While watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), Hannah Murray noticed a watch being worn on someone’s ankle in a party scene. She copied the look for her audition for the notorious teen U.K. TV series Skins, and the ankle watch became a signature for her anorexic kooky hipster character, Cassie, for her run on the show during the 2007 and 2008 seasons. Now, after a five-year hiatus, Skins has asked Murray to reprise her role for a two-hour special set to air on British television this spring. “I thought I didn’t want to do the show again,” says the London-based Murray. “But the producers told me it would be a stand-alone story in which five years had passed for the character, and I thought about how much I had changed in that time. The other thing is that I don’t get to play my age, 23, that much. I’m still playing teenagers.” While Murray quietly built an acting career post-Skins, she also earned an English degree at Cambridge University. “No one in my family is in entertainment,” says the actress, whose parents both worked in the chemistry department at Bristol University. “They thought acting was a fun hobby, and when I got a degree, I’d settle down.” Instead, the opposite happened. Over this past year, she’s been working constantly—most notably playing Gilly, the daughter (and wife) of Craster on the HBO series Game of Thrones. She’s also completed work on three films: the Kasper Barfoed movie The Numbers Station, in which she appears alongside John Cusack (“I get killed for the first time, which was fun”); Lily & Kat, a coming-of-age tale about two best friends in New York; and the musical God Help the Girl, written by Stuart Murdoch of the Scottish band Belle and Sebastian. In that film, Murray plays a member of a trio who spends a summer in Glasgow. “I really like singing, although I’m embarrassed about doing it,” she says. “Even before this film, I really wanted an acting job where I had to sing, because I knew the only way I was going to sing was if I got paid to do it.”
PHOTO: HANNAH MURRAY IN LONDON, JANUARY 2013. COAT: MARC BY MARC JACOBS. SWEATER: A.P.C. COSMETICS: M.A.C., INCLUDING KOHL PENCIL IN SMOLDER. HAIR PRODUCTS: ORIBE, INCLUDING ROUGH LUXURY WAX IN THE ROOTS AND SUPERSHINE MOISTURIZING CREAM IN MID-LENGTHS TO ENDS. HAIR: DANIEL MARTIN/ART + COMMERCE. MAKEUP: ARIEL YEH. HAIR ASSISTANT: KAZUKI FUJIWARA.