Spotlight On: Sienna Guillory
Our new column, Spotlight On, will feature actors, musicians, artists, writers, and anyone we feel is up-and-coming, underrated or just needs a little bit more recognition. For our first entry I bring you one of my favorite actresses: Sienna Guillory.
Born: 16 March 1975, Kettering, England, UK
Family: Sienna Guillory is the daughter of American folk guitarist Isaac Guillory and Tina Thompson, an English model. Sienna gave birth to her twin daughters Valentina and Lucia Cilenti, with husband Enzo Cilenti in 2011.
Well-Known Films: Resident Evil series, Inkheart, Eragon, The Time Machine, Love Actually, Criminal Minds
Lesser-Known Films: The Virgin Queen, Silence Becomes You, Helen of Troy, Beauty, The Principles of Lust, Late Night Shopping, Take a Girl Like You, Sorted, The Heart of the Earth, Gunless, The Big Bang
Comings Soon: Luther, The Wicked Within, The List, The Whole Banana
I first saw Sienna as Helen in the Helen of Troy miniseries (nominated for a Satellite Award for Best Mini-Series) that came out in 2003 on USA. Besides being absolutely gorgeous, she portrayed the multi-faceted character of Helen perfectly. Unlike the more famous Troy, this version made Helen’s life the focus and she had a lot more to do than stand around and look pretty. Sienna managed to bring a fresh-faced naivety to the first half of the movie while not slacking on the haunted maturity that was required of her later on. Helen of Troy can be a difficult character to portray without being superficial and Sienna hit the nail on the head.
Sienna soon became one of my favorite actresses so I went out of my way to see some of her lesser-known films. Sorted was a nice thriller about a man investigating the mysterious death of his brother. Silence Becomes You with Alicia Silverstone was weird and kind of confusing but it was interesting to see Sienna play such a different (read: crazy) character. In Beauty, a modern-day retelling of Beauty and the Beast, she is simply charming in the lead role. Another great part of Sienna’s is in The Virgin Queen as Queen Elizabeth’s scheming cousin Lettice.
Guillory began her career as a model signed to London modeling agency Select. She has been the face of Hugo Boss perfume and has worked in campaigns for Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Burberry, and Paul Smith. She began acting at the age of 16 when directors of the TV adaptation of Jilly Cooper’s Riders were looking for young actresses that were also experienced equestrians. She then went on to have small parts in The Buccaneers with Mira Sorvino among other films and television shows. Her first break-out role was as the lead in the BBC production Take a Girl Like You, for which she received critical attention. Sienna graced the cover of Esquire’s Most Eligible Women in Britian issue in 2001.
Sienna then went on to larger roles in mostly British films like Oblivious, Late Night Shopping, The Last Minute, and Superstition. Her American debut came when she was cast as Emma in The Time Machine. It was that role that caught the eye of the Helen of Troy creators and led them to cast her in the titular role. In May 2004, Guillory starred in a new stage production of The Shape of Things at the New Ambassadors Theatre in London.
Sienna has almost 50 titles listed on IMDB but here in the US she is probably most known for playing Jill Valentine in the Resident Evil series. Her first appearance was in the second movie, Resident Evil: Apocalypse as a hardened cop on patrol who teams up with Alice to rescue a little girl in a city infested with zombies. She then made a cameo in the fourth film Resident Evil: Afterlife and starred in the fifth Resident Evil: Retribution. The Resident Evil series has mixed reviews but Jill Valentine is a much-beloved character and fans love Guillory in the role.
Sienna’s has also bagged parts in other more well-known movies. A staple in fantasy and sci-fi films, she has played Resa in Inkheart and Arya in Eragon and starred in the TV movie Virtuality about a 10-year trek to explore a distant planetary system. She played opposite Antonio Banderas in the 2010 noir film The Big Bang and showed off her comedic chops in the 2010 Canadian western, Gunless. Sienna has also had guest spots on various television shows including Criminal Minds, Out of Sight, and Covert Affairs.
Sienna is only going to get bigger. In only a few weeks her horror movie The Wicked Within will be released. She also has a thriller, The List, that has completed filming as well as an upcoming comedy called The Whole Banana about a Greek God who helps a woman unlucky in love. Sienna is also set to star in Season 3 of the popular television show Luther with Idris Elba. Sienna is beautiful and talented and from her interviews seems like a pretty cool person. I hope she gets more exposure in Hollywood and I look forward to her upcoming projects.