Picture the scene in glitzy Hollywood, sometime in the near or distant future.

Felicity Jones, the Birmingham actress with Black Country family roots, wins an Oscar and holds up the statuette.

And then, in the manner of Chariots of Fire scriptwriter Colin Welland back in 1982, she shouts: “Bostin! The Brummies are coming!”

Throwing back her beautifully-coiffured locks of dense, black hair, Fliss laughs uproariously at the very idea.

“But first,” she says, “I would have to thank my family.”

And then she remembers another qualifying factor.

“I’m afraid my Brummie accent only comes out after a few drinks.”

Such as?

“Two glasses of white wine.”

Now aged 30, the former Kings Norton Girls’ School pupil who grew up in Bournville is at the point of no return.

From being a promising, fine young actress with carefree potential, she is starting to become an established household name.

Her latest film is The Invisible Woman – the story of Charles Dickens’ secret lover, Nelly Ternan.

When we meet in the quiet suite of a plush London hotel, she looks ultra chic in a lilac top with matching flowery dress by designer Christopher Kane.

But, underneath the trappings of her own celebrity – the outfit has been lent for just two days – is a down-to-earth woman with a steely determination to be the best she can.

Her mentor Colin Edwards ran the Central Junior Television Workshop for 25 years from 1986 and trained Felicity from the age of 10-18.

Colin recently heard Derek Jacobi (who began his career at the Birmingham Rep) talking on the radio about his need to act.

And so he suggests that I ask Fliss – as he knows her – whether acting is something you can live without?

“It’s like a drug,” she says in reply. “It is something I can’t live without. Definitely.”

How long can she go without a “fix”?

Birmingham-born Felicity Jones stars in new film The Invisible Woman, starring alongside director Ralph Fiennes.
Birmingham-born Felicity Jones stars in new film The Invisible Woman, starring alongside director Ralph Fiennes.
 

“I can have a few months off until I’m ready to go back into it, and then it feels like home.

“Acting just feels right for me. It feels very positive. I feel very comfortable in that environment.”

Yet before she went to read English at Oxford University – from where she continued to return to BBC Birmingham to play Emma Grundy in the Radio 4 drama serial The Archers (1999-2009) – Felicity considered studying law.

“I’m so thankful I didn’t do that,” she says, “I don’t know if I would have survived it.

“It was my English teacher who recommended that I do English at university.

“I had a drama teacher called Miss Mulhearn who was so supportive.

“Through the workshop I began to get TV roles like The Treasure Seekers movie (1996) with Keira Knightley (18 months her junior) and The Worst Witch series (1989-99).

“I would miss school to do things like The Worst Witch, and Miss Mulhearn would say: ‘Don’t worry about your school work. We will work on that together’.”

In deciding to pursue her goals, Felicity says she had to think to herself: ‘Can I do this? Can I be doing this?’

“I wouldn’t be doing this now without the ITV Workshop,” she admits.

“It’s such an important thing to have, to give people the opportunity.

“I was there from the age of 10 to 18.

“I met some incredible people, I was never patronised and I was taken very seriously as a young actor thanks to Colin Edwards.

“It’s remarkable what he did.”

Felicity says she loved Steven Knight’s recent BBC2 drama series, Peaky Blinders.

“I thought it was great and about time that we had a drama series set in Birmingham,” she says.

“I would love to have a part where I get to do a full Birmingham accent.”

The decade she spent on The Archers has certainly given her a good ear for language.

“I do think about the voice,” she says.

“And I love listening to audio books – and Radio 4!

“The workshop gave me that and experience of film sets from a young age, too.”

One of the first films Felicity remembers seeing at the cinema is The Addams Family (1991), released when she was eight.

She’d be driven over to the former UCI cinema at Solihull to watch films with her older brother.

Talking about them on the way home was part of the fun.

Felicity is still “processing” the break up of her long time relationship with university beau Ed Fornieles, an artist who uses both the real world and the internet to explore the way people connect with each other.

“It’s tough when a relationship ends,” she says, “because so much of your identity is part of the (other) person.”

At least having travelled widely in her adult life has given her an appreciation of where she came from.

“I am very close to my family and friends, though both of my parents have moved out of Birmingham to a different place,” she says.

“It was such a privilege to have grown up there, with its arts and music, at Symphony Hall.

“There’s a real spirit and a sense of humour there.

“It has always been a changing city, always adapting.”

As a fan of the Birmingham Rep, she is delighted to hear how it now opens out into the new Library of Birmingham.

The owner of “a suitcase, not a flat”, Felicity says she particularly enjoys watching plays and films alike whenever she’s staying in London.

Birmingham-born Felicity Jones stars in new film The Invisible Woman.
Birmingham-born Felicity Jones stars in new film The Invisible Woman.
 

“They are both passions of mine and I love being entertained in a darkened room,” she says.

“It’s my work and it’s my hobby, I would do it anyway.”

If only Felicity had the time to see more films and productions.

After starring in a glut of recent movies including Like Crazy (for which she won the Sundance Film Festival special jury prize in 2011) to Chalet Girl, Albatross and Breathe In, she will soon be seen in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

Her first all-American blockbuster, co-starring Oscar-winners Sally Field and Jamie Foxx, is released on April 18.

Next year she will be in The Theory of Everything, in which she plays opposite Les Misérables’ star Eddie Redmayne to explore the relationship between the famous physicist Stephen Hawking and his wife, Jane.

But first, she is the leading lady in The Invisible Woman.

Felicity’s co-stars include the film’s director Ralph Fiennes (who plays Dickens) and Kristin Scott Thomas (as her mother, Frances) – they were shooting The English Patient which went on to win nine Oscars from 12 nominations in the year that Felicity was making her first TV movie.

What does her 18-year-old Nelly see in Fiennes’ middle-aged, father of 10 Dickens?

“I think there’s a real intellectual connection” she says.

“Despite the age gap, there’s a real meeting of minds.

“I feel that she didn’t flatter him or suck up to him and he respected that in her.

“She held her own with him.”

Despite Felicity’s understanding of the technique required to work in front of the camera, watching herself in the finished film is still a different proposition.

That fear even applies when she looks radically different to her usual self.

During The Invisible Woman shoot, Felicity had to get up at 4.30am.

She would then be fitted with her wig and gowns by Michael O’Connor, a 2009 Oscar-winner for dressing her friend Keira Knightley in The Duchess.

“I always hate the first screening because it’s just not very nice watching yourself,” says Felicity.

“I always think: ‘I should have done this or that differently’.”

Given Ralph’s willingness to do retakes, I suggest that maybe she did!

“Yes, films come together in the editing,” she smiles.

“That makes you realise you are just a part of it. You give what you can. You give up to other people.

“I guess I’m very critical of myself.

“I like it the second time, when you can see the character more than yourself.”

In general, Felicity is optimistic about the future in terms of Hollywood offering good roles to older actresses.

It’s a positive thought to have if she wants to emulate her heroes.

“I never get tired of Meryl Streep’s work because she is always taking risks,” says Felicity.

“And Helen Mirren is fantastic.

“They are both constantly pushing themselves and don’t get complacent.

“Keeping it going, that’s the tough part.

“To keep going and to keep coming back with interesting work.

“What you do next is the challenge, to keep it relevant, bold and interesting.

“I think television is leading the way with more interesting roles and that old barriers are breaking down.

“It just takes a few years for it all to catch up.”