From bringing the characters of Oscar Wilde (The Importance of Being Earnest), Jane Austen (Mansfield Park), and Gustave Flaubert (Madame Bovary) to life on the big screen to escaping into the outback with a wanted man (Kiss or Kill), nurturing an android (A.I.), and even inspiring a man to sell his soul to the Devil (Bedazzled), there’s little that Golden Globe-nominated actress Frances O’Connor hasn’t accomplished — both literary and otherwise — since emerging onscreen in the mid-’90s.
As a young girl, O’Connor always knew that she wanted to become an actor, and after making her screen debut on the Australian television series Law of the Land, she was well on her way to achieving her dream. Later, after making a name for herself on Australian television, O’Connor achieved her breakthrough role — as a desperate fugitive in the stylish 1997 crime thriller Kiss or Kill. Not only did that film earn O’Connor the first of two Best Actress nominations at the 1997 Australian Film Institute awards (the other being for her performance in the romantic comedy Thank God He Met Lizzie), but it also brought her the international attention that eventually led to roles in such lavish period pieces as Mansfield Park and Madame Bovary (the later of which earned O’Connor a Golden Globe nomination). In 2000, O’Connor crossed the Atlantic to appear as the waitress who prompts a hapless line cook to sell his soul to the Devil in Harold Ramis’ Bedazzled, and the following year she remained stateside to film Steven Spielberg’s A.I. — in which she played a grieving mother who turns to technology after her son is stricken with an incurable disease.
By this point in O’Connor’s career, audiences across the globe were beginning to catch on to the rising star’s talent. She returned to the classics with The Importance of Being Earnest, followed by a pair of misfires (Windtalkers and Timeline); nonetheless, prominent roles in Piccadilly Jim, Iron Jawed Angels, Book of Love, and The Lazarus Child followed in short order. In 2007, O’Connor could be seen opposite Lucy Liu in the sexy ABC comedy Cashmere Mafia, which was executive produced by Sex and the City writer/executive producer/director Darren Star.