Born in Oxford in the United Kingdom, Gugu Mbatha-Raw was classically trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Having studied Shakespeare, her first professional role was in an Open Air production of “As You Like It,” as “Celia.” Following this production, Mbatha-Raw landed roles at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre. She performed in “Antony and Cleopatra” and held the title role of “Juliet” in “Romeo and Juliet,” for which she was nominated for the Manchester Evening News Award for Best Actress in 2005.
Mbatha-Raw’s other stage credits include the critically acclaimed “Big White Fog” at the Almeida Theatre and “Gethsemane,” a production at the National Theatre that later toured the U.K. She made her West End debut as “Ophelia” in “Hamlet,” opposite Jude Law. The production then transferred to New York’s Broadhurst Theatre for a limited run and was a hit on Broadway in 2009.
Her television credits include “MI-5,” “Dr. Who,” “Marple – Ordeal by Innocence,” “Bonekickers” and “Fallout.” It was for this latter role that she was selected as a “Star of Tomorrow 2008” by industry magazine Screen International. In 2010, she starred as “Samantha Bloom” in the TV series “Undercovers.”
Her first feature film, “Larry Crowne,” directed by Tom Hanks, and starring Hanks and Julia Roberts, was released July 2011.
Mbatha-Raw’s next project is the Stephen Sommers-directed film “Odd Thomas,” set for a 2012 release. She stars alongside Willem Dafoe and Anton Yelchin.
Mbatha-Raw divides her time between Los Angeles and London.