An actress whose refinement is evident in both her coolly regal beauty and well-measured performances, Natascha McElhone first impressed international critics and audiences with her portrayal of Francoise Gilot, the long-suffering but ultimately triumphant wife of Pablo Picasso in Merchant Ivory's Surviving Picasso (1996).
Born Natasha Taylor in Hampstead, London, on March 23, 1971, McElhone was raised in Brighton as the only daughter (she has several brothers) of journalist parents. After studying drama for three years at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, McElhone began her career in the theatre. She worked extensively on the London stage in a number of productions, and she also toured nationally with the Leicester Haymarket's production of Chekov's The Cherry Orchard. McElhone made her television debut in 1994, playing an army officer in the BBC's A Breed of Heroes, and subsequently appeared in several British TV series, including Absolutely Fabulous.
Following her well-received screen debut in Surviving Picasso, McElhone played the young Clarissa Dalloway in Mrs. Dalloway (1997), and she had substantial roles in The Devil's Own (1997) and John Frankenheimer's Ronin (1998), the latter of which featured her as a tactical strategist who organizes a team of experts to steal a mysterious briefcase from a group of criminals. She also popped up as Truman Burbank's long-lost love interest in The Truman Show (1998), and in 2000, she could be seen singing and dancing her way across the Bard's iambic pentameter in Kenneth Branagh's musical adaptation of Love's Labour's Lost. Two short years later audiences would find McElhone cast opposite George Clooney in director Steven Soderbergh's psycholgical sci-fi effort Solaris. She appeared as Mary Boleyn in The Other Boleyn Girl in 2003, and continued to work steadily landing one of her most high-profile gigs when she landed the part of Karen on the Showtime series Californication.