Maisie Williams

Maisie Williams
Maisie Williams by Gage Skidmore 3.jpg
Williams at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con
Born
Margaret Constance Williams

(1997-04-15) 15 April 1997 (age 23)
Bristol, England
Nationality British
Education Norton Hill School
Bath Dance College
Occupation Actress, internet entrepreneur
Years active 2011–present
Height 5 ft 1 in (155 cm)[1]
Television Game of Thrones

Margaret Constance "Maisie" Williams (born 15 April 1997 ) is an English actress, born in Bristol and raised in Somerset. In 2011, aged fourteen and following her second acting audition, Williams was cast in her first professional dramatic role as Arya Stark. A character in the main cast of the highly successful medieval fantasy epic television drama, HBO's Game of Thrones (2011–2019), a portrayal of which catapulted Williams to international renown. Williams received critical and popular acclaim for her work on the show and several acting accolades, including the EWwy Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama and the Portal Award for Best Supporting Actress – Television and Best Young Actor, as well as the Saturn Award for Best Performance by a Younger Actor twice. She has also been nominated twice for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, in 2016 and 2019.

Williams guest starred as Ashildr/Me in four episodes of the science fiction series Doctor Who (2015) and voices the main role of Cammie MacCloud in the animated series Gen:Lock (2019–present). Williams made her feature film debut in the mystery drama The Falling (2014), for which she won the London Film Critics' Circle Award for Young Performer of the Year and the 2015 European Shooting Stars Award at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival. She has since starred in the thriller iBoy (2017), the animated comedy Early Man (2018), and the romantic drama Then Came You (2019). She made her stage debut in Lauren Gunderson's 2018 play I and You at Hampstead Theatre.

Williams is also an Internet entrepreneur. In 2019, she jointly developed and co-launched the social media platform Daisie, designed for creative people to network and collaborate on creative projects and help new artists and creators to gain exposure for their work, and to connect them with potential mentors.

Early life

Margaret Constance Williams was born in Bristol, on 15 April 1997, to Hilary Pitt (now Frances) a university course administrator (who gave up her job to support her daughter's acting career).[2][3][4] Her mother and father separated when she was four months old.[2] The youngest of four siblings, Williams was raised by her mother (with help from her stepfather) in a three-bedroom council house in the village of Clutton, Somerset.[5][6]

From an early age ('when she was tiny') she has always been called "Maisie",[a] nicknamed after the character from The Perishers comic strip.[3][8][9] She attended Clutton Primary School and Norton Hill School in Midsomer Norton, before transferring to Bath Dance College to study Performing Arts with ambition of becoming a professional dancer.[2] Williams left school before taking her national academic GCSEs exams due to the successful commencement of her acting career (she had been predicted to gain high grades).[9]

Acting career

Game of Thrones, 2011 – 2019

Williams (left) with Game of Thrones co-star Sophie Turner in March 2013

At the age of 14, in 2011 (after her second ever audition) Williams kicked off her professional acting career as part of one of the largest ensemble casts on television. Williams took on the role of Arya Stark a tomboyish young daughter of a important noble family in HBO's historical fantasy in the drama series Game of Thrones (based on George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire epic fantasy novel series).[3][10][11][12] Williams almost missed the audition, due to the fact that it clashed with a school trip to a pig farm.[9][13]

Sophie Heawood of the Guardian described Arya's character arc, a journey 'from cute little sister to ruthless serial killer (of 64 victims)', and that she was "the serial killer everyone's rooting for." [9] A decisive fan-favorite and one of the central protagonists in Game of Thrones, Arya's story is one of severance, trauma, tragedy and revenge. A character who becomes a highly skilled left handed warrior (Williams is right handed) and a 'a pocket-sized killing machine' with a vengeful list of those who murdered and tore her family apart or slaughtered her friends. After six seasons of separation she finally discovers and unites with her remaining siblings and goes on to save the entire fictional continent of Westeros by killing the 'god of death', Night King, and his entire undead army with one strike.[14][15][16][17][18] Williams appeared in all eight broadcast seasons of Game of Thrones, the final episode aired in May 2019.[19]

Williams received critical praise and recognition for her portrayal of Arya in the show.[20][21] For her second year of professional acting she was submitted for a Outstanding Supporting Actress category for the 2012 Primetime Emmy Awards, but did not make the nomination shortlist.[22] Williams did win the 2012 Portal Award for Best Supporting Actress – Television (at 15 years, the youngest actress ever to achieve this) and the Portal Award for Best Young Actor.[2] In March 2013, she was nominated for a Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a TV Series – Supporting Young Actress and, in November 2013, she won the BBC Radio 1 Teen Award for Best British Actor.[23][24] In 2015 she was awarded the Empire Hero Award, the EWwy Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 2015, and the Saturn Award for Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Television Series[25][26][27] In 2016 she was again nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.[28] Her performance in final season of the drama (despite the Eighth season's mixed reviews) in 2019 resulted in her again winning the Saturn Award for Best Performance by a Younger Actor in a Television Series, as well as nominations for the Best Hero and Best Fight in the MTV Movie & TV Awards and People's Choice Awards for The Female TV Star and The Drama TV Star.[29][30][31][32] Regarding Williams second nomination for an Emmy in 2019 for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, Daniel D'Addario from Variety described Williams acting, that she "entered the show as a child with minimal experience, but swiftly proved herself a very gifted performer...Millions watched her grow into her talents — and a fitting end to her very unusual journey through her first role" would be for Williams to win an Emmy.[21]

The personal forename Arya is a real world name for both sexes of Sanskrit and Persian origins long used in South Asia.[33][34][35] In 2012, the girls name Arya, became the fastest-rising baby girl's name in the U.S., jumping in popularity from 711th to 413th position, largely due to the popularity of Williams' character "Arya Stark".[36][37] The name also entered the top 200 most commonly used names for baby girls born in England and Wales in 2017.[38][39] Though naturally some of the rise in popularity in the west, could have been partly due to the migration of South Asians to the west.

Other acting roles, 2012 onwards

In 2012, Williams took part in The Olympic Ticket Scalper a Funny or Die skit.[40] In the same year Williams portrayed Loren Caleigh in the three part BBC supernatural thriller series The Secret of Crickley Hall.[41] She also appeared in the independent film Heatstroke (2012), and the short film Up on the Roof (2013).[42][43][44]

In 2014, Williams was cast in the role of Lydia in the British coming of age mystery film drama The Falling, set in an all-girls school, for which she was awarded the London Film Critics' Circle Award for Young Performer of the Year, Evening Standard British Film Award Rising Star and in 2015 the European Shooting Stars Award at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival for her role in Carol Morley’s feature.[45][46][47][48][49] The film premiered at the BFI London Film Festival on 11 October 2014 and was released theatrically on 24 April 2015 in the UK. Guy Lodge of Variety described Williams as "prodigiously gifted" and giving a "brilliantly articulated ... bristling, often spikily funny performance."[50]

In the same year, she also played Abbie in the Irish comedy drama film Gold.[51] In January 2015, Williams starred as Casey Jacobs in the BAFTA nominated Cyberbully, a Channel 4 docudrama television film [52][53] In Autumn 2015, Williams guest starred in four episodes of series 9 of the BBC series Doctor Who (The Girl Who Died, The Woman Who Lived, Face the Raven and Hell Bent), in the recurring role of Ashildr, a Viking girl made immortal by the Doctor. Williams's performance in The Woman Who Lived was described as "superb" by Patrick Mulkern of the Radio Times.[54]

Williams at the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con

In 2017 Williams was cast as Lucy in iBoy and Isabel Baxter in Mary Shelley, a romantic period-drama film directed by Haifaa al-Mansour and written by Emma Jensen.[55] In 2018 she was the voice actor for the character Goona a Bronze Age 'fearless rebel' tomboy football enthusiast in Nick Park's animated prehistoric comedy adventure Early Man alongside Eddie Redmayne and Tom Hiddleston.[56][57] From 18 October to 24 November 2018, Williams starred as Caroline in the stage play I and You, which was written by Lauren Gunderson. The play premiered at the Hampstead Theatre in London.[58][59] The play did well at the box office and Willliams stage performance was regarded a critical success, with the production later being broadcast free on Instagram from 30 November to 3 December 2018 and again during the last week of March 2020.[60][61][62] She also starred in the short film Corvidae, a dark fairy tale that had been filmed in 2013 and was released in 2018.[63]

In 2019 she starred in the voice cast of gen:LOCK, an animated series on the Rooster Teeth subscription service. Williams voices the role of Cammie MacCloud, a mischievous Scottish hacker, alongside a cast that includes Michael B. Jordan, David Tennant and Dakota Fanning.[64] Also in 2019 Williams starred alongside Asa Butterfield and Nina Dobrev in the teen drama film Then Came You, in which she played a teenager with a terminal illness. The film premiered at the Woodstock Film Festival on 12 October 2018 and was released nationwide in 2019.[65][66][67]

Upcoming roles

Williams is set to star as Marvel's Rahne Sinclair/Wolfsbane, a Scottish mutant who can turn into a wolf and struggles to reconcile this with her religious beliefs, in the repeatedly delayed Disney/Fox horror film in the superhero genre The New Mutants.[68][69][70] The film is scheduled to be released in the United States on August 28, 2020, after being pushed back due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.[71][72] Later in 2020, she is due to star as Kim Noakes, a misfit on the run from a murderous gangster and the police, in Two Weeks to Live, a six-part dark comedy series, alongside actress Sian Clifford. The UK series is written by Gaby Hull and produced by Kudos for Sky UK).[73][74] Also planned for 2020 is The Owners, a 1990s-set thriller, in which Williams has been cast as a young woman who reluctantly agrees to participate in a botched robbery alongside her delinquent, no-hoper boyfriend. The film is being directed by French director Julius Berg and is adapted from the graphic novel Une Nuit De Pleine Lune by Belgian artist Hermann and writer Yves H.[75][76]

Commercial promotional work

In 2015 Williams delivered a feminist speech in New York at the launch of Always's 'Like a girl' campaign, the speech being aimed at the Generation Z demographic of which Williams is a member.[9][77][78] She sang "Let It Go", from the film Frozen, in an Audi commercial that aired during the broadcast of Superbowl LIV in early February 2020.[79]

Production company and social media app

Williams at TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco in 2019

Daisy Chain Productions

Williams set up Daisy Chain Productions in early 2016 with Dom Santry and Bill Milner (both of whom she met during working on iBoy) to develop and produce UK-originated short films, theatrical features and high-end television drama, with a focus on opportunities for youth and development of talent in the UK. In 2017, the 19.54-minute short film Stealing Silver which Williams executive produced and starred in alongside Ronald Pickup, was the company's first production.[80][81][82]

Daisie app

Williams and Santry co-developed and launched the beta version of a new iOS-compatible a social media app called Daisie, on 1 August 2018.[83] Daisie is a multi-media social networking- style platform, designed to help artists and creators of all types and backgrounds from across the various creative industries to showcase their work, discover projects and collaborate and provide an alternative route to develop their careers.[5][84][85]

Users first establish a profile on the website (similar to other social networks), they then can search and find creative projects. The way a user's profile grows is not by obtaining high follower popularity counts, friends or likes (typical of most other social media apps), but by connecting with other creative people (via ‘chains’) and working collaboratively on projects.[86][84] Williams explains, "the way your profile grows is by the chains that you make. To make a chain with someone, you have to work together."[87][88] Users can then use Daisie as a tool for showcasing their work. Users can also gain guidance from leading experts in their field via a question and answer style format with others who have more experience in their fields.[85][88][89][90]

Williams and Santry designed Daisie as a tool for young people to bypass the obstacles, internal and external, that prevent budding artists from gaining recognition and exposure.[87] Williams said the "goal is to have a community of artists who are collaborating with each other, uploading their work, sharing their projects and ultimately ... help people with their own careers, rather than our own."[89] Daisie does not allow company profiles, the focus being on individual creators. Williams explained in 2019 that instead of creators "having to market themselves to fit someone else's idea of what their job would be, they can let their art speak for themselves."[84]

The company is based in Shoreditch, a district in the East End of London.[9] In May 2019 Daisie raised £2 million ($2.5 million) in seed funding from Founders Fund, 8VC, Kleiner Perkins, and from the newer venture capital firm Shrug Capital, set up by AngelList's former head of marketing Niv Dror, who also separately invested. Eleven days after the public launch, in May 2019, the number of users reached one hundred thousand (with 70 per cent of user base being female) most of whom were in London where the bulk of its marketing efforts have taken place in the startup's home city.[91] On AppAdvice, Daisie achieved a score of 4 out of 5.[90]

In 2019, Williams presented a TEDx talk in Manchester on the topic "Don't strive to be famous, strive to be talented". Williams begins by describing her childhood background, including having no formal qualifications to her name, and the seeming unsurmountable blocks on her realising her childhood dreams of becoming a professional dancer and that her own personal unexpected career success, began with 'luck and timing'. She points out that the entertainment industry is built on gatekeepers who hold all the power. Williams then goes on to introduce Daisie as a social network tool for artists to collaborate with each other and a device that gives "the power back to the creator." The talk synopsis states 'now is the perfect time to stop playing by the rules and how ... Daisie, will redefine creative collaboration'.[92][93][6][94]

Fashion and personal life

Williams at Paris Fashion Week, 2019

According to Vogue's Janelle Okwodu, Williams has 'cultivated a quirky, youthful' style, while The Daily Telegraph's senior fashion editor Emily Cronin pointed out Williams' 'Street style', and that as a celebrity Williams has been courted by the fashion industry.[5][95][96][97] In 2019 Williams and her boyfriend Reuben Selby started to appear on the fashion scene as a couple, regularly in coordinated ensembles.[98][99] Williams shares an interest in design with Selby, who is a fashion designer (he co-designed her asymmetric dress for the 2019 Emmys awards), the founder of a modelling agency, co-founder of a creative agency and former communications director of Williams' social media platform Daisie.[100][101][102]

Williams is popular on social media winning a Shorty Award in 2016 for her online presence there. The Guardian noted, in 2018, that she had almost 2 million followers on Twitter and nearly 8.4 million followers on Instagram.[103][9][104]

Animal and environmental advocacy

Williams is a global ambassador and campaigner for dolphin trainer Ric O'Barry's Dolphin Project.[105][106] She has also taken part in campaigns in support of environmental organisations Greenpeace and WaterAid.[107][108][109] During the coronavirus pandemic she donated £50,000 to support the work of the Bristol Animal Rescue Centre from which she had adopted her own dog a few years ago.[110][111]

Acting credits

Key
Films that have not yet been released Denotes films and other work that have not yet been released.

Feature films

Year Title Role Notes Ref(s)
2013 Heatstroke Jo O'Malley [42][43]
2014 Gold Abbie [51]
2015 The Falling Lydia Lamont [112]
2016 The Book of Love Millie Pearlman [113]
2017 iBoy Lucy Walker [114]
2017 Mary Shelley Isabel Baxter [115]
2018 Early Man Goona (voice) [116]
2019 Then Came You Skye Aitken [117][118]
2020 The New Mutants Films that have not yet been released Rahne Sinclair / Wolfsbane Completed/Release delayed [119]
TBA The Owners Films that have not yet been released Mary Post-production [120][121]

Short films

Year Title Role Notes Ref(s)
2012 The Olympic Ticket Scalper Scraggly Sue [40]
2013 Up on the Roof Trish Also executive producer [44][122]
2018 Stealing Silver Leonie Also executive producer [123]
2018 Corvidae Jay [63]

Television

Year Title Role Notes Ref(s)
2011–2019 Game of Thrones Arya Stark 59 episodes [124]
2012 The Secret of Crickley Hall Loren Caleigh 3 episodes [125]
2014 Robot Chicken Black Cherry Pie, Shlorpette (voices) Episode: "Bitch Pudding Special" [126]
2014 Robot Chicken Didi Pickles, Margaux Kramer, Bee Cosplayer (voices) Episode: "Link's Sausages" [126]
2015 Cyberbully Casey Jacobs Television film [127]
2015 Doctor Who Ashildr 4 episodes [128]
2019–present Gen:Lock Cammie MacCloud (voice) 8 episodes [129]
2019–present RuPaul's Drag Race UK Herself 1 episode [130]
2020 Two Weeks to Live TV seies that have not yet been broadcast Kim Noakes 6 episodes [131]

Music videos

Year Title Artists Notes Ref(s)
2015 "Oceans" Seafret [132]
2015 "Rest Your Love" The Vamps [132]
2019 "Galaxies" Alice Phoebe Lou [133]
2019 "You Mean the World to Me" Freya Ridings Directed by Game of Thrones co-star Lena Headey [134][135]

Theatre

Year Title Role Venue Ref(s)
2018 I and You Caroline Hampstead Theatre [59]

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Work Result Ref.
2011 Portal Award Best Young Actor Game of Thrones Nominated [136]
Scream Award Best Ensemble Nominated [137]
2012 SFX Awards Best Actress Nominated [138]
Portal Award Best Supporting Actress Won [139]
Best Young Actor Won
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated [140]
2013 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Series – Supporting Young Actress Nominated [141]
BBC Radio 1 Teen Award Best British Actress Won [142]
2014 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Game of Thrones Nominated [143]
EWwy Award Best Supporting Actress, Drama Won [144]
2015 SFX Awards Best Actress Nominated [145]
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated [146]
Empire Award Empire Hero Award Won [25]
EWwy Award Best Supporting Actress, Drama Nominated [147]
Berlin International Film Festival Shooting Stars Award The Falling Won [49]
Saturn Award Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Television Series Game of Thrones Won [27]
2016 Shorty Award Favorite Actress Nominated [103]
London Film Critics' Circle Award Young British/Irish Performer of the Year The Falling Won [48]
Evening Standard British Film Award Rising Star Won [47]
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Game of Thrones Nominated [148]
Saturn Award Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Television Series Nominated [149]
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Nominated [150]
2017 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated [151]
2018 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated [152]
MTV Movie & TV Awards Best Performance in a Show Nominated [153]
2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards Best Hero Nominated [30]
Best Fight (Arya Stark vs White Walkers) Nominated
Saturn Award Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Television Series Won [29]
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Nominated [32]
People's Choice Awards The Female TV Star Nominated [31]
The Drama TV Star Nominated [31]

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Notes

  1. ^ a diminutive of Margaret which has been used in Scotland since at least the 16th century[7]

External links

Copyright