|Anna Friel Biography|
They say you have to suffer for your art, but Anna Friel did not expect to come out in a terrible rash whilst filming a scene for her film.
She was playing eccentric Hungarian Countess, Elizabeth Bathory in "Bathory" when she had a scene in a copper bath. Elizabeth was known as "The Blood Countess" as she bathed in the blood of virgins to keep her youth. In the film the part of her daughter is played by Friel's own daughter Gracie.
Friel said "I was in the copper bath and I realised that I had an allergic reaction to it and I broke out in big hives. I didn't even get angry which was quite funny".
Friel became a household name when she was cast in the role of teenage lesbian Beth Jordache in the popular soap "Brookside" when she was 16-years-old. She played the role for two years from 2002 to 2004 and she caused an outcry when she was seen kissing fellow actress Nicola Stephenson before the watershed.
It was the first lesbian kiss in a British Soap and there were hundreds of letters of complaint sent to the media. She had one of the strongest storylines in any series, playing a girl sexually assaulted by her father who was due to be released from prison for physically abusing her mother.
Mandy, Beth and younger sister Rachel were living in a safe house at 10 Brookside Close but he tracked them down and attacked Beth so her mother Mandy stabbed him. Together mother and daughter buried Trevor Jordache under the patio, and to some Friel will always be Beth Jordache, however long ago she played the part.
After two years of exhausting storylines Friel asked the producers to kill her off and whilst she was serving her seven-year sentence for aiding and abetting a murderer Beth died of a congenital heart condition the night before her appeal was due to be heard.
Looking back on the series now she says "I am incredible grateful for my part in "Brookside" but I wouldn't want to go back to a soap. It would be like going back to being a student when you have already got a job. At the end of "Brookside" I wondered if I'd ever work again".
Friel realised just how far she had come when she was driving in New York and she looked up and saw a huge billboard with her picture on it advertising the original Broadway run of "Closer" at the Music Box Theatre in Manhattan.
It was four years after she left "Brookside" and she was playing Alice in Patrick Marber's play. She received rave reviews from the critics and won a Drama Desk Award and a Theatre World Award for the part.
She divides her time between her homes in London and her Los Angeles house she shares with her partner, Harry Potter actor David Thewlis. They met in 2001 on a flight to Cannes and their daughter Gracie Ellen Mary Friel was born on 9th July 2005 at the Portland Hospital in London.
Anna Friel supports Fashion Targets Breast Cancer in support of Breakthrough Breast Cancer and advocates the Burma Campaign UK.
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