In 2009, Atwell starred in the remake of the 1960s cult sci-fi series "The Prisoner" (AMC, 2009) as one of the prisoners of a mysterious village and the woman who helped the character 6 (James Caviezel) discover the reason why he was sent to the remote island. By 2010, Atwell's talents finally gained attention stateside. Hayley Atwell starred as the lead character's (Matthew Macfadyen) soul mate on the series "Any Human Heart" (Channel 4, 2010), based on William Boyd's 2002 novel about the life of Logan Mountstuart, a writer who encountered many of the 20th century's most significant figures. Atwell also had a lead part in the highly anticipated action-adventure film "Captain America: The First Avenger" (2011) as the superhero's girlfriend who secretly worked for the French Resistance. But her biggest coup was landing a lead role in the epic miniseries "The Pillars of the Earth," based on Ken Follett's 1989 bestseller of the same name. Set in 12th century England, the story followed the construction of a cathedral in the fictional town of Kingsbridge during the turbulent period in English history known as The Anarchy. Atwell delivered a star-making performance as a haughty and willful aristocrat defeated by religious and political strife during a civil war, a role that earned her a 2011 Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television.
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