02-13 Happy birthday to Pernilla August, Born: February 13, 1958.
August started acting during her childhood in theater and at school. Her professional acting career started in 1975 when director Roy Andersson cast her in a minor role in the film Giliap the same year, followed from 1979 by films by other directors, Vilgot Sjöman (among them, the film about Alfred Nobel, 1983) and Lasse Hallström. She studied acting at Swedish National Academy of Mime and Acting in Stockholm 1979–82. Before finishing her studies, she attracted the attention of Ingmar Bergman, who cast her in his film Fanny and Alexander (1982), playing the nanny in the director’s romanticized portrait of his childhood. That marked the beginning of two decades of collaboration, collecting several international awards, including television series The Best Intentions (1991), where she portrayed Bergman’s mother and met her second husband to be, director Bille August, and TV-productions Private Confessions (1996), directed by Liv Ullmann and Bergman’s own In the Presence of a Clown (1997).
She also starred in Bo Widerberg’s The Serpent’s Way (1986) as well as his TV-production of Henrik Ibsen’s The Wild Duck (1989). Among the many Scandinavian and international films are also Bille August’s Jerusalem (1996), Richard Hobert’s Where the Rainbow Ends (1999) [granted her a Guldbagge Award as Best actress] and The Birthday (2000], I Am Dina (2002), Björn Runge’s Om jag vänder mig om/If I Turn Around (2003) [a Silver Bear at Berlin International Film Festival 2004 and more Best actress awards], Per Fly’s Manslaughter (2005), Swedish-Taiwanese Miss Kicki (2009) and Jan Troell’s Truth and Consequence (2012).
At the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, she has acted in several plays, starting 1981, several directed by Ingmar Bergman and touring internationally. These include Ophelia in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet (1986) [a part she has also played in another Swedish television film, 1985], August Strindberg’s A Dream Play (1986), Nora in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House (1989), Hermione in Bergman’s special version of A Winter’s Tale (1994), the title role in Schiller’s Mary Stuart (2000) and Helene Alving in Ibsen’s Ghosts (2002). She also worked with Russian director Jurij Ljubimov in Alexander Pushkin’s A Feast in the Time of Plague (1996). In 1983-84, she worked at Folkteatern i Gävleborg (The Folk Theatre in Gävleborg) with director Peter Oskarson in Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters. In 2008, she acted in the stage production of Steel Magnolias in Stockholm.
Many in the English-speaking world know her best as Shmi Skywalker, the mother of Anakin Skywalker, from Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999) and its sequel Attack of the Clones (2002). She also appeared in The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. She shared the role as Virgin Mary in Mary, Mother of Jesus (1999) with Melinda Kinnaman. She played a bomber in the Swedish film Sprängaren (2001). In 2011, she reprised her role as Shmi Skywalker in the third season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars for the episode “Overlords”, which aired on 28 January.
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