By Nicole Sperling
Updated August 20, 2015 at 08:49 PM EDT
Credit: Jim Spellman/WireImage
  • Movie

In the new film Hitman: Agent 47, Hannah Ware stars as Katia van Dees, a woman searching for clues about her identity and her heritage — and who clearly can hold her own in a brawl. The 32-year-old actress, previously best known as Kelsey Grammer’s daughter in the short-lived Starz television series Boss, lobbied for the role for three years, auditioning three or four times. We wanted to know more, so we spoke to Ware about upping her action movie game and sharing the spotlight with genetically enhanced assassins in the new film, opening in theaters Friday.

Here are five things we discovered about Hitman‘s breakout star:

1. She was studying to be an architect and has an art history degree.

Ware was enrolled at the Bartlett school for architecture but bailed out for a career as an actor. “I realized that I would be a terrible architect,” she says. “I was at a crossroads in my life. I was in NY. I went to a drop-in acting class with a friend. And I kept going back. And I was lucky.”

2. She modeled to pay her way through private school

Ware began modeling at age 12 in order to help her social worker mother and BBC journalist father pay for her private school. It wasn’t a profession she ever loved, but rather something she found both practical and lucrative. “I was embarrassed about modeling,” she says. “When you’re at school and you’re modeling, it sounds very glamorous but I didn’t want to do things that no one else was doing. I didn’t want to be the odd one out. I wanted to be part of the gang.”

3. That Shame credit — not so much

One of Ware’s major credits is from her role in Steve McQueen’s dark film Shame. But in actuality, she didn’t have much to do. “My ass is in Shame, I’m not in Shame,” she says. “I walk into a building and Michael Fassbender stares at my ass in a pair of jeans. It wasn’t a real role. It was a walking-into-a-building role.”

4. She may be flexible, but she’s not graceful

Ware’s fight choreographers used her natural flexibility to her advantage when staging the intense fight scenes in Hitman. Ware found the experience quite liberating, since she’s never been very graceful, something her mother used to always point out to her as a child, since Hannah means graceful in Hebrew.

5. She slept in a hostel in Berlin for a few nights to get into character

Ware’s character is always on the run, a fact that didn’t really translate into sleeping in posh hotels in Berlin. In order to make that role feel more real to Ware, she ditched her luxurious hotel for a hostel. “I didn’t want to feel like I was waltzing out of a beautiful hotel in the morning to go and play someone who had a completely different night’s sleep.”

Hitman: Agent 47

2015 movie
  • Movie
  • R
  • 97 minutes
  • Aleksander Bach