January 27, 1979
London, England, GB
Joe Wright, Robie Uniacke
PhotosView All (77)
A combination of beauty, brains and talent, English actress Rosamund Pike began her ascent to stardom even as she was in the process of earning a degree from Oxford College. Pike vaulted directly from university and a handful of minor roles on U.K. television to a breakout role opposite Pierce Brosnan's James Bond in the 007 action-adventure "Die Another Day" (2002). Unlike so many "Bond girls" before her who quickly sank into obscurity, Pike continued to hone her craft and garner attention in such period pieces as "The Libertine" (2004) and "Pride and Prejudice" (2005), starring alongside established talents like Johnny Depp and Keira Knightley. In addition to making a name for herself on the stages of London's West End, the burgeoning actress received critical acclaim for supporting turns in several independent features, "An Education" (2009) and "Barney's Version" (2010), among them. Balancing the smaller budget projects with more blockbuster fare, she took on significant roles in the Greek mythology fantasy-adventure "Wrath of the Titans" (2012) and the action-packed Tom Cruise thriller "Jack Reacher" (2012). Determined to establish herself as more than a pretty face, Pike shrewdly bolstered her artistic reputation even as she continued to build a solid profile in mainstream entertainments.
She was born Jan. 28, 1979, in London, England to a family of performing artists; her father, Julian Pike, was an opera singer and her mother, Caroline Pike, a concert violinist. On the road frequently for their work, the Pikes sent their daughter to the venerable Badminton School in Bristol, the all-girls boarding school notable for educating the likes of Claire Bloom and Indira Gandhi. There, she gravitated to the arts, became proficient at the cello and tried her hand at drama. At age 16, she was accepted into the National Youth Theatre, and her performance as Juliet in the theater's staging of "Romeo and Juliet" would garner the attention of a theatrical agent who wasted no time signing her. Pike matriculated at Oxford University's Wadham College, ostensibly to study English literature, but the stage continued to beckon. She landed a spot in an Oxford production of "The Taming of the Shrew," which would take her on tour, going as far afield as Japan. There, she would also appear in a production of "Macbeth."
Postponing her studies, Pike also netted a part supporting the estimable Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay in the BBC movie, "A Rather English Marriage" (1998). She sought to transfer to a top drama school, but everyone she auditioned for rejected her. Ensuing years would see her toggle between roles in television productions for the BBC and ITV - notably drawing critical notices for her role in "Love In a Cold Climate" (BBC, 2001) - and Oxford, where she would build her theatrical bona fides in such plays as "The Libertine," "Rhinoceros" and "Skylight." Pike would be in the middle of filming her first feature film at London's Pinewood Studios when she received her English lit degree from Wadham, graduating magna cum laude.
Just 21 in early 2002, the new grad returned to work as a deadly villainess and the new "Bond girl." Joining Pierce Brosnan and Halley Berry in the cast of "Die Another Day," the twentieth outing in the James Bond film series, Pike played Bond's fellow secret agent Miranda Frost, an aptly icy, no-nonsense operative who eventually beds 007 but turns out to be a rogue agent, facing off against Berry in a kung fu catfight near the film's climax. For Brosnan and Pike's love scene, director Lee Tamahori shot what was rumored to be the steamiest scene in the history of the 007 franchise; so much so, that little of it made the final cut. Abruptly on the international showbiz map, she received high-billing for little real screen time in the indie outing "Promised Land" (2004), and landed a familiar role in the movie version of the play she had performed in at Oxford, only this time opposite Johnny Depp. In "The Libertine" (2004) she played the beleaguered wife of Depp's John Wilmot, the notoriously debauched English poet - a role that would earn her a British Independent Film Award for Best Supporting Actress.
In 2005, she joined Keira Knightley and "Die Another Day" co-star Judi Dench in director Joe Wright's adaptation of Jane Austen's "Pride & Prejudice." It proved a strange experience for Pike personally, with a former boyfriend Simon Woods playing her onscreen love interest, while she and Wright struck up a relationship on set. Wright would propose to Pike in 2007 while vacationing in Lake Cuomo, Italy. The seemingly happy couple planned to wed in 2008, but Wright stirred a minor scandal when he abruptly ended the engagement not long after the invitations had gone out.
Pike would take on more de rigueur Hollywood projects, including the sci-fi bomb "Doom" (2005) and the thriller "Fracture" (2007), playing the love interest of Ryan Gosling's D.A. as he attempted to prosecute a cunning murderer (Anthony Hopkins). She also appeared in the indie "Fugitive Pieces" (2007), providing a sparkling turn as the vivacious wife of a Holocaust survivor. Regardless, however, of any onscreen success, she would persistently gravitate back to the West End. She used her theatrical opportunities to move past the "delicate flower" and/or "ice queen" roles film casting agents seemed to ascribe to her, seeking more shaded, visceral parts and drawing ever more favorable notices from critics. In the Terry Johnson play "Hitchcock Blonde," she would go so far as stripping naked and simulating orgasm on stage, before going on to star in revivals of "Gaslight" and Tennessee Williams' "Summer and Smoke."
In the spring and summer of 2009, she reunited with Dench again in "Madame de Sade," Yukio Mishima's play about the cuckolded wife of the infamous eroticist. That same year would also see her more active in features, with second-billing to Lena Olin in the indie thriller "Devil You Know," and a supporting turn as a vapid socialite in mod '60s London in the critical favorite, "The Education," which earned early buzz at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. She also returned to the BBC briefly with a few erotic scenes in "Freefall" (2009), a drama set amid contemporary banking meltdowns. Fall 2009 would see her in arguably her most Hollywood outing to date in the Bruce Willis vehicle, "Surrogates." Set in a future where people remain insulated in their homes and live through idealized proxy androids, it starred Willis as a detective investigating the murders of some of these surrogates, with Pike as his disgruntled wife who copes with her isolation by abusing prescription drugs and living a synthetic high-life through her glamorous doppelganger.
The following year, Pike earned accolades for her supporting role in the based-on-fact drama "Made in Dagenham" (2010), depicting the events surrounding the Ford sewing machinists strike of 1968, which led to the U.K. passing its Equal Pay Act for Women in 1970. Later, she was seen as the lost love of the boorish title character (Paul Giamatti) in the comedic drama "Barney's Version" (2010), a turn juxtaposed by the actress' participation in the Rowan Atkinson spy spoof "Johnny English Reborn" (2011) and an appearance as the attention-starved wife of a record-holding bird watcher (Owen Wilson) in the box office bomb "The Big Year" (2011). Returning the world of big-budgeted blockbusters, Pike portrayed the Greek princess Andromeda in the fantasy-adventure "Wrath of the Titans" (2012), prior to starring opposite megastar Tom Cruise in the violent thriller "Jack Reacher" (2012), as the defense attorney of a man accused of multiple murders whose only hope of vindication lies with a highly-trained ex-military policeman (Cruise).
The World's EndSam Chamberlain
Wrath of the TitansAndromeda
The Big YearJessica
Barney's VersionMiriam Grant-Panofsky
Made in DagenhamLisa Hopkins
The LibertineElizabeth Malet
Pride & PrejudiceJane Bennet
DoomDr. Samantha "Sam" Grimm
Die Another DayMiranda Frost