Credit: Simon Mein

PopWatchers, I’m going to throw a name out there and you tell me if you’re familiar with it: Sally Hawkins. You may have seen her in the Woody Allen flick Cassandra’s Dream, or, better yet, in Mike Leigh’s Happy-Go-Lucky. While her warm, infectious, life-affirming turn in the latter did not earn her an Oscar nomination (curse you, Academy!), she did nab a Golden Globe, a not-too shabby consolation prize. (Be sure to watch her adorably breathless speech below.) But ever since her well-deserved win, I’ve been a little concerned about her career. Starring in a Leigh movie typically yields critical kudos, but isn’t exactly a one-way ticket to stardom (see also: Imelda Staunton in Vera Drake, Brenda Blethyn in Secrets & Lies).

So, you can imagine both my excitement and relief to learn that Hawkins will be joining Keira Knightley in Never Let Me Go, due next year. The project, an adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s critically adored novel, will also star British thesps Charlotte Rampling, Andrew Garfield, and up-and-comer Carey Mulligan (Hawkins’ costar in this fall’s An Education). Hawkins, just as in Happy-Go-Lucky, will play a teacher, this time at an isolated English boarding school where the students slowly become cognizant of the fact that they are feared by the outside world. Having read the (astonishing) book, I can assure you: The less you know about the plot, the better. But the supporting role (Miss Lucy, for those in the know) is a big get for Hawkins, and her casting is enough to push Never Let Me Go to the top of my most-anticipated list. Hopefully it is the first of many movies that will propel her toward stardom.

What do you all think? Do you know/like/love Sally Hawkins? And are you as excited for Never Let Me Go as I am?

addCredit(“Simon Mein”)