Though her filmography is not long, Elizabeth Debicki has made a name for herself in less than a decade since she emerged as part of an ensemble cast in A Few Best Men, New Zealand’s answer to The Hangover. The tall, leggy blonde with posh features soon was moving on to more prestigious projects, like starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Great Gatsby, Michael Fassbender in Macbeth, and Jake Gyllenhaal in Everest.
She was exposed to wider audiences in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 as Ayesha, the golden-skinned High Priestess of the Sovereign, and received rave reviews for her performance in Widows alongside Viola Davis as the widow of a criminal husband. She can be found on television as well, in a starring role in the series The Night Manager (alongside Marvel alum Tom Hiddleston and House’s Hugh Laurie) as a socialite caught up in an international arms dealing scandal. Here are her ten best roles so far, with more surely to come.
10 JENSEN - THE CLOVERFIELD PARADOX
Following on the heels of the mysterious Cloverfield movie, as well as it’s semi-sequel 10 Cloverfield Lane, The Cloverfield Paradox received mixed reviews for so anticipated a film. Its story wasn’t particularly related to the previous events of the other two films, focusing on an energy crisis on Earth and the multinational crew of the Cloverfield Station trying to solve it.
Elizabeth Debicki plays Jensen, one of the research scientists aboard the Cloverfield Station, except it’s a Cloverfield Station from another dimension where she too was one of several crewmembers testing a Shepherd particle accelerator to provide renewable energy. Part science fiction, part horror, the film has a lot of unexpected twists and turns.
9 CAROLINE MACKENZIE - EVEREST
Boasting an amazing all-star cast including Josh Brolin, Keira Knightley, Elizabeth Debicki, and Jake Gyllenhaal, Everest tells the perilous story of two mountaineers Rob Hall and Scott Fischer who run rival climbing organizations for wealthy clients in search of the ultimate thrill. In May of 1996, the climbing season is crowded, and the two men combine their teams of clients to reach the top.
In the role of the medical aid on the team, Elizabeth Debicki manages to imbue the character of Caroline Mackenzie with just enough resilience, humanity, and compassion to make you believe that she understands the dangers inherent in her line of work and is committed to overcoming them.
8 JORDAN BAKER - THE GREAT GATSBY
In only the second movie of her young career, Elizabeth Debicki makes quite the impression as Jordan Baker in The Great Gatsby. A socialite in wealthy playboy Jay Gatsby’s inner circle, she is a frequent attendee of his lavish parties, and a friend to Nick Carraway, a young wall street trader and writer intrigued by Gatsby’s lifestyle.
As Baker, Debicki brings a sense of breezy coquettishness and vitality to a role that could have been played vapid and two-dimensional. She utters F. Scott Fitzgerald's dialogue as though she’s been speaking it all her life, and looks completely at home in the period costumes and fantastic sets.
7 LADY MACDUFF - MACBETH
Macbeth is a film that has the tremendous burden of being a recorded play, a play that has been done many times by many different thespians trying to do justice to William Shakespeare’s great work. It is a story of revenge, betrayal, and man’s basest desires.
It follows Michael Fassbender’s Macbeth as he endeavors to make the prophecy of the Three Witches come true, and become King of Scotland. Elizabeth Debicki portrays Lady Macduff, whose tragically unnecessary demise in a single, emotionally furious scene provides the tipping point for the protagonist from which there’s no coming back. Watch Debicki shine in a small, but extremely pivotal role that showcases her starpower.
6 VICTORIA - THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.
Starring Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer as CIA agent Napoleon Solo and KGB operative Illya Kuryakin, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is a remake of the smash hit series starring Alec Guinness. Set in a similar time period in the ‘60s, it follows the two agents as they undergo a joint mission to stop a criminal organization from getting its hands on nuclear weaponry.
Elizabeth Debicki plays sophisticated and deadly Victoria Vinciguerra, wife of Alexander Vinciguerra, and leader of a criminal organization that deals in nuclear arms. Though the role might relegate Debicki to little more than eye candy, she chews the scenery as a fascist villainess worthy of a Bond film.
5 AYESHA - GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2
The second and highly anticipated film in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise involved Peter Quill (Starlord) and the other Guardians of the Galaxy as they settled into their roles as newly minted intergalactic superheroes, with one small difference; Peter has the chance to find out the identity of his father, the celestial being Ego.
Elizabeth Debicki gave a memorable performance as Ayesha, High Priestess of the Sovereign (aka Kismet in the Marvel comics), a group of golden-skinned beings dogging the Guardians to recover property stolen from them by Rocket Raccoon. She’ll be appearing again as Ayesha in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
4 VIRGINIA WOOLF - VITA AND VIRGINIA
In a role sure to get her noticed by fans of period dramas and biopics, Elizabeth Debicki plays literary icon Virginia Woolf in Vita and Virginia. The film chooses to focus not simply on Virginia Woolf’s writing career, but her love affair with Vita Sackville-West, another popular author and contemporary of Woolf’s.
Debicki tackles Woolf’s known mental health issue with grace and sensitivity, a foil to Gemma Arterton’s wild and reckless portrayal of socialite Vita. In the ‘20s, their love wasn’t considered appropriate or something to be celebrated, but it also couldn’t be contained, as the two would be tempestuously involved even up until Woolf’s marriage and later tragic suicide.
3 JED MARSHALL - THE NIGHT MANAGER
Starring Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie, The Night Manager is a mystery thriller television series that follows the English night manager of a Cairo hotel (Hiddleston) as he follows the movements of Richard Roper (Laurie), a billionaire with ties to illegal international arms sales and distribution, for British Intelligence.
As Jed Marshall, Elizabeth Debicki is the socialite girlfriend of Richard Roper, who forms a secret attachment to Hiddleston’s Jonathan Pine after he saves her step-son’s life. A street smart young woman caught up in a structured and conservative life of luxury, her dalliance with Pine is an obliteration of all the rules and order of her life with Roper, but it could prove fatal.
2 DOCTOR ANNA MACY - THE KETTERING INCIDENT
As the main protagonist in the series The Kettering Incident, Elizabeth Debicki gives a subtly powerful performance as Doctor Anna Macy, a Tasmanian doctor working in London under extreme conditions. When the stress of her job becomes too much and her health begins to suffer, she returns home to Kettering, Tasmania.
Kettering remains much the same as when she left it, with the same old grievances haunting the familiar hollows of her youth. She left fifteen years earlier, when her best friend Gillian tragically disappeared, and with her return, she finds a new girl has gone missing under similar circumstances. Watch for her performance, the beautiful Tasmanian scenery, and a great mystery.
1 ALICE - WIDOWS
Hailed as one of the most thrilling heist movies in recent years, Widows starring Elizabeth Debicki, Viola Davis, and Michelle Rodriguez is a powerhouse of female-driven entertainment. Debicki plays Alice, one of four women who meet at a funeral, with no prior connections to one another except dark pasts involving their dead husband’s criminal activities.
As Alice, Debicki steals the show, offering an authentic, gritty portrayal of a woman beat down and broken by the debts of her dead husband. The usually poised Debicki gives a searing portrayal of the strength a woman can find in her darkest hour with the right kind of support, the heist merely a vehicle for discovering that strength by its many challenges.