Helena Bonham Carter
Anyone who has a basic understanding of Helena Bonham Carter knows that she is English – from the London borough Golders Green to be exact. But her family background is of such interesting eclectic origins – evident in her unique look – that we’ll take a moment to trace the lineage. Helena’s father side is straight British, so British in fact, that her great-great grandfather was a Prime Minister and her father Raymond Bonham Carter represented the Bank of England at the International Monetary Fund (oversees the global financial system) in Washington for a period in the 1960s. On her mother’s side, Helena’s grandfather was Spanish – a diplomat stationed at the Spanish Embassy in D.C. Helena’s great aunt, Liliane, was a French philanthropist and the wife of a baron, a French banker named Elie de Rothschild.
Such genes have no doubt shaped Helena Bonham Carter into the actress she is today. She has been called bold, eccentric and dark – much like the characters she portrays. And so it comes as no surprise that her partner since 2001 is Tim Burton, creator of “Edward Scissorhands” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” One has the impression it seemed they always have been together, as their personalities and tastes often seem complementary. They met on Burton’s “Planet of the Apes” and Helena has been a fixture of every Burton movie since. Previously, she was involved in a half-decade relationship with Kenneth Branagh and a brief fling with Steve Martin.
She started steady acting work in movies as a teenager, and by 20, she was Lady Jane Grey in “Lady Jane,” followed by appearances in a couple episodes of “Miami Vice.” In 1990, she was Ophelia to Mel Gibson’s Hamlet in the Franco Zeffirelli version of Shakespeare’s tragedy. It was on Branagh’s “Frankenstein” set where the romance blossomed – all while De Niro was trying his best as The Creature. But it was in 1997 as Kate Croy in “The Wings of the Dove” where Helena earned deserved recognition as one of the finest contemporary actresses around. That performance was her first Oscar nod.
Closing out the decade as Marla Singer opposite Edward Norton and Brad Pitt in “Fight Club,” Helena soon embarked on The Burton Era: “Planet of the Apes,” “Big Fish,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Corpse Bride” and “Sweeney Todd.” Meanwhile, she lent her voice for “Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit” and donned the role of Bellatrix Lestrange in “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” and “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” She now has two children with Burton, and while it seems that she has crossed into the mainstream as of late, Helena is sure to continue to fascinate every time she’s on screen.
Helena on the Web
Helena Bonham Carter at Maxim
Helena Bonham Carter is at once one of the scariest and sexiest women in the world. Can't decide which trait she exudes more? Maxim's galleries will help you choose.
Ultimate web resource guide for Helena.
TV Guide: Helena Bonham Carter
Photos, bio and news of Helena.
Medium sized biography of Helena’s professional and personal lives.
Thorough fansite with up to date latest news and plenty of media.
Helena Bonham Carter Fan Site
Decent fan page with news, links to trailers, and stills of Helena’s new projects.
Helena on her “Harry Potter” character Bellatrix Lestrange.
Helena discusses her fourth collaboration with Tim Burton – “Corpse Bride.”
Guardian Unlimited Film Interview
2006 interview with Helena on the things that changed her entire life.
Helena on the Screen
Her film debut was the Merchant-Ivory production of “A Room with a View” in 1986 when Helena was 19. She’s “Lady Jane” in 1986, and plays some very offbeat character in “La Maschera” and as Lady Minerva Munday in the comedy “Getting It Right.” She’s Ophelia in “Hamlet,” Elizabeth in “Frankenstein,” Woody Allen’s cheating wife in “Mighty Aphrodite,” Kate Croy in “The Wings of the Dove” (for which she earned a Best Actress nomination), Cora in “Women Talking Dirty,” Susan Ivey opposite Steve Martin in “Novocaine,” Michael Keaton’s confidant in “Life from Baghdad,” Anne Boleyn in “Henry VIII,” and Esther Rubens in “Sixty Six.”
As she preps to give birth to her second child with Tim Burton, Helena will be starring in his “Sweeney Todd,” opposite the other Burton regular Johnny Depp, this December. She will be back for another Bellatrix Lestrange outing in “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” for Thanksgiving 2008.
On breast feeding:
“I'd carry on breast-feeding for the rest of my life if I could.”
On playing Bellatrix Lestrange:
“I think I took my sadism a bit too literally.”
On kids and death:
“Kids love death. They need it, and they need to have stories which explain it, and a place to put their fears.”