If Felicity Jones should ever go missing, there’s probably a simple explanation: She’s just gotten lost wandering the streets of Los Angeles. “Without sounding like a granny, I love walking,” says the London-based actress. So much so that on a recent December morning, she found herself perhaps the only person on Sunset Boulevard who wasn’t in a car. “I go for walks to keep my feet on the ground, because after five hours of press you go slightly insane at the sound of your own voice.” So she popped out of the Chateau Marmont, where she’s been holed up promoting her new role as Charles Dickens’s mistress in the Ralph Fiennes–directed period drama The Invisible Woman. “And I nearly got run over three times.”
Returning to the hotel harried and late to lunch, she admits it was her own fault for jaywalking. “You get halfway out and suddenly there’s a truck in front of you,” she says. “But I hate the idea of taking longer on your journey when you can just nip across the road.”
In her work, though, a slow pace suits her fine. Three years ago, at 27, Jones seemed poised to follow fast-rising starlets like Carey Mulligan and Jennifer Lawrence from Sundance into the mainstream after the film festival awarded her a special jury prize for her performance in 2011’s Like Crazy, Drake Doremus’s mostly improvised romance about a young couple separated by visa problems. Since her initial breakthrough, she spent a brief, hot moment as a muse to Burberry, but as an actress she’s mostly stuck to independent movies, including Doremus’s 2013 Like Crazy follow-up, Breathe In, which debuted with a thud at Sundance and still hasn’t been released in the U.S. She turned down the lead role opposite Julia Roberts in Mirror Mirror to do an eighteenth-century German play, Luise Miller, on the West End.