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THANDIE NEWTON (Stella) next stars in Oliver Stone's political biopic "W,” in which she portrays Condoleezza Rice. She is currently filming the epic drama "2012,” under the direction of Roland Emmerich.

Newton previously won a BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the Oscar-winning Best Picture "Crash.” In addition, she shared in a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Critics Choice Award for Outstanding Cast Performance as part of the film's all-star ensemble cast. Newton more recently earned praise for her work in Gabriele Muccino's critically acclaimed box office hit "The Pursuit of Happyness,” in which she played the estranged wife of Chris Gardner, portrayed by Will Smith.

At age 16, while studying modern dance at the Arts Educational School, she won the lead role in the critically acclaimed 1990 coming-of-age film "Flirting,” playing a Ugandan girl isolated in an Australian ladies academy who begins a romance with a teenage boy from a neighboring boarding school. After completing the film, Newton returned to England to continue her education, earning a B.A. with honors in anthropology at Cambridge University.

While pursuing her degree, Newton continued to act in feature films, working with several acclaimed directors. Her early credits included Neil Jordan's "Interview with the Vampire,” starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt; James Ivory's biopic "Jefferson in Paris,” in which she played Sally Hemings; Vondie Curtis Hall's comedy-drama "Gridlock'd,” with Tupac Shakur and Tim Roth; and Bernardo Bertolucci's "Besieged.”

In 1998, Newton received critical praise for her performance in the title role of Jonathan Demme's "Beloved,” the film adaptation of Toni Morrison's novel, produced by and starring Oprah Winfrey. She later reunited with Demme to star opposite Mark Wahlberg in the 2002 contemporary romantic thriller "The Truth About Charlie,” inspired by the 1963 classic "Charade.” Newton's additional film credits include John Woo's action hit "Mission: Impossible II,” opposite Tom Cruise, and the indie comedy "Run, Fat Boy, Run,” directed by David Schwimmer.

On television, Newton had a recurring role on NBC's hit drama "ER,” playing Noah Wyle's love interest, an African aid worker named Kem. The role marked Newton's American television debut.

Earlier this year, Newton visited Mali to bring attention to the work of international relief and development charity World Vision and their collaboration with Volvic. The program will provide over six billion litres of clean water to hundreds of thousands of people living in Africa. There, she met with people directly benefiting from the campaign and personally witnessed the difference a well can make in a community.

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