played the lead role of Tosia Altman, a participant in the Warsaw ghetto revolt in the NBC miniseries Uprising (2001). In 2002, she appeared in French, German and Japanese movie theaters as a young Australian woman and struggling theatre actress Sarah Silver, in Samantha Lang's Idole, L'. On her role in the film, Leelee explained, "In "L'idole" I play an actress. I play a young Australian girl living in Paris and she is the understudy in a play. I'm having an affair with the lead actor of the play. The person I'm the understudy for is married to the lead actor. I don't like her. Her name is Sylvie Martin and my character is obsessed with this. And she's living in this apartment. There's this old Chinese man who's like 74 who's her next-door neighbor and they kind of become best friends. It's directed by Samantha Lang, who's this young Australian director who did "The Well."
Following her role as John Cusack's alluring artistic mistress Liselore von Peltz in Menno Meyjes' Nazi drama film Max (2002), Leelee appeared in Europe as virginal young bride Cécile de Volanges in Josée Dayan's romantic drama miniseries, inspired by Choderlos de Laclos' book, Dangerous Liaisons (a.k.a. Liaisons dangereuses, Les, 2003).
More recent, Leelee was cast as Hercules' (Jamie Croft) sweetheart, Deianeira, in the drama adventure miniseries Hercules (2005). She is also now busy completing her approaching film projects: Hunter Richards' London (alongside Ned Bellamy and Jessica Biel), Terry Green's classical drama Heavens Fall (opposite Timothy Hutton) and Marius Balchunas' comedy The Optimist (along with Rade Serbedzija).
"I think when you're doing a lead role, there is so much more pressure. If you fail, not only do you fail, but everybody else fails too. As opposed to when it's a supporting role and it's only you that sucked." Leelee Sobieski.