Determined to be an actress at an early age, August experienced an epiphany on stage while dabbling in theater at a Stockholm drama school for children: "They are listening to me. And I have something to tell them." After working several years with Swedish Television's theatrical ensemble, she appeared in stage productions under such directors as Peter Oskarson ("A Dream Play"), Yuri Ljubimov ("Feast in the Time of the Plague") and Lennart Hjulstrom ("Master Olof"), in addition to her work with Bergman. Further collaborating with second husband Bille August (they divorced in 1997), she portrayed one of the deeply-realized characters of his earnest "Jerusalem" (1996), based on Selma Lagerlof's novel inspired by the real-life story of Swedish-American revivalist movement leader Olof Henrik Larsson, who led a group of 40 followers to Palestine at the end of the 19th Century. She again embodied Bergman's mother for his 1996 semi-autobiographical Swedish telefilm "In the Presence of a Clown" and revisited the complex, contradictory emotional world of Anna Bergman in "Private Confessions" (1997), helmed by Liv Ullmann. In 1998. The actress acted in "The Glassblower's Children" and "The Last Contract," the first feature to deal with the still-unsolved murder of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palma. August then made her American film debut in what will undoubtedly become one of her more famous roles, that of Shmi Skywalker, the mother of the future Darth Vader, in George Lucas' "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace" (1999).