Karen Sheila Gillan (born 28 November 1987) is a Scottish actress, voice actress, director, screenwriter and model. She had played Amy Pond, companion to the Eleventh Doctor, in the BBC One series Doctor Who (2010–2013). She has received wide recognition for portraying Nebula in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017), Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019) as well as Martha in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017).
Gillan in 2017
Karen Sheila Gillan
28 November 1987
|Alma mater||Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts|
|Relatives||Caitlin Blackwood (cousin)|
In 2018, she released her first feature film as a writer and director, titled The Party's Just Beginning.
Gillan was born and raised in Inverness, the daughter of Marie and Raymond Gillan. When she turned 16, Gillan moved to Edinburgh and completed an HNC Acting and Performance course at Telford College. She moved to London at age 18 to study at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts drama school.
While studying at Italia Conti, Gillan was scouted by a modeling agency. Gillan has said she would not give up her acting career to return to modeling, stating that she enjoyed modeling but acting was always her main interest and goal.
Gillan's early television acting career included guest appearances on several drama series, with her first role being in an episode of Rebus, a role she obtained while still at Italia Conti. Gillan then undertook a two-year stint as a member of the ensemble cast of the sketch comedy series The Kevin Bishop Show, in which she played multiple characters including celebrities such as Katy Perry and Angelina Jolie. Gillan also appeared on TV in a leading role in a horror project entitled The Well, which was broadcast as a series of episodic short films on BBC Two and later as a web series on BBC.co.uk. Part of the BBC's multimedia "switch" programming, the short episodes interconnect with online games that further explore the environments presented in the series.
Gillan portrayed Amy Pond, companion to the Eleventh Doctor, on the British sci-fi series Doctor Who. Before cast in the lead role in May 2009, she previously appeared on Doctor Who in series four episode "The Fires of Pompeii" in the role of a soothsayer. She made her first on-screen appearance as Amy Pond in "The Eleventh Hour" with her cousin Caitlin Blackwood portraying a younger version of the same character. In 2010, she won in the Entertainment category at Young Scot Awards. She appeared in the sixth series in 2011 and the first five episodes of the seventh series in 2012, after which her character and Rory Williams (portrayed by Arthur Darvill) left the series. Gillan reprised her role in the 2013 Christmas special "The Time of the Doctor".
She was cast in comedian Charlie Brooker's TV series A Touch of Cloth, portraying Kerry Newblood. Gillan joined the regular cast of Adult Swim's NTSF:SD:SUV:: for the show's third season in 2013.
In February 2014, Gillan was cast as the lead in Selfie, an American single-camera sitcom for ABC produced by Warner Bros. Television which was greenlit for the 2014–15 US television season. Gillan played a socialite named Eliza Dooley, a modern-day take on Eliza Doolittle, who is obsessed with social media. This was Gillan's first time in the lead role of an American television series. The series was cancelled by ABC on 7 November 2014 after seven episodes; the remaining six episodes were made available on Hulu starting 25 November 2014.
In August 2011, it was announced that Gillan would star in an indie Scottish romantic comedy called Not Another Happy Ending alongside Emun Elliott. She was selected by director John McKay because he came to know her during the production of We'll Take Manhattan, which he also directed, as "a very bubbly, vibrant, energetic, funny, slightly clumsy person" who was a perfect fit for the character. Filming took place in July 2012, though Elliott was replaced by Stanley Weber. Gillan told journalists that she was happy to be involved in a Scottish production that "isn't about drug use or fighting the English". The film premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in June 2013. In 2012, Gillan appeared in the television film We'll Take Manhattan playing the part of supermodel Jean Shrimpton, which told the story of Shrimpton's relationship with the photographer David Bailey.
In May 2014, Gillan was cast in the Western film In a Valley of Violence directed by Ti West, opposite John Travolta, Ethan Hawke and Taissa Farmiga. Gillan portrayed Ellen, the older sister to Farmiga's character.
In 2015, Gillan appeared in the drama film The Big Short directed by Adam McKay, alongside Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell and Melissa Leo. She wrote and directed her first short film, Coward, which screened at the 2015 Edinburgh Film Festival, and nominated for several awards. Later in the year she wrote, directed, and starred in another short film called Conventional.
On 2 November 2016, it was announced that Gillan would write, direct and star in her directorial feature film debut with Burbank-based development and production company Mt. Hollywood Films' indie drama project titled Tupperware Party. Set in her home city of Inverness in the Scottish Highlands, filming began in January 2017 and wrapped in the following month. The title of the film was later changed to The Party's Just Beginning.
In 2017, Gillan reprised her role as Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, this time becoming a member of the film's eponymous team, and co-starred in The Circle, alongside Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, and John Boyega. The latter film, released in April, was directed and written by James Ponsoldt, and was based on the novel by Dave Eggers. Also in that year, Gillan played the lead female role in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, a sequel to 1995 film Jumanji, starring alongside Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and Nick Jonas. She replayed Nebula in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, which were filmed back-to-back. Principal photography began in January 2017, at Pinewood Atlanta Studios in Fayette County, Georgia.
In 2011, Gillan made her first theatre appearance playing the role of Shirley in John Osborne's play Inadmissible Evidence along with Douglas Hodge. The play debuted at the Donmar Warehouse on 16 October 2011.
Selected other workEdit
In 2018, she visited the Mikeysline crisis support centre in Inverness after presenting her film The Party's Just Beginning. The film is about the high suicide rate in the Scottish Highlands, and Gillan made a public pledge to support the mental health charity.
She has stated that, although her family is Catholic, she has not been christened and is not religious, instead agreeing with the statement that, "we're just minuscule dots in the vast cosmic emptiness of the universe".
|2013||Not Another Happy Ending||Jane Lockhart|
|2014||Guardians of the Galaxy||Nebula|
|2015||The Big Short||Evie|
|2016||In a Valley of Violence||Ellen|
|2017||Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2||Nebula|
|The Circle||Annie Allerton|
|Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle||Martha|
|2018||The Party's Just Beginning||Liusaidh||Also writer and director|
|Avengers: Infinity War||Nebula|
|Alex & the List||Lily|
|All Creatures Here Below||Ruby|
|Call of the Wild||Mercedes||Post-production|
|Spies in Disguise||Eyes (voice)||Post-production|
|2014||Bound for Greatness||Maeve MacDonough|
|Coward||N/A||Director, writer and executive producer|
|Fun Size Horror: Volume Two||Rachel Milligan||Segment: "Conventional"|
Also writer and director
|2019||The Hoarding||Hope||Also director|
|2006||Rebus||Teri Cotter||Episode: "A Question of Blood"|
|2008||Stacked||Ginny Turner||Television film|
|Harley Street||Holly||1 episode|
|2008–2009||The Kevin Bishop Show||Various||Main role|
|2008||Coming Up||Anna||Episode: "Thinspiration"|
|2009||The Well||Coll||4 episodes|
|2010–2013||Doctor Who||Amy Pond||Series 5–7|
|2010–2011||Doctor Who Confidential||Herself||Recurring role|
|2012||We'll Take Manhattan||Jean Shrimpton||Television film|
|In Love With...||Laura||Episode: "In Love with Coward"|
|2014||A Touch of Cloth||Kerry Newblood||2 episodes|
|Selfie||Eliza Dooley||Main role|
|2015||The Devil You Know||Jane Porter||Unaired HBO pilot|
|Comedy Bang! Bang!||Herself||Episode: "Karen Gillan Wears A Black and White Striped Pullover and Coral Skirt"|
|7 Days in Hell||Lily Allsworth||Television film|
|Robot Chicken||Various Voices||Episode: "Zero Vegetables"|
|2016||Emo Dad||Jessica (voice)||5 episodes|
|2010–2011||Doctor Who: The Adventure Games||Amy Pond||Series 1–2|
|2010||Doctor Who: Evacuation Earth|
|Doctor Who: Return to Earth|
|2011||Inadmissible Evidence||Shirley||Donmar Warehouse|
|2013||Time to Act||Karen||Broadway|
Awards and nominationsEdit
|2010||Constellation Awards||Best Female Performance||Doctor Who: "Amy's Choice"||Nominated|||
|TV Quick Awards||Best Actress||Doctor Who||Nominated|||
|Cosmopolitan's Ultimate Women of the Year Awards||Best Actress||Won|||
|Young Scot Awards||Entertainment||Won|||
|2011||SFX Awards||Best Actress||Won|||
|TV Choice Awards||Best Actress||Won|||
|Scream Awards||Best Sci-Fi Actress||Nominated|||
|2012||National Television Awards||Best Drama Performance: Female||Won|||
|SFX Awards||Best Actress||Nominated|||
|Nickelodeon UK Kids' Choice Awards||Favourite UK Actress||N/A||Nominated|||
|Scottish Fashion Awards||Scotland's Fashion Icon||N/A||Won|||
|2013||National Television Awards||Best Drama Performance – Female||Doctor Who||Nominated|||
|2014||Fright Meter Awards||Best Actress||Oculus||Nominated|||
|Detroit Film Critics Society||Best Ensemble||Guardians of the Galaxy||Won|||
|Nevada Film Critics Society||Best Ensemble Cast||Won|||
|Phoenix Film Critics Society||Best Cast||Nominated|||
|2015||Central Ohio Film Critics Association||Best Ensemble||Nominated|||
|Empire Awards||Best Female Newcomer||Guardians of the Galaxy and Oculus||Won|||
|Fangoria Chainsaw Awards||Best Actress (long-list)||Oculus||Nominated|||
|Hang Onto Your Shorts Film Festival||Best Actress in a Short Film (Long)||Bound for Greatness||Nominated|||
|IFS Film Festival||Best Actress in a Short Film||Won|||
|Best Independent Short||Coward||Won|||
|Edinburgh International Film Festival||Best Short Film||Nominated|||
|Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards||Best Short Film||Conventional||Nominated|||
|2016||London IFF Film Festival||Best Lead Actress in a Short Film||Bound for Greatness||Won|||
|FirstGlance Film Festival||Best Actress in a Short Film||Won|||
|2017||Maui Film Festival||Rising Star||N/A||Won|||
|2018||Glasgow Film Festival||Audience Award||The Party's Just Beginning||Nominated|||
|MTV Movie & TV Awards||Best On-Screen Team (with Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and Nick Jonas)||Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle||Nominated|||
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice Comedy Movie Actress||Nominated|||
|DTLA Film Festival||Best Female Actor in a Leading Role||All Creatures Here Below||Won|||
|Philadelphia Film Festival||Artistic Achievement in Independent Film||The Party's Just Beginning||Won|||
|British Academy Scotland Awards||Best Feature Film||Nominated|||
|British Independent Film Awards||Best Debut Screenwriter||Nominated|||
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That's a wrap on Tupperware Party! I am so amazed by every single one of our cast and crew. We had a bloody good laugh and made something really special. Thanks to everyone involved. #tupperwarepartymovie #filmmaking @malielfman @clairey1111
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- Ben Mendelsohn, Karen Gillan, Rashida Jones, DJ Khaled and Masi Oka Join Voice Cast Of Fox Animation ‘Spies In Disguise’
- Karen Gillan Joins "Call Of The Wild" Movie At Fox
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