Welcome to Jessica-BrownFindlay.Com your #1 fansite for the beautiful and talented British actress. Best known for playing Lady Sybil Crawley in the ITV series Downton Abbey but you may also know her from Albatross, The Riot Club and Lullaby. Jessica is set to star alongside Daniel Radcliffe and James McAvoy as Lorelei in Victor Frankenstein (2015). Please browse the site and visit our image gallery featuring over 20,000 photos. The site is still growing and we will continue to bring you daily Jessica updates! If you have any questions comments or donations please contact us xoxo
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By Jess • September 17, 2017 • 0 Comments

A DREADED sunny day so I meet Jessica Brown Findlay in a hotel near the cemetery gates. This morning she’s in the Caledonian in Edinburgh, opposite St Cuthbert’s (where Thomas de Quincy is buried, if you’re interested). It’s the morning after the night of the world premiere of her new film England is Mine at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. That’s the new Morrissey film, if you didn’t know.

She does enjoy a good cemetery, does Brown Findlay. “I love cemeteries. I find them comforting. There are so many in London, really beautiful ones. There’s a great one in Stoke Newington. I go when I have a day. I like to go to the Good Egg in Stoke Newington for brunch and then walk through the cemetery with my partner.”
She doesn’t have a day just now, though. There is a film to promote. Jessica, let’s get down to it. Morrissey. Tortured genius or knob? “Oh God … Well, it’s the music that has always got me. Certain things can be said of the artist …”

Brown Findlay is a massive Smiths fan. All-the-albums-on-vinyl-sized. And maybe the fan in her hesitated before committing to England is Mine in case it all went Smiths up. “But the script was so beautiful,” she says.
Plus, it wasn’t about the flowers and the band and the theatrics. The film, she explains, is about “the world and soul and mind of someone before that”.

England is Mine sees our very own Jack Lowden (the Scottish RAF pilot in Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk) play the singer. But it’s set in the days before he was thrashing gladioli, making a beautiful noise and giving hope to the clumsy and shy, the bookish, the boys (and girls) who were scared of life. Brown Findlay, who came to prominence in ITV heritage-fest Downton Abbey as Lady Sybil Crawley, plays the famed Linder Sterling, artist and Buzzcocks cover sleeve illustrator in the film. Back in the day, Linder was Morrissey’s friend; “the friend” who had “Keats and Yeats” on her side in the song Cemetery Gates (from The Queen is Dead, which is the best Smiths album. Or is that Hatful of Hollow? Me, I’m partial to Strangeways Here We Come).

The character of Linder is the first time Brown Findlay has played a real person. She tells me she only realised this on the train to Edinburgh. “However, all the characters I’ve played feel for me absolute real people. It’s just that, technically, this time someone can go: ‘Hey, I didn’t do that.’”

She shouldn’t worry. Brown Findlay’s Linder gives the film – which, it should be said, is much, much better than the fan in me feared – a real energy boost when she turns up; a choppy-haired, confident, beautiful woman who gives the becalmed Morrissey a kick up the backside.

That, Brown Findlay says, is the role of all the women in the film. “They aren’t afraid of what he’s afraid of, which is himself. And they’re able to go: ‘F****** stop it. You can do it.’ We all know that feeling of knowing that someone will never be happy unless they go and fly.”

The thing is, Brown Findlay could be describing herself there. She knows what it feels like to know that where you are when you’re young isn’t where you are going to end up.

“I remember I was about nine and I looked around where I was and I knew that anything I wanted to do wasn’t going to happen there. I just knew it. I knew I was going to leave and I never put those roots down because I knew I wasn’t going to stay. Even at nine.”

The last time I spoke to the actor was six years ago when she was 21, and had come to Edinburgh – her grandmother’s home city – to promote Albatross, which was both her first film and her first acting job.

Back then she came across as young, eager, excited, full of beans. The 2017 version is more serious, more reserved in person, at first glance more brittle. But speak to her and you discover someone with a much clearer sense of who she is and ready to speak up for herself more.

“She’s changed a lot in a year,” suggests Mark Gill, the director of England is Mine. “She seems a lot more confident because I think she was very, very nervous about doing it. I think she had fallen out of love with filmmaking. She told me last night it was one of the best experiences she’s had and it re-instilled her faith of what it can be to make films.”

England is Mine is a film about friendship, yes, but it’s also a film about looking for a job and finding a job and being miserable as a result, a film about depression, about mental illness. It’s a film about, as Brown Findlay says herself, feeling “other”. Turns out she knows all about those things too.

Jessica Brown Findlay grew up in Cookham, Berkshire. The daughter of a financial advisor and a teaching assistant, she trained as a ballet dancer until heel spurs ruined that dream. After art school, acting became her fall-back.
It hasn’t turned out too badly. Her second job was a part in Downton. Films with Colin Farrell and Russell Crowe (Winter’s Tale) and James McAvoy (Victor Frankenstein) followed.

Last year she was on screen in the ITV drama Harlots, alongside Samantha Morton and Lesley Manville, and when we speak she is appearing onstage every night as Ophelia, opposite Andrew Scott at the Almeida Theatre in London (on until September 2 if you hurry).

In a way Albatross, in which she plays a headstrong teenager having an affair with her bezzie mate’s dad, and England is Mine, where she plays an artistic enabler, are bookends on a series of what you might call corset roles. But they also chart the development of her voice.

Back then, she implies, she wouldn’t have said boo to a goose. “When I started out I knew what I didn’t like about being an actor, but early on I would never have said any of that out loud. I thought: ‘You can’t rock the boat like that.’”

What was it she knew she didn’t want to be? “I just didn’t want to be in a cat suit. Making a film where you say about three words and you’re there to be looked at.

“If I can get away with not doing that … Cut to this time next year I’m promoting a film in a cat suit and I don’t have any lines.” She is joking.

What has she learned about herself since the last time we met? “I’ve learned that I really, truly love acting. I’ve learned that for me to be an actor and stay an actor I need to do a play a year for the rest of my life.
“I’ve learned that I need to go on holiday. I’m yet to do that. I’m going on holiday in September. It’s the first holiday in a very long time. Maybe since the last time we met.

“I’ve learned that I’m a very private person as well. And I’ve learned not to ever type my name into the internet.”
Well, yes. In 2014 she was one of the actresses who saw private images leaked to the web. I suspect that’s in her mind when she is talking about the way the personal rubs up against the public part of her job.

“I don’t think anyone will want to know anything about you. And then people do and that’s fine when it’s a certain context. But when it’s invasive, it’s scary and you can feel truly violated.”

And yet earlier this year she revealed that since the age of 14 she has been battling an eating disorder. You can’t get much more personal than that. A few months on, though, she is certain revealing it was the right decision.

“When you are given a platform you can choose to talk about the shoes that you love and promote that or something you feel passionate about. And mental health, depression, eating disorders are a daily struggle and interaction that I will have for the rest of my life. I think it’s really important to talk about that.”

In the light of this you can see that her career choices – playing Ophelia, playing Linder opposite a young, cripplingly shy boy who turns into Morrissey – are in conversation with her own life.

“I think shame carries so much strength,” she continues. “To feel ashamed in yourself, I think, can stand in the way of people doing so much. And I felt so much shame myself. And actually over the years and a lot of therapy I was sort of able to get over that or at least say it out loud, which I had never done in my whole life.”

The more she speaks the clearer it is that this has been the central battle of her life.

“I had best friends from school who saw me almost disappear – quite literally – in front of their eyes. But I never said to them out loud that I have an eating disorder.”

Jesus, Jessica. It was that serious? “Yeah. Extremely serious. Life and death situation.”

It’s hard to square that statement with the poised woman sitting in front of me. “It’s something you live with every day and can bleed into your work,” she says.

And of course she works in an industry that is obsessed with looks, which mustn’t help. “There can be a lot of pressure. ‘The more successful you are the slimmer you become.’ There’s a lot of that. Or you get a film and they’re like: ‘Brilliant. Lose weight.’ And you think: ‘But I got it like this.’”

People have said that to you? “Yes, 100 per cent. And I flat refused. ‘No, no, I don’t want to do that.’ And it wasn’t because I didn’t want to stop eating cake. I can’t do it. That’s really dangerous for me.

“That’s why I wanted to say it out loud, to let people know there is more than one way of doing things.”

Does she feel better for speaking out about all this?

“I feel liberated. The silence and the shame and the head down on your chest, what it is to be tied into your own head; that can quite literally stop someone in their tracks and be the thing in the way of their potential for the rest of their lives.

“It’s not a Band Aid. It won’t make everything disappear. It can make things harder. But somehow saying it out loud has allowed me to step away from that.”

She smiles. “It’s funny. When I think of all the things I don’t share in my life and that’s the thing I’ve shared. Sometimes I think it’s quite an extreme decision. But it’s actually the one that now I’m most released by. And I don’t mind anyone knowing it.”

It should be remembered too, that Brown Findlay is still only 27. She has been dealing with all this while effectively growing up in public. Having left Downton in 2012, how does she look back on her time in it now?

“It feels like another life, another time. It’s very odd to do something where you’re just finding your feet while everyone is watching you do that.

“It’s quite exposing. At the time I became aware that it was exploding it made me really go into my shell and really want to run very far away from that. I felt intimidated by it.

“I’m sure it has opened more doors than I know, but there was a certain element to it that scared me because I couldn’t keep up with it.

“And I knew that for me to learn what I wanted to learn and be the actor I wanted to be and do the things I wanted to do, I knew I was going to have to step away from that.

“I was going to have to get off the train because it was going so fast and I had so much to learn and it was my second job so I was very aware that there was a chance I might not be able to do anything other than that. So that’s why I made the decision to leave.

“I am very, very grateful for it but I am also grateful to my younger self that I stuck to my guns and I went for it. I am grateful that I made that bold, quite brash decision.”

Jessica Brown Findlay tells me that she loves poetry, cooking (“or being cooked for) and mornings in bed. She’s not keen on austerity and Tories. Jessica Brown Findlay is looking forward to leaving her twenties. “They’re so overrated.”

As bad as your teens? “It’s as terrifying but you don’t get a guaranteed roof over your head. You’ve got to sort that out too. And I’m stubborn as well. There was no way I was going to settle for something-ish.”
Jessica Brown Findlay has not settled for something-ish. She is no longer a girl afraid. Morrissey might approve.

By Jess • April 26, 2015 • 0 Comments

Jessica Brown Findlay is to star in the Almeida Theatre’s production of Oresteia next month.

Brown Findlay, best known for her role in ITV’s Downton Abbey, joins the previously announced Lia Williams in a new version of the Greek tragedy created and directed by Robert Icke.

The cast also includes Amelia Baldock, Lorna Brown, Rudi Dharmalingam, Ann Firbank and Ilan Galkoff. They are joined by Joshua Higgott, Cameron Lane, John Mackay, Clara Read and Eve Salama.

Bobby Smalldridge, Luke Thompson, Angus Wright and Hara Yannas complete the cast.

The production, which runs at the Almeida in London from May 29 to July 18, is designed by Hildegard Bechtler, with lighting by Natasha Chivers, sound by Tom Gibbons and video by Tim Reid.

Press night for the show will be on June 5.

By Jess • October 24, 2014 • 0 Comments

One of London’s oldest vintage clothing stores is threatened with closure after the landlord demanded nearly double the rent. The shop supplied dresses for last year’s Great Gatsby movie starring Carey Mulligan and Leonardo DiCaprio, which won an Oscar for its costumes, and the 1974 version with Mia Farrow and Robert Redford.

Annie’s in Islington has traded for 40 years. Customers include Kate Moss, Ralph Lauren and Downton Abbey actress Jessica Brown-Findlay. The shop’s owner, Annie Moss, received a letter from her landlord — Islington Benwell 3, run by Christopher Christou — saying her rent next year is likely to increase from £32,000 to £60,000. The firm also wants back-rent of £60,000, Ms Moss claimed.

She said: “The whole thing is a terrible shock. Business is not brilliant at the moment for most of us and the increase in rent is really over the top. You might expect a small increase but not this. I’m outraged and worried. I don’t want to leave Camden Passage and I appeal to them, please don’t kill off Annie’s.” Ms Moss opened the corner shop in 2001 but has traded in Camden Passage since 1974.

Some of the store’s most popular items are 1920s flapper dresses and lace wedding dresses. Local councillor Martin Klute said: “Doubling the rent is another example of the overheated property market. My fear is that … the landlords may really want Annie out so that they can sell the property.”

By Jess • September 04, 2014 • 0 Comments

Former Dowton Abbey actress Jessica Brown Findlay is the latest star to be linked to the large-scale celebrity hacking scandal.

A spokesperson for the star told The Telegraph that Brown Findlay appears in stolen video clips, with her lawyer commenting that the leak is “a serious violation of her rights” , causing her “extreme distress and embarrassment.”

Dan Stevens, who appeared alongside the actress in ITV’s Downton Abbey, said he was “really feeling” for his former co-star and criticised the “despicable behaviour” of the hackers perpetrating these invasions of privacy.

Speaking during a live webchat on The Guardian website, he said: “I’m really feeling for her [Brown Findlay] this week as she fell victim to some pretty despicable behaviour, not only on the part of this strange new breed of hacker, but also the press and this pathetic culture of clickbaiting.

“We’re at a crucial crossroads where we need to examine our online moral and ethical practice and align it much more with our ‘real life’ conscience.”

So far, nude photos of over 100 celebrities have been leaked online following an alleged iCloud leak.

Other names which have been linked to the incident include Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Kim Kardashian, Cara Delevingne, Rihanna, Kirsten Dunst. Selena Gomez, Kate Upton and Ariana Grande.

Brown Findlay is best known for playing Lady Sybil in Downton Abbey and recently starred in the BBC’s adaptation of Jamaica Inn.

By Jess • August 03, 2014 • 0 Comments

Jess is on the cover of  UK’s Tatler Magazine for September 2014.

She told the magazine she was “desperate” to get into theatre, but was finally comfortable in her own skin. She said: “When I was growing up, I always felt quite odd and offbeat. I never really slotted in.

“And it’s as you get older that you realise that the things that make you strange are the things that make you who you are. And that’s a lovely place to get to.”

View the behind the scsnes video at tatler.com and some photos over in our galleries (we will get scans for you tomorrow!)

 

By Jess • April 11, 2014 • 0 Comments

ON a rainy day in East London we caught up with Jessica Brown Findlay on her shoot with photographer Boo George. In keeping with the dramatic weather, Jessica was clothed in a series of dramatic dresses, from Oscar de la Renta to Vivienne Westwood, that anyone with less arresting features and glowing skin would struggle to pull off.

Watch the English beauty of Downton Abbey fame here as she welcomes us to her first British Vogue shoot. You can watch the video here.

By Jess • February 11, 2014 • 0 Comments

We have added the copy from Jessica’s interview with New York Times Magazine, there is also a large photo added to the galleries, taken by Nick Briggs for the article (see it here).

Attention, “Downton Abbey” fans: Lady Sybil Crawley is alive and well and living in New York. Or at least someone uncannily like her. In the film “Winter’s Tale,” opening Friday, Jessica Brown Findlay, her ravishing tresses and plummy vowels intact, portrays Beverly Penn, the high-spirited consumptive daughter of an early-20th-century mogul. Colin Farrell plays the thief who breaks into her mansion to steal the silver — and absconds with her heart. And Russell Crowe, rejoining Akiva Goldsman — the writer for “A Beautiful Mind,” making his film directorial debut — is the gangster intent on putting their love asunder.

Lady Sybil’s death, just hours after giving birth to the daughter of a former chauffeur, was one of those moments that viewers find almost unforgivable. But for Ms. Brown Findlay, 24, the decision to leave the series at the height of her popularity wasn’t a difficult one. “It was the right time, the end of a contract, and I just went with my gut,” she recalled.

A teenage ballerina whose career was sidelined by an unsuccessful ankle surgery, Ms. Brown Findlay doesn’t believe in looking back, at least not for long. “I think it’s good to look at what you’ve done and to learn from it,” she said. “But never more than twice.”

In a phone interview from London, fresh from an excursion with her dachshund, John, she spoke with Kathryn Shattuck about her television watching habits and her latest obsession, the trapeze. Following are excerpts from the conversation.

Q. Trapeze training? What on earth for?

A. It’s for the film I’m doing at the moment, “Frankenstein.” I’m doing static trapeze, so you climb a rope and do lots of insane things up very, very high with only one arm or one leg on the bar. When we film it, I’m relying on the fact that there will be a net.

How was working with Colin Farrell and Russell Crowe?

Colin understood on the initial meeting that I was perhaps thinking, “What is happening?” But when we were filming, we were always allowed to do a take where we could just enjoy it and be silly, and that made it very easy to be free with one another. And Russell was just — he’s Russell Crowe. I was standing there the whole time thinking, “You’re Russell Crowe.” I’d love to say there were other thoughts in my head but, really, there weren’t.

You died very beautifully in “Downton Abbey.” Any tricks of the trade?

I tend to find it quite hard not to laugh. Because it’s so serious, something comes across my face like a beaming smile, and I’m like: “No, you’re meant to be dead. Stop it.” It’s quite fun, a dramatic death.

You do so many period pieces. Do you have a fondness for corsets?

It’s all been about going toward where the good stories are. But definitely the next thing I do will not involve a corset. Corsets are sent from the devil.

Filming “Winter’s Tale” in New York, were you recognized from your “Downton” days?

No, not once. I can’t tell you how happy that makes me. I think maybe because I was a ginger. I also tend to be rather scruffy, and I suppose if I was to be recognized from “Downton,” I’m often coifed and put in rather a marvelous dress.

Do you watch a lot of television?

I don’t have a telly. So I need to find someone who has Sky [the satellite broadcaster that offers HBO in Britain], make friends with them and then go over to their house only once a week and insist that they don’t talk, so I can watch “Girls.” I just think it’s incredible. I admire Lena Dunham so much.

Maybe HBO can offer you a guest part.

Ah. [Sighs.] Go on. I’d lose my mind. I’d retire. I’d be like: “I’ve made it. I’m done.”

By Jess • September 13, 2013 • 0 Comments

Yey! Finally some big news for Jess, she has taken the female lead in 20th Century Fox’s upcoming Frankenstein. The Hollywood Reporter has the news, saying that she’ll play an injured trapeze artist who comes under the care of Dr. Frankenstein (James McAvoy) and Igor (Daniel Radcliffe).

The film, to be directed by Paul McGuigan and scripted by Max Landis (Chronicle) adapts Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel.

“I began to pick apart our knowledge of ‘Frankenstein’ and discovered that the public’s idea of this myth comes from a million different places,” Landis told ShockTillYouDrop.com last year. “…I became committed to recontextualizing it all so it all worked in one story. By the end of the day, it’s a period piece and yes, it’s from Igor’s perspective, but man it’s cool. It’s the best thing I’ve written.”

The part marks another big win after several actresses, including Felicity Jones, were considered. Upon departing the BBC drama, Findlay was the choice after months of tests for Akiva Goldsman’s Winter’s Tale. Prior to landing the part in Frankenstein, she was also in consideration for the female lead in the next installment of Pirates of the Caribbean.

This latest take on Mary Shelley’s chilling tale of man’s scientific hubris has McAvoy as the titular doctor and Radcliffe as Igor, through whose eyes the story will be told. Frankenstein, you’ll recall, is the man who thought it would be smart to build a creature out of dead people, which ultimately led to the screaming and the smashing and the mobs with the torches and property values going down all over the place.

Landis’ script gives it new layers. “It’s about two young, brilliant guys pushing each other. Eventually one loses his morality and the other has to bring him back,” Radcliffe told the Hollywood Reporter at the Toronto Film Festival.

Director Paul McGuigan wants the cameras cranking on this one later in the year in London and Scotland.

By Jess • September 12, 2013 • 0 Comments

The actress, who played Lady Sybil Crawley in the award-winning hit TV show, has parted ways from her partner of two years, Thomas Campbell, according to Britain’s Daily Mail. The pair met at London’s Central St Martins College of Art, where Brown Findlay studied fine art while taking acting classes.

By Jess • July 11, 2013 • 0 Comments

Miles Aldridge was joined last night by his model sister Saffron at the launch of I Only Want You to Love Me, a showcase of his fashion photography at Somerset House’s Embankment Gallery.

Images of  Jessica Brown Findlay, Cara Delevingne and Lily Cole are among those displayed in the retrospective, with Aldridge considering his use of traditional film as the key to his success.

“When I started out every photographer had their own kind of film and their own lab, and they kept their methods secret,” he explained. “I’ve held on to that. Digital is easier to do but less satisfying.” He has no intention of packing his camera to go on holiday. “I don’t take pictures when I go away,” he said. “Otherwise it’s somewhat of a busman’s holiday for me.”

By Jess • June 15, 2013 • 0 Comments
Radio 4 is to air a drama called Mind Hackers. The drama, written by Lou Stein, featuring Jessica Brown Findlay as an “ambitious media lawyer Hayley Schaffer” who suspects that a daily newspaper is illegally obtaining information about one of her clients.

Anthony Head also stars as Hayley’s “former lover and mentor, newspaper lawyer Paul Madsen.”

Another character is publicity agent represented by Hayley played by actor/comedian Owen Brenman and is thought to be loosely based on Max Clifford.

“He is the wizard behind the gamesmanship of lawyers, newspaper hacks, and celebrity clients” according to Radio 4.

Olivier-Award winning actress Marcia Warren also stars as Hayley’s dry-humoured grandmother in the drama which airs on Friday June 24.

By Jess • March 25, 2013 • 2 Comments

Although it is not so long since Jessica Brown Findlay left Downton Abbey, she is rarely recognised as Lady Sybil, the character she played on the show to such heartbreaking effect. Minus the corsetry, the satin and pearls, and without the background effects of chinking china and the bowing and scraping of servants, she is surprisingly like any other 23-year-old. Of course, she is a particularly beautiful one, dressed today at her publicist’s London office in a simple striped T-shirt and jeans, her hair, tinged with red, flowing.

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“The only time I’ve been sort of recognised was in the States,” she says. “I was working on an independent movie called Lullaby in which I play a New York Jewish lawyer. To get the accent right, I decided not to drop it, even when I wasn’t working.

“I was in a coffee shop and someone said to me, ‘You sound just like an American Lady Sybil!’. I nearly died – how embarrassing to admit that you’re walking around pretending to be an American! I thought: ‘Oh God, no. You’re a proper actor now.”

Still, it is not surprising that it was an American who rumbled her disguise.Downton Abbey has taken the US by storm. It is regularly watched by 17 million viewers, many of whom gather for dinner parties organised around Sunday-night viewing sessions. When series three launched, the cast – including Lady Sybil – went on a road trip through America and found themselves feted like British royalty.

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‘Labyrinth’ will be on Channel 4 on March 30 and 31.