A Knight’s Tale
A unique beauty and talent, Shannyn Sossamon came to prominence as Lady Jocelyn in 2001’s quasi-medieval hit, A Knight’s Tale, opposite Heath Ledger. Her fine performance won the actress MTV Movie nominations. The recipient of Young Hollywood Breakthrough Performance (2002), Sossamon is also noticeable for playing roles in movies like 40 Days and 40 Nights (2002, with Josh Hartnett), The Rules of Attraction (2002, opposite James Van Der Beek) and The Order/ The Sin Eater (2003, reunited with Heath Ledger). Sossamon’s more recent and forthcoming credits include the Cannes Film Festival-screened Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005), the romantic drama Undiscovered (2005), the indie film Wristcutters: A Love Story (2006), the horror/thriller Catacombs (2006) and the star-studded The Holiday (2006).
Off screen, Sossamon was named one of Stuff magazine’s “102 Sexiest Women In The World” (2002). She has three tattoos, including one an ‘S’ with a flower on her back shoulder. As for her romantic life, the model of Mick Jagger’s music video “God Gave Me Everything” (2002), Sossamon has been involved with kick boxing instructor Dallas Clayton and has a son with him. Starting dating in 2002, the couple decided to call it quits a year later, in 2003.
Childhood and Family:
Born on October 3, 1979, Shannon Marie Kahoolani Sossamon, who would later be popular as Shannyn Sossamon, is the daughter of Sherry Sossamon and Todd Lindberg. Her mother is a Filipino-Hawaiian and her father is of Anglo-German descent. A Honolulu, Hawaii native, she moved with her family to Reno, Nevada at age three and grew up there. In the mid-80s, Shannon’s parents got divorce. Shannon lived with her mother who later married a car dealership owner.
While in Reno, Shannon was educated at Galena High School. Loving dance, she spent much time dancing and danced competitively. In 1995, she changed her first name to “Shannyn,” and relocated to Los Angeles a year later to study dance. She attended Dance Unlimited.
Personally, Shannon welcomed a son named Audio Science Clayton (born on May 29, 2003), with companion Dallas Clayton. She likes any kinds of music, writing, watching films and painting, in addition to dancing.
A cutthroat dancer, Shannyn Sossamon headed to Los Angeles after high school graduation in pursuit of a career in dancing. While training at Dance Limited, the girl who was formerly hired as a receptionist for her stepfather’s car dealership started to work as a disc jockey in small local clubs, and made ends meet by working in a cigar-espresso store and coffeehouses. Additionally, she worked briefly as a telemarketer for a carpet cleaning service. Sossamon then branched out to acting and got her first job as an extra in a Daft Punk music video. She also appeared in TV commercials for such companies as Kodak, Oldsmobile and The Gap, as well as was featured in the show “Mr. Show with Bob and David” (1997), being featured as a trophy presenter and a fashion model. In 1999, while helping out as a DJ at actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s birthday party, Sossamon was spotted by casting director Francine Maisler, whose credits The Usual Suspects, and the rest was a history.
The exotically beautiful Sossamon kicked off her film career with a female lead in director/writer Brian Helgeland’s modernized period piece A Knight’s Tale in 2001, beating Kate Hudson for the role of Jocelyn, a medieval princess who catches the eye of Heath Ledger’s fighting squire. The film flung her into the spotlight, and Sossamon was handed a MTV Movie nod for Breakthrough Female Performance. With Ledger, she also shared two MTV nominations in the categories of Best Kiss and Best Musical Sequence.
Following the success, Sossamon was featured in a number of magazines, but was cautious to keep away from the media diffusion trap that has devastated the career of many actresses. In 2002, she made a sophomore effort by costarring opposite fellow young Hollywood hotshot Josh Hartnett in the romantic comedy 40 Days and 40 Nights, for Michael Lehmann. She also teamed up with James Van Der Beek, Kip Pardue and Jessica Biel in the film version of Rules of Attraction (2002), a 1980s-set adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ hit novel. Despite her fine performance, the films acquired less attention than her debut. Bored with Hollywood and feeling rather unhappy, Sossamon considered quitting acting and took a few months off to work at a used record store.
In 2003, after starring in a 22-minute film Wholey Moses (2003), with the hope of re-achieving the same victory as her predecessor, Sossamon rejoined director Helgeland and co-star Ledger for the horror movie The Order/ The Sin Eater (2003), portraying Mara, a bothered artist with a chaotic past who tests a priest’s (Ledger) loyalty to his vows. The film, however, was delayed. She followed it up with appearances in such shorts as The Double (2004) and I Hate You (2005), as well as in an episode of TV series “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (2004). Sossamon did not appear in the big screen movies until 2005, when she had the supporting role of Taylor Spencer in the Michael Madsen starring vehicle Chasing Ghosts. The same year, she had a feature role as pink hair girl in the murder mystery Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (starred Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer), starred with Jensen Ackles in the horror film Devour (as Marisol) and joined Ashlee Simpson and Kip Pardue as a group of hopeful entertainers attempting to launch careers for themselves in L.A. in the romantic drama Undiscovered.
Miss Sossamon recently was cast in the starring role of Mikal, the attractive hitchhiker, in Goran Dukic’s independent comedy Wristcutters: A Love Story (2006), along side Patrick Fugit and Tom Waits. She will soon appear in a horror/thriller by directors Tomm Coker and David Elliot, Catacombs (2006), as well as have a supporting role in the star-studded film The Holiday (2006), opposite Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Jack Black, Rufus Sewell and Edward Burns.
- Young Hollywood: Breakthrough Performance – Female, 2002