From the outset of her career, sloe-eyed British actress Gina Bellman exuded an alluring, exotic appeal that recalled the glamorous screen sirens of Hollywood’s Golden Age. She first achieved fame by virtue of her collaboration with the English playwright-cum-scriptwriter/director Dennis Potter, in whose overtly sexual and explicit Blackeyes she starred. In that controversial outing, Bellman played the sexual abuse victim of the title — an imaginary character within the context of the film. The choice of project (given its content) marked a bold move for the actress, but an intelligent one given Potter’s peerless reputation and the respect afforded him in the English film industry. More importantly, it succeeded in turning spectators’ and critics’ heads toward Bellman in the very best way.
Intriguingly, Bellman had no educational or industry experience as an actress when she auditioned for Blackeyes (1990), shy of a role as King David’s daughter in Bruce Beresford’s critically maligned Biblical epic King David (1985). The daughter of Russian-Jewish-Polish parents, born in New Zealand, Bellman grew up with a father who worked in retail and a homemaker mother. The family immigrated to London before Bellman’s 11th birthday, and within a year, she discovered a passion for acting and soon began attending auditions. After Blackeyes, parts came quickly and furiously, marked by the actress’ intriguing, distinguished choice of projects on-stage, in features, and on television. Some of her higher-profile endeavors included the eccentric Jewish-themed feature comedy Leon the Pig Farmer (1992), a theatrical role in David Mamet’s Speed-the-Plow, and an ongoing turn as the flighty, hare-brained man-hunter Jane Christie on the BBC’s wildly popular (and extremely explicit) sex comedy series Coupling (2000).
In 2006, Bellman signed for a supporting role in director Martin Curland’s raunchy sci-fi comedy Zerophilia, while the following year, she co-starred opposite James Nesbitt in the BBC miniseries Jekyll, an unusual revisionist version of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novel Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.