Helena Bonham Carter is a British actress who also appears in Hollywood films. She is also known for her eccentric roles and peculiar taste in fashion. For over a decade she was the muse of her common-law spouse Tim Burton, starring in most of his works.
In the photo: Helena Bonham Carter
Helena Bonham Carter was born in London on May 26, 1966. Her father Raymond is an influential capital banker, while her mother Elena is a psychotherapist. Helena has two more siblings - Edward and Thomas. Their ancestors have an impressive history: there were prominent political figures and representatives of the elite in the family. If she only desired, Helena could have stepped into her family’s shoes in any of the fields, yet she chose the arts.
Helena Bonham Carter as a child
At the age of 11, Helena won a contest where she read a poem of her own. The money prize awarded by the organizers came in very handy: it was used to order the first professional portfolio for her acting career.
The arts were Helena’s cup of tea since a very young age
The first role of the thirteen-year-old Helena was that of Juliet in a school Shakespeare radio show.
After high school graduation, the future actress went to University of Cambridge to study drama.
Helena Bonham Carter in her youth
An unsuccessful surgery that Helena’s father underwent to remove a tumor took him to the wheelchair, nevertheless his children actively helped to take care of him. Helena lived with her parents until the age of 30; even when she was in serious relationships, she could not neglect her duties and move in with her boyfriend.
After a series of small roles in secondary storylines, Helena became part of the main cast of A Room with a View (1985). Working with Judi Dench and Daniel Day-Lewis gave her confidence in the correctness of her professional choice.
A photo from A Room with a View
Lady Jane (1985) proved to be equally successful on the domestic film market. Helena did not refuse TV roles either; for example, she starred in the film A Hazard of Hearts (1987), and appeared in foreign films, including La maschera (1988).
Helena Bonham Carter in A Hazard of Hearts
Her early appearances in films such as Francesco (1989), Hamlet (1990), and Where Angels Fear to Tread (1991), helped Helena establish herself as a versatile actress, but, at the same time, possessing her own unique style.
Hamlet was one of Helena Bonham Carter’s early appearances
The role in Howards End (1991) brought Bonham Carter her BAFTA nomination, which was her first top-level award nomination, more specifically. Even though she had to concede the trophy to Miranda Richardson, this was another step in the right direction in terms of her career advancement.
Her immediate nomination for a Golden Globe for Fatal Deception: Mrs. Lee Harvey Oswald (1993) only confirmed that conclusion.
In 1993 the actress won a Golden Globe
The Wings of the Dove (1997) and Merlin (1998) mini-series are the most successful projects of the late ‘90s. These years are one of the peaks of Bonham Carter’s career. More new nominations, including the Oscar, were also an indicator of this success. This led to Helena’s collaboration with David Fincher: who saw Bonham Carter on the screen and decided to invite her to play Marla Singer in Fight Club (1999), with Edward Norton and Brad Pitt.
A photo from Fight Club
Planet of the Apes (2001) also became a landmark film for Helena: meeting Tim Burton predetermined her further personal life and many turns of her career. It is generally believed that the director is very susceptible to the influence of the woman he dates at the time of shooting a film. Given that the style of the spouses was very similar, they looked great both in life and on the filming set.
Bonham Carter starred in many of her husband’s projects: Big Fish (2003), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) with Johnny Depp playing the leading role, Corpse Bride (2005), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007), Alice in Wonderland (2010), Dark Shadows (2012). She always got the roles of charismatic women, who stood out even against the background of other vivid characters in Burton’s stories.
Trailer of Alice in Wonderland
The last collaboration of Bonham Carter and Burton was accompanied by jokes about their further work together. She said that she felt that the director was already sick of her on the set, while he said he wanted to add new blood to the cast. These words turned out to be more prophetic than the couple’s fans would have liked them to be.
Helena Bonham Carter in Dark Shadows
Helena auditioned and joined the huge team working on the adaptations of J. K. Rowling’s books. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) was the first film where she appeared as Bellatrix. Later on, she played in another three parts of the series with Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson in the lead roles. The actress really likes her role: it allows her to let emotions free.
In 2007 Helena became part of Harry Potter cast
She could touch again the world of the aristocracy in The King’s Speech (2010). Against the background of the former whimsical roles which the actress used to play, the calm and reserved Queen Elizabeth, the wife of Colin Firth’s protagonist, was a breath of fresh air and a reminder of how versatile Helena could be.
Trailer of The King’s Speech
Bonham Carter has long wanted to work with Jean-Pierre Jeunet. When the director wrote to her just to test the ground and asked about possible cooperation, Helena replied that she was ready to play anything, even a phone book, if he wanted to. No such sacrifice was needed, and Bonham Carter got the role of Dr. Clair in The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet (2013).
In 2015 there were two very different projects where Helena appeared on the screens - a somewhat grim interpretation of the tale Cinderella (2015), with Cate Blanchett and Lily James, and Suffragette (2015), in which Bonham Carter happily agreed to talk about something very important – women's rights. Her role was first expanded and then reduced again, but this did not affect Helena’s desire to remain part of a solid story.
Helena Bonham Carter starring in Suffragette
The return to the role of the Red Queen in Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016) was not successful at all. Although the film retained the main cast of Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp and others, it was a box office fail and was poorly received by critics.
Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen
The mini-series Love, Nina (2016) turned out to be much more provocative, though. Its quality ratings were divided almost equally. Another television project was The Crown (2015), which had already won audience sympathy. In its new season, Helena played Princess Margaret.
Helena Bonham Carter: personal life
Filming Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994) brought Helena and Kenneth Branagh together. The couple were together for about five years, but they broke up at the initiative of Bonham Carter. It was rumored that Helena was the cause of the rupture between Bran and Emma Thompson, but all the participants of this involuntary love triangle denied it.
Kenneth Branagh and Helena
In 2001, Helena starred in Planet of the Apes directed by Tim Burton. Their romance subsequently became a civil union and a creative tandem. In 2003 they became parents for the first time: the son was named Billy Raymond. In 2007, their daughter Nell was born. 13 years after they first met, the director and actress parted ways, but they continue to raise their children together.
Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton
Despite frequent travels, constant being in the public eye and irregular schedules, the actress always puts children at the fore. She even arranges for her interviews to be near her home, whenever possible, so as not to waste too much time and, in case of emergency, to be able to return to the apartment promptly.
Helena Bonham Carter now
Another big project where the actress is involved is Ocean’s Eight (2018). Helena appears in the already classic image of quite an eccentric lady. She and the other stars of the cast, including Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett, re-enact an alternative version of the already familiar plot.
Helena Bonham Carter shooting Ocean’s Eight
The rumor about Bonham Carter’s participation in the next Bond series has not been yet confirmed. However, there was some information in the press that the actress is thought to be the main contender for the role of Agent 007’s main enemy.