Mathilda Abigail Lorenssen was born in Altrincham, Manchester to Henrik and Alice (nee Walden). Her father was a prolific Danish sculptor who met her mother in London while attending an exhibition opening at a gallery. The two married within months and relocated to Manchester, closer to Alice's family. They had three children: August, Gunnar, and their youngest and only daughter, Mathilda.
Thrust into dance and theatre at age five, one of Lorenssen's first memories was her love of the stage. Her father was careful to foster her love of the arts, frequently bringing her to various plays and ballets. When the family moved to New York for Henrik's career, Lorenssen was given her first taste of Broadway and knew that was where she belonged.
Lorenssen deferred acceptance at both NYU Tisch School of the Arts and Carnegie Mellon School of Drama, after landing her Broadway debut in the 2006 revival of A Chorus Line.
Lorenssen spent many years as a non-Equity performer at the Papermill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey, cast in many shows including The Sound of Music, Ragtime, Cinderella, and A Midsummer Night's Dream. Known for her persistence with auditions, she has been quoted saying she was "relentless" and "a familiar face for every casting director in New York."
It wasn't until 2006 that she made her break, cast as Val in A Chorus Line. Performing at the Tony Awards, she said, would forever be the highlight of her career. Her final performance as Val was on December 10th, 2008, capping off a two-year run. Lorenssen went on to appear as Nellie Forbush in 2009, alongside Paolo Szot as Emile and Ezra Whitcomb (whom she later married) as Lt. Cable in Lincoln Center's production of South Pacific, replacing Kelli O'Hara during her maternity leave.
Similarly, 2009 saw the beginning of Bonnie & Clyde. Offering the role of Bonnie Parker for a reading at the Roundabout Theatre Company, Frank Wildhorn said he knew then that the show could not move forward without her. Between out of state tryouts (first in La Jolla, second in Sarasota), Lorenssen originated the role of Wednesday Addams in the 2010 musical adaptation of The Addams Family. Her performance was critically panned, and after several disagreements with the direction team of Percival Ritter and Abbott Darcy, her contract was abruptly terminated in three months later, in June of 2010. Publicly citing creative differences, Lorenssen has privately made it known to friends (and, drunkenly, to colleagues) that the work environment became hostile and toxic when she refused to sleep with either of them.
In 2011, Mattie's performance as Hope Harcourt in the revival of Anything Goes earned her Drama Desk, Outer Critic's Circle, and Astair Award nominations. Later that year, Bonnie & Clyde, at last, made it to Broadway, where it saw a tragically short run at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. Joined by her Asolo Rep castmate, Jeremy Jordan as Clyde, the show opened to widely negative reviews, sealing its fate alongside poor ticket performance. It closed on December 30, 2011, after 33 previews and 36 regular performances. In spite of the show's critical disappointment, Lorenssen received rave reviews for her turn as Bonnie Parker, earning her a surprise Tony Award nomination for Best Leading Actress in a Musical, her first and only.
In Television & Film
In her film debut, Lorenssen played Caroline in the 2008 film Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. She tested for both the roles of Norah and Caroline, cast as the latter in what she says was "perhaps the most me you'll ever see on screen." After a small recurring role on Fringe and the highly anticipated ABC pilot Pan Am, Lorenssen received her big break in film after landing an audition with Martin Scorsese and Leonardio DiCaprio for the role of Naomi Lapaglia in The Wolf of Wall Street. Scorsese had recognised her, stopping the test with his lead actor after three minutes, to say that she was a stunning in Anything Goes.
Swayed from the stage by the silver screen, Lorenssen spent the next few years as an unstoppable force of nature, throwing herself into film after film (much to the concern of her agents, rumours claimed). Said to be hounded by Disney, Lorenssen was initially cast in their stage-to-screen adapation of Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods. She was thought by many to be an odd choice (read: not a soprano), but the role of Cinderella went to Anna Kendrick when, mere weeks before filming was set to commence, Lorenssen abruptly dropped out. Disney issued a statement which lead many to speculate if she had been fired.
In 2015, she gained further critical praise for her turn as Gerda Wegener in The Danish Girl and Ava, a synthetic android, in Ex Machina. The former landed her a slew of nominations, culminating in an Academy Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a Critics choice Award for Best Supporting Actress. Lorenssen's Academy Award speech perhaps overshadowed her win when she declared herself lucky to have lost one husband only to gain another, at which point she brandished her newly earned Oscar.
2017 marks the release of four films for Lorenssen, beginning with The Beguiled. Appearing alongside her director, Sofia Copolla at the Cannes Film Festival, the two openly discussed the importance of Copolla being only the second female director to win Cannes' directing prize. Lorenssen expressed her adoration of the director, stating that she'd learned so much and would one day love to direct a picture of her own - "Or assert myself as Sofia's newest muse." Both Tulip Fever and mother! are set to release late summer, while Disney's Goodbye Christopher Robin takes center stage in October.
The future holds another team-up between Lorenssen and Disney, this time with the actress as the titular character, in Cruella. Set to begin filming shortly is Mary Queen of Scots, in which Lorenssen has been cast as Mary Fleming. Rumour has it Quentin Tarantino is eyeing her to be part of his next film, reportedly an inevitably twisted retelling of the Manson Family.
Lorenssen is rather private where her family is concerned. Her father died when she was 20, at which point her mother returned to Manchester. While extremely close with her mother, she has little to no contact with her siblings. After her Oscar win, Lorenssen purchased a flat in Manchester to visit her mother whenever possible.
On June 15, 2009, she married Ezra Whitcomb in Niagara Falls. The two met when Lorenssen was cast as Nellie Forbush in South Pacific. Many wondered if they rushed into marriage, knowing one another for less than six months. Appearing to defy the odds, they were soon deemed one of Broadway's it-couples, but speculation arose when Lorenssen attended the 2012 Tony Awards (at which she lost to Audra McDonald). The couple refused to dignify rumours with a public response, but privately things were not as they seemed. Whitcomb was spotted out with several women from his various shows over the years, while Lorenssen continued to occasionally attend events without him.
Their marriage began its deterioration in 2013. On many occasions, they engaged in public spats that escalated from dinners to events. Whitcomb announced their separation via Twitter in 2014, and though it remains unproven, he was widely believed to be behind the leak of Lorenssen's nude photos that followed the next morning. Their divorce was finalised in 2015; until then, and subsequently after, they were both shockingly candid on the terms of their split.
Rumours linked Lorenssen to her Bonnie & Clyde co-star, Jeremy Jordan through 2011-2012. Jordan's publicist issued a statement maintaining that they were both respectively married, happily, and were simply the best of friends.
During rehearsals for Darren Aronofsky's mother!, she was spotted enjoying dinners alone with her director. In November 2016, pictures of their public displays of affection began to surface, all but confirming their relationship. It wasn't until promotion for mother! began that Lorenssen spoke of her relationship with Aronofsky in a Vanity Fair article.
Lorenssen opened up about being bisexual after Whitcomb outed her with rumours of an alleged affair in which she engaged during their marriage. Neither confirming nor denying her link to her former co-star, Lorenssen condemned Whitcomb's insensitive action, while maintaining that she had never hidden her sexuality. Lorenssen has taken to social media on several occasions, speaking of the disparaging biphobia rampant in the LGBTQ+ community as a result of criticism for only (publicly) dating men.
(20??) Untilted Manson Family Project (announced)
... Margot Robbie's role (rumoured)
(20??) Cruella (pre-production)
... Cruella de Vil
(2018) First Man (pre-production)
... Janet Shearon
(2018) Mary Queen of Scots (post-production)
... Queen Elizabeth
(2018) Tomb Raider (post-production)
... Lara Croft
(2017) Goodbye Christopher Robin (post-production)
... Daphne Milne
(2017) Tulip Fever
(2017) The Beguiled
(2016) Kubo and the Two Strings
... The Sisters (voice)
(2015) The Danish Girl ⭐
(2015) The Man From U.N.C.L.E
(2014) The Last Five Years
... Cathy Hyatt
(2014) Ex Machina ⭐
(2013) The Wolf of Wall Street
... Naomi Lapaglia
(2008) Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
(2017) Big Little Lies ⭐
... Jane Chapman (7 episodes)
(2013) Drunk History
- First Ladies (2014) ... Herself - Host
(2011-2012) Pan Am
... Laura Cameron (14 episodes)
... Rachel Dunham/Kelsie (10 episodes)
(2011) Bonnie & Clyde (Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre) ⭐
... Bonnie Parker (original cast; 1 Dec 2011 - 30 Dec 2011)
(2011) Anything Goes (Stephen Sondheim Theatre) ⭐
... Hope Harcourt (revival cast; 10 Mar 2011 - 11 Sep 2011)
(2010) Bonnie & Clyde (Asolo Repetory Theatre - Florida)
... Bonnie Parker (original cast; 12 Nov 2010 - 19 Dec 2010)
(2010) The Addams Family (Lunt-Fontanne Theatre)
... Wednesday Addams (original cast; 8 Mar 2010 - 18 Jun 2010)
(2009) Bonnie & Clyde (La Jolla Playhouse - California)
... Bonnie Parker (original cast; 10 Nov 2009 - 20 Dec 2009)
(2009) Bonnie & Clyde (Roundabout Theatre Company)
... Bonnie Parker (industry reading; Feb 2009)
(2008) South Pacific (Vivian Beaumont Theatre)
... Nellie Forbush (replacement cast; 4 Feb 2009 - 23 Aug 2009)
(2006) A Chorus Line (Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre)
... Val (broadway debut; 5 Oct 2006 - 10 Dec 2008)