Captivating Natalie Dormer { }Your best online source for all things British Acress Natalie Dormer

Welcome to Captivating Natalie Dormer one of the largest and longest running sources dedicated to British Actress Natalie Dormer. Natalie is best known for her role as Anne Boleyn in Showtime's The Tudors but you also may recognise her from Casanova, Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Parts 1 & 2. Currently, you can find Natalie as Mrs. Appleyard in the TV Miniseries Picnic at Hanging Rock, as Sofia in In Darkness, as Onica in the TV Series The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance and as Magda in the TV Series Penny Dreadful: City of Angels

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July 08, 2018   /   Mel   /   News
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After starring as Game Of Thrones’ fiery Margaery Tyrell and rebel Cressida in the Hunger Games franchise, it’s safe to say actress Natalie Dormer has proven to be quite the on-screen chameleon. So it’s hardly a surprise that her new role in BBC2’s adaptation of Picnic At Hanging Rock – based on Australian writer Joan Lindsay’s 1967 mystery novel of the same name – was offered to her outright.

“The reason I took the role is that [the show’s director] Larysa Kondracki wrote to me and said, ‘I need an actress who can be terrifying but also bring vulnerability. I think you can do that,’” Natalie, 36, explains.

Natalie stars as Hester Appleyard – a draconian headteacher who has fled her enigmatic past to start afresh in Australia. But when a group of girls from her boarding school go missing under mysterious circumstances during a picnic at Hanging Rock, everyone else’s lives begin to unravel – and her past catches up with her.

Natalie explains: “She’s run away from a past life and constructed herself as something else. But when a massive tragedy, like the girls’ disappearance happens, you realise how flimsy that is.

It’s like Joan Lindsay herself said about the novel; it’s like dropping a stone into a pond and watching the rippling effect, as everyone becomes destabilised.

“Hester certainly becomes destabilised – and that’s fun to play, someone losing their mind. That’s Hamlet, that’s Blanche DuBois – that’s a gift as an actor.”

Continuing to tease what else is in store over the upcoming six-part series – which she describes as a “six hour love letter to the original novel” – Natalie explains that viewers should expect the unexpected.

“It’s not a costume drama – it’s helpful to think of it more in sci-fi terms. Just because there’s horses and corsets, it’s actually got a more psychedelic, non-linear tone to it.”

However, it wasn’t just the unique nature of the story and her character that drew Natalie to the project, which was filmed in Australia’s Melbourne and surrounding areas.

It’s the first time I’ve been to Australia, so for me there was no acting required – to see the Australian landscape for the first time and to be hit between the eyes by that

Natalie Dormer

The actress, who read the original novel twice after landing the part, explains, “One of the reasons I wanted to do the job is that it’s Australia’s first punt at saying, ‘We can make prestige drama to a high-production value too.’

“It’s the first time I’ve been to Australia, so for me there was no acting required – to see the Australian landscape for the first time and to be hit between the eyes by that… It is incredibly powerful and majestic. It’s epic.”

And it was Mount Diogene – or Hanging Rock as it’s best known – that left a strong lasting impression on the star. She recalls, “Hanging Rock itself is a spiritual place, however you want to define that.

But there is an energy there that you would be an idiot to ignore.

“Joan Lindsay herself didn’t wear watches – they stopped on her – and that was something that was used. One of our camera guy’s watch stopped when we were there. Whether you believe that’s just magnetic fields, or you believe that’s something else, that’s up to the individual.”

Meanwhile, away from filming at the notoriously eerie location, Natalie relished discovering more of what the country has to offer – including the local cuisine.

“I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked to explore Australia, but I did go along the Great Ocean Road, which was really beautiful. And I got over to Tasmania for a weekend,” the star explains.

“I was in the Macedon wine region while we were at the rock – that was very hard,” she jokes.

“The Australians have such a fantastic attitude to organic and ethically processed food and they’re very proud of that. My favourite things were coffee, red wine and smashed avocado. I had to pull the corset in some more, because Melbourne is a great city to eat in!”

Wine seemed to be a running theme as the cast was encouraged to offer up their best ideas in exchange for a bottle!

Natalie laughs as she recalls, “Our director Larysa made a very smart move and announced at the beginning of the shoot that if anybody – whether you’re the electrician, or caterer, or make-up artist – came up with a great, weird, wacky idea that actually got used and shot, then you’d get a bottle of wine from her. She gave out a lot of wine!”

Continuing that she was among the lucky ones who got to take a bottle home with her, Natalie reveals, “During my costume fitting I’d been shown some sunglasses, as the Victorians were incredibly inventive and did have shades. Then I was standing in a courtyard in the midday sun with white sheets hung everywhere, and I’ve got these stupid pale eyes that can’t take any sun bounce at all. I was standing there and thought, ‘Get the sunglasses!’ We put them on and that’s a shot that’s been used a lot.”

So, after winning rave reviews in Australia, will the cast and crew soon be toasting to a second series of Picnic At Hanging Rock, or – just like the novel – is it a self-contained story?

Natalie smiles, “They said that about The Handmaid’s Tale. They intended it to be a one-off, but then, by demand, [it did come back], so you never say never. Who knows? I’d go back to Australia, though. Of course I would!”


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