Rachel Clare Hurd-Wood was born on August 17, 1990, in London, England. Show business was alive and well in her family thanks to her dad, Philip, who worked as a screenwriter, commercial voice-over specialist and actor while she was growing up. Her father’s influence pushed Rachel Hurd-Wood into the arts at a young age, and she earned a spot in her school’s drama club and a role in an elementary school theater production. Rachel Hurd-Wood also found additional hobbies for herself in art and ice skating.
Even with her father’s entertainment background, Rachel Hurd-Wood actually intended to join a totally different field. Her love of dolphins gave her aspirations of a career in marine biology. These aspirations were short-lived, however, as Rachel Hurd-Wood’s path took a dramatic turn when her grandparents informed her mother of an audition for Wendy in a 2003 film adaptation of Peter Pan. Rachel Hurd-Wood auditioned for the role and landed it. This was ironic since she was jealous of the character of Wendy as a child because Wendy got to fly. Now it was Rachel Hurd-Wood’s turn to fly.
The release of Peter Pan came during the 2003 Christmas season, and the film gained a sizable international following. She also gained recognition for her performance with nominations from the Saturn Awards and the Young Artist Awards. The film introduced her to Jeremy Sumpter as well (who played Peter Pan), who would become her off-screen boyfriend of two years.
In 2004, Rachel Hurd-Wood quickly followed up her turn in Peter Pan with Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking, a made-for-TV British mystery that costarred Rupert Everett. She then starred opposite Donald Sutherland and Sissy Spacek for the 2006 horror thriller An American Haunting. The film was inspired by a true story and cast Rachel Hurd-Wood as Betsy, a young girl who is pursued by an evil spirit. While the film was scary, the making of the picture was fun, as Rachel Hurd-Wood gained valuable insights about acting from her two costars and likened the experience to attending film school.
Later in 2006, Rachel Hurd-Wood continued her acting streak with a performance as the virginal Laura Richis, daughter of Alan Rickman in Perfume: The Story of a Murderer. The film also costarred newcomer Ben Whishaw and screen legend Dustin Hoffman.
Since then, Rachel Hurd-Wood has continued her acting exploits into 2008 and beyond with a pair of recent films. The first is Solomon Kane, a story about a swordsman who finds redemption, battling sorcerers and ghouls along the way. The second is the 2009 film Dorian Gray, which is based on the 1890 Oscar Wilde novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. The film is a star-studded affair that features notable British thespians Colin Firth, Ben Chaplin and rising star Rebecca Hall. It looks to be another showcase for Rachel Hurd-Wood’s rising talents, and her fans will be eager to see what else she has in store for them.