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‘ Charlie’s Angels’ Newest Star Ella Balinska Goes All In
The British actress plays Jane in the film reboot, directed by costar Elizabeth Banks. BY MAXINE WALLY PORTRAIT BY DANIEL DORSA
There’s never been a time in Ella Balinska’s life when she did not throw herself completely into the task at hand.
As a kid, if she was assigned an essay with a 5,000-word requirement, she’d think to herself, “challenge accepted” and bang out 8,000 words.
Every sport she played — netball, lacrosse, track and field — she’d come at with a competitive energy.
And when the 23-year-old southwest London native discovered she loved acting, she went hard. Balinska applied to drama schools in the U.K. with competitive acceptance rates, which filled as low as 25 open spots a year. She figured, “If I get in, this will be something to keep going with and to pursue.”
She was accepted into the Guildford School of Acting, then went on to Arts Educational and the National Youth Theatre. There, she learned about herself in both a physical and an emotional sense; all the other kids knew exactly what kind of acting they wanted to do: period dramas, comedies and so on. “What’s my thing?” Balinska wondered.
She couldn’t find it until she took one unit on stage combat.
It was like having the vocabulary for a language in which she was fluent. She understood her body, and the space she took up, felt thrilled by the rush of energy she experienced while telling a story and doing stunts. Balinska was also freed, knowing she had found her niche. Everything clicked.
Nearly five years later, Balinska has graduated from various acting academies with honors-level knowledge of stage combat, including the use of 12 different weapons (“13 including my fists,” she notes). She’s gotten noticed by the film agent Femi Oguns, who was responsible for the breakouts of actors Letitia Wright and John Boyega and who invited Balinska to join his Identity Agency Group. She’s been picked up for indie shorts like “Tiers of the Tropics” and “Room.”
But her biggest moment has just come: She’s starring as Jane Kano, one of the three new “Charlie’s Angels” in the 2019 reboot film, out Friday. With Kristen Stewart as Sabina Wilson, Naomi Scott playing Elena Houghlin and director/costar Elizabeth Banks in the role of Bosley, the new version of the classic female spy thriller takes on an