The Lowdown: Things you didn’t know about Rebecca Hall

January 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Reviews

Rebecca Hall has been gradually gaining recognition for the last five years or so. Her career started in theatre under the eye of her father, theatre director Sir Peter Hall, but she avoided accusations of nepotism with a series of accomplished performances which earned her two Charleson nominations for best classical actor under 30. In 2006, she made the transition from stage to screen by starring in the film adaption of David Nicholl’s “Starter for 10” alongside fellow upcomers James McAvoy, Alice Eve, Dominic Cooper, James Corden and Benedict Cumberbatch (who totally wins the OntheBox Most Awesome Male Name award) as the stereotypical politicised student.

Most notable thus far, though, is Hall’s appearance in Woody Allen’s Golden Globe winning Vicky Christina Barcelona in which she upstages Scarlett Johansson and Penelope Cruz and for which she has received a nomination as the BAFTA rising star. Next up? Ron Howard’s acclaimed Frost/Nixon. So, without further ado, here’s some trivia nuggets.

1. Rebecca is Sir Peter Hall’s only daughter with Maria Ewing, the opera singer. However, her father has been married three other times and Rebecca has five step sisters and brothers.

2. Two of Rebecca’s step siblings are also making a name for themselves in the theatrical world. Step-brother Edward Hall is a theatre director who has worked on a number of RSC productions, and an associate director of the National Theatre. Her step-sister Lucy, meanwhile, is a set designer who has worked with her father on everything from Pinter to Shakespeare.

3. Hall’s favourite movie is Woody Allen’s “Manhattan“, so it was a “dream” to get the call from him for “Vicky Christina Barcelona.

4. The casting process for Vicky Christina Barcelona was hardly exhaustive. Hall got the call from Allen and went to meet him. He asked if Hall could do an American accent, and she said yes. Allen merely said “okay, thanks and bye”. Hall got the part.

5. Rebecca was a bit of a boffin. She was head girl at the Roedean School, the sort of place where you send your child if they’re called Honeysuckle, Perdita, Cicely or, apparently, Zerbanoo Gifford (winner:
OntheBox Most Awesome Female Name Award)
and went on to Cambridge to study English before dropping out to concentrate on acting in her second year.

6. She’s nominated for the BAFTA rising star award, which has previously been won by Shia LeBoeuf, Eva Green and James McAvoy – her co-star in Starter for Ten. THE COINCIDENCES NEVER END!

7. For a film star, she has a slightly awkward aversion to having her photo taken. She says that she has “the most visceral response to having my photo taken – like bursting into tears and running out of the room. Now, I’m more confident. I feel like I don’t have to get vomited on by a lot of make-up artists.

8. Though it was her father who was at the helm of the first production she was involved in, he was uneasy about casting her in TV drama Camomile Lawn at the age of eight. It was the producer whose eye was caught, and Sir Peter Hall ended up saying afterwards that “she was quite remarkable and stole the show”. Despite other offers, her parents insisted she should have a “normal childhood”, despite much of it being spent backstage at productions with her two famous parents.

9. Following on from her little spree of big film releases – The Prestige, Vicky Christina and Frost/Nixon – Rebecca has decided to return to the theatre, albeit in a fairly star-studded company for the Bridge Project where she’ll be working alongside Kevin Spacey, Sam Mendes and theatre superstar Simon Russell Beale in the Cherry Orchard and A Winter’s Tale.

10. Although her father and step-brother are both acclaimed and accomplished theatre directors, Hall insists she’s not interested. If anything she wants to go into film direction, saying that she has an “instinctive feel for the way things should cut together.”

By Chris Harding