Dakota Blue Richards
Dakota Blue Richards (born 11 April 1994) is an English actress. Her film debut at the age of 13 was in The Golden Compass, as the lead character Lyra Belacqua. Other lead roles include the wayward teenager April in Dustbin Baby and Maria in the 2009 film The Secret of Moonacre. In 2011 she played Franky Fitzgerald in the third generation cast of British teen drama Skins. She has also played roles in television, film and on stage.
Dakota Blue Richards
Richards in 2012
|Born||April 11, 1994|
Early life and education
Richards was born at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in the Fulham Road, London. The family moved to Sussex, where she attended Newlands School. She attended St Paul's Primary School in Brighton, and later Blatchington Mill School in Hove and KBis Theatre School in Brighton.
The Golden Compass
After seeing the stage adaptation of His Dark Materials at the National Theatre, she says she "just wanted to be Lyra". Philip Pullman, author of the books, said, "As soon as I saw Dakota's screen test, I realised that the search was over." Chris Weitz, the director, added that Richards "made what should have been an extremely difficult decision quite easy." The Golden Compass with Richards as Lyra was released worldwide in December 2007 and grossed $372 million.
Richards' performance in The Golden Compass was variously described as "efficient", "a decent job", "nicely played", and "enchanting." One review called the selection of Richards for the role of Lyra "terrific casting". Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian commented "Lyra is nicely played by 13-year-old newcomer Dakota Blue Richards, though with an Artful Dodger-ish 'urchin' accent that comes and goes a bit", while Empire noted that she "struggles with lumpy dialogue". Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Roger Ebert was more effusive, calling Richards "a delightful find" who was "pretty, plucky, forceful, self-possessed, charismatic and just about plausible as the mistress of an armoured bear and the protector of Dust."
Richards appeared in series 5 and 6 of the E4 teen drama Skins, which premiered on 27 January 2011. She played the character of Franky Fitzgerald with her androgynous looks, wacky dress sense, two gay dads (one played by John Sessions) and a tragic cyber-bullying backstory. Originally she auditioned for the role of Liv, and in an interview explained "only became Franky right at the very end of the audition process". As a member of the third generation of its young cast, Richards said "It's crazy to be part of this Skins phenomenon, it's as much a lifestyle choice as anything because of the attention that comes with it."
In this full-length film Richards plays a protagonist's sister-in-law, cajoled into acting the role of author of a chick-lit novel written by four patrons of a local pub in Norfolk. The character, Zoe, demands £500 a week for as long as the four true authors need her. The film is an erotic British comedy.
Before The Golden Compass was released, Richards had already been cast as the lead in another film, The Secret of Moonacre, her second book-to-film adaption, in which she would play Maria Merryweather from the book 'The Little White Horse'. Principal photography began in October 2007 and the film was eventually released February 2009.
In December 2008, Richards played April Johnson in Dustbin Baby, the BBC dramatisation of the Jacqueline Wilson novel of the same name. She described April as a difficult character to play, "she is a really different person to me. On the one hand, she does go through normal things that I can relate to, such as fighting with your parents or getting presents you don't like; but on the other, she has had such a hard life."
In April 2012, she performed a British indie feature The Fold in Bristol and Cornwall, playing Eloise, the daughter of an Anglican priest. The film is written by Poppy Cogan, winner of the Harpers/William Morris Short Script Award, and directed by John Jencks. It commercially opened in limited release in UK on 24 March 2014. The movie won best screenplay at the Women's Independent Festival in LA, Best Picture at the Independent Film Makers Showcase and was nominated for best drama at the National Film Awards.
Richards played a title role in ITV thriller Lightfields alongside Jill Halfpenny and Kris Marshall. It's a supernatural five-part drama which follows on from the ITV drama Marchlands and tells the story of three families living in the same house with a ghost during different time periods.
In 2013, she appeared in French filmmaker Stéphanie Joalland's sci-fi thriller The Quiet Hour, about a brother and sister trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic England. During the same year she filmed a short film entitled Girl Power.
Between 2016 and 2018 she was cast in the part of WPC Shirley Trewlove in the Endeavour television series and in 2018, she was cast for the part of Margaret Osborne in the ITV drama Beecham House. which began airing in 2019.
In 2008, she attended the "Our Space" camp of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (in the Lake District), which gathered "teenagers from different backgrounds to discuss human rights and discrimination". Since 2010 she has supported Action for Children, a charity in the United Kingdom helping vulnerable young people overcome injustice and deprivation. In 2011, she fronted their advertising campaign to promote a new charity project.
|2007||The Golden Compass||Lyra Belacqua||Debut role|
|2008||The Secret of Moonacre||Maria Merryweather|
|2009||Five Miles Out||Cassey||Short film|
|2014||The Fold||Eloise Ashton|
|The Quiet Hour||Sarah|
|Girl Power||Cassey||Short film|
|2015||Arcadia||Thomasina||English Touring Theatre|
|A Streetcar Named Desire||Stella||Curve, Leicester|
|2017||What The Butler Saw||Geraldine|
Awards and nominations
|2007||Broadcast Film Critics Association||Critics' Choice Award||The Golden Compass||Nominated|
|London Film Critics Circle||Breakthrough Award (num)|
|2008||Young Artist Award||Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actress|
|Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films||Saturn Award|
|2011||TV Choice Awards||Best Actress||Skins|
|Royal Television Society (RTS)|
- "Lyra cast in Dark Materials film". CBBC Newsround. 29 June 2006.
- Higgins, Charlotte (30 June 2006). "Dark Materials film gets green light". The Guardian. London.
- "Richards Returns in Moonacre". SciFi Wire. 3 December 2007. Archived from the original on 3 February 2008.
- Acford, Louise (16 January 2009). "Star bullied for her ginger hair". The Argus. London.
- "The calm before the storm". The Guardian. London. 30 November 2007.
- Irvine, Lindesay (29 June 2006). "Lyra found for $150m Dark Materials film". The Guardian. London.
- Landesman, Cosmo (2 December 2007). "The Golden Compass". The Sunday Times. London.
- "The Golden Compass". Empire magazine. 5 December 2007.
- Bradshaw, Peter (30 November 2007). "The Golden Compass". The Guardian. London.
- Christopher, James (27 November 2007). "The Golden Compass". The Times. London.
- Ebert, Roger (7 December 2007). "The Golden Compass". Chicago Sun-Times.
- Chater, David. "Thursday's TV: Skins". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 1 February 2020.
- "Dakota Blue Richards plays Franky". Channel 4 Press Info. January 2011.
- Molloy, Kate (2012). "D is for...". Skins A-Z. John Blake Publishing. p. 2 (of chapter). ISBN 9781857826982.
- "ChickLit (2016 film)". IMDb. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
- Lawrence, Will (30 November 2007). "Dakota Blue Richards: The 13-year-old poised to conquer the world". The Telegraph. London.
- "Lyra actress Dakota gets new role". CBBC Newsround. 2 October 2007.
- McNulty, Bernadette (19 December 2008). "Dustbin Baby". The Telegraph. London.
- "Poppy Cogan". JTM. 2 February 2017.
- "Jill Halfpenny to star in ITV's Lightfields". thestage. 29 August 2012.
- "Interview with Dakota Blue Richards". ASFF. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
- Hutchison, David (17 December 2014). "Dakota Blue Richards to make stage debut in touring Arcadia revival". The Stage News.
- Ling, Thomas (20 August 2018). "ITV announces star-studded period drama Beecham House". Radio Times.
- "Action for Children Launch". Action for Children. 8 February 2011. Archived from the original on 9 August 2014.
- Dakota BlueSource (16 July 2015), Dakota Blue Richards talks through My Action for Children
- Cobley, Mike (8 July 2014). "Dakota Blue Richards Helps New Brighton Acting School To Search for the Next 'Golden' Star". The Brighton Magazine.
- "13th Annual Critics Choice Awards - Best Young Actress". VH1. Retrieved 16 May 2008.
- "Atonement film up for more awards". BBC News. 14 December 2007.
- "2008 nominees and winners". Young Artist Awards. Archived from the original on 4 December 2013. Retrieved 16 May 2008.
- "2008 Saturn Awards". IMDb. Retrieved 16 May 2008.
- "2011 TVChoice Awards 2011". E4. Archived from the original on 23 May 2011. Retrieved 20 May 2011.
- "RTS Awards - Best Actress". Bristol Business. 17 February 2012.
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