Spacey joins the Rebecca Hall fan club

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The Independent Culture

In the past two years Rebecca Hall has appeared in a host of successful films. And earlier this year she fulfilled a lifetime ambition by starring in a Woody Allen production.

The role won her a seemingly never-ending stream of plaudits from critics at the Cannes Film Festival this month. But, after taking the movie industry by storm, the actress has revealed she is to take a short leave from the film sets and return to her first love: the London stage. She will be back in Britain early next year as part of an international tour and will work alongside the likes of Sam Mendes, Sinead Cusack and Ethan Hawke with The Bridge Company, the trans-atlantic enterprise set up by the Hollywood star Kevin Spacey.

The project, in its inaugural season, will see the ensemble of household names perform productions of The Cherry Orchard and The Winter's Tale. It begins in October with rehearsals in Brooklyn before the cast embark on a tour encompassing Singapore, New Zealand, Spain and Germany, before coming to the Old Vic for a May-to-August season.

And for Rebecca Hall, it sees a return to her roots. The 26-year-old is the daughter of Sir Peter Hall, the theatre director and founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and Maria Ewing, the opera singer. While her acting debut was on television in 1992 when she played a young Sophy in her father's adaptation of Mary Wesley's The Camomile Lawn, it is on the stage where she has won the most praise.

She made her debut in 2002 when she starred as Vivie in her father's production of Mrs Warren's Profession at the Strand Theatre in London. Her performance was described as "admirable" and "accomplished" and won her the Ian Charleson Award the following year.

In 2003 she appeared in two of the five plays her father directed to mark his 50 years as a theatre director. The following year she starred in three plays for the Peter Hall Company in Bath's Theatre Royal. And in 2005 she filled the role of Rosalind in a touring production of As You Like It.

Her first film role came in 2006 when she played Rebecca Epstein in the film adaptation of David Nich-olls' Starter for Ten. This was followed by her role as Sarah Borden in Christopher Nolan's The Prestige.

But her big break came when she was asked to play the lead role in Woody Allen's romantic comedy Vicky Cristina Barcelona. She stars as Vicky alongside the Hollywood actresses Penélope Cruz and Scarlett Johansson. The film premiered to critical acclaim in Cannes this month and Hall was widely regarded by the reviewers as the discovery of the festival.

In an interview several years ago, Hall declared that her lifetime ambition was to appear in one of Allen's films. "If Woody Allen is reading this, I want a part. Please call my agent!" she said.

Her wish came true last summer when Allen invited her for a somewhat unorthodox audition. She explained: "I came in and met Woody and he said, 'Can you do an American accent?' and I said, 'Yes', and he said, 'OK, bye'. That was pretty much it.

"Two weeks later I got a call saying, 'Woody Allen wants you to be in his next film.' That was obviously quite an exciting time."