Alice Jane Evans was born in 1971 to David Evans, a professor of Applied Mathematics at Bristol University and Janet Evans, a teacher of English literature. Alice gained a degree in French and Italian from University College, London, and then moved to Paris where she studied acting at the Cours Florent. She quickly began to work, mainly in French television but also in the very successful Italian miniseries Le ragazze di Piazza di Spagna (1998) as “Nathalie”, a French student who is forced to come to grips with the realities of life when she finds out she is pregnant by a man she is not supposed to be with. This was particularly challenging as Alice played the role in Italian, but had to loop the entire film later on because her own accent in Italian sounded too British and not French enough! Her first big break came when her first feature, Monsieur Naphtali (1999) was brought to the attention of Oscar-winning director Claude Lelouch, who invited her to audition for a film he was writing, Une pour toutes (1999) and, after three callbacks, cast her in one of the three lead roles. Alice played “Macha”, one of three actresses who, after a failed production of Anton Chekhov’s “Three Sisters”, invent a scheme to swindle wealthy men out of money and eventually end up making the film of the story of their lives. The film was a critical, if not commercial success. Anne Parillaud and Marianne Denicourt co-starred.
Aside from an episode of TV show “Highlander”, Alice did not act in her mother tongue, English, until 1999 when Disney cast her as the lead in 102 Dalmatians (2000) alongside Glenn Close, Gérard Depardieu and Ioan Gruffudd. This was a huge break for Alice but it was marred by tragedy. Her beloved mother, Janet, suffered a fatal heart attack whilst out walking her dog, less than 24 hours before Alice’s final screen test for the role. The story goes that she never told her mother about the test and was hoping to surprise her if she won the role. Janet was only 59. In a strange twist, the actor she first met only hours after losing her mother was to become her closest friend. Alice became very close to Ioan Gruffudd during the shoot and they became a couple in late 2000. They got engaged in 2005.
In 2000, Alice shot Best of Both Worlds (2001) for the BBC, in which she played “Diane”, an air stewardess who is a wife and mother, who begins a relationship with a man in Italy, where she flies three times a week and eventually marries him and embarks on a double life. The series was written by acclaimed writer Paul Abbott and Alice received glowing reviews for her performance. In 2002, she was cast by Mel Smith as the lead in Blackball (2003) alongside James Cromwell and Vince Vaughn. The film was a commercial and critical flop and other commercially unsuccessful British and European films followed. Perhaps because of this, Alice moved to Los Angeles, California in 2003. In the United States, she has worked in both film (Four Corners of Suburbia (2005)) and television (CSI: Miami (2002), The Chris Isaak Show (2001)), although she still continues to work in the United Kingdom, most recently alongside Alistair McGowan in a new series for BBC One and with Billy Boyd and Eva Birthistle in the Independent feature Save Angel Hope (2007).
She lives in West Hollywood with her husband, actor Ioan Gruffudd. She gave birth to their first child, Ella Betsi Janet Gruffudd, on September 6, 2009.
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