Helena Bonham CarterGetty


Helena Bonham Carter has made a habit out of playing fantastical, eccentric characters. The British actress has cut off heads as the zany Red Queen in "Alice in Wonderland," cursed helpless muggles as Bellatrix Lestrange in "Harry Potter," and even served up fresh, hot meat (not the good kind) pies as Mrs. Lovett in "Sweeney Todd." In "The Lone Ranger," which opens this week, she plays a woman who runs a brothel house.

But what about the woman behind these uniquely outrageous characters? Below, we run down 25 little-known facts about Bonham-Carter, including the roles she almost played and her side business that helps jazz up your jeans.

1. She is the first cousin of Baroness Jane Bonham-Carter. She is also the great-granddaughter of H.H. Asquith who was British Prime Minister from 1908 to 1916.

2. She was denied admission to King's College, Cambridge University, but not because she was a bad student; the school didn't accept her because they were worried she'd drop out to pursue acting. You can thank the university for all the Carter roles you love, since the rejection led her to fully commit to her craft. (Can you really imagine her in a classroom anyway?)

3. She tried out for the role of Nancy Spungen in 1986's "Sid and Nancy," but the role ended up going to Chloe Webb.

4. She based her performance of Marla Singer in "Fight Club" (1999) on Judy Garland in the later stages of her life. To help her get into the mindset, director David Fincher would often call her Judy on set.

5. She was a member of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006.

6. She turned down the role of Bess in Lars von Trier's drama "Breaking the Waves" (1996) due to the sexual content. The role went to Emily Watson who got nominated for an Oscar for her performance.

7. She launched her own fashion line "The Pantaloonies" in 2006 with friend and swimwear designer Samantha Sage. In order to buy the clothing, customers have to return a questionnaire which asks about their favorite films along with a pair of jeans they wish to be customized. Eventually, they receive a unique customization of their jeans based on their answers.

8. She trained three weeks for a fight scene with co-star Gary Oldman in "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," but the scene ended up being cut from the film.

9. Bonham-Carter speaks fluent French.

10. Her mother is a psychotherapist and Helena pays her to read her scripts and give opinions on her characters' psychological motivations.

11. Bonham-Carter's father became half-paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair after his surgery to remove a tumor went wrong. Before his passing in 2004, the actress would study his mannerisms and movements for a role as a woman with Lou Gehrig's disease in the 1998 film "The Theory of Flight."

12. She lived at home with her parents until her early 30s to help her mother once her father became disabled.

13. Bonham-Carter met director Tim Burton while filming "Planet of the Apes" (2001), and the two became romantically involved after the movie wrapped. However, instead of moving in with her in her Hampstead home in London, Burton bought two houses next-door to each other for them to live in. They now have two children, son Billy Ray and daughter Nell, and have made seven films together. While they've been together for 12 years, they are not married.

14. Johnny Depp is the godfather of her child, Billy Ray.

15. She is a distant cousin of Kate Middleton.

16. Helena McCrory, who played Narcissa Malfoy in "Harry Potter," was originally cast as Bellatrix Lestrange. However, after McCrory became pregnant, she was unable to shoot all of Lestrange's scenes, so Bonham-Carter got the part.

17. She wore fake teeth in "Planet of the Apes" (2001), "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (2005), and the the "Harry Potter" films.

18. While filming "Terminator Salvation" in New Mexico in 2008, her relatives were involved in a tragic bus accident in South Africa. Helena's cousin Fiona Bonham-Carter survived, but four of her family members died.

19. Why is Bonham-Carter so great as Mrs. Lovett in "Sweeney Todd"? Because she underwent extensive vocal lessons and studied baking in preparation for her role in the 2007 musical f Let's hope she practiced with the normal kind of meat pies...

20. Bonham-Carter was originally set to play a cyborg in "Terminator Salvation" (2009). However, after the script was leaked online her character was rewritten, a move that significantly cut down her screen time.

21. During the shooting of "Fight Club," Bonham-Carter insisted that her makeup artist (Julie Pearce) apply all of her eye makeup with her left hand, because the actress felt that Marla was not a person who would be particularly skilled at (or concerned with) correctly applying makeup.

22. She's a believer in "multiple drinking," which she described in an interview with the Guardian as drinking more than one drink at a time to sustain a balanced diet. While she admitted this wasn't a scientific fact, Bonham-Carter still enjoys having options when it comes to quenching her thirst.

23. She was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2012 Queen's New Years Honors List for her services to drama.

24. She was considered for the role of Sarah in "Labyrinth" (1986), but lost out to Jennifer Connelly.

25. She grew up dreaming of becoming one of the "Charlie's Angels."

Sources: IMDb, Wikipedia, Digital Spy, The Guardian


Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter in Latest