Felicity Jones prepared for her role in the breakup drama Like Crazy by driving around L.A. listening to an audio recording of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel The Beautiful and the Damned. In the film, the 25-year-old Jones plays a British student who falls for a hunk (played by Anton Yelchin), only to be separated from him when she's banned from the U.S. after overstaying her visa. With Fitzgerald as a template for romance, it's no surprise that U.K.-born Jones describes the making of the film as "quite intense, just like a relationship." The intensity was magnified by the fact that director Drake Doremus demanded that all the dialogue be improvised. "I think the writing skills of actors are sometimes underestimated," Jones says-although having an English degree from the University of Oxford probably didn't hurt. She recently starred in SoulBoy. Set around the Northern Soul music scene that peaked in Northwest England in the mid-'70s, the film has Jones playing a quiet art student who helps the main character achieve his dreams by teaching him to dance in his bedroom. "I'm more of a freestyle dancer," Jones says of her off-camera moves. "I like to do my own thing." This December she will appear as Miranda in Julie Taymor's new adaptation of The Tempest-a production that co-stars Helen Mirren and unlikely Shakespearean Russell Brand. The actress also recently spent some time bulking up to star as a snowboarder in Phil Traill's teenage adventure Chalet Girl. "I had a three-week intensive training course on how to snowboard," she says. "It was a very physical role. But eating whatever I wanted meant it was the best few months of my life."
Photos (left): Felicity Jones in London, August 2010. Dress: Chanel. Cosmetics: Lancôme Paris, including Le Crayon Khol eyeliner in black ebony. Fragrance: Chanel No. 5. Styling: Francesca Burns/SmileToo. Hair: Lyndell Mansfield/CLM. Makeup: Lucia Pica/Management + Artists. Special thanks: Snap Studios. (right) Felicity Jones in London, August 2010, photographed by Angelo Pennetta. Dress: Giorgio Armani. Sweater: Sisley. Cosmetics: Lancôme Paris, including Le Crayon Khol eyeliner in black ebony. Styling: Francesca Burns/SmileToo. Hair: Lyndell Mansfield using Redken/CLM. Makeup: Lucia Pica using Lancome/Management + Artists.