Kimberley Nixon

By
Photography John Akehurst

Published December 22, 2008

 

Kimberley Nixon might not have the cunning, duplicitous streak of a bona fide femme fatale, but she certainly has no trouble channeling one onscreen. The 23-year-old Welsh actress is at the center of the forthcoming film Cherrybomb, a gritty little psychodrama about two boys in Belfast, Northern Ireland, who spend a summer engaged in increasingly illicit activities—shoplifting, drugs, grand theft auto—while competing for the affections of an unbalanced teen girl, whom Nixon portrays with zeal. “I got to be a bit minxy, a bit sexy, without having to say sorry for it,” she explains. “It was fun to be mean but in a really sweet way.” (Naturally, her nastiness proves deadly.) Up until now Nixon has mainly played dutiful, period-piece girls. In addition to Cherrybomb, this year she also has a supporting role in Easy Virtue, a new film adaptation of the Noël Coward play starring Jessica Biel and Colin Firth (due out in the U.S. in May). Last year she appeared onstage in London’s West End in a production of Girl With a Pearl Earring (“I found out why she looks like that in the painting—it’s a very awkward pose”) and, before that, got her start on Cranford, a lauded 2007 BBC miniseries about romance in a fictionalized 1840s English town. “Playing those period characters means such an extreme restriction of the body,” says Nixon, who still lives in the town where she grew up (Pontypridd, Wales; population: 30,000) and is a graduate of the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama. “You have to express emotions with your eyes.”