Connie showed her attrbutes in the 2000 acclaimed movie "Gladiator." Raised in Copenhagen, Denmark, Nielsen trained to be a singer and dancer, as well as an actress. She began performing at age 15, with her mother, in local shows and headed to Paris when she was 18, to pursue her career in earnest. After stints in Italy and South Africa, the multi-lingual Nielsen finally landed in New York; she made her English language film debut as a terrorized passenger in the made-for-TV thriller Voyage (1993). Nielsen really began to attract Hollywood's attention, however, with her performance as the sizzlingly seductive, redheaded daughter of Satan (Al Pacino) in the supernatural potboiler The Devil's Advocate (1997). Along with smaller roles in the drug addiction drama Permanent Midnight (1998) and Wes Anderson's Rushmore (1998) (as the gorgeous mother of Max's friend Dirk), Nielsen landed her first starring role in 1998, as a planet pioneer who nurses Kurt Russell back to health in the science fiction actioner Soldier. Following roles in the low profile thriller Dark Summer (1999) and the higher profile Brian De Palma sci-fi saga Mission to Mars (2000), Nielsen notched a critically acclaimed hit with Ridley Scott's sword and sandal epic Gladiator. As the emperor's sister Lucilla, Nielsen got to hold her own against Joaquin Phoenix's scenery-chewing Commodus while falling in love with and quietly championing Russell Crowe's steely Maximus, proving that she could do more than just look good in Gladiator's Roman chic. Moving ever-closer to widespread recognition, Nielsen played a member of a family who attracts a menacing photo clerk (a dark turn by funnyman Robin Williams) in the taut /thriller One Hour Photo. Alternating between smaller independent films and big-budget Hollywood extravaganzas, Nielsen turned up in Demonlover before turning back to the bright lights of Tinseltown with Basic and The Hunted (both 2003). She recently finished filming The Great Raid (2005), where she stars alongside Benjamin Bratt, Joseph Fiennes and James Franco, as well as Bille August’s Return to Sender, where she stars opposite Aidann Quinn. Return to Sender is scheduled for release in Denmark at the beginning of 2005.
Connie Nielsen left Denmark for Paris when she was 18 to follow her dream of being an actress, a quest that has taken her to places like Rome, Milan and South Africa. As well as being a successful actress, Connie Nielsen is also a talented singer and dancer and speaks fluent English, German, Danish, Swedish, French and Italian. Connie Nielsen currently lives in New York.
Connie Inge-Lise Nielsen was born July 3, 1965 in Elling, Frederikshavn, Denmark.
More fun facts about Connie Nielsen
Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)
Son: Sebastian, age 2 (b. June 2003)
Fluent in French.
Even though she was born in Denmark, her first Danish movie was not until Brødre (2004), directed by Susanne Bier.
Favourite band is The Clash.
Girlfriend of drummer Lars Ulrich from Metallica
Connie Nielsen to host HCA 2005-opening show
Denmark's most celebrated international movie star, Connie Nielsen, will play host at the opening show of the Andersen bicentenary in Copenhagen on 2 April.
Following her success in Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier's box-office hit Brothers, Denmark's most celebrated international movie star, Connie Nielsen, is now set to host the opening show of the Hans Christian Andersen bicentenary, entitled "Once Upon a Time", which will be staged at the national soccer stadium in Copenhagen, Parken, on Saturday 2 April 2005 at 9 pm.
It will be Connie Nielsen's first live appearance in front of a Danish audience ever. The star from Return to Sender, Gladiator and Brothers is to host the show which includes introducing guest performers, co-presenters, Hans Christian Andersen Ambassadors and create a flow for the entire show.
"Once Upon A Time" is a 120-minute show that in words, film, dance and music will convey the life and work of Hans Christian Andersen. The stadium will be transformed into an enchanted fairytale world featuring a number of short films created for the occasion depicting Andersen's life. Each fairytale will be staged in dance and music by a cast of hundreds of international performers from around the world. Connie Nielsen joins a host of international celebrities performing at the show including Jean Michel Jarre, American opera star Renée Flemming, Safri Duo and the Royal Danish Ballet.
The Danish royal family and representatives of the Danish government will attend the show along with all the Hans Christian Andersen Ambassadors from around the world as well as a host of other dignitaries.
Connie Nielsen: Great Dane
We know it's difficult, but try to think of Connie Nielsen as just one of the guys.
After all, she keeps popping up in roles designed for hormonal balance against an otherwise testosterone-soaked cast. In 1998, she played an interplanetary pioneer in the action-packed Soldier, teaching specially bred killer Kurt Russell to love small children and fuzzy animals. Earlier this year, she portrayed the only chick among a group of Red Planet-bound astronauts, playing kissy-face with Tim Robbins in Disney's Mission to Mars.
And, of course, movies don't come much more macho than those of the gladiator genre. So, when director Ridley Scott needed a female lead to soften his DreamWorks project Gladiator, he cast the Copenhagen-born beauty smack in between a psychopathic brother (Joaquin Phoenix) and ultrabadass gladiator General Maximus (Russell Crowe).
Which got us to wondering
Russell, your love interest in the film, is quite the babe, no? "Oh, yes. He's also an intense, extremely intelligent, completely devoted actor. And he's not only extremely generous in his work, he's generous outside of it."
To steal a line from Airplane!, does she like gladiator movies? "I didn't really know anything about them. I just went to museums and read up on my own."
Wonder if Professor Nielsen thinks Gladiator got it right? "It [Gladiator] is not a history lesson, and it doesn't want to be. You should see it as a dramatic narrative, which is fictional, built on the edifice of historical characters and their era, reproduced as closely as possible to what we know."
Smarty pants, eh? We hear she speaks fluent Danish, English, German, Swedish, French and Italian. What's up with that? "Denmark is a very small country, and we have a lot of close neighbors. The government decided that if Danes were going to interact with the world--economically, artistically and socially--they had to be given a chance to communicate with that world. So, these countries areWho the Hell Is This? integrated into our education."
That must have come in handy when she found herself living in Paris at the age of 18. What brought her there? "I went, at first, just with the intent to see it. Then I did Le Paradis Absolument in France and was given the possibility of staying there. I realized that if I wanted to do this seriously, I'd have to get some formal training. So, I studied acting in places like Rome, Milan and South Africa."
Not exactly hotbeds of Hollywood action. How'd she end up stateside? "I attracted the interest of some American agents, and they told me if I wanted to work over here, I had to live here. So, I decided to give it six months just to see what happened. The month after I arrived, I got a part in a poorly reviewed TV movie with Rutger Hauer and Eric Roberts called Voyage."
Okay, an inauspicious start. But, hey, she's scored with some hot projects and hunky costars since then: Keanu Reeves and Al Pacino in The Devil's Advocate, Kurt Russell in Soldier, Ben Stiller in Permanent Midnight, Tim Robbins in Mission to Mars and now Crowe. Who stands out? [Smiles.] "Every one of them."
Scott To Make 'Gladiator II'
Director Sir Ridley Scott has confirmed a second Gladiator film is already written, and it could be ready to hit cinemas at the beginning of 2005. The Hannibal filmmaker has revealed the plot of the planned film will be centered around the world of Roman politics rather than the gladiatorial arena. Scott insists Russell Crowe - who won an Oscar for his role in the original movie - will not be reprising his part. But one returning character will be Connie Nielsen's Roman aristocrat Lucilla, whose son Lucius is the central character in the new project. Ridley tells British film website Empire Online.Com, "It's written. We've already done quite a lot of work and the draft's in now. The target would be early 2005. It's the next generation. Roman history is so exotic that any part of it is really fascinating. History is far more exotic than anything you can dream up. The film will take the next step, which is the son. Lucilla's son, Lucius." And there will be no sign of the gladiatorial fighting that characterized the acclaimed first outing. Ridley adds, "No, no we can't do that again. We've done that. I wouldn't touch gladiators again. I mean, I wouldn't touch the gladiatorial side again, we have to go to the next step. There will be more politics and praetorians. The parts that are interesting, which always lead to conflict."