Emily Beecham: Meet the flame-haired actress lighting up our screens in ‘The Pursuit of Love’

Emily Beecham as Fanny in The Pursuit of Love

BBC Pictures / Theodora Films Limited & Moonage Pictures Limited / Robert Viglasky

Who is Emily Beecham may sound like a silly enquiry post Sunday night’s The Pursuit of Love debut – but perhaps she wasn’t quite so widely known prior to that. And if three consecutive Sunday night prime-time bursts of Emily Mortimer meets Nancy Mitford aren’t enough to blow Beecham into the mainstream, then her upcoming roles in Cruella and Little Joe (and for which she received Best Actress at Cannes in 2019) certainly will be.

The 36-year-old English-American actress – who is 37 this month – revealed in an interview with the Sunday Times Style magazine over the weekend that she nearly quit the industry a few years back. Reportedly ‘exasperated by depressing castings and limited roles, bracketed by her admittedly quite “period” looks’. It was her casting in indie chiller Little Joe alongside A Very English Scandal’s Ben Whishaw – plus making the decision to change agents and take time to reflect a little – that helped change her mind (and secure a sought after Cannes gong).

Emily Beecham

Dave Benett / Getty Images for dunhill

Beecham lived a relatively nomadic childhood, owing to the fact that her father, a pilot, had to be geographically agile for work, until they settled in Cheshire. Her mother, an American from Arizona, has recently retrained as a psychologist, and she sounds like a cultural maven who would take Beecham to plays and exhibitions aplenty as a young girl, feeding her artistic appetite.

She is currently based in Berlin, where she is filming a historical TV thriller series, 1899, for Netflix. She is holed up there with her ‘lovely’ German actor boyfriend, who in her Sunday Times interview she said she’d rather not name.

Emily Beecham in Little Joe

Allstar Picture Library Ltd. / Alamy Stock Photo

She’s reportedly great friends with screen-writing sensation Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Although apparently journalists keep persistently asking her about their friendship (then writing about it at length) so she’s relatively schtum on the subject at the risk of being presented as as a Waller-Bridge obsessor.

Emily Beecham with Lily James in The Pursuit of Love

BBC Pictures / Theodora Films Limited & Moonage Pictures Limited / Robert Viglasky

And if there was any testament to how nice she clearly is, then how is this for an answer to journalist Louis Wise’s enquiry as to what was really going on with Beecham’s The Pursuit of Love co-stars Lily James (who plays Linda Radlett) and Dominic West (who plays Radlett’s father, Uncle Matthew) on their low-key minibreak to Rome? ‘I feel like it’s not really any of my business. And… I’d feel like a bit of a creep if I were to talk about that, because it is their personal life. And you know, Lily gets hounded by the tabloids. It’s really, really intense. All I can say is that she was an amazing actress to work with, a very lovely person. I haven’t really asked anyone whether it was true or not.’ A model answer to a pot-hole of a question.

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