Date of Birth : May 24th 1960
An interest in acting from an early age lead to a year in drama school at London’s Central School of Speech and Drama (“It was disastrous…”), though her mother preferred for her to attend university. As a practical matter she enrolled in a teaching course, but her determination to pursue acting finally won out despite, or perhaps in spite of, a teaching instructor’s unbelievably harsh pronouncement that Kristin had no talent and should “stick to the amateur-dramatics society”; surely an example of nurturing and inspirational pedagogy at its very finest.
Needing a break from this oppressive attitude and environment, Kristin went to visit a friend in Paris, intending to stay for a couple weeks. As it turned out, she found work in the city as an au pair for a supportive family who encouraged her desire to act.
Kristin’s major cinematic debut came in the Prince’s Under the Cherry Moon in 1986. She was originally called to try out for a minor character, but her reading of the leading lady in auditions was so compelling they offered her that part instead. 1988 saw her in a film adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s A Handful of Dust, and a noticeably British cast after years in France: “I was a bit intimidated at the prospect of working with all these British actors. I don’t have any real training; I did most of my study in France, where they don’t have the same British method of acting. I thought everybody would be doing voice warm-ups before each take.” Handful turned out to be less formidable than she feared and her portrayal of Lady Brenda Last remains one of her most compelling. A steady series of roles in films and television, primarily in Europe, followed until the smash international success of Four Weddings and a Funeral — for which she was awarded a BAFTA and an Evening Standard Award for Best Actress as Fiona — in 1994. Recent roles include agent Sarah Davies in Mission: Impossible (1996) and her Oscar-nominated role as Katharine Clifton in The English Patient (1996).