British actress Naomi Watts was born this day in 1968. After more than 10 years of steady but relatively unrecognized work, Watts landed a role in David Lynch’s labyrinthine and surreal Mulholland Drive (2001). Her performance would ignite the rest of her career and launch her into dozens of subsequent movie roles. Soon after the movie began receiving critical acclaim, Watts earned parts in 2003’s 21 Grams by Alejandro González Iñárritu and Ned Kelly, a period piece about an Australian outlaw hero. Watts’ versatility has been key to her success as an actress–recently reinventing Fay Wray’s role in Peter Jackson’s remake of King Kong and appearing in much smaller productions like I Heart Huckabees. In 2006 Watts starred as an unfaithful wife to Edward Norton’s Dr. Walter Fane in The Painted Veil. She is currently starring in David Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises alongside Viggo Mortensen.

Coming Attractions: Naomi Watts will next play opposite Clive Owen in 2008’s The International, a thriller about Interpol agents exposing participants in arms dealing. She is also rumored to be starring in a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, scheduled for a 2009 release.