|Born||(1996-09-17) 17 September 1996
London, England, United Kingdom
Life and career
Purnell was born in London, where she currently lives with her mother. She has three younger brothers. She attended Forest School, formerly attended City of London School for Girls and began Year 10 in September 2011. She used to attend weekly classes at Sylvia Young Theatre School, studying acting, singing and dance, and was formerly represented by their in-house talent agency, Young ‘Uns (now known as Sylvia Young Agency). She is now however represented by The Rights House. She also attended Young Actors’ Theatre Islington.
In 2008, she beat hundreds of other girls for a role in Oliver! at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in London. She was one of only a few girls chosen to appear in the children’s ensemble and remained in the show for a year.
Towards the end of her time in Oliver!, she won the role of Young Ruth in Mark Romanek‘s Never Let Me Go – a feature film based on the acclaimed book by Kazuo Ishiguro. This was a main role, in which Ella played the younger version of Keira Knightley‘s character; the script is set for the first half in Hailsham boarding school, where the main characters are children, and in the second half tells of their lives after leaving the school.
After filming this, Ella was cast as Kayleigh in Gustavo Ron’s Ways to Live Forever, adapted from the book by Sally Nicholls. She was also cast as Mia in Juan Carlos Fresnadillos Intruders which filmed in the summer of 2010 in London and Madrid. She plays the daughter of Clive Owen and is the central character. She was recently named by Screen International as one of 10 UK Stars of Tomorrow. Purnell also recently appeared in the BBC HD Film Short Candy in June 2011.
She appeared in the feature film Kick-Ass 2 (2013), alongside actress Chloë Grace Moretz. She also appeared as a main character in the independent film, WildLike, and as a teenage Maleficent in Disney’s 2014 film Maleficent.
Purnell starred alongside Asa Butterfield and Eva Green in Tim Burton‘s adaptation of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, based on the novel of the same name, by Ransom Riggs. It was filmed in 2015 and was released in 2016.
Also filmed in 2015 was Access All Areas, in which she stars as Mia alongside actress Georgie Henley. It filmed at Bestival 2015, before moving to Bristol for additional filming. It’s set to release in 2017.
|2010||Never Let Me Go||Young Ruth|
|2010||Ways to Live Forever||Kayleigh|
|2011||Candy||Candy||BBC HD short|
|2016||The Legend of Tarzan||Young Jane Porter (uncredited body double)|
|2016||Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children||Emma Bloom|
|2017||Churchill||Helen Garrett (Churchill’s secretary)|
|2017||Access All Areas||Mia||Filming|
Awards and nominations
|2015||Los Angeles Independent Film Festival||Best Actress||Wildlike||Won|
|Hill Country Film Festival||Best Actress||Nominated|
|Gasparilla International Film Festival||Best Female Performance||Won|
|Naperville Independent Film Festival||Best Actress||Nominated|
|Twister Alley International Film Festival||Best Actress – Feature Film||Won|
|Myrtle Beach International Film Festival||Best Actress||Won|
|Richmond International Film Festival||Best Actress||Won|