This autumn, 28-year-old Elizabeth Debicki is set to follow up her scene stealing turn as Jed in BBC's 2016 adaptation of John Le Carré's The Night Manager with a role in Widows, the female-fronted heist movie from director Steve McQueen that’s fast emerging as one of this autumn’s most talked-about films. With the Australian actress’s star firmly in its ascendance, here’s what you need to know…
Elizabeth Debicki: The Biography
Elizabeth was born in Paris in August 1990 to a Polish father and an Australian mother, who moved the family to Melbourne, Australia when she was five. Both parents were ballet dancers, and just like fellow girl of the moment, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth trained in ballet as a child before changing her allegiances to theatre.
She went on to study drama at the University of Melbourne’s Victorian College of the Arts. Her debut film appearance came in 2011 with a supporting role in the Australian comedy A Few Best Men, alongside fellow Aussies Rebel Wilson and Olivia Newton John, and, erm, Kris Marshall of ‘Colin-from-Love-Actually’ fame.
After Romeo+Juliet and Moulin Rouge director Baz Luhrmann watched her showreel, Elizabeth was flown out to Los Angeles to audition for his next project – a lavish adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby – and it was announced in May 2011 that the actress had landed the role of Jordan Baker.
In the summer of 2013, Debicki starred alongside Isabelle Huppert and Cate Blanchett in the Sydney Theatre Company’s production of The Maids, Jean Genet’s tale of violence between two maids and their upper class employer. Describing what it was like to work with Oscar winner Blanchett, Debicki told The Independent: ‘She was absolutely a role model when I was growing up. I fed off everything she made, every film, so it was completely surreal to get to work with her. It’s probably the most star-struck that I’ve ever been.’
Elizabeth Debicki In The Great Gatsby
Elizabeth starred in Luhrmann’s 2013 adaptation as Jordan Baker, the confidante of Carey Mulligan’s Daisy Buchanan and sometime love interest for Tobey Macguire’s Nick Carraway. For a young actress in her first major role, working alongside the likes of Mulligan and Leonardo Di Caprio must have been daunting, and Debicki has described the experience as ‘baptism by fire.’ Speaking to The Guardian, she said ‘For my first scene […] there really were 400 extras, and seven cameras on cranes […] I thought that was normal, because I’d never done anything important.’
Elizabeth Debicki In The Man From UNCLE
After a turn as Lady Macduff in the 2015 adaptation of Macbeth (alongside Marion Cotillard and Michael Fassbender, no less) came a role in The Man From UNCLE, Guy Ritche’s reboot of the classic Sixties spy series. Debicki played Victoria Vinciguerra, a femme fatale-esque villain, joining an impressive cast that also included Alicia Vikander, Man of Steel’s Henry Cavill and even Hugh Grant in a rare non-rom-com appearance.
Elizabeth Debicki In The Night Manager
The role that firmly propelled Elizabeth's career into a the stratosphere was her turn as Jed Marshall in the BBC's six-part adaptation of John Le Carré's 1991 novel, The Night Manager__ back in 2016_._ Her character is the girlfriend of arms dealer Richard Roper, played by Hugh Laurie, who eventually falls for Jonathan Pine, the 'night manager' turned MI6 agent of the title, who was played by Tom Hiddleston (remember that scene?). It was gripping watch that rightly earned both rave reviews and great ratings - and we also enjoyed Jed's never-ending wardrobe of beautifully cut maxi dresses, of course.
Speaking to W about the role, Debicki said 'What I loved about this project is that, for [six] episodes, we focused on the female role [...] Television is the medium that's allowing women's stories to flourish.'
Elizabeth Debicki In Guardians of the Galaxy 2
Yes, that was Elizabeth that you spotted in a fully gold get-up in Guardians of the Galaxy 2. The star plays Ayesha, a gold-plated high-priestess with a particularly convoluted backstory (even for Marvel...) who best resembles a female Oscar statuette come to life. All you need to know is that she's very tall, very powerful and very, very gold. Describing her transformation to Den Of Geek, Elizabeth revealed that the process was 'old school,' involving hair styling, contact lenses and being 'painted,' rather than relying on CGI.
Elizabeth Debicki In Widows
The Australian star's latest project is Widows, the genre-busting thriller from Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen. Based on an '80s ITV series that fascinated McQueen as a child, it boasts one of the best cast lists of 2018, starring Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Cynthia Erivo and Elizabeth as women who find themselves drawn together when their husbands die in a failed heist. Soon, they're stepping up to finish the job and avenge their late partners. Elizabeth plays Alice, who is recovering from the emotional trauma of an abusive marriage.
Elizabeth Debicki's Height
Elizabeth stands at 1.9 metres tall. Speaking to The Independent, she said ‘I realised that I couldn’t do anything about it […] You just have to accept it, or it will be a burden for your whole life.’ In fact, she’s previously mentioned how she uses her height to her advantage in certain roles, such as Victoria in UNCLE. Own it, we say...
Elizabeth Debicki: Future Projects?
She’s starring alongside legendary actresses Laura Dern and Ellen Burstyn and The Danish Girl’s Sebastien Koch in The Tale, an investigative thriller that’s currently in post production. After that, she’ll be working on Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 – details of her role are currently under wraps, but the Internet is awash with rumours that she’ll be playing the villainous Mistress Death.
After Widows, Elizabeth is set to play Virginia Woolf opposite Gemma Arterton’s Vita Sackville West in Vita and Virginia, a biopic charting the love affair between the modernist author and the socialite. Then, she’ll star in Lovecraft Country, a new miniseries from Oscar-winning Get Out writer Jordan Peele, and in art world thriller The Burnt Orange Heresy. After that, she’s set to reprise her role in the third Guardians of the Galaxy movie, though we could be waiting a while before this arrives in cinemas, as Disney are still yet to announce a new director following the departure of James Gunn from the project.