Mary Elizabeth Winstead (born November 28, 1984) is an American actress and singer.
Her first significant role came as Jessica Bennett on the NBC soap opera Passions (1999–2000) and she went on to appear in TV series such as Tru Calling (2004) and films including the superhero comedy Sky High (2005). She came to wider attention as a Scream Queen for her roles in the horror series Wolf Lake (2001–2002), the giant monster film Monster Island (2004), the supernatural horror film Final Destination 3 (2006), the slasher film Black Christmas (2006) and the exploitation horror film Death Proof (2007).
Further success came with her roles as John McClane’s daughter Lucy Gennero-McClane in Live Free or Die Hard (2007) and Ramona Flowers in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010). Her critically acclaimed-performance as an alcoholic struggling with sobriety in the Sundance drama Smashed (2012) was followed by a series of roles in other well-received independent films, including The Beauty Inside (2012), The Spectacular Now (2013), Faults (2014), Alex of Venice (2014) and Swiss Army Man (2016). Winstead continued her Scream Queen roles in the body horror film The Thing (2011), as Mary Todd Lincoln in the fantasy horror film Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012) and in the psychological horror thriller film 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016).
She reprised her role as Lucy Gennero-McClane in A Good Day to Die Hard (2013) and returned to television with roles in the supernatural drama series The Returned (2015), the political satire/science fiction comedy series BrainDead (2016), the period medical drama series Mercy Street (2016–17) and the black comedy/crime drama anthology series Fargo (2017). Her recent roles include the comedy drama All About Nina (2018), the action thriller Gemini Man (2019) and as the Huntress in Birds of Prey (2020).
Since 2013, Winstead has performed as half of the music duo Got a Girl, with Dan the Automator
Winstead appeared in CBS’ political comic thriller BrainDead, as leading character Laurel, “the daughter of a Democratic political dynasty who left Washington, D.C. to become a documentary filmmaker, but is pulled back into the family business when her brother needs political help”. The series received mildly positive reviews by critics, with New York Magazine calling Winstead’s casting the “smartest decision the makers made”, and The A.V. Club said that she “makes an eminently watchable, formidable heroine”. Despite a largely positive critical response, the series debuted to lackluster ratings and after the airing of its 13-episode first season, CBS announced its cancellation.
Winstead starred opposite Ewan McGregor in the third season of Fargo as Nikki Swango, “a crafty and alluring recent parolee with a passion for competitive bridge playing with a plan, focused on always being at least one move ahead of her opponents”. The season is set around December 2010 in Minnesota and follows the lives of McGregor and Winstead’s criminal couple roles; it premiered on April 19, 2017, to positive reviews. In an interview with Variety, Winstead spoke of the character, “I’d never played a character like this. Once I was on set and doing it, it was so easy but it took all the elements coming together for me to feel confident and comfortable.”
In October 2017, Deadline reported that Winstead will be starring as lead in the semi-autographical dark comedy All About Nina, opposite Common. In December 2017, it was reported that she will co-star in The Parts You Lose; the romantic thriller will see her reuniting with her Smashed co-star, Aaron Paul. In January 2018, it was reported that Winstead was cast as female lead opposite Will Smith in Gemini Man. The film, directed by Ang Lee is set for release on October 4, 2019. In late-September 2018, Winstead was announced to play Huntress in Warner Bros.’ DC Comics film Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). Directed by Cathy Yan, and starring Margot Robbie, who reprised her role as Harley Quinn, the fim was released in February 2020.