Lena Kathren Headey (born 3 October 1973) is an English actress and voice actress.
After being scouted at age 17, Headey worked steadily as an actress in small and supporting roles in films throughout the 1990s, before finding fame for her lead performances in big-budget films such as the fantasy film The Brothers Grimm (2005), the action film 300 (2007), portraying Gorgo, Queen of Sparta, and the adventure and biographical film The Red Baron (2008).
Headey is best known for portraying Cersei Lannister in HBO’s hit fantasy series Game of Thrones since 2011, a performance that has earned her three consecutive Emmy award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (2014–16) and a Golden Globe Awards nomination for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film in 2016. In 2017, Headey became one of the highest paid actors on television and could earn up to £2 million per episode of Game of Thrones (based on shared percentages of syndication payments). She also played the title character Sarah Connor on Fox’s Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and the villainous drug lord Madeline “Ma-Ma” Madrigal in Dredd.
In 2008, Headey starred in the horror film The Broken. The film was directed by Academy Award-nominated Sean Ellis. The film was about “a woman who suspects she’s being followed around London by a murderous doppelganger”. The Broken was screened at the midnight portion of the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, and generally got average reviews. Some critics praised Headey’s performance, including Kim Koynar of Cinematical who wrote that Headey “largely carries the film, and does so quite ably”. Headey was cast in the lead part in another horror film titled Laid to Rest, which was first screened in 2008. However, the film went straight to video on 21 April 2009 and earned mixed reviews. Critic Mark H. Harris for About.com stated that the film “has a great look and boasts an impressive cast,” referring to both Headey and co-star Thomas Dekker. Headey had a part in a short film called The Devil’s Wedding. She provided her voice for an episode of the Cartoon Network TV series The Super Hero Squad Show playing Black Widow and Mystique. Headey was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for portraying Cersei in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Headey made a guest appearance in the television show White Collar in the episode “Taking Account” in which she played the role of Sally. In 2012, she appeared in the 3D action science-fiction film Dredd alongside Karl Urban and Olivia Thirlby. Her character is Madeline Madrigal (Ma-Ma), the leader of a drug dealing gang, and the project’s primary villain. Dredd is a film adaptation of 2000 AD character Judge Dredd. The film was directed by Pete Travis with a script by Alex Garland. In May and June 2012, Lena filmed the fantasy adventure film The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box throughout South West England, playing the role of Monica. The film was released in 2014. She joined again with Ethan Hawke to co-star in The Purge, a “micro-budget” horror film, which opened on 7 June 2013 at number one position in the United States, grossing over $US36 million over the weekend. In 2013, Headey was cast as Jocelyn Fray in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones opposite Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower. The film never received a sequel, and Headey will not reprise her role in the Freeform TV series Shadowhunters. Following the success of 300, Headey reprised her role as Queen Gorgo in the 2014 sequel, 300: Rise of an Empire. Headey appeared in the 2014 biographical film Low Down, a film which detailed the life of jazz pianist Joe Albany, as well as playing the wife of Patrick Wilson’s character in Zipper in 2015. In July 2015, it was reported that Headey would voice Jeopardy Mouse in Danger Mouse, a reboot of the 1981 TV series of the same name, which was broadcast on CBBC in late 2015. Headey stated that “I wanted to do it because it was pure nostalgia for me. I have children now and it’s just a treat to be involved in something that you loved as a kid and be able to share it. Those moments as an actor that come along once in a while are not to be missed.” She appeared alongside Alexander Armstrong as Danger Mouse and Stephen Fry as Colonel K. In 2016, Headey co-starred in the horror film Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, opposite her former Game of Thrones, Century and The Contractor co-star Charles Dance. In 2017, Headey provided the voiceover for Mercedes A-Class television advertisement and Morgana in Trollhunters.