kids encyclopedia robot

Karen Gillan facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Karen Gillan
Gillan in 2023
Karen Sheila Gillan

(1987-11-28) 28 November 1987 (age 36)
Inverness, Scotland
Education Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts
Occupation Actress, voice artist, director, model and writer
Years active 2006–present
List of performances
Nick Kocher
(m. 2022)
Relatives Caitlin Blackwood (cousin)
Karen Gillan signature.svg

Karen Sheila Gillan (/ˈɡɪlən/; born 28 November 1987) is a Scottish actress and filmmaker. She gained recognition for her work in British film and television, particularly for playing Amy Pond, a primary companion to the Eleventh Doctor in the science fiction series Doctor Who (2010–2013), for which she received several awards and nominations. Her early film roles include Ally in the thriller film Outcast (2010) and Jane Lockhart in the romantic comedy film Not Another Happy Ending (2013). She also worked on the stage while in Britain, appearing in John Osborne's play Inadmissible Evidence (2011).

Gillan made her transition to Hollywood starring as Kaylie Russell in the horror film Oculus (2013), her first commercial success in the United States, and thereafter played the lead in the ABC sitcom Selfie (2014). She achieved international stardom for portraying Nebula in the Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero films Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Avengers: Endgame (2019), Thor: Love and Thunder (2022), and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023). She additionally was praised for her portrayals of Ruby Roundhouse in the action films Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) and Jumanji: The Next Level (2019), Sam in the comedy film Gunpowder Milkshake (2021) and her double role in the sci-fi thriller film Dual (2022).

Gillan's accolades include an Empire Award, a National Television Award, a Teen Choice Award and nominations for a British Academy Scotland Film Award, a Critics' Choice Award and a Saturn Award. Aside from acting, she garnered critical acclaim for her involvement as writer and director in the drama film The Party's Just Beginning (2018), which she also headlined. .....

Early life

Karen Sheila Gillan was born in Inverness on 28 November 1987, the daughter of Marie and Raymond John Gillan. Her father is from Sunderland in North East England. Although she comes from a Catholic background, she says that she was not baptised and does not practise a religion.

When she turned 16, she moved to Edinburgh and completed a HNC Acting and Performance course at Telford College. She moved to London at age 18 to study at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts. While there, she was scouted by a modelling agency. Prior to her acting career, she worked as a model, premiering at London Fashion Week in 2007. Gillan has said she would not give up her acting career to return to modelling, stating that while she enjoyed modelling, acting had always been her main interest and goal.


2006–2012: British film and television

Gillan's early television acting career included guest appearances on several television shows, with her first role being in an episode of ITV crime drama Rebus, a role for which she had to drop out of school.

Gillan undertook a 2-year stint as a member of the ensemble cast of the sketch comedy series The Kevin Bishop Show, in which she played multiple characters including celebrities such as Katy Perry and Angelina Jolie. Gillan also appeared on TV in a leading role in a horror project entitled The Well, which was broadcast as a series of episodic short films on BBC Two and later as a web series on Part of the BBC's multimedia "switch" programming, the short episodes interconnect with online games that further explore the environments presented in the series. In 2008, she starred in the Channel 4 television film Stacked.

Doctor Who signing HMV
Gillan with Doctor Who co-star Matt Smith in 2010

Gillan went on to portray Amy Pond, companion to the Eleventh Doctor (portrayed by Matt Smith), on the British sci-fi series Doctor Who. Before being cast in the role in May 2009, she had previously appeared on Doctor Who in Series 4 episode "The Fires of Pompeii" in the role of a soothsayer. She made her first on-screen appearance as Amy in "The Eleventh Hour" with her cousin Caitlin Blackwood portraying a younger version of the same character. In 2010, she won in the Entertainment category at the Young Scot Awards. She appeared in the sixth series in 2011 and the first five episodes of the seventh series in 2012, after which her character and Rory Williams (portrayed by Arthur Darvill) left the series. Gillan reprised her role in the 2013 Christmas special "The Time of the Doctor", to coincide with Smith's departure as the Doctor.

In 2011, Gillan made her first theatre appearance playing the role of Shirley in John Osborne's play Inadmissible Evidence along with Douglas Hodge. The play debuted at the Donmar Warehouse on 16 October 2011. After making an appearance in Outcast, it was announced that Gillan would star in an indie Scottish romantic comedy called Not Another Happy Ending alongside Emun Elliott in August 2011. She was selected by director John McKay because he came to know her during the production of We'll Take Manhattan, which he also directed, as "a very bubbly, vibrant, energetic, funny, slightly clumsy person" who was a perfect fit for the character. Filming took place in July 2012, though Elliott was replaced by Stanley Weber. ..... The film premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in June 2013.

In 2012, Gillan appeared in the television film We'll Take Manhattan playing the part of supermodel Jean Shrimpton, which told the story of Shrimpton's relationship with the photographer David Bailey.

2013–present: Breakthrough in Hollywood

In November 2013, Gillan appeared on Broadway in a play called Time to Act, one of the plays included in "The 24 Hour Plays on Broadway" to benefit the non-profit Urban Arts Partnership. She was also cast in the third season of A Touch of Cloth, which was co-created by Charlie Brooker. Gillan joined the regular cast of Adult Swim's NTSF:SD:SUV:: for the show's third season in 2013. Gillan starred in the lead role in the supernatural horror movie Oculus, which was filmed in Alabama and premiered at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. Her performance received praise, and she earned a Fright Meter Award nomination for Best Actress.

Karen Gillan - Guardians of the Galaxy premiere - July 2014 (cropped)
Gillan at the Guardians of the Galaxy premiere in July 2014

In February 2014, Gillan was cast as the lead in Selfie, an American single-camera sitcom for ABC produced by Warner Bros. Television which was greenlit for the 2014–15 US television season. Gillan played a socialite named Eliza Dooley, a modern-day take on Eliza Doolittle, who is obsessed with social media. This was Gillan's first time in the lead role of an American television series. The series was cancelled by ABC on 7 November 2014 after seven episodes; the remaining six episodes were made available on Hulu starting 25 November 2014. Selfie still has a dedicated following of fans years after its broadcast especially in China. In May 2013, Gillan was cast as Nebula in the Marvel superhero science fiction film Guardians of the Galaxy, which was released in August 2014. Gillan had her head shaved bald for the role, which Marvel turned into the wig that Gillan wore during the production of Selfie. In May 2014, Gillan was cast in the Western film In a Valley of Violence directed by Ti West, opposite John Travolta, Ethan Hawke and Taissa Farmiga. Gillan portrayed Ellen, the older sister to Farmiga's character.

In 2015, Gillan had a bit part in the drama film The Big Short directed by Adam McKay, alongside Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell and Melissa Leo. She wrote and directed her first short film, Coward, which screened at the 2015 Edinburgh Film Festival, and was nominated for several awards. Later in the year she wrote, directed, and starred in another short film called Conventional. She won in the Best Female Newcomer category at the 20th Empire Awards for Guardians of the Galaxy and Oculus. In the same year, she was cast in an HBO pilot titled, The Devil You Know.

On 2 November 2016, it was announced that Gillan would write, direct and star in her directorial feature film debut with Burbank-based development and production company Mt. Hollywood Films' indie drama project titled Tupperware Party. Set in her home city of Inverness in the Scottish Highlands, filming began in January 2017 and wrapped in the following month. The title of the film was later changed to The Party's Just Beginning. The film was nominated for Best Feature Film at the British Academy Scotland Awards.

Karen Gillan (34609339830) (cropped) retouched
Gillan in 2017

In 2017, Gillan reprised her role as Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, this time becoming a member of the film's eponymous team, and co-starred in The Circle, alongside Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, and John Boyega. The latter film, released in April, was directed and written by James Ponsoldt, and was based on the novel by Dave Eggers. Also in that year, Gillan played the lead female role, Ruby Roundhouse, in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, the third instalment of the Jumanji franchise, starring alongside Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and Nick Jonas. She reprised her role as Nebula in Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019), which were filmed back-to-back. Filming for the two films began in January 2017 at Pinewood Atlanta Studios in Fayette County, Georgia and ended in January 2018.

In 2019, aside from her leading role in Avengers: Endgame, she co-starred in the films Stuber and Spies in Disguise, and starred in All Creatures Here Below. Also in 2019, she reprised her role as Ruby Roundhouse in Jumanji: The Next Level and appeared in a short film titled Neurotica.

In 2020, Gillan appeared in the adventure drama The Call of the Wild, based on the Jack London novel. The following year, she starred in the action film Gunpowder Milkshake alongside Lena Headey, Angela Bassett, Carla Gugino, Michelle Yeoh and Paul Giamatti. For the role, she was nominated for Best Actress in an Action Movie at the 2nd Critics' Choice Super Awards.

In 2021, Disney Branded Television announced that Gillan would star on the upcoming Disney Television Animation and 20th Television Animation series Rhona Who Lives By The River as the titular character, Gillan would act as executive producer for the series alongside series creator Emily Kapnek and series composer Danny Elfman.

In 2022, she starred in the sci-fi thriller Dual alongside Aaron Paul, which is filmed entirely in Tampere, Finland. She played a double role, and earned acclaim for her performance. Critic consensus from review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes described the movie as "well-led", and John DeFore for The Hollywood Reporter said that "Gillan, who has spent much of her post-Doctor Who decade playing cyborgs, computer avatars and a thinly imagined assassin, has a barely more human role to play here; to the extent that she makes either Sarah worth rooting for, it's an achievement." At the 3rd Critics' Choice Super Awards, she was nominated for Best Actress in a Science Fiction/Fantasy Movie.

In 2023 she appeared in Late Bloomers, for which Damon Wise of Deadline Hollywood praised her "engaging and refreshingly vanity-free performance". Also in 2023, she started filming Sleeping Dogs in Australia with Russell Crowe. and upcoming BBC drama Douglas Is Cancelled.

Philanthropy and other work

In 2011, Gillan helped promote Fashion Targets Breast Cancer (FTBC) and the opening of Squirrel Ward at the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. Gillan has also voiced advertisements for eHarmony and The Royal Bank of Scotland. .....

In 2018, she visited the Mikeysline crisis support centre in Inverness after presenting her film The Party's Just Beginning. .....

Personal life

Gillan moved to the U.S. around the time she was shooting the film Oculus (2013).

In May 2022, Gillan married Nick Kocher, an American comedian of the sketch duo BriTANicK, in a ceremony at Castle Toward, in Dunoon, Scotland.

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Work Result Ref.
2010 Constellation Awards Best Female Performance Doctor Who Nominated
TV Quick Awards Best Actress Nominated
Cosmopolitan's Ultimate Women of the Year Awards Best Actress Won
Young Scot Awards Entertainment Won
2011 SFX Awards Best Actress Won
TV Choice Awards Best Actress Won
Scream Awards Best Sci-Fi Actress Nominated
2012 National Television Awards Best Drama Performance: Female Won
SFX Awards Best Actress Nominated
Nickelodeon UK Kids' Choice Awards Favourite UK Actress Herself Nominated
Scottish Fashion Awards Scotland's Fashion Icon Herself Won
2013 National Television Awards Best Drama Performance – Female Doctor Who Nominated
2014 Fright Meter Awards Best Actress Oculus Nominated
Detroit Film Critics Society Best Ensemble Guardians of the Galaxy Won
Nevada Film Critics Society Best Ensemble Cast Won
Phoenix Film Critics Society Best Cast Nominated
2015 Central Ohio Film Critics Association Guardians of the Galaxy Best Ensemble Nominated
Empire Awards Best Female Newcomer Guardians of the Galaxy and Oculus Won
Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Best Actress (long-list) Oculus Nominated
Hang Onto Your Shorts Film Festival Best Actress in a Short Film (Long) Bound for Greatness Nominated
IFS Film Festival Best Actress in a Short Film Won
Best Independent Short Coward Won
Edinburgh International Film Festival Best Short Film Nominated
Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards Best Short Film Conventional Nominated
2016 London IFF Film Festival Best Lead Actress in a Short Film Bound for Greatness Won
FirstGlance Film Festival Best Actress in a Short Film Won
2017 Maui Film Festival Rising Star Herself Won
2018 Glasgow Film Festival Audience Award The Party's Just Beginning Nominated
MTV Movie & TV Awards Best On-Screen Team
(with Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and Nick Jonas)
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Comedy Movie Actress Nominated
DTLA Film Festival Best Female Actor in a Leading Role All Creatures Here Below Won
Philadelphia Film Festival Artistic Achievement in Independent Film The Party's Just Beginning Won
British Academy Scotland Awards Best Feature Film Nominated
British Independent Film Awards Best Debut Screenwriter Nominated
2019 Saturn Awards Best Supporting Actress Avengers: Endgame Nominated
2022 Critics' Choice Super Awards Best Actress in an Action Movie Gunpowder Milkshake Nominated
2023 Best Actress in a Science Fiction/Fantasy Movie Dual Nominated

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Karen Gillan para niños

kids search engine
Karen Gillan Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.