Naomi Watts

BIOGRAPHY

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NAOMI WATTS

BIOGRAPHY

Academy Award nominee, actress and producer Naomi Watts was born in the South of England to parents Peter, a sound engineer for Pink Floyd, and Myfanwy - known as Miv. Naomi’s brother, Ben is a famous photographer.

Miv split with Naomi's father and was left to bring up four-year-old Naomi and Ben alone, while Peter lived the rock 'n' roll lifestyle. A lack of money meant the family of three was forced to live with Naomi's relatives. Naomi's mother went on to have a succession of poor relationships with other men. There was talk at one time of Naomi's parents getting back together, but sadly Peter died when Naomi was only seven.

The family settled in with the extended family in the north-east of Wales and Naomi and Ben took Welsh lessons at school. Wherever Naomi moved to she would pick up the local accent – something that went on to help her in her acting career.

Eventually her mother remarried and the family uprooted and moved to Sydney, Australia in 1982. This time, Naomi found it hard to fit in at school. In the end her mother succumbed to Naomi's wishes and put her in a drama class when she was 14. Naomi went on to attend several acting schools in Sydney.

After bit parts in adverts, Watts made her film debut in 'For Love Alone' (1986); a 1930s' romance. She was credited as "Leo's Girlfriend". Although this was a good but modest start, Naomi didn't put all her 'eggs in one basket'; she went on to take jobs in publishing and modelling before focusing solely on acting. In Japan, Naomi had a terrible accident whilst modelling - she swore she would never be in front of the camera again – but did go on to prove herself wrong.

Whilst working on Australian magazine 'Follow Me' (an alternative to Vogue), a former acting friend invited her along to a workshop over a weekend. On Monday morning, Naomi quit her job to follow her dream.

Only two weeks on, Naomi ran into the director John Duigan at the 1989 premiere of 'Dead Calm'. John invited Naomi to audition for 'Flirting' (1991) - and she got the part! Having made friends with Nicole Kidman previously at an audition, she was thrilled to work alongside her on this high school coming-of-age film.

At this stage in her career Naomi had various TV roles, including parts in 'Home and Away' and 'Sleepwalkers'. Feeling confident she was on the right track, and not wanting to get stuck in a soap opera, she turned down a part on 'A Country Practice'; although she later admitted this was probably a mistake.

In 1993, Naomi took on the role of Louise in 'The Custodian', a cop drama about crooked police. That year she played a Shopping Cart Starlet in 'Matinee' starring John Goodman. Now in demand, Naomi again worked with director John Duigan in 'Wide Sargasso' and then director George Miller in 'Gross Misconduct'. This movie finally gave Naomi a leading role, as Jennifer Carter.

Naomi moved onto play Jet Girl in the all action, sci-fi comedy, 'Tank Girl' (1995); a comic book adaptation set in 2033. Although the film didn't fare very well at the box office, it did go on to be a cult classic.

Next on her schedule was a horror flick. Naomi took on the role of Grace Rhodes in the Australian sequel 'Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering' (1996). Her salary for this job was $5,000. The same year she played Molly in 'Persons Unknown' (1996), a film about a heist that went wrong.

'Under the Lighthouse Dancing' (1997) was Naomi's next film. She played Louise, one of six friends on holiday on an Australian island. In it, the friends rallied round to ensure one of them, who announced they were dying, got married to the love of their life.

Naomi's next role was in 'A House Divided' (1998), a short US drama where she is holed up in a house during rioting in LA. She then played Giulia De Lezze in 'Dangerous Beauty' - a true story set in sixteenth century Venice about a female writer.

The following year Naomi played Alice, in the upbeat comedy, 'Strange Planet'. The film kicked off on New Year's Eve and concluded exactly one year later, after the group of twenty-somethings had struggled to fulfill their personal new millennium resolutions.

Two years on she played a shallow girlfriend in another short, 'Never Date an Actress' (2001). Naomi teamed up with Scott Coffey (from Tank Girl) to make up the cast of two. Both actors demonstrated they were not afraid to send themselves up in this comedy and went on to work on a further four films together.

By 2001, Naomi had a gathered a good understanding of the film industry and took on the role of producer as well as the lead role in 'Ellen Parker'. The film went on to be recognised in 2005's Sundance Film Festival. Shortly afterwards she played a New York tabloid journalist in the horror remake 'Down' (2001).

David Lynch's controversial film 'Mulholland Drive' (2001) brought Naomi to the forefront of the public's eye after she played Betty Elms, an aspiring actress. She proved her strong acting ability, which was later qualified by way of gongs, picked up on the award circuit. David Lynch's direction was nominated for an Oscar, and he won ten other awards; the film picked up even more, while Naomi scooped nine awards for her own showcase. She was also named the Female Star of Tomorrow at the 2002 ShoWest Convention and received the Breakthrough Acting Award at the 2002 Hollywood Film Festival and from the National Board of Review.

This was the moment in Naomi's career when the critics sat up and took notice of her talent.

Confident with Lynch's ability, Naomi stayed with him and wore a rabbit's costume in 'Rabbits' (2002). The film, with a cast of only four, was a weird series of nine episodes. Naomi was back acting along side Scott Coffey, together with Rebekah Del Rio and Laura Harring.

'The Ring' (2002) saw Naomi demonstrate she had box office appeal: it grossed over $100m. The Ring was a remake of a Japanese film 'Ringu' from 1998. In this horror Naomi played another journalist, who set out to uncover the truth behind a series of deaths. The Ring scooped five awards and four nominations. Naomi took home her first Best Actress gong, the Saturn Award from the US, Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films.

'Plots with a View' (2002) saw Naomi play Meredith Mainwaring, back in Wales where her real-life mother Miv was from. The romantic comedy also starred Brenda Blethyn, Alfred Molina, Lee Evans and even Jerry Springer as himself. The film went on to win Best Film at the Welsh BAFTA Awards.

The western and biography 'Ned Kelly' (2003) was her next film where she played Julia Cook, Ned's (Heath Leger) love interest; also starring Orlando Bloom. It was originally a novel by Robert Drew titled 'Our Sunshine' about the life of an Australian bushranger and icon. The film picked up three awards and 13 nominations. On set Naomi picked up Heath Ledger too, but their romance ended in 2004.

In the Merchant-Ivory production 'Le Divorce' (2003); directed by James Ivory and produced by Ismail Merchant, Naomi played Roxeanne de Persand. For this role she won the Venice Film Festival 'Wella Prize. The romantic comedy observed the customs of Americans and the French during a family visit to Paris after Naomi's character was jilted by her French husband. Kate Hudson played her sister and the production also starred Glenn Close and Stockard Channing.

Naomi then went on to win a staggering eight 'Best Actress' awards for her part as Rachel Keller, a young mother with a reckless past, in the crime thriller '21 Grams' (2003). This performance also earned Naomi her first Oscar nomination for 'Best Actress in a Leading Role' coupled with the view she was the best actress from her generation. 21 grams is the weight, which it is said, everyone loses at the moment of death.

'We Don't Have to Live Anymore' (2004) saw Naomi play Edith Evans - the film's tag line was: "Why do we want what we can't have?" Still in 2004 she took on the part of Marie Andersen Bicke in 'The Assassination of Richard Nixon', alongside Sean Penn. Set in 1974, the film was based on fact, where Penn's character hatched a plan to kill the then President.

Naomi's career went from strength to strength, demonstrated in 'The Ring Two' (2005) after the box office took $35m in the first weekend. Returning to her protective-mother-reporter character, Rachel Keller, she investigated the mysterious deaths of those who had watched a video tape.

On a roll, Naomi was chosen in the same year to play Ann Darrow in the 2005 version of 'King Kong', directed by Peter Jackson. She spent five months in New Zealand filming on location. Her salary for this job was $5m. The film won three Oscars and Naomi picked up three awards: 'Best Actress' Saturn Award from the Academy of Sci-fi, Fantasy and Horror Films, USA; The London Critics' Circle Film Awards for 'Actress of the Year'; the Best Actress award from the International Cinephile Society Awards and three other nominations for 'Best Actress'. During filming, Naomi started dating co-star Liev Schreiber and in February 2007 the couple announced that they were expecting a baby.

In December of 2005, cashing in on the film's success at the Sundance Film Festival, Naomi's independent film 'Ellie Parker' (2001) was re-released. She also produced it, whilst playing a struggling actress in the lead role. It's a semi-autobiographical take on a struggling actress in Hollywood encountering the profession's nightmares.

Possibly being type-cast by David Lynch, Naomi once again was given the part of a rabbit; but this time instead of donning a rabbit's costume, she just provided the voice for it, in 'Inland Empire' (2006).

Following on from playing another rabbit, Naomi took on the role of Kitty in 'The Painted Veil' (2006) (released in the UK in April 2007). She also co-produced the tale about Kitty, an upper-class woman of the 1920s who relocated with her husband to Shanghai only to fall in love with someone else. It was based on the novel by W. Somerset Maugham.

'Eastern Promises' (2007) saw Naomi team up with Viggo Mortensen and director David Cronenberg for the gangster thriller film, which received positive critical reception and landed her another honour, a nomination for a Saturn Award for Best Actress.

This was quickly followed with a Fangoria Chainsaw Award nomination for best actress for her role in psychological horror-thriller remake 'Funny Games' (2008). After taking an atcing hiatus for a year to be a mother, she returned in the crime action film 'The International' with Clive Owen in 2009. With her star power growing, Naomi continued charming critics with her next character, Elizabeth Joyce, in 2010 drama 'Mother and Child'.

The Australian Film Institute was impressed with her work in the film and rewarded her with a nomination for its international award for best actress. Another nomination came in the form of an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female. The same year saw her land the Satellite Award and St Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress after she appeared in Doug Liman's thriller film 'Fair Game'.

Naomi returned to the horror genre in the 2011 film 'Dream House' with Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz before taking on a serious role in 'J Edgar' - a biopic about the head of the FBI portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio.

In 2012, Watts appeared in 'The Impossible' and 'Sunlight JR'. Next up was her role in 'Diana' (2013), in which she plays Princess Diana. It focuses on the last two years of the princess's life. her latest film is 'Insurgent' (2015).

Despite her busy schedule, Naomi dedicates time to charity and became a goodwill ambassador for the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS in 2006. She has used her star status to champion the cause of those affected by the disease.

In July 2007, Naomi gave birth to her first child, a baby boy named Alexander Pete, with actor boyfriend Liev Schreiber.They had a second son called Samuel 'Sammy' Kai in 2008 in New York City. Watts has claimed she would have another child if she could guarantee it was a girl. Despite Schreiber giving Watts a ring in January 2009, they have not married as they do not want to rush into it.

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