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The New Paper
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Just how posh is Rebecca Hall?
by Jason Johnson

Poshness isn't something you're just born with, unless of course you are, in which case, lucky you.

The daughter of a famed theatre director and a celebrated opera singer, London-born actress Rebecca Hall is a classic riches-to-riches story.

At the age of 10, she got her big break, appearing in the TV series The Camomile Lawn, directed by her father Peter Hall.

Since then, the 29-year-old has gone on to play generally smart, sophisticated, well-bred characters with names such as Antoinette, Vicky, Emily, Claire and Samantha.

In her latest effort, The Awakening, opening today, she's playing a Florence.

Accustomed to being the cleverest person in the room, Florence works as aprofessional debunker, exposing psychics, mediums and other such charlatans.

When she's invited to investigate a haunted boarding school where a recent death appears to be connected to a ghost, she soon finds herself in over her head.

In spite of all the paranormal shenanigans, The Awakening is of course a posh production, and Hall is posh in it.

We can do little more than marvel, slack-jawed, at all the poshness.

Posh parents

Let's put it this way, Rebecca Hall's dad is a "Sir" - Sir Peter Reginald Frederick Hall.

He wasn't born a Sir, but is instead a self-made Sir, which is even more impressive.

He is the founder (!) of the Royal Shakespeare Company and also directed Britain's National Theatre for 15 years.

Her mother Maria Ewing is equally accomplished.

An exotic beauty of Dutch, African and Native American ancestry, she made her opera debut with Mozart's The Marriage Of Figaro at the Metropolitan Opera, and is best known for her performance as the title character in Strauss' Salome.

Posh upbringing

Although Hall's parents split when she was still a child, she obviously wanted for nothing.

She attended Roedean School, a private seaside boarding school near Brighton, which is among some of the priciest institutions in England.

She was apparently Head Girl at Roedean, because of course she was.

She went on to Cambridge University, where she studied English Literature, but dropped out after two years - who needs school when you're destined for stardom!

She has five half-siblings, all of whom have found varying degrees of success in the arts and media.

Posh fella

Some women like to date young, handsome men, but the posh girls are smarter than that - they go for wealthy and successful older gents who just might have a Best Director Oscar sitting on their shelf.

Older gents who were at one time married to Kate Winslet.

Tabloids blamed Hall for the divorce of Sam Mendes and Winslet, and though the pair denied there was anything going on, they ended up dating eventually.

Apparently they're still an item.

If they ever make a movie together, expect it to be as posh as posh can be.

Posh career

While many actresses have to pay theirdues in crummy, low budget films, Rebecca started pretty much near the top.

Her first movie was the teen comedy Starter For 10 with James McAvoy, and she followed that up with Christopher Nolan's The Prestige and Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

She played Vicky!

She's also done a number of classy biopics such as Frost/Nixon and the TVmovie Einstein And Eddington.

She worked with A-listers such as Ben Affleck in The Town, and Will Ferrell in Everything Must Go.

It seems she's never been in a film with a zombie, werewolf or vampire, which is weird.

Posh new movie

While most horror movies tend to be gross and exploitative, The Awakening most certainly is not.

An old-school scarer that eschews gore in favour of atmosphere, it focuses on emotions beyond just fear.

The Awakening is more of a psychological drama than a true horror flick.

Hall's character Florence, a thoroughly modern woman, comes equipped with a complex history, an encyclopedic knowledge of the paranormal and a sophisticated sense of humour. Not your typical scream queen.

Though Hall has had every advantage in life, her performance here at least proves that her success isn't undeserved.

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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