Hurd-Wood made her next film debut in 2011, with 2009's director of photography, Simon Chambers, who had worked on Philip Noyce's 1994 Oscar-winning film The Quiet American . Her first film role was in the 1996 comedy Swing Kids. In 2002, Hurd-Wood made the science fiction-adventure film The Butterfly Circus. In 2012, she played the role of Malika in the romantic drama Darul Korana. In 2013, she played the role of Zee in the action-adventure film Zero Dark Thirty, based on the novel of the same name by Mark Boal.
In 2008, Hurd-Wood played a mute girl in the romantic comedy Captive, which was directed by Andrew Lee Potts. The following year, she appeared as Erica, a mute girl, in the third instalment of the blockbuster kung fu-fantasy series Kung Fu Panda. Hurd-Wood had to learn American Sign Language to portray Erica. She also appeared in the 2010 romantic comedy The Montana Cousins, playing Lilka. In 2011, Hurd-Wood played a deaf actress in the crime-thriller Children of Men. She won the Golden Bear at the 2011 Berlin International Film Festival, making her the only deaf actor to win an international acting award. For the role, she had to have her hearing checked several times a year so she could continue to hear the sounds of the microphones and cameras.
In 2013, Hurd-Wood appeared in the romantic comedy Strawberry and Chocolate. Her role in Strawberry and Chocolate is significant in the film. She wore a hearing aid to help portray how she felt about the situation. d2c66b5586