Life After Life: Who is Thomasin McKenzie and what has she been in?

Thomasin takes the lead in the BBC’s latest period drama (Picture: BBC/Rex)

Life After Life has kicked off on BBC Two, bringing to our screens the story of young woman Ursula Todd, who dies and is reborn time and again.

The four-part period drama plays out against the backdrop of both World Wars.

Based on the novel by Kate Atkinson, Life After Life is the first of two books about the Todd family, with A God in Ruins acting as a companion piece, rather than direct sequel, and focusing on Ursula’s brother Teddy.

The adaptation boasts an impressive cast including Fleabag’s Sian Clifford and Mare of Easttown’s James McArdle as Ursula’s parents, alongside Downton Abbey’s Jessica Brown Findlay, Joshua Hill and Patsy Ferran.

Thomasin McKenzie stars as Ursula, but who is she and what has she been in before?

Who is Thomasin McKenzie?

Life After, Ursula (THOMASIN MCKENZIE)

The star has been acting since she was a child (Picture: BBC/House Productions/Nick Wall)

McKenzie is a 21-year-old actress from New Zealand, born in Wellington.

Raised in a family of thespians, her mother is actress and acting coach Miranda Harcourt, while her father is director, producer and writer Stuart McKenzie, known for The Changeover with Timothy Spall and Lucy Lawless.

Her grandmother is performer Dame Kate Harcourt, while her younger sister Davida is also pursuing acting.

What has Thomasin McKenzie been in?

Thomasin McKenzie as Elsa and Roman Griffin Davis as Jojo in 'Jojo Rabbit'

Thomasin has acted in major films, including JoJo Rabbit for Taika Waititi (Picture: K French/20th Century Fox/Kobal/Rex/Shutterstock)

She made her debut in 2012, when she was aged around 12, in Existence, before appearing as a young version of campaigner Louise Nicholas in television film Consent: The Louise Nicholas Story.

Her first major movie was The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies in 2014, in which she played the small role of Astrid.

After appearing in her father’s film The Changeover, McKenzie hit a run of well-received films including Leave No Trace and Tue History of the Kelly Gang, while she also had a recurring role on New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street.

She featured as Queen Philippa of Denmark in Netflix’s The King in 2019, opposite Timothée Chalamet and Joel Edgerton, and in the heart-rending part of Elsa Korr – the Jewish teenage girl in hiding – in Taika Waititi’s JoJo Rabbit.

Thomasin McKenzie in Last Night In Soho - 2021

Last Night in Soho was her first lead role (Picture: Focus Features/Moviestore/Rex/Shutterstock)

McKenzie then appeared in Lost Girls and The Justice of Bunny King, before taking on a role in M Night Shyamalan’s creepy beach thriller Old, where she played Maddox Cappa at 16 years old.

In 2021, she took on her first leading role as Eloise ‘Ellie’ Turner in Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho, working closely with Anya Taylor-Joy as Sandie, as her character experiences vivid dreams of London in the swinging sixties.

The Power of the Dog was another major film on her CV, in which she appeared as Lola alongside the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons and Kodi Smit-McPhee.

thomasin mckenzie in The power of the dog

She was also in awards magnet The Power of the Dog (Picture: Netflix)

The film received multiple Bafta and Oscar nominations, converting a few of them to wins.

Her upcoming projects include prison drama Eileen with Anne Hathaway, and Perfect, directed by Olivia Wilde, in which she stars as American gymnast Kerri Strug.

Life After Life continues next Tuesday at 9pm on BBC Two.


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