Empire Of Light: Where You've Seen The Cast Before

Olivia Colman in Empire of Light
(Image credit: Searchlight)

It’s that time of year when some of the best movies tend to come out. We have big Hollywood blockbusters like Avatar: The Way of Water, or ones that are always talked about as Academy Award contenders, like The Whale or The Fabelmans. This year, we have another film with a smaller cast, but who are just as talented, and that’s the stars of Empire of Light. 

The romantic drama is directed by Sam Mendes, a director who has done some outstanding work with amazing actors. If you’re wondering where you may have seen the Empire of Light cast before, we're here to help. 

Olivia Colman in Empire of Light.

(Image credit: Searchlight Pictures)

Olivia Colman (Hilary)

Starting off with the star of Empire of Light, we have Olivia Colman, an actress who has been around for many years in the industry, and plays Hilary in the movie. She has done many movies and television shows, so it’s probably not that surprising if you’ve seen her in multiple projects. 

In terms of television, Colman starred in several shows, including Seasons 3 and 4 of The Crown, as well as many other TV shows like 2022’s Heartstopper (which is getting a Season 2), the Amazon Prime original series, Fleabag, Flowers, Rev., Beautiful People, Peep Show, Broadchurch and more. She was also in the miniseries, The Night Manager.

With film, Colman has certainly been in many notable ones. She got an Academy Award nomination for her portrayal of Anne, Queen of Great Britain, in The Favourite, but has been in many other movies, like The Father, The Lost Daughter, The Iron Lady, Murder on the Orient Express, Locke, The Michells vs. the Machines, and so many more. Really, a brilliant actress. 

Micheal Ward in Empire of Light.

(Image credit: Searchlight Pictures)

Micheal Ward (Stephen)

Next up on the list, we take a look at Micheal Ward, who plays Stephen in Empire of Light. In terms of movies, Ward has appeared in a few, namely the Netflix original film The Old Guard, and has appeared in other movies like Blue Story, Beauty, and Brotherhood. 

In television, he’s appeared in main roles on shows like The A List and Top Boy, and was in the anthology series installment, Small Axe: Lover’s Rock. 

Tom Brooke in Empire of Light.

(Image credit: Searchlight Pictures)

Tom Brooke (Neil)

Moving on, we take a look at Tom Brooke, who plays Neil in Empire of Light. Brooke has appeared in several big-time moves. To name a few, he’s had roles in films like Bridget Jones’s Diary, The Death of Stalin, The Boat That Rocked, and Say Your Prayers

Brooke has also had experience in television, appearing in a few shows as major characters. He played Fiore in the popular AMC series, Preacher, and played Bill Wiggens in Sherlock. He also appeared in shows such as Game of Thrones, The Hollow Crown, Electric Dreams, and The Crown. He also played Andy Apsted in Bodyguard.  

Tanya Moodie in A Discovery of Witches, who will also be in Empire of Light.

(Image credit: Sky One)

Tanya Moodie (Delia)

Next up is Tanya Moodie, who played Delia in the film. Other than Empire of Light, Moodie is relatively new to the movie world and has only appeared in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker so far. However, she has done a lot on television. 

Besides multiple guest roles on shows, she’s appeared in bigger roles in shows such as The Clinic, Dicte, Absentia, Motherland, The Feed, and more. She also had a main role on the show A Discovery of Witches, a fantasy show that was a lot of fun (before it was unfortunately cancelled).

Hannah Onslow in Ridley Road, who will also be starring in Empire of Light.

(Image credit: BBC)

Hannah Onslow (Janine)

Hannah Onslow plays Janine in Empire of Light, and out of everyone, she’s the newest addition to the world of film. Prior to her role in Empire of Light, she only had small appearances in shows such as Ridley Road, This Is Going to Hurt, and Call the Midwife. But, I have a feeling that after this, we’ll be seeing a heck of a lot more of her.

Crystal Clarke in Sandition, who is appearing in Empire of Light.

(Image credit: ITV)

Crystal Clarke (Ruby)

Ruby is played by Crystal Clarke in Empire of Light, and she’s been in a few projects that you might recognize her from. Clarke was in both the recent Star Wars movies, specifically Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. She was also in the films Assassin's Creed, and The King’s Daughter. 

In terms of television, Clarke also appeared in the miniseries Ordeal by Innocence, and has a main role in the historical drama, Sanditon. 

Toby Jones in Empire of Light.

(Image credit: Searchlight Pictures)

Toby Jones (Norman) 

Toby Jones portrays Norman in the film, and boy do I have a lot to tell you about this man. He has been all over the place in terms of movies and television and I can assure you that at some point, you’ve either heard or seen him. In terms of movies, what I know Jones the most from was when he played Dobby the House Elf in the Harry Potter series, but he’s been in so many other amazing films. 

Some of his biggest roles in movies thus far have included Naked, the 1998 version of Les Miserables, Mrs. Henderson Presents, Infamous, Amazing Grace, Frost/Nixon, W., My Week with Marilyn, Journey’s End, Dad’s Army, The Hunger Games movies, and so much more. He also played Arnim Zola in the first two Captain America films in that trilogy. 

Jones has also had a very prominent career in television, as well, having appeared in series such as Doctor Who, Agent Carter, Wayward Pines, and the unfortunately cancelled, The Dark Crystal: The Age Of Resistance. Talk about a packed resume. 

Colin Firth in Empire of Light.

(Image credit: Searchlight Pictures)

Colin Firth (Mr. Ellis) 

Last but not least, we must talk about Mr. Colin Firth, who plays Mr. Ellis in Empire of Light. Firth is an amazing actor who has appeared in God knows how many movies, so let’s get into some of them right now. 

If we’re talking about his most acclaimed roles, there are two – A Single Man, which he got an Academy Award nomination for, and The King’s Speech, where he played King George VI and won the Academy Award for Best Actor. 

Other than those two, Firth has done so many other awesome films, including appearing in the Mamma Mia! movies, starring in the Kingsman spy franchise, and having roles in films like Love Actually, A Month in the Country, The English Patient, Shakespeare in Love, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Importance of Being Earnest, and more. He has also worked with Sam Mendes before, in 1917. 

In terms of television, Firth is mainly known for taking part in television films, including a television adaptation of Pride & Prejudice, as well as being in Conspiracy. However, he received critical acclaim for his part in The Staircase cast in 2022. 

With such a stellar cast list, it’s no wonder you’ve seen these actors somewhere before. Maybe now, you just might have found something new to enjoy them in after this great movie. 

Alexandra Ramos
Content Producer

A self-proclaimed nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire, Alexandra Ramos is a Content Producer at CinemaBlend. She first started off working in December 2020 as a Freelance Writer after graduating from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in Journalism and a minor in English. She primarily works in features for movies, TV, and sometimes video games. (Please don't debate her on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!) She is also the main person who runs both our daily newsletter, The CinemaBlend Daily, and our ReelBlend newsletter.