Gillan in July 2016
28 November 1987|
Inverness, Scotland, UK
|Residence||Los Angeles, California, United States|
|Alma mater||Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts|
|Relatives||Caitlin Blackwood (cousin)|
Karen Sheila Gillan (born 28 November 1987) is a Scottish actress and former model. She is known for the role of Amelia Pond, companion to the Eleventh Doctor, in the BBC science fiction series Doctor Who (2010–13). In film, she has starred as Jane Lockhart in Not Another Happy Ending (2013), Kaylie Russell in the horror film Oculus (2013), and Nebula in the Marvel film Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) and its sequel Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017). She is also co-starring in the upcoming Jumanji film, with Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, and Jack Black.
Gillan was born and raised in Inverness, the only child of Marie (née Paterson) and Raymond Gillan, a singer and recording artist.
When she turned 16, Gillan moved to Edinburgh and completed an HNC Acting and Performance course at Telford College. She moved to London at age 18 to study at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts drama school, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in acting.
While studying at Italia Conti, Gillan was scouted by a modelling agency and modelled in the launch party of Nicola Roberts' Dainty Doll Make-Up Range. Gillan has said she would not give up her acting career to return to modelling, stating that she enjoyed modelling but acting was always her main interest and goal.
Gillan's early television acting career included guest appearances on several drama series, with her first role being in an episode of Rebus, a role she obtained while still at Italia Conti. Gillan then undertook a two-year stint as a member of the ensemble cast of the sketch comedy series The Kevin Bishop Show, in which she played multiple characters including celebrities such as Katy Perry and Angelina Jolie. She appeared in the Channel 4 film Stacked, playing the role of Ginny. Gillan also appeared on TV in a leading role in a horror project entitled The Well, which was broadcast as a series of episodic short films on BBC Two and later as a web series on BBC.co.uk. Part of the BBC's multimedia "switch" programming, the short episodes interconnect with online games that further explore the environments presented in the series.
She was cast for the role of the Eleventh Doctor's first companion, Amy Pond, on the British sci-fi series Doctor Who in May 2009. She made her first on-screen appearance as Amy Pond in "The Eleventh Hour" with her cousin Caitlin Blackwood portraying a young Amelia (Amy) Pond. She appeared in the following sixth series in 2011 and the first five episodes of the seventh series in 2012. She reprised the role in a cameo appearance in the 2013 Christmas special "The Time of the Doctor". Gillan had appeared in Doctor Who once before in the series four episode "The Fires of Pompeii" in the role of a Soothsayer.
Gillan made her first theatre appearance playing the role of Shirley in John Osborne's play Inadmissible Evidence along with Douglas Hodge. The play debuted at the Donmar Warehouse on 16 October 2011.
During an interview at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con, Gillan revealed that she would be returning to Doctor Who for its seventh series. On 15 December 2011, it was announced Gillan and Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams) would be leaving Doctor Who during the seventh series in 2012. On 26 January 2012, Karen Gillan played the part of supermodel Jean Shrimpton in the television film We'll Take Manhattan, which told the story of Shrimpton's relationship with the photographer David Bailey.
In August 2011, it was announced that Gillan would star in an indie Scottish rom-com called Not Another Happy Ending alongside Emun Elliott. She was selected by director John McKay because he came to know her during the production of We'll Take Manhattan, which he also directed, as "a very bubbly, vibrant, energetic, funny, slightly clumsy person" who was a perfect fit for the character. Filming took place in July 2012, though Elliott was replaced by Stanley Weber. Gillan told journalists that she was happy to be involved in a Scottish production that "isn't about drug use or fighting the English". The film premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in June 2013.
Gillan starred in the lead role in the supernatural horror movie Oculus, which was filmed in Alabama and released in April 2014. She also revealed that she has been cast in comedian Charlie Brooker's TV series A Touch of Cloth. Gillan has also been cast in a film titled The List which began filming in Los Angeles in May 2013.
FHM magazine ranked Gillan number 42 on their list of the 100 Sexiest Women 2011, and in 2012, they also ranked her number 36. Gillan has also voiced advertisements for eHarmony and The Royal Bank of Scotland. In May 2013, Gillan was cast as Nebula in the Marvel superhero science fiction film Guardians of the Galaxy, which was released in August 2014. Gillan had her head shaved bald for the role.
Gillan joined the regular cast of Adult Swim's NTSF:SD:SUV:: for the show's third season in 2013. In November 2013 Gillan appeared on Broadway in a play called Time to Act, one of the plays included in "The 24 Hour Plays on Broadway" to benefit the non-profit Urban Arts Partnership.
In February 2014, Gillan was cast as the lead in Selfie, an American single-camera sitcom for ABC, which is produced by Warner Bros. Television and was greenlit for the 2014–15 US television season. Gillan played a social media-obsessed socialite named Eliza Dooley, a modern-day take on the main character from My Fair Lady, Eliza Doolittle. This is Gillan's first time starring in the lead role of an American television series. The series was cancelled by ABC on 7 November 2014 after seven episodes; the remaining six episodes were made available on Hulu starting 25 November 2014.
In May 2014, Gillan was cast in the Ti West-directed Western film In a Valley of Violence opposite John Travolta, Ethan Hawke and Taissa Farmiga. Gillan will portray Ellen, the older sister to Farmiga's character. Gillan also appeared in TV on the Radio's "Happy Idiot" music video, released on 3 October 2014. BuddyTV ranked her number six on its list of "TV's 100 Sexiest Women of 2014". In 2015, Gillan appeared in the Adam McKay-directed drama film The Big Short alongside Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell and Melissa Leo.
Gillan wrote and directed her first short film, Coward, which went on to win Best Independent Short at the Independent Film-makers Showcase at the Beverly Hills Film Festival 2015. The film also screened at the 2015 Edinburgh Film Festival.
In October 2015, Gillan completed filming The Circle in which she was cast in a main role alongside Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, and John Boyega. The film was directed and written by James Ponsoldt, based on the novel by Dave Eggers. Gillan will reprise her role as Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, this time becoming a member of the film's eponymous team.
On 30 August 2016, it was announced that Gillan was cast in the lead female role in the Jumanji sequel. Gillan will star alongside Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and Nick Jonas.
Writing, directing, and producing
Gillan made her debut in writing, directing, and producing with her short film, Coward, which premiered at Edinburgh International Film Festival, and nominated for several awards. Later in the year she wrote, directed, and starred in another short film called Conventional. On November 2, 2016, it was announced that Gillan will direct and star in her feature directorial debut with Burbank-based development and production company Mt. Hollywood Films' indie drama project titled Tupperware Party. The film is scheduled to start shooting in January 2017 in Scotland.
In 2011, Gillan helped promote Fashion Targets Breast Cancer (FTBC) and the opening of Squirrel Ward in Great Ormond Street Hospital. During a 2012 interview on The Late Late Show, she stated that she had relocated to the U.S. to star in the film Oculus and confirmed that she now lives in Los Angeles, California.
She has stated that, though her family is Catholic, she was never baptized and is not religious, instead agreeing with the statement that, "we're just minuscule dots in the vast cosmic emptiness of the universe".
|2008||New Town Killers||Young girl at bus station|
|2012||We'll Take Manhattan||Jean Shrimpton|
|2013||Not Another Happy Ending||Jane Lockhart|
|2014||Guardians of the Galaxy||Nebula|
|2014||Bound for Greatness||Maeve MacDonough||Short film|
|2015||Warning Labels||Mindy||Short film|
|2015||Coward||N/A||Short film; director and screenwriter|
|2015||Conventional||Rachel Milligan||Short film; also director and screenwriter|
|2015||List, TheThe List||Lily|
|2015||The Big Short||Evie|
|2016||In a Valley of Violence||Ellen|
|2017||The Circle||Annie Allerton||In post-production|
|2017||Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2||Nebula||In post-production|
|2017||All Creatures Here Below||Martha||In post-production|
|2006||Rebus||Teri Cotter||Episode: "A Question of Blood"|
|2008||Stacked||Ginny Turner||Television film|
|2008||Doctor Who||Soothsayer||Episode: "The Fires of Pompeii"|
|2008||Harley Street||Holly||Episode 1|
|2008–09||Kevin Bishop Show, TheThe Kevin Bishop Show||Various characters||Main role (12 episodes)|
|2008||Coming Up||Anna||Episode: "Thinspiration"|
|2009||Well, TheThe Well||Coll||4 episodes|
|2010–12, 2013||Doctor Who||Amy Pond||34 episodes (Series 5, Series 6, Series 7, "The Time of the Doctor" (cameo))|
|2010–11||Doctor Who Confidential||Herself||26 episodes|
|2012||We'll Take Manhattan||Jean Shrimpton||Movie|
|2012||In Love with Coward||Laura|
|2013||NTSF:SD:SUV::||Daisy||Main role (9 episodes, season 3)|
|2014||Touch of Cloth, AA Touch of Cloth||Kerry Newblood||2 episodes|
|2014||Selfie||Eliza Dooley||Main role (13 episodes)|
|2015||Comedy Bang! Bang!||Herself||Episode: "Karen Gillan Wears A Black and White Striped Pullover and Coral Skirt"|
|2015||7 Days in Hell||Lily Allsworth||Movie|
|2015||Robot Chicken||Anastasia Steele||Voice|
Episode: "Zero Vegetables"
|2010||Doctor Who: The Adventure Games: City of the Daleks||Amy Pond|
|2010||Doctor Who: The Adventure Games: Blood of the Cybermen||Amy Pond|
|2010||Doctor Who: The Adventure Games: TARDIS||Amy Pond|
|2010||Doctor Who: Evacuation Earth||Amy Pond|
|2010||Doctor Who: Return to Earth||Amy Pond|
|2010||Doctor Who: The Adventure Games: Shadows of the Vashta Nerada||Amy Pond|
|2011||Doctor Who: The Adventure Games: The Gunpowder Plot||Amy Pond|
|2011||Inadmissible Evidence||Shirley||Donmar Warehouse|
|2013||Time to Act||Karen||Broadway|
Awards and nominations
|2010||TV Quick Awards||Best Actress||Doctor Who||Nominated|
|2010||Cosmopolitan "Woman of the Year" Awards||Best Actress||Won|
|2011||SFX Awards||Best Actress||Won|
|2011||TV Choice Awards||Best Actress||Won|
|2011||Scream Awards||Best Sci-Fi Actress||Nominated|
|2012||National Television Awards||Best Drama Performance: Female||Won|
|2012||Nickelodeon UK Kids' Choice Awards||Favourite UK Actress||N/A||Nominated|
|2012||Scottish Fashion Awards||Scotland's Fashion Icon||N/A||Won|
|2013||National Television Awards||Best Drama Performance – Female||Doctor Who||Nominated|
|2014||Fright Meter Awards||Best Actress||Oculus||Nominated|
|2014||Detroit Film Critics Society||Best Ensemble||Guardians of the Galaxy||Won|
|2014||Nevada Film Critics Society||Best Ensemble Cast||Won|
|2014||Phoenix Film Critics Society||Best Cast||Nominated|
|2015||Central Ohio Film Critics Association||Best Ensemble||Nominated|
|2015||Empire Awards||Best Female Newcomer||Guardians of the Galaxy and Oculus||Won|
|2015||Hang Onto Your Shorts Film Festival||Best Actress in a Short Film (Long)||Bound for Greatness||Nominated|
|2015||IFS Film Festival||Best Actress in a Short Film||Won|
|2015||IFS Film Festival||Best Independent Short||Coward||Won|
|2015||Edinburgh International Film Festival||Best Short Film||Nominated|
|2016||London IFF Film Festival||Best Lead Actress in a Short Film||Bound for Greatness||Won|
|2016||FirstGlance Film Festival||Best Actress in a Short Film||Won|
- "Dad of former Doctor Who star Karen Gillan aims to follow his daughter into the movie business with film about football star Len Shackleton". Daily Record. Scotland. 19 January 2014. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
- "Interview Karen Gillan". The Scotsman. 3 April 2010.
- Macleod, Calum (26 March 2010). "Who's that girl?". Inverness Courier. Scottish Provincial Press. Retrieved 3 April 2010.
- Smith, Mark (22 March 2010). "Karen Gillan on being the new doctor who companion". The Herald. Newsquest. Retrieved 30 July 2011.
- Farhoud, Nada (20 June 2010). "Karen Gillan on her role as doctor who's new sexy sidekick". People.co.uk. Archived from the original on 16 August 2012.
- Gilbert, Gerard (6 May 2011). "Karen Gillan: Obsessive fans, short skirts and life with Doctor Who". The Independent.
- Bhattacharya, Sanjiv (30 September 2014). "Karen Gillan: 'The American dating scene terrified me'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
- Fulton, Rick (26 August 2008). "Well Stacked: Raunchy New TV Drama Feature Sexy Antics at Scottish Lads' Mag". Daily Record – via thefreelibrary.com.
- "BBC Switch presents "The Well"".
- "Karen Gillan bags relative role". STV. 31 March 2010. Archived from the original on 6 November 2014.
- MacDonald, Stuart (22 July 2010). "Gillan never watched Dr Who until landing leading role". The Scotsman.
- Morgan, Susan (24 April 2011). "Interview: Karen Gillan, Doctor Who actor". The Scotsman.
- "Doctor Who star Karen Gillan to make theatre debut". BBC News. BBC. 22 July 2011. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
- "'Doctor Who' star Karen Gillan set for Season 7: 'I am going to come back!'". Zap2it. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
- Sperling, Daniel (15 December 2011). "'Doctor Who': Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill to leave next series". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 15 December 2011.
- "We'll Take Manhattan". BBC. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
- Cooper, Sarah (1 August 2011). "Not another happy ending". Screen Daily. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
- Beaton, Connor (18 June 2012). "John McKay Talks 'Not Another Happy Ending'". zConnection. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
- Beaton, Connor (18 June 2012). ""Not Another Happy Ending" Casts Stanley Weber". zConnection. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
- Beaton, Connor (26 March 2012). "Karen Gillan And Arthur Darvill: What's Next?". zConnection. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
- Beaton, Connor (24 April 2013). "Karen Gillan Rom-Com Will Close Edinburgh Film Festival". zConnection. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
- Deans, Jason (30 March 2011). "Doctor Who's Karen Gillan to play Jean Shrimpton in BBC4 drama". The Guardian. London.
- Reynolds, Simon (16 November 2010). "Karen Gillan to star in Romeo & Brittney". Digital Spy.
- "Casting: Karen Gillan to star in "Oculus"". It's on the grid. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
- "Karen Gillan To Star in Sky1's A Touch of Cloth". Digital Spy. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
- "Karen Gillan facts". FHM.com. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
- "FHM's 100 Sexiest Women in the World 2012: Part 07 (40–31)". 19 August 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
- "Report: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' villains revealed". Hit Fix. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
- Wicks, Kevin (21 March 2013). "'Doctor Who' Alum Karen Gillan Joins Adult Swim's 'NTSF:SD:SUV::'". BBC America. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
- Goldman, Eric (21 March 2013). "Doctor Who's Karen Gillan Joins NTSF:SD:SUV". IGN. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
- "The 24 Hour Plays on Broadway Benefit 2013". Urban Arts Partnership. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
- Wicks, Kevin (18 February 2014). "'Doctor Who' Star Karen Gillan Scores Lead in ABC Sitcom Pilot, 'Selfie'". BBC America. Retrieved 11 May 2014.
- "Development Update: Thursday, May 8 - ABC Continues Series Orders with Quartet". The Futon Critic. 8 May 2014.
- Lazarus, Suzanna (9 May 2014). "Karen Gillan's US comedy Selfie gets a full series". Radio Times. Retrieved 11 May 2014.
- Andreeva, Nellie (7 November 2014). "'Selfie' Cancelled By ABC". Deadline.com. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
- Mitovich, Matt Webb (24 November 2014). "Unaired Selfie Episodes Head to Hulu". TVLine. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
- Yamato, Jen (23 May 2014). "'Doctor Who's Karen Gillan Joins Ti West's 'In A Valley Of Violence'". Deadline.com. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
- "TV's 100 Sexiest Women of 2014". BuddyTV. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
- "Karen Gillan Joins Brad Pitt's 'The Big Short'". The Hollywood News. 9 May 2015. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
- "IFS 2015 Awards". The IFS. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
- "Scottish Filmmaking Strikes a Note at EIFF 2015". Edinburgh Film Festival. 19 May 2015. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
- McNary, Dave (1 September 2015). "Karen Gillan Joins Tom Hanks, Emma Watson, John Boyega in 'The Circle'". Variety. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
- Whiteman, Bobbie (7 September 2015). "She's in The Circle! Emma Watson dons black leather as she jets in to LAX to co-star with Tom Hanks in his new sci-fi drama". Daily Mail. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
- Vejvoda, Jim (17 July 2016). "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Zoe Saldana On Gamora, Nebula And Thanos". IGN. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
- "Conventional". Fun Sized Horror. 19 October 2015. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
- "Fashion Targets Breast Cancer Launches New Campaign for 2011". The Trend Boutique.co.uk. 13 April 2011.
- "Squirrel Ward opens with a visit from Karen Gillan". Great Ormond Street Hospital. 3 August 2011.
- "Doctor Who actress Karen Gillan travels back in time as she moves into family home". Daily Record. 24 September 2012. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
- Jamieson, Teddy (15 June 2013). "Karen Gillan on life, love and Doctor Who". The Herald.
- Hipes, Patrick (30 August 2016). "Karen Gillan Game For Big Role In 'Jumanji' Alongside Dwayne Johnson & Kevin Hart". Deadline.com. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
- "TV Quick Award". imdb.com. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
- "Cosmo's Ultimate Women of the Year Awards". Cosmopolitan. 3 November 2010. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
- Golder, Dave (5 February 2011). "SFX Awards Winners Announced (2011)". GamesRadar. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
- "TV Choice Awards 2011 – The winners – TV News". Digital Spy. 13 September 2011. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
- Budow, Aileen (7 September 2011). "Spike TV Announces "SCREAM Awards 2011" Nominees". Spike TV. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
- "National Television Awards winners list – In Full". Digital Spy. 25 January 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
- "The 2012 KCA Nominees". Nickelodeon. 19 February 2012. Archived from the original on 19 February 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
- "Doctor Who's Day Roundup: Karen Gillan Named Scottish Fashion Icon of the Year". BBC America. 12 June 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
- "National TV Awards 2013: The winners' list – in full". Digital Spy. 23 January 2013. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
- "Past Winners of Fright Meter Awards (2014)". Fright Meter Awards. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
- "The 2014 Detroit Film Critics Society Awards". Detroit Film Critics Society. 15 December 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
- "2014 Awards for Achievement in Film". Nevada Film Critics Society. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
- "2014 Award Nominations". Phoenix Film Critics Society. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
- "Central Ohio Film Critics Association Awards for 2015". IMDb. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
- Barraclough, Leo (30 March 2015). "'Interstellar' wins Film, Director at Empire Awards". Variety.com. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
- "Best Female Newcomer". Empireonline.com. Bauer Consumer Media. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
- "Past Winners and Nominees". hangontoyourshortsfilmfestival.com. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
- "IFS 2015 AWARD WINNERS". IFS. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
- "2015 Official Awards nominees". Edinburgh International Film Festival. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
- IFF [FilmFestInt] (26 February 2016). "Best Lead Actress in a Short Film - Bound for Greatness @karengillan @jimmygadd #LondonIFF2016Winners" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- FirstGlance Films [firstglancefilm] (20 April 2016). "Winner-Best Actress (Short Film) awarded to @karengillan #BoundforGreatness by @jimmygadd #indiefilm #filmmaking" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
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