“Charisma is the transfer of Enthusiasm”  ~ Ralph Archbold

Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s performance as the leading star of BELLE is assessed  in the video below by Belle’s screenwriter, director, producer and cast members.  The second video is an exclusive interview with with Ms. Alex Hugdens..   
BELLE is inspired by the true story of “Dido” Elizabeth Belle Lindsay played by English actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw, the mixed race daughter of Admiral Sir John Lindsay (Matthew Goode) and an enslaved African woman Maria Belle. .Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife (Emily Watson), Belle’s lineage affords her certain privileges, yet her status prevents her from the traditions of noble social standing.While her cousin Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon) chases suitors for marriage, Belle is left on the sidelines wondering if she will ever find love.After meeting an idealistic young vicar’s son bent on changing society, he and Belle help shape Lord Mansfield’s role as Lord Chief Justice to end slavery in England.   
Dido (/ˈdd/ dy-dohwas, according to ancient Greek and Roman sources, the first Queen of Carthage (in modern-day Tunisia).


Ms. Alex Hudgens, host/actress interviews actress 
Gugu Mbatha-Raw
 inside the lush ambiance of Belle’s home
Gugu Mbatha-Raw was born Gugulethu Sophia Mbatha.   Her name, “Gugulethu”, is a contraction of igugu lethu, means “our pride”.

South African-British Gugu Mbatha-Raw, was born in Oxford in the United Kingdom.  Ms Mbatha-Raw was trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.Her first professional role was in an Open Air production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It, as‘Celia.’  Following this, Mbatha-Raw landed roles at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre where she performed in Antony and Cleopatra and the title role of ‘Juliet’ in Romeo and Juliet, opposite Andrew Garfield, 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 David Hare’s Gethsemane,a production at the National Theatre that later toured the UK. She made her West End debut as ‘Ophelia’ in Hamlet opposite Jude Law,which 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,” “Spooks,” “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, Mbatha-Raw starred as‘Samantha Bloom’ in JJ Abrams’ NBC series, “Undercovers,” for which she was nominated a NAACP award for ‘Best Actress in a Television Series.’

In film, she has worked with directors such as Dominic Savage and Dan Reed before landing her first major feature film, LARRY CROWNE, directed by Tom Hanks and co-starring Julia Roberts. 

In June 2011, Mbatha-Raw landed the female lead as social worker ‘Clea Hopkins’ opposite Kiefer Sutherland in the FOX series“Touch.”   The cast also included Danny Glover and David Mazouz.   Also in summer 2011, she was recognized at BAFTA’s Brits to Watch event, which was attended by Prince William and Duchess Kate.   
She divides her time between Los Angeles and London.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw & Tom Hanks
director/actor & producer filming
the movie Larry Crowne
While in New York for Belle’s premiere; Ms. Mbatha-Raw also attended the Met Gala in May. 
The 2014 MET Gala
Gugu says “My dress and shoes were both custom Lanvin­ based on the fall 2014 collection. The dress has a regal, Old World feeling when you’re wearing it, but is supermodern with the print and length.”

“Lanvin made these gorgeous custom shoes to match my gown: The perfect accent to my dress.”

Belle was released on Friday, May 16th to major U.S. cities and Canada.  Belle’s debut in London was on June 5, 2014..  Click on the link above for the theatres in your city.
Camille Mitchell

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