Saturday, 9 December 2017

Birthday's to share this week : 10th - 16th December 2017.

Do you celebrate your Birthday this week?

Natascha McElhone does on 14th December - check out my tribute to this Actress Birthday Girl turning 48, at the end of this feature.

Do you also share your birthday with a well known, highly regarded & famous Actor or Actress; share your special day with a Director, Producer, Writer, Cinematographer, Singer/Songwriter or Composer of repute; or share an interest in whoever might notch up another year in the coming seven days? Then, look no further! Whilst there will be too many to mention in this small but not insignificant and beautifully written and presented Blog, here are the more notable and noteworthy icons of the big screen, and the small screen, that you will recognise, and that you might just share your birthday with in the week ahead. If so, Happy Birthday to you from Odeon Online!

Sunday 10th December
  • Kenneth Branagh - Born 1960, turns 57 - Actor | Director | Producer | Writer | Singer | Songwriter
  • Xavier Samuel - Born 1983, turns 34 - Actor  
Monday 11th December
  • Jean-Louis Trintignant - Born 1930, turns 87 - Actor | Writer | 
  • Hailee Steinfeld - Born 1996, turns 21 - Actress | Singer
  • Mo'Nique (aka Monique Imes) - Born 1967, turns 50 - Actress | Producer  
Tuesday 12th December
  • Jennifer Connolly - Born 1970, turns 47 - Actress
  • Bill Nighy - Born 1949, turns 68 - Actor | Singer  
Wednesday 13th December
  • Dick Van Dyke - Born 1925, turns 92 - Actor | Producer | Writer | Singer 
  • Christopher Plummer - Born 1929, turns 88 - Actor | Producer | Singer
  • Robert Lindsay - Born 1949, turns 68 - Actor | Singer
  • Steve Buscemi - Born 1957, turns 60 - Actor | Director | Producer | Singer 
  • Jamie Foxx - Born 1967, turns 50 - Actor | Producer | Writer | Director | Singer | Songwriter | Composer 
Thursday 14th December
  • Rebecca Gibney - Born 1964, turns 53 - Actress | Producer | Writer
  • Natascha McElhone - Born 1969, turns 48 - Actress  
  • Sophie Monk - Born 1979, turns 38 - Actress 
Friday 15th December
  • Don Johnson - Born 1949, turns 68 - Actor | Producer | Director | Singer
  • Alex Cox - Born 1954, turns 63 - Actor | Director | Writer | Producer | Editor
  • John Lee Hancock - Born 1956, turns 61 - Director | Writer | Producer
  • Stuart Townsend - Born 1972, turns 45 - Actor | Writer | Director | Producer  
  • Charlie Cox - Born 1982, turns 35 - Actor
Saturday 16th December
  • Ben Cross - Born 1947, turns 70 - Actor 
  • Shane Black - Born 1961, turns 56 - Writer | Actor | Director | Producer
  • Benjamin Bratt - Born 1963, turns 54 - Actor | Producer
  • James Mangold - Born 1963, turns 54 - Director | Producer | Writer
  • Theo James - Born 1984, turns 33 - Actor
  • Miranda Otto - Born 1967, turns 50 - Actress 
Natascha Abigail Taylor was born in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, England to Noreen McElhone and Michael Taylor, both working as journalists. Her parents separated when the young girl was just two years of age, and with her mother and brother Damon the family moved to Brighton, Sussex, where Noreen later married the Fleet Street journalist and columnist Roy Greenslade. Natascha took Irish Dancing lessons from the age of six up until her twelfth year and was educated at the private independent boarding school - St. Mary's Hall School for Girls in Brighton. She went on to graduate in 1993 from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. When her acting aspirations began to materialise, Natascha took her mothers maiden name of McElhone, as her stage name. 

McElhone began her acting career on the stage appearing in a number of productions including 'A Midsummer Night's Dream', 'Richard III', 'The Count of Monte Cristo' and 'The Cherry Orchard'. Her small screen debut came in 1990 in a two part episode of 'The Ruth Rendell Mysteries', and then in a single episode of the long running BBC detective series 'Bergerac' in 1991, followed up in 1994 on a single episode of 'Absolutely Fabulous' and 'Minder'. More similar television appearances followed, up until her big screen debut in 1996 in the Merchant Ivory biographical drama production of 'Surviving Picasso' Directed by James Ivory and starring Anthony Hopkins as the great artist Pablo Picasso, Julianne Moore, Joss Ackland and Joan Plowright with McElhone playing Picasso's mistress and muse Francoise Gilot.  

1997 saw the Alan J. Pakula Directed IRA crime drama 'The Devil's Own' with Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt, followed up by the romantic drama period piece 'Mrs. Dalloway' with Vanessa Redgrave, Lena Headey, John Standing, Robert Hardy and Rupert Graves. Peter Weir's 'The Truman Show' with Jim Carrey, Ed Harris and Laura Linney was released to much critical acclaim in 1998 picking up 38 award wins and another 68 nominations followed by lawyers in love courtroom RomCom 'What Rats Won't Do', before closing out the decade that same year with John Frankenheimer's action crime adventure offering 'Ronin' featuring an all star cast including Robert De Niro, Jean Reno, Sean Bean, Stellan Skarsgard and Jonathan Pryce.

2000 launched with Kenneth Branagh's modern retelling of the classic Shakespeare story 'Love's Labour's Lost' with Alicia Silverstone, Kenneth Branagh, Carmen Ejogo, Emily Mortimer, Nathan Lane, Timothy Spall, Geraldine McEwan and Richard Briers. 'Contaminated Man' was also released that year with William Hurt and Peter Weller and then 2002 saw a raft of films taking in 'Killing Me Softly' with Joseph Fiennes and Heather Graham; 'Laurel Canyon' with Frances McDormand and Christian Bale; the horror crime thriller 'Feardotcom' with Stephen Dorff and Stephen Rea; the Matt Dillon Written, Directed and starring 'City of Ghosts' with James Caan and Gerard Depardieu; and then Steven Soderbergh's 'Solaris' with George Clooney and Viola Davis. 

2003 saw the made for television film 'The Other Boleyn Girl' with McElhone playing Mary Boleyn to Jodi May's Anne Boleyn to Jared Harris' King Henry VIII based on the Philippa Gregory novel. The next year saw the Charles Dance Directed 'Ladies in Lavender' with Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Daniel Bruhl, David Warner and Toby Jones; followed by 'Guy X' with Jeremy Northam and Jason Biggs; then comedy crime caper 'Big Nothing' with Simon Pegg and David Schwimmer; family fantasy adventure film 'The Secret of Moonacre' and then 'Blessed' with James Nesbitt closing out another decade. In between time there were also the six episode pre-Apocalypse fantasy mystery drama mini-series 'Revelations' with Bill Pullman, Tobin Bell and John Rhys-Davies that aired in 2005, and then two out of the six episodes on 'The Company' with Chris O'Donnell, Michael Keaton, Alfred Molina and Tom Hollander.

The new decade launched with the Nick Moran Directed true story of 'The Kid' with Ioan Gruffud, Bernard Hill, James Fox and Rupert Friend in the title role. That same year came police investigative serial killer mystery drama 'Thorne : Sleepyhead' and then in 2013 'The Sea' for Director Stephen Brown and starring also Ciaran Hinds, Charlotte Rampling, Rufus Sewell, then giving way to an updated telling of 'Romeo & Juliet' with Damian Lewis, Stellan Skarsgard, Douglas Booth, Hailee Steinfeld, and Kodi Smit-McPhee. 2013 also saw the release of 'Believe' with Brian Cox playing Matt Busby the legendary Manchester United football coach who comes out of retirement to help a young gifted player. 2016 saw 'Mr. Church' Directed by Bruce Beresford with Eddie Murphy in the title role with Britt Robertson and Xavier Samuel and then 'London Town' set in the late '70's London music scene with the backdrop of the punk rock scene and in particular the influence that The Clash have on a fourteen year old lad.

In between time, there was the hugely successful, if somewhat controversial, television series which ran for seven seasons from 2007 through to 2014 - 'Californication' with David Duchovny in the lead role as Hank Moody with McElhone playing his long term and long suffering girlfriend Karen across 84 episodes. The show won six awards and was nominated for 31 others including successive Golden Globes, Primetime Emmy's and a BAFTA and SAG nod.

2016 brought television series 'Designated Survivor' with Keifer Sutherland in the lead role as Tom Kirkman, a low level US Cabinet member who becomes President of the United States after a catastrophic attack kills everyone else above him in the line of succession. McElhone plays Kirkman's wife Alex, appearing in 31 episodes so far out of the first two seasons of 34 episodes. The second series is currently airing.

In 2014 she starred in the role as Alex Forrest in the London West End stage production of 'Fatal Attraction' (the role made famous in the 1987 film of the same name by Glenn Close), and in 2015 she appeared in the Royal Shakespeare Company production of 'Queen Anne'. There was also a two part television mini-series 'Saints and Strangers' which aired in 2015 about the voyage of the Mayflower and the first year of settlement in the New World for the Pilgrims of America. Next up for McElhone is television Sci-Fi drama series 'The First' currently in production for a 2018 release.

All up McElhone has 43 acting credits to her name and she has accumulated five awards nominations. McElhone married plastic surgeon Martin Hirigoyen Kelly in May 1998 with whom she had three sons - Theodore (born in 2000), Otis (born in 2003) and Rex (born in 2008). Rex was born five months after the death of her husband from dilated cardiomyopathy (enlarging of the heart so that it can no longer pump blood effectively). As a means of coping with the sudden loss of her husband, McElhone wrote a book of her letters and diary notes to and about her husband which was published in 2010 titled 'After You : Letters of Love, and Loss, to a Husband and Father'.

Natascha McElhone - established herself as a lead Actress by the time she left drama school; following her rites of passage through theatre and small time TV series appearances she quickly escalated to feature films working for some big name Director's and heavy hitting Co-Stars; has been in demand ever since; has worked across multiple genres; and has come full circle starring in two very popular and successful television series while still juggling feature films, and three growing boys. Very much in demand, talented and clearly comfortable on the big screen, the small screen, the stage and in writing too. Happy Birthday to you Natascha, from Odeon Online.

-Steve, at Odeon Online-

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