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
Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category
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 • November 27, 2015 • 0 Comments
By Jess • October 23, 2015 • 0 Comments

Paul McGuigan has been dishing the details on upcoming film, Victor Frankensteinsaying it’s very different to Mary Shelley’s original novel and fans of the book might be in for a shock. Total Film sat down with the director to talk about why he wanted his adaptation to be different, and went behind-the-scenes to get some exclusive on-set pictures featuring Daniel Radcliffe and James McAvoy.

“[Frankenstein] has always been a mad scientist with funny hair – and that’s it,” shrugs director Paul McGuigan. “He’s not really had a backstory. So we give him one – a backstory that we’ve chosen to make up. So there’s not a reverence to the book. I think sometimes people are over- reverent about it. I don’t know if you’ve ever read it, but it’s as dull as dishwater, man. In a way, my catchphrase is always: ‘If you love the book, you’ll hate the movie.’ It’s that kind of twisting of it.”

Total film also caught up with stars James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe who were keen to support McGuigan’s more modern version of the tale. “There are things that you’d want to see out of the original,” admits McAvoy. “The archetypal mad doctor, mad scientist. And that’s perfectly there, in bucketloads.” But apparently, there will also be more comedy, action and… err, body fluids?

“One of the most stomach-turning scenes in the film will probably be the scene where I go from being a hunchback to not being a hunchback any more,” says Radcliffe. “It involves… I don’t want to say, because it’s so gross, I’ll ruin it.” We can’t wait!

Co-starring Jessica Brown Findlay and Andrew Scott, Victor Frankenstein will hit US cinemas November 25 2015 and UK cinemas December 4 2015. Read Total Film’s interview with Paul McGuigan, James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe in full in the new issue on sale October 23 2015.

Source: GamesRadar.Com

By Jess • August 19, 2015 • 0 Comments
By Jess • August 19, 2015 • 0 Comments
By Jess • July 08, 2015 • 0 Comments

Downton Abbey star Jessica Brown Findlay talks about her starring role in BBC1’s emotional two-part post-World War Two drama, The Outcast. Jessica, 25, also reveals despite her success, she still has to audition for roles…

What can you tell us about BBC1’s new two-part drama, The Outcast?
“It’s not a particularly happy story! It is set in world were nobody is saying how they truly feel, and slowly those emotions start to come out. It’s very suppressed and filming was quite intense.”

What can you tell us about your character, Alice?
“She’s the second wife to Gilbert Aldridge, played by Greg Wise. His first wife Elizabeth drowned and Alice is far, far younger than any of the other wives in the village. Gilbert desperately thinks he’ll start again, almost from where Elizabeth was age-wise, but it results in Alice being very unprepared for a life in suburbia among mothers who’ve done it all and lived through World War Two with their children. Alice tries very hard to be a mother to Elizabeth’s son, Lewis, who witnessed his mother drown.”

Does traumatised Lewis warm to Alice?
“I think Alice just wants Lewis (George MacKay) to like her. But he’s so emotionally damaged from what he’s been through he isn’t able to talk about it, or get physical comfort from anyone, a hug or even someone just holding his hand. I think she takes the fact that he doesn’t immediately like her as a personal affront and it’s not. Alice finds it very difficult to communicate with Lewis and it only gets harder as he gets older.”

Does she plan to have children of her own?
“She desperately wants to be a mother and have her own child. She assumes if that becomes the case it will feel more like a family and that doesn’t necessarily work.”

Did you find it an emotionally draining role?
“It could be. I find it’s really important to shake it off. Sometimes after I’d finished a scene I wanted to go over to the other person and say ‘I didn’t mean it!’ I like to go home and cook something! “

Is Alice a lonely character?
“She is. She doesn’t really have any friends within the village. She’s lived in London and moved to this place where the other women don’t warm to her. Socially she feels she doesn’t know what to do or how to say things. She tends to put her foot in it a lot.”

How does she change as the story progresses?
“When we first see Alice she’s moving into Gilbert and Lewis’s house and is very excited. She wants to decorate it, get rid of the old things and put in the new. But slowly the house starts to feel like a prison. It’s her only place yet she’s not able to express or be herself there.”

It’s a village filled with secret troubles. What can you reveal?
“Everyone’s going through even darker things than Alice, Lewis and Gilbert, even though the Aldridges are made to feel as if they’re the only ones with problems! In the end Alice is able to accept the fact that she’s different and her family’s different, and that’s okay. It’s quiet change and self-acceptance.”

It’s another period drama for you. Did you enjoy the post-war costumes and sets?
“Interestingly, because Alice is quite different she doesn’t fit in when it comes to her physical appearance. She tries to be more glamorous than she really is, which riles a lot of the other mums! Later you see her desperately trying to conform and be like the others so she won’t be noticeable and her family will blend in. But it doesn’t work and as time goes on she lets herself go a bit!”

What would you like to do next?
“I’d love to do a comedy. That’s what I adore to watch. I think it’s the hardest thing to do but I’d love to go to work where if you trip up it can be included rather than cut. I can’t get enough of Modern Family. Ty Burrell is fantastic. But it’s a different pace so who knows?”

Given your success on Downton Abbey, Jamaica Inn and The Riot Club, do you find scripts come to you now?
“I audition for everything. But it’s changed from when I couldn’t get a job at all. It’s changed but there’s still that challenge where the bar is raised. You’re constantly a small fish in a bigger pond. But that’s where the challenge is. And as long as I learn and grow and am enjoying what I’m doing then that’s good.”

Based on Sadie Jones’s novel, The Outcast starts on Sunday July 12 at 9pm on BBC1.

By Jess • September 17, 2014 • 0 Comments
By Jess • April 17, 2014 • 0 Comments

Listen to Jess on BBC Radio 6 with Shaun here.

Shaun is after your Earworms before 8am, Matt Everitt has the Music News and actress Jessica Brown Findlay joins Shaun to chat about her new BBC drama – Jamaica Inn

Set in 1820 against the forbidding backdrop of windswept Cornish moors, the story follows the journey of young and spirited Mary (Brown Findlay) who is forced to live with her Aunt Patience after the death of her mother. Mary arrives at the isolated Jamaica Inn to discover her Aunt is a shell of the carefree woman she remembers from her childhood, and instead finds a drudge who is firmly under the spell of her domineering husband Joss.

By Jess • April 14, 2014 • 0 Comments

Jess was on the cover of the Sunday Telegraph Magazine yesterday – we are hunting down a copy to scan for you! (New Layout too btw!) We hope you like it, its a little brighter and fresh – fit for summer – yay. We have also created a Facebook page for the fansite so you can keep up-to-date with all your Jess news, please like us!

By Jess • April 14, 2014 • 0 Comments
By Jess • April 07, 2014 • 0 Comments

Beautiful, ballsy and never predictable, Jessica Brown Findlay tells Charlotte Sinclair about her gutsy new role – and why, despite doing justice to the ballgowns, she’s happier when she’s dirty. (Photos by Boo George) The issue hits newsstands today. We will get scans for you as soon as possible!

She made her name playing the much-love Lady Sybil in period drama Downton Abbey, but is appears actress Jessica Brown Findlay is not well suited to the genteel lifestyle. She has disclosed she “absolutely hates” corsets pledging never to wear one again after being killed off on the popular show.

Brown Findlay, who will soon star in the BBC’s Jamaica Inn, said she turned down another series of the programme fearing it had grown too big, with fans’ obsession with on-screen events leaving her baffled.

She told the May issue of Vogue: “There was a moment during filming when everyone was suddenly saying ‘Oh, so and so said something about the show.’ Or, ‘Have you seen this on Twitter?’” “I just felt, ‘Why does that matter?’ It’s great to be involved in something that people really enjoy, but it made me nervous as opposed to excited.

“So when I was asked about renewing my contract, I thought: ‘God, what if it just keeps getting bigger and I can never play anything other than Sybil?’ “The way to try and stop that was to stop playing Sybil.” On the downside of costume dramas, she added: “I hate corsets. I absolutely hate them. Ugh. I don’t think I’ll ever wear a corset again.

“I don’t even own scales. Getting into a smaller jeans size is not going to make me a better actor.”

The full interview is in the May issue of British Vogue, out from Monday, April 7.

By Jess • April 01, 2014 • 0 Comments

Lovely interview with Jess for The Times, plus a new photo added to the gallery…

Still most known for being part of TV’s favourite aristocratic family, Jessica Brown Findlay is busy expanding her range more than a year ago the nation watched in horror as the youngest daughter of the Earl of Grantham, DowntonAbbey’s Lady Sybil Crawley, suddenly died moments after giving birth to her daughter — and only midway through the series. It was harrowing stuff and no less so for the actress who played her, Jessica Brown Findlay, who quit the show at the peak of its success. “It was just this open abyss of unemployment ahead of me,” she says.

The abyss was short-lived. Brown Findlay is now a certifiable star on the rise. This year alone she has four projects lined up, including a role in the film version of Laura Wade’s play Posh, the lead in the new BBC adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn directed by Call the Midwife’s Philippa Lowthorpe and, opening in cinemas tomorrow, a starring role in the romance A New York Winter’s Tale.

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