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1st July 2002
Our Sam's happy to be in a minority
Minority Report

Samantha Morton and Tom Cruise in Minority Report

It's one of the most talked about films of the year and the chances are you didn't even know one of the leading actors comes from Nottingham.

Minority Report
is being sold on the fact that it's directed by Steven Spielberg and stars Tom Cruise.

But not much further down the cast list you'll see the name Samantha Morton.

She plays Agatha, a "precog" detective. In the movie that's someone who can see and experience future crimes.

These visions enable cop Cruise to stop murders before they happen.

It's quite a role for a woman who's only 25. Not that Samantha Morton is an unknown quantity in Hollywood.

In Britain she's best know for TV programmes like Cracker and Band of Gold.

They mean little in the States but Morton's still likely to be recognised in the streets of Los Angeles because of films like Sweet and Lowdown, a performance which earned her a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination.

It's certainly a world away from the days as a 13-year-old when she attended drama workshops at Carlton (then Central) studios in Nottingham.

Samantha Morton and Tom Cruise
Samantha Morton and Tom Cruise at the premiere of Minority Report

But that in itself was a welcome escape from an unhappy childhood.

Not that you'll find much written about Morton's Nottingham upbringing.

It's something she'd rather forget and when journalists probe she tends to clam up.

In an article for the Observer newspaper she said "I just get really defensive as soon as anyone comes near my personal life.

I made a decision early on that it's strictly off-limits. No exceptions."

It's easy to see why. Born in Wollaton but brought up in Broxtowe, her family were evicted from their council house when her parents split up. She was just three.

The following years saw her being shunted from care homes to foster parents.

She was bullied and had precious family possessions burnt.

Through it all she's managed to remain strong. In the Telegraph she said: "Isolation can make you even more powerful in whatever you want to do. The more other people choose to isolate you, or you feel isolated, the more you're determined."

Despite these bad memories she still visits Nottingham about twice a year.

Given the high media profile around the release of Minority Report she might find it difficult to make even these visits in the future.

And Samantha Morton isn't resting on her laurels. Another movie, Morvern Callar, will be out before the end of the year.


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