Karen Gillan is a Scottish actress, director, and screenwriter best known for her role of Amy Pond in the science fiction series ‘Doctor Who.’ Born and raised in Inverness in the Scottish highlands, she decided early on to become an actress and studied at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts. During the initial years of her career, she appeared in many television series in minor roles. Eventually, she established herself as a popular television actress and ventured into films as well. She made her film debut at the age of 23 with a role in the British supernatural thriller film ‘Outcast’. She became internationally famous for her role of Nebula in the superhero movie ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’. After acting in several successful small screen and big screen projects, the ambitious lady expanded her repertoire to become a director and screenwriter as well. She played a lead role in the comedy drama film ‘The Party’s Just Beginning’, which she also wrote and directed. Besides acting, she is very passionate about social issues and helped promote Fashion Targets Breast Cancer (FTBC).
Childhood & Early Life
Karen Gillan was born on 28th November 1987 in Inverness in the Scottish highlands to Marie and Raymond Gillan. Her father is a singer and recording artist.
At the age of 16, she moved to Edinburgh to study acting at Telford College. Two years later, she moved to London to study at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts. While studying there, she was scouted by a modeling agency. However, she was firm in her stance that she wanted to become an actress and not a model.
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Karen Gillan’s early television appearances included guest roles in several TV series such as the detective series ‘Rebus’. She later joined the ensemble cast of the comedy series ‘The Kevin Bishop Show’. She was also the lead of a horror project named ‘The Well’, which was a series of episodic short films.
She made her film debut in the year 2010 with a role in the supernatural thriller film ‘Outcast’. Directed by Colm McCarthy, the film was about a killer who was pursuing his former lover, who hailed from an ancient magical race. From 2010 to 2013, she gained huge popularity for her role of Amy Pond in the famed British TV series ‘Doctor Who’.
She made her second appearance on the big screen with the lead role in the 2013 romantic comedy film ‘Not Another Happy Ending’. The same year, she also played the lead role in the supernatural horror film ‘Oculus’. The film was a big success financially, earning $44 million on a $5 million budget. It also received mostly positive reviews from critics.
She played one of the important roles in the superhero film ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ in 2014. The film was based on a Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name. It was a huge commercial success and also won many awards and nominations. She then played the lead role in the TV series ‘Selfie’.
In 2015, she appeared in two feature films, ‘The List’ and ‘The Big Short’. She also played a supporting role in the mockumentary TV film ‘7 Days in Hell’. She directed, wrote, and served as an executive producer for the short film ‘Coward’ the same year.
The following year, she played a supporting role in the film ‘In a Valley of Violence’. Though the film was met with positive reviews from critics, it didn’t do well commercially.
Her next important role was in the 2017 superhero film ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’. It was the sequel to the 2014 film ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’. Like the previous film, it was a huge commercial success and received several awards and nominations. It was also praised by the critics. She appeared in two other films the same year, ‘The Circle’ and ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’.
In 2018, she wrote, directed, as well as played the lead role in the film ‘The Party’s Just Beginning.’
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Karen Gillan first came to popularity for her role in the TV series ‘Doctor Who’ where she played the role of Amy Pond from 2010 to 2013. The show has been airing since the 1960s, and has become a significant part of British popular culture. It revolves around an extra-terrestrial being called ‘Doctor Who’, who explores the universe in a time travelling spaceship.
She attained international fame with her role in the film ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’. She portrayed an alien super villain named Nebula, who is known as a brutal space pirate. Directed by James Gunn, the movie was based on a Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name. The film became a huge success commercially, earning more than $770 million on a budget of around $230 million. It also earned two Oscar nominations.
She reprised her role in the sequel ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’. Like the prequel, it was also a huge success commercially. The film won several Teen Choice Awards as well.
Awards & Achievements
The awards won by Karen Gillan include the ‘Cosmopolitan “Woman of the Year” Award’ for Best Actress for her role in the TV series ‘Doctor Who’ in 2010. She also won the 5th Young Scot Award in the same category for the same role. She was nominated for two National Television Awards in the category of ‘Best Female Drama Performance’ as well, out of which she won one.
She received multiple awards for her role in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, including the ‘Empire Award’ for Best Newcomer in 2015.
In 2016, she won the London IFF Film Festival Award for Best Lead Actress in a Short Film for her role in ‘Bound for Greatness.’
Karen Gillan is currently known to be single. She previously dated Patrick Green and Andrew Brooke.
Other than her work in the film industry, she has also worked with the global charity cause named ‘Fashion Targets Breast Cancer’.