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Rachel – Biography
Rachel Clare Hurd-Wood was born on August 17, 1990, in London, England. She was born to Sarah Hurd-Wood and Philip Hurd-Wood, a voiceover actor and scriptwriter. Rachel’s brother, Patrick, was born in 1995. Rachel attended Rodborough Technology College from 2001 to 2006. In 2006, she started attending Godalming College. Her family moved from London to Godalming, Surrey, when Rachel was eight years old. Rachel describes her family as very supportive:
“Well my family is very important to me. They’ve been really supportive throughout the whole filming and publicity, which there isn’t much of but I’m sure there will be, and they’re really important to me, you know they come first. They’re just really supportive and loving.”
Although frequently cast as the “English Rose” or tormented damsel, Rachel has a dark side to her. She read Goosebumps books when she was younger and read Stephen King novels when she was deemed old enough by her parents. Even her favorite fairytale is The Stringla Princess, a Greek story about a princess who strangles horses. As well, Rachel is very fond of horror movies, her favorites including Battle Royale and Carrie.
Although Rachel joined the drama club at her school in second grade and performed in a few plays, her first proper venture into acting was by chance. Her grandparents caught an advertisement on television looking for girls to attend an open casting for the character of Wendy in the upcoming Peter Pan movie. They mentioned it in passing to her mother, who measured Rachel when she came home from school to see if she fit the requirements and asked if she would like to audition.
“My grandparents heard about it on the television and told my mom. One day when I came home from school, she measured me to see if I was within the height restrictions, without telling me what she was doing. I was confused as to why she was doing that.”
Rachel was excited to attend the audition, not because she thought she would get the part, but because she wanted to be able to say that she auditioned for Peter Pan. She described the audition process as easy:
“All I had to do was tell the casting lady a bit about myself, then she gave me a recall where they gave me a couple of pages of lines that I had to learn. The next time I got recalled, I just sort of said them in front of a video camera. It was a bit nerve-wracking, but it wasn’t really bad because everyone was so nice.”
Rachel got the part and she and her family traveled to Australia for filming. Her brother Patrick also landed a small role in the film as one of the sleeping children. Peter Pan was released Christmas 2003. Rachel’s performance earned her a Saturn Award nomination for Best Performance by a Younger Actor.
In 2004, Rachel starred in a smaller, television production: Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking. She played Imogen Helhoughton, a young girl who is kidnapped. The movie was aired on the BBC and Rachel gave a powerful, emotional performance despite having a small role. In 2005, Rachel starred in another feature film, An American Haunting, as Betsy Bell, a girl who is tormented by a poltergeist. Her co-stars included Sissy Spacek and Donald Sutherland. The role also demanded a high amount of emotional acting and Rachel worked hard at doing her own stunts.
Perfume: Story of a Murderer was released in 2006. Rachel’s hair was dyed bright red for the role of Laura Richis, the daughter of the character played by Alan Rickman. The director of the film, Tom Tykwer, described the task of finding a beautiful actress to play Laura as initially very difficult. Meeting Rachel, however, saved him much grief because she was perfect for the role.
Rachel’s upcoming films are also historical and very dark. In Dorian Gray, Rachel plays an actress, Sybil Vane, who is manipulated by Gray, played by Ben Barnes. The film, based on the Oscar Wilde novel, is said to be a Gothic thriller. In Solomon Kane, Rachel plays Meredith Crowthorn, a girl from a Puritan family who is kidnapped by evil forces.
Despite having few film roles under her belt, Rachel is a popular fan choice for many yet uncast roles in upcoming films and projects. Fans around the internet have suggested her for many famous redheads, wanting her for Lily Potter in Harry Potter and voting for her as their number one choice for Sansa Stark in the upcoming HBO series Game of Thrones, which is based on the popular books by George R. R. Martin. NarniaWeb visitors voted her as their top choice for Ramandu’s daughter in the future Voyage of the Dawn Treader movie. In 2008, she was rumored to have been cast as redhead Gemma Doyle in a movie based on Libba Bray’s bestselling novel, A Great and Terrible Beauty. The rumor turned out to be untrue.
Rachel is presently unsure of whether or not to continue acting as a career. At a young age, her interest in dolphins inpired her to be a marine biologist. She changed her mind, however, when she decided she was better at English and Physchology and not science. She decided she would like to work with autistic children and is currently torn between a career in Psychology and a career in acting and is leaning more towards the former. Whatever her decision, we only wish her the best!