Hera Hilmar is an Icelandic actress, who played the lead in “Life in a Fishbowl,” the Icelandic entry for the Best Foreign Film at the 87th Academy Awards, and who became known internationally when she was cast in the television series, “Da Vinci’s Demons.”
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Early life and Family
Hera Hilmarsdóttir was born on 27 December 1988, in Reykjavik, Iceland, to writer and film director Hilmar Oddsson and actress Thorey Sigthorsdottir (Þórey Sigþórsdóttir). It was not disclosed when and where her parents first met, started dating and married, because they only started working together long after Hera was born.
Her father was born in 1957, in Reykjavik, Iceland; his work in the film industry started in 1985 as a boom operator in a feature film. The 1986 short film, “Cinderella and the Man Who Had No Trousers,” was his directorial debut, being also the film’s editor, music composer, and co‑screenwriter. Oddsson worked on more than a dozen films mostly as a director, with three of them selected as Iceland’s entries to the Academy Awards for the Best Foreign Language Film, namely “The Beast” in 1986, “Tears of Stone” in 1995, and “Cold Light” in 2005. However, none of them made it as a nominee. His last project was the short drama film, “Breki,” in 2010.
Her mother debuted as an actress in the short film thriller, “Opacity,” in 1994. She worked as a main cast and supporting cast in eight movies, three of which were directed by Oddsson. They first worked together in 1995 on the movie, “Tears of Stone,” with Oddsson as the co‑screenwriter and director while Sigthorsdottir worked as one of the production managers. She did two movies in 2010, but none after that.
No information was available on where she matriculated from high school, but she graduated from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in 2011. It was said that she was given the Richard Carne Scholarship and won the Lilian Baylis Award while in the three-year program at LAMDA.
Hera was nine years old when she started her acting career in the thriller movie, “No Trace,” with her mom in a supporting role and her father as the director; it premiered on 1 August 1998. She stopped working after that to focus on her studies, and then went back to acting in 2006 for a short film with her parents. The following year she made the movie “The Quiet Storm” as the main lead, with her mom in a supporting role; it was an entry to the 30th Moscow International Film Festival in June 2008. She was cast in various films and television series after that (2008-2012), mainly in supporting roles.
Most noteworthy among the movies she made during that time was the 2012 historical romantic drama, “Anna Karenina,” based on the novel of the same name by Leo Tolstoy – Hera was cast in a supporting role of Varya, the sister-in-law of Jude Law’s character Count Alexei, with Keira Knightley as the main female lead. The movie received mildly positive reviews from critics, and earned nominations from several award‑giving bodies including the Academy Awards and British Academy Film Awards, and won the Best Costume Design from both of them.
“Da Vinci’s Demons”
Hera gained international fame when she was cast in a supporting role in the historical fantasy drama series, “Da Vinci’s Demons.” Hera had the recurring role as Vanessa Moschella, who occasionally modeled for Leonardo, and was the outspoken Florentine barmaid.
The series premiered in the US in April 2013 and was shown in over 120 countries, and was about Leonardo Da Vinci’s fictional early life. Speculations on Da Vinci’s sexuality were tackled in the series, and a scene of Leonardo kissing another guy was said to have been filmed in secret to prevent interference from the network. The first season received good reviews from critics; it had a 63% approval rating from Rotten Tomatoes with an average score of 6.1/10 and a Metacritic score of 62 out of 100. The series lasted three seasons with 28 episodes, the last one being aired in December 2015, with Hera appearing in 25 episodes.
“Life in a Fishbowl”
In 2014, she was cast as the main lead in the Icelandic drama movie, “Life in a Fishbowl,” which was screened at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival in the Discovery Section.
This movie from writer‑director Baldvin Zophoniasson is about three people, each leading a double life, and whose decisions make a lasting effect on each other. It was selected as the Icelandic entry to the 87th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film, but wasn’t chosen as a nominee. Hera was praised for her performance in the role of Eik, a preschool teacher who moonlights as a prostitute. The movie was a box‑office hit.
Hera continued making movies such as “The Oath,” which was screened at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival in the Special Presentations Section, and “An Ordinary Man,” which was screened at the 2017 Bari International Film Festival in Italy.
— Hera Hilmar (@HeraHilmar) March 14, 2019
She was also cast as the lead actress in the 2018 post‑apocalyptic action adventure movie, “Mortal Engines,” based on the novel of the same name by Philip Reeve. This was highly anticipated given that the screenplay was written by Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, and Fran Walsh, who also worked together on the “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit.” However, not only did it receive generally negative reviews from critics, but it also tanked at the box office, with a worldwide gross of more than $80 million against a production budget of $100-$150 million.
Her latest project was the Apple TV sci-fi series, “See,” starring Jason Momoa. She was one of the main cast in the role of Maghra, the wife of Jason Momoa’s character Baba Voss, the leader of the Alkenny tribe.
It premiered on 1 November 2019 and had eight episodes in its first season = Apple has already ordered a second season. Critics praised Jason Momoa’s performance, but gave the series generally negative reviews with 43% approval rating from Rotten Tomatoes and 37 out of 100 Metacritic score.
She was nominated as Actress of the Year in a Leading Role in Edda, the most prominent film and television award in Iceland, for her role in “The Quiet Storm” in 2007. Hera won the Actress of the Year Award in Edda in 2015 for her role in “Life in a Fishbowl”, and in 2017 for her role in “The Oath.”
Hera is now 31 years old, but there are no news of her currently dating or seeing anyone.
Interesting rumors and facts
- The director and writer of “The Quiet Storm,” Guðný Halldórsdóttir, saw Hera perform in a theater project at her high school, and later cast her in the movie.
- She was chosen by the Berlin International Film Festival as one of “Europe’s Shooting Stars” in 2015.
- Hera has more than 80,000 followers on her Instagram account.
Hera is 5ft 7ins. (1.7m) tall, weighs around 132lbs (60kgs), and her vital statistics are 32-24-34. She has long ginger-blonde hair and blue eyes. She wears a size 4 to 6 dress and her shoe size is 8.5.
Net worth and salary
It was not revealed how much she earned on her television and movie projects, but sources estimated her net worth as of early 2020 at over $1 million.