Olivia Williams

Olivia Williams


7/26/1968, Camden Town, Camden, England

Birth Name

Olivia Haigh Williams


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Olivia Williams is a British actress who has appeared in film, theatre and television productions in the UK and in the U.S. Olivia graduated with a degree in English Literature from Newnham College in Cambridge. She then took up drama for two years at the Bristol Old Vic…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

  • Quotes

    • Olivia: The thing that I absolutely love that I don't get to do very often is comedy. But it's tough when you have a reputation for, and have been told I'm actually quite good at, scary posh people.

    • Olivia: (on moving from the stage to the big screen) It was utterly surreal. It was like being kidnapped by aliens in many ways.

    • Olivia (on speaking in an English accent in the show, "Dollhouse"): Something about English accents lends itself to sinister organisations.

    • Olivia: (on the film "The Man From Elysian Fields") Married to James Coburn and shagging Andy Garcia - how bad can life be? [laughs] I'll take it!

    • Olivia: I have managed to earn money doing what I love. Most people have to earn money then do what they love if there's any time left over. In that sense I feel like an immoral success story.

    • Olivia: The rehearsal process for stage is hugely rewarding, and the extraordinary high of three hours' concentrated performance culminating in applause and a large drink is very addictive. Film acting is more zen; you take pleasure in the three-minute take in which you feel your feet may have just left the ground rather than the space travel of theatre.

    • Olivia: (comparing herself to her character in "The Heart of Me") There is quite a bit of Madeleine in me, in that I'm impatient with people who refuse to behave in a way that's appropriate to the situation. I think that people who behave histrionically when they shouldn't should learn to restrain themselves.

    • Olivia: I didn't know box office was a thing you could possess but I don't have it. I go up for lovely roles and people with this nebulous thing called box office get them so there isn't much I can do about that unless you know where I can get some box-office myself!

    • Olivia: When the Hollywood thing happened, I thought at some point I'd get to the front of the queue: "Yes, hello, I'd like to play that role." But you don't. You just join a different queue.

    • Olivia: I don't feel under pressure to work because I love what I do and I wanted to do the projects that came my way.

    • Olivia: (from a diary article written in May 2006, on missing her daughter) The way I miss my daughter Esmé is to worry about her. It is not a pleasurable longing. It contorts my body and scrambles my brain, makes me stop breathing, clench my jaw and my fists, it makes me frown, and makes me blind and deaf, in fact entirely without sensory perception.

    • Olivia: There's this absurd situation on a movie set where your trailer's here and the set is here and the lunch tent is here, and you're not allowed to get yourself from these three places.

    • Olivia: (on instantly knowing that husband Rhashan was the one for her) (When we first met) he began a sentence, 'Would you like to...', and I accepted the invitation before he got to the verb.

    • Olivia: I'll be damned if anyone tells me whether I can or can't breast-feed. Perhaps it's the 'don't f**k with me' look on my face, but I've breast-fed in a John Lewis department store, on an aeroplane and on the steps of a building in Harley Street (London).

    • Olivia: Family holidays and weekends are really brightly coloured memories, full of my mother and father, rather than our nannies and au pairs.

    • Olivia: There was a brief period - very, very brief, don't make me sound deluded - when the people in front of me were Julia Roberts or Cate Blanchett, people of vast stature, both in terms of box office and beauty. And the jobs went to them. Yes, I was in their f***ing queue, but they were still in front of me!

    • Olivia: With The Postman, I thought, "This is beyond weird, it's inconceivable. I became an actress to do Shakespeare on stage, and I'm going to make a huge multi-million-dollar movie, so I'm just going to do what I'm told and enjoy myself."

    • Olivia: It seemed a patently ridiculous career choice; I just didn't think I was going to be able to support myself by acting. So I said, I'm going to give it until I'm 30.