Olivia Williams portrays two versions of the character Emily Burton Silk in the Starz Original Series Counterpart. The London-born actor joined the cast of the Justin Marks-penned series in 2016 after completing work on Victoria & Abdul. Williams career is notable in that she has portrayed two of her home country's greatest authors on screen. She played Agatha Christie in 2004 and Jane Austin in 2008.
Early Life and EducationEdit
Olivia Williams was born on July 26, 1968 in Camden Town, London. She attended South Hampstead High School, an independent school for girls in Hampstead, North London. She went on to Newnham College at the University of Cambridge. She left Cambridge with an English literature degree. She went on to study drama at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School for two years.
Williams then did three years at the Royal Shakespeare Company performing in productions in London and at the group's Stafford-Upon-Avon theater. A touring production of Richard III starring Ian McKellen brought her to the United States in 1995. The following year, Williams scored her first significant television role as Jane Fairfax in the BBC production of Jane Austin's Emma. She's landed several television and movie roles each year since.
Some of her most notable film roles include Roman Polanski’s The Ghost Writer, opposite Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan, for which she was named Best Supporting Actress by the National Society of Film Critics and the London Critics’ Circle Film Awards; and Lone Scherfig’s An Education, opposite Carey Mulligan. The latter film earned Williams a London Critics’ Circle Film Award nomination as well as a shared Screen Actors Guild Award nomination with her fellow actors from the ensemble.
Williams is also a favorite of the sci-fi genre, appearing in The Postman, Below, The Sixth Sense, Hannah, and The Last Days on Mars.
Selected Film CreditsEdit
|1999||The Sixth Sense||Anna Crowe|
|2009||An Education||Miss Stubbs|
|2010||The Ghost Writer||Ruth Lang|
|2010||Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll||Betty Dury|
|2012||Anna Karenina||Countess Vronskaya|
|2012||Hyde Park on Hudson||Eleanor Roosevelt|
|2013||The Last Days on Mars||Kim Aldrich|
|2014||Maps to the Stars||Cristina Weiss|
|2015||Seventh Son||Mam Ward|
|2017||Victoria & Abdul||Baroness Churchill|
On television, Williams starred in Joss Whedon's Dollhouse with Eliza Dushku. She also landed a lead role in the WGN Original Series Manhattan, which also featured her Counterpart co-star Harry Lloyd.
Selected Television CreditsEdit
|2004||Agatha Christie: A Life in Pictures||Agatha Christie|
|2006||Krakatoa: The Last Days||Johanna Beijerinck|
|2008||Miss Austen Regrets||Jane Austen|
|2011–2012||Case Sensitive||DS Charlie Zailer|
|2014||Salting the Battlefield||Belinda Kay|
|2017||The Halcyon||Lady Hamilton|
|2017–present||Counterpart||Emily Burton Silk|
In addition to her on-screen work, Williams frequently appears in theater productions in her hometown. Most recently she starred in Lucy Kirkwood's Mosquitos at the National Theatre in London.