Today is Emily Mortimer’s 46th birthday. Her father was Sir John Mortimer, a British barrister who also created the television series Rumpole of the Bailey. She began performing in plays while studying at Oxford, and began working in British television in 1994. She made her feature film debut in The Ghost and the Darkness. As the century turned, she had some more significant supporting roles in films like Scream 3, Kenneth Branagh’s Love’s Labour’s Lost, and Formula 51.
Mortimer has, for the most part, been a supporting actress or a part of ensemble casts, but she has kept busy for nearly two decades. She has had major roles in Woody Allen’s Match Point, in the two Pink Panther reboot films starring Steve Martin, in Lars and the Real Girl, and in Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island and Hugo. Every so often she gets a chance at a lead role, as in Brad Anderson’s thriller Transsiberian or the upcoming drama The Bookshop. Next year she will play Jane Banks in Mary Poppins Returns.
Our two headliners for today starred together in Paul Mazursky’s Scenes from a Mall.
Woody Allen is turning 81 today. He began working as television writer while just out of his teens, writing for a number of comedy shows, most notably for Sid Caesar. He was a prominent stand-up comedian of the 1960s, and also began writing plays, including Play It Again, Sam, which starred Allen and Diane Keaton when it ran on Broadway and again in a film remake.
By the early 1970s, Allen was establishing himself as a film director. Early slapstick comedies evolved into movies which, while still comic, had a more serious, sophisticated tone. When the 1978 Oscar ceremony arrived, teenage moviegoers who had yet to discover a cinema world beyond popcorn movies were astonished that the Best Picture winner for the previous year was not Star Wars: