One of the top character actresses of our time, Helena Bonham Carter, is slowly making the transition from cult to classic cinema, bringing along her punk ethics for the ride.
You rarely think of Helena Bonham Carter, born 1966, without considering the quirkiness that her onscreen roles entail. She has masterfully weaved her way into the hearts of many via the characters she has portrayed in films that have blurred the lines of cult and modern classics. Helena’s roles have not always been pigeon holed into those that are kooky or slightly off-kilter as these characters have only dominated her career for just over a decade, but it is these roles that has made her presence one that has hailed her as ‘an undisputed star of British Cinema’ and also one that has been put up for numerous awards.
Stepping in to her first movie role back in 1983, Helena’s notoriety quickly grew, seeing her dip in and out of romance, period dramas, medieval romps and comedy, and it wasn’t long before she was receiving nominations for the work she was producing, namely 1997’s ‘The Wings of a Dove’, which saw her name cropping up during that year’s award season. The British actress had carved herself out a career and reputation that allowed her to assume diverse and technical roles, highlighting her as a true artist and one to be respected amongst her peers.
Her career received an even greater boost, when she took the role of ‘Marla Singer’ in David Flincher’s 1999 cult hit‘ Fight Club’, rebooting the industries perception of her and refocusing the reasons of why we fell in love with her in the first place. Since then, we have seen Helena starring in some of Hollywood’s biggest films, one of which was a film which was to change the course of her career forever. When she landed a lead role in established and celebrated director Tim Burton’s 2001 remake of the classic sci-fi hit ‘Planet of the Apes’, little did we know that she was about to become the director’s muse. Since 2001, we’ve seen her star in 6 other Time Burton titles; Big Fish (2003), Corpse Bride (2005), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007), Alice In Wonderland (2010) and 2012’s Dark Shadows, 5 of which also starred Burton’s other muse Jonny Depp.
Helena is back on screen with her stint in the epic adaptation of the musical based on Victor Hugo’s 19th-century poem of the same name, ‘Les Miserables’, in which she portrays the villain Madame Thenardier.
The film has already picked up awards at the Golden Globes and is set to fair well at the academy awards later this Spring. The last award that Helena picked up was the BAFTA’s Best Supporting Actress for her superb role as Queen Elizabeth in Tom Hooper’s ‘The King’s Speech’ but this year could see her bagging one or two. Oh yes, and then there is the small matter of the CBE she received from the Queen at Buckingham Palace in February 2012.
This year sees her team up with Johnny Depp, again, in Gore Verbinski’s ‘The Lone Ranger’ as a madam and will be playing Dr. Clair in Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s ‘The Young and Prodigious Spivet’… quite the title, no?
Which is your favourite Helena Bonham Carter film?