Childhood & Early Life
Kelly Macdonald was born on February 23, 1976, in Glasgow, Scotland. When she was five years old, Macdonald and her family moved to Aberdeen where she spent most of her childhood. From 1987 to 1993, she went to ‘Eastwood High School’ in Newton Mearns, Scotland.
Macdonald started her career as a barmaid in Glasgow. When she came across a leaflet, advertising a casting round for a film titled ‘Trainspotting,’ she decided to give it a try. Subsequently, she was selected to play an underage seductress named Diane Coulston in the British black comedy film.
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Kelly Macdonald made her film debut in 1996 when she played Diane in the Danny Boyle-directed film ‘Trainspotting.’ Her performance in the film won her a ‘BAFTA Scotland Award’ nomination for ‘Best Film Actress.’
She also made her TV debut in 1996 when she was cast to play Amy Ogilvie in a television film titled ‘Flowers of the Forest.’ In the same year, she played the lead role of a young Glaswegian girl named Stella McGuire in Coky Giedroyc-directed film ‘Stella Does Tricks.’
In 1997, she played Wendy in a short film titled ‘Dead Eye Dick.’ The following year, she played Hortense Hulot in the British-American film ‘Cousin Bette’ and then played Isabel Knollys in Shekhar Kapur-directed biographical drama film ‘Elizabeth.’
In 1999, Macdonald played supporting roles in five films, namely ‘Splendor,’ ‘Entropy,’ ‘The Loss of Sexual Innocence,’ ‘My Life So Far,’ and ‘Tube Tales.’ In 2000, she was nominated at the ‘Film Independent Spirit Awards’ for ‘Best Female Lead’ for portraying Mary O'Neary in Raymond De Felitta-directed film ‘Two Family House.’ In 2000, she was also seen playing prominent roles in films, such as ‘Some Voices’ and ‘House!’
Macdonald’s popularity increased when she played Mary Maceachran in the 2001 Robert Altman-directed murder mystery film ‘Gosford Park.’ The film became a huge critical success and the cast received many nominations and awards at prestigious ceremonies, such as ‘Satellite Awards,’ ‘Screen Actors Guild Awards,’ ‘Critics' Choice Movie Awards,’ and ‘Florida Film Critics Circle.’ In 2003, Macdonald was nominated for ‘Best British Actress’ at the ‘Empire Awards’ for her performance in ‘Gosford Park.’
In 2003, she played Aletta Pieters in Brent Shields-directed television film ‘Brush with Fate.’ In the same year, she also played Della Smith in six episodes of a British television drama series titled ‘State of Play.’ In 2003, she was also cast to play the lead role of Deirdre in John Crowley-directed Irish black comedy crime film ‘Intermission.’
In 2005, Macdonald was seen in four films, namely ‘The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy,’ ‘All the Invisible Children,’ ‘Nanny McPhee,’ and ‘Lassie.’ In the same year, she also played Gina in a TV film titled ‘The Girl in the Café.’ Her performance in the TV film earned her a ‘Golden Globe Award’ nomination for ‘Best Actress in a Miniseries or Television Film’ in the year 2006.
In 2008, she played the lead role of Kate Frazier in Michael Keaton-directed film ‘The Merry Gentleman.’ She then played Paige Marshall in Clark Gregg-directed American black comedy film ‘Choke.’ The following year, she played Kelly Drummond in Bertrand Tavernier-directed Franco-American mystical drama film ‘In the Electric Mist.’ In 2009, she was also seen playing Louise in a television film titled ‘Skellig.’
From 2010 to 2014, she played Margaret Thompson in 45 episodes of ‘HBO’ network's American period crime drama television series ‘Boardwalk Empire.’ Meanwhile, she was also seen playing important roles in films, such as ‘The Decoy Bride,’ ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2,’ and ‘Anna Karenina.’ In 2012, she voiced Princess Merida in computer-animated fantasy film ‘Brave.’ Her work in ‘Brave’ earned her an ‘Annie Award’ nomination for ‘Outstanding Voice Acting in a Feature Production.’
In 2016, she played Karin Parke in an episode titled ‘Hated in the Nation’ in the popular science fiction anthology television series ‘Black Mirror.’ In the same year, she also played important roles in films, such as ‘Special Correspondents,’ ‘Swallows and Amazons,’ and ‘The Journey Is the Destination.’
Macdonald reprised her role as Diane Coulston in the 2017 Danny Boyle-directed black comedy drama film ‘T2 Trainspotting.’ In the same year, she also played Olive Rand in Simon Curtis-directed biographical drama film ‘Goodbye Christopher Robin.’ Her performance in the film earned her a nomination at the ‘British Independent Film Awards’ for ‘Best Supporting Actress.’
In 2018, she once again voiced Princess Merida in the computer-animated comedy film ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet.’ She also played Mrs. Hudson in the 2018 Etan Cohen-directed mystery buddy comedy film ‘Holmes & Watson.’ In 2019, she was cast to play one of the main roles of Sarah in a TV series titled ‘Giri/Haji.’ She was also cast to play Anna Dean in a television miniseries titled ‘The Victim.’
Family & Personal Life
Kelly Macdonald married musician Dougie Payne on August 27, 2003. On March 9, 2008, Macdonald and Payne were blessed with their first child, a son named Freddie Peter Payne.
On December 8, 2012, Macdonald gave birth to her second child, a son named Theodore William Payne. Kelly Macdonald and Dougie Payne got separated in 2017. She currently lives in Aberdeen, Scotland.