Born in London, England, Hall was the daughter of opera singer Maria Ewing and Sir Peter Hall, former artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company and a leading British theatrical figure. Though her parents separated when she was five, Hall spent a good portion of her childhood watching her mother from the wings of the Royal Opera House performing in productions directed by her father, and made her own acting debut before age 10 in her father's television adaptation of the novel "The Camomile Lawn" (1992). Though more minor television roles followed, Hall opted to focus on her studies, attending the exclusive girls' school Rodean Hall before moving on to Cambridge University. There she pursued a degree in English literature while amassing considerable experience in school productions and even started her own theater company. After two years at Cambridge, she dropped out in 2002 to pursue her acting career in earnest.Hall's professional stage debut came that same year in her father's production of "Mrs. Warren's Profession," which earned her rave reviews and the Ian Charleson Award, which recognized performances in classical roles by actors under age 30. A second Charleson Award nomination came the following year for her turn in Shakespeare's "As You Like It," again directed by her father. She accompanied the production on a worldwide tour in 2005 before making her feature-film debut with "Starter for 10" (2006), a comedy set in a British university in 1985; Hall co-starred as an irreverent college student who falls for James McEvoy's trivia enthusiast. A subsequent turn as the doomed heroine of a BBC adaptation of Jean Rhys' "Wide Sargasso Sea" (2006) preceded her first Hollywood effort in "The Prestige" (2006). Cast as the wife of a magician (Christian Bale) locked in a decades-long battle of wills with a rival (Hugh Jackman), Hall brought great depth to the supporting role, which also found her working alongside such screen stars as Scarlett Johansson and Michael Caine. Hall returned to England for the television drama "Joe's Palace" (BBC One, 2007) before making a lifelong dream come true with her next project. An unabashed fan of Woody Allen who claimed that "Manhattan" (1979) was her favorite film of all time, Hall called on the director to give her a part during an interview for "Starter for 10." Allen, who was working in London at the time, summoned her shortly thereafter and cast her as one of the leads in "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" (2008). Hall was reunited with her "Prestige" co-star Scarlett Johansson as the more thoughtful of two American tourists who are seduced by an earthy artist (Javier Bardem), only to discover that his hot-tempered ex-wife (Penelope Cruz) is still very much in the picture. The critical acclaim that preceded the film's release laid the groundwork for a great deal of focus on Hall in subsequent months, thanks to her participation in such major projects as Ron Howard's "Frost/Nixon" (2008). Hall continued making a name for herself with her first-ever Golden Globe nomination, earning a nod for Best Performance by an Actress for "Vicky Cristina Barcelona."Back in her native England, Hall received considerable acclaim for her role in "Red Riding: 1974" (Channel 4, 2009), one chapter of a miniseries about rampant police and political corruption during the paranoid times of the Yorkshire Ripper murders. She played Paula Garland, the distraught mother of a missing girl also dealing with her husband's recent suicide who becomes romantically involved with a young reporter (Andrew Garfield), while trying to hide her past with a powerful local businessman (Sean Bean). Her performance won Hall a BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actress. Returning to features, she had a small but notable role in the Nicole Holofcener comedy "Please Give" (2010), playing the granddaughter of a cranky elderly woman (Ann Guilbert) whose death is eagerly anticipated by a yuppie couple (Catherine Keener and Oliver Platt) looking to take over her apartment. Hall next starred in Ben Affleck's widely acclaimed crime thriller, "The Town" (2010), playing a bank manager who falls for a career criminal (Affleck) after being taken hostage by his gang. With her film career steadily on the rise, Hall signed on for a featured part in "Everything Must Go" (2010), a subdued Arizona-set dramedy based on a Raymond Carver story that starred Will Ferrell as a man going through a particularly rough personal crisis. Returning to the U.K., she finally landed a headlining role for the chilling ghost story "The Awakening" (2011), also starring fellow Brits Dominic West and Imelda Staunton, and revisited television with a lead part in the period miniseries "Parade's End" (BBC, 2012), featuring another buzzed-about actor, Benedict Cumberbatch. Continuing to expand her horizons, Hall entered the realm of the superhero movie with a supporting role in "Iron Man 3" (2013). Leading roles in a number of small films followed, including legal drama "Closed Circuit" (2013), European romantic drama "A Promise" (2014), fantasy drama "Transcendence" (2014) and romantic comedy "Tumbledown" (2015). Hall next starred opposite Jason Bateman in the psychological thriller "The Gift" (2015).
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