Hayley Atwell is a British-American actress best-known for her screen roles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and on stage in plays such as Measure for Measure and A View From the Bridge.
Atwell was born in London in 1982 to an American father and British mother, meaning she has dual citizenship of both the UK and USA. Following her schooling, Atwell was offered a place to study at Oxford University, but didn’t achieve the required grades. She then travelled for two years with her father and worked for a casting director before she enrolled at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she studied acting and graduated in 2005.
Her first screen role actually came before her studies at Guildhall, when she was cast in an advert for Pringles. Her first film role came after her graduation, when she appeared in the 2007 Woddy Allen film Cassandra’s Dream.
Atwell’s West End debut came in 2009, when she appeared in a production of Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge, directed by Lindsay Posner at the Duke of York’s Theatre. Starring alongside Ken Stott, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Harry Lloyd, Atwell was nominated for an Olivier for her role as Catherine.
A major breakthrough in Atwell’s international notoriety came in 2011 when she was cast in the superhero film Captain America: The First Avenger. She went on to appear in many Marvel Cinematic Universe films, including The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, and the TV series Agent Carter and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Atwell’s other stage credits include The Faith Machine at the Royal Court in 2011, and The Pride at Trafalgar Studios in 2013. She starred in two plays in 2018, appearing in Dry Powder at the Hampstead Theatre, and Josie Rourke’s inventive production of William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure at the Donmar Warehouse. In 2019, Atwell returned to the West End to star in Rosmersholm.