Just about every other day a new British actor or actress is hailed as the “next big thing”. But you would be hard-pressed to find a more suitable cliche to describe Jodie Whittaker.
Talked about in the same breath as Carey Mulligan, Whittaker left Guildhall in 2005 and walked straight into a major movie, playing against Peter O’Toole in 2006’s Venus.
She could have fallen at the first hurdle but has made smart choices since, with TV work that includes Cranford, The Night Watch, Marchlands, The Accused, Royal Wedding, Tess of the D’Urbevilles, This Life Plus Ten and Billy Two-Sheds.
Her movie work has also been strong with performances in Good Vibrations, Ashes, One Day, A Thousand Kisses Deep, Good, St Trinians and St Trinians 2 and Joe Cornish’s 2011 Brit horror Attack the Block.
Whittaker has been concentrating on screen work up to this point so her theatre credits have been relatively few but have been high-profile and well-received, including Awake and Sing! and Enemies at the Almeida, The Storm at the Globe and Bash at the Trafalgar Studios.
But it’s her next stage role that is set to take her into a different place altogether, after being cast in the title role of Polly Findlay’s new production of Sophocles’s Antigone at the National Theatre, alongside Christopher Eccleston as Creon.
Jodie Whittaker married American actor and writer Christian Contreras in 2009 after they met at Guildhall. He is currently part of the Royal Court’s Invited Writers Group and his short drama Food aired on Channel 4 as part of their Coming Up Series.