“The lady of the hour,” exclaimed a guest as Felicity Jones entered a suite inside Chateau Marmont.
It was Thursday, the eve of The Britannia Awards, where the actress would receive British Artist of the Year. Burberry and Vanity Fair, in collaboration with BAFTA Los Angeles, hosted the night for their third annual celebration in honor of the year’s recipient.
Jones is recognizable from the 2011 indie “Like Crazy,” opposite the late Anton Yelchin, or, more likely, from her Oscar-nominated role in “The Theory of Everything.” Perhaps you’ve heard about her buzzworthy performance in the upcoming “A Monster Calls” by Juan Antonio Bayona, or you’ve seen her on billboards around town for Ron Howard’s “Inferno.” But most of all – especially if you’re a fan of science fiction – you’re well aware that she’ll soon star in the highly anticipated “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” coming out in December.
What you may not know, however, is that Jones, now 33, began working in the industry when she was 11. It’s been about 21 years, she said.
“And it feels like, in some ways, it’s a recognition of that, which I’m taking very much to heart and enjoying and looking forward to tomorrow,” she said of the award, presented by Burberry. Speaking on the brand’s CEO, she added: “Christopher [Bailey] has been such a fantastic champion of cinema and theater and absolutely loves the arts and supporting actors.”
Through the years, the Birmingham, England native has taken time off from acting to attend school, graduating from Wadham College, Oxford. What’s kept her returning to acting? “I kept trying to get away from it,” she said with a laugh. “I did. I went to university, I was going to do law. I was trying everything, and then on an emotional, instinctive, nonintellectual, analytical level, I just am drawn to it. You just can’t help it. It’s almost annoying.”
“She’s just a brilliant actress, but a really nice woman,” Tudyk said of Jones. The duo spent six months working together on the film. “It’s interesting to see her in these settings, where everybody gets dressed up,” he continued. “We went to the Maldives together shooting ‘Rogue.’ They would park the boats, and we had to swamp through water, waist deep, just to get to the set, because the boats couldn’t go [into the] shallows. We’ve been in the mud, the cold, the hot desert together.”
“This is a very different setting,” he said.
Guests filled the two-room suite and large balcony, enjoying cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. On a table inside, there were large bowls full of British chocolate bars: Cadbury’s Crunchie, Flake, Dairy Milk, Maltesers Teasers, Galaxy Ripple.
“Oh yes, that’s specially for the Brits just so we don’t feel too far from home,” said Jones. “When I was younger, it was all about the Crunchie, and then as I’ve got older, it’s become the Flake,” she mused playfully. “I don’t know what that means. But I remember my mom eating Flakes and being like, ‘Why would you want a Flake when you can have a Crunchie?’ And now that I’m, you know, a woman, I really respond to the Flake. Now I see it.”
Soon, with the upcoming award, she’ll join the likes of previous recipients Kate Winslet, Tilda Swinton, Rachel Weisz, Daniel Craig and Michael Sheen, but tonight, she’s just trying to enjoy the moment.
“I’m looking forward to seeing some friends and having a nice evening and maybe a bit of a boogie,” she said.
“A dance,” she responded in her tailored Burberry pantsuit. “I’m using ’70s language, because I’m trying to channel Mick Jagger.”
Watch: Tory Burch, Diane Von Furstenberg, Martha Hunt Talk Election Day