From mar­gaery to Mock­ing­jay, and lov­ing her sci-fi and fan­tasy

SFX - - Front page - Words by Stephen Kelly /// Pho­tog­ra­phy by Anna Huix

On Natalie Dormer’s left fore­arm lies a quote from Dune, the 1965 sci-fi novel by Frank Her­bert – later a mud­dled film by David Lynch. “Fear is the mind-killer” it says; not only a re­minder to “take my­self out of my com­fort zone,” but fur­ther proof that Dormer is geeky as hell. For her ca­reer has been one forged in fan­tasy; in her deft por­trayal of Mar­gaery Tyrell, the as­pir­ing queen in Game Of Thrones, a char­ac­ter who lives and breathes and schemes in a way she never did in Ge­orge RR Martin’s books. To­day, how­ever, sit­ting in a Lon­don ho­tel, she’s here to talk about the fi­nal in­stal­ment of The Hunger Games – an­other tick on the list. She plays Cres­sida, a pro­pa­gan­dist di­rec­tor in charge of sell­ing Kat­niss Everdeen. Friendly, clever and im­pas­sioned, she doesn’t do a bad job of sell­ing her­self either. Not ev­ery role needs to be over-thought, but Cres­sida – a pro­pa­gan­dist di­rec­tor – must be an in­ter­est­ing one to ap­proach?

Def­i­nitely. All you re­ally need to do is turn on a TV, and look at the lat­est images from the news, and you start to re­alise that every­thing that’s in a frame is pack­aged in some way, shape or form. It’s all too fa­mil­iar. Be it Syria, or the Ye­men, or wher­ever – the themes that Mock­ing­jay deals with are not that far from what we’re see­ing on our TVs right now. I think that’s why I like the films and books so much. They don’t pa­tro­n­ise or talk down to a young adult au­di­ence about those con­tro­ver­sial, darker sides of hu­man na­ture. And the con­se­quences of war.

Do you think our ap­petite for that darker, vi­o­lent tone – the same seen in Game Of Thrones – says some­thing about where the world is at to­day?

But the new Mac­beth movie just came out, and that’s not spe­cific to our era. That is mankind. We are a vi­o­lent species. And whether you’re look­ing at Shake­speare, the Ro­mans, the Greeks and so on, they’re mus­ing about war. I think mankind al­ways has a slight fas­ci­na­tion with vi­o­lence and death. Be­cause it’s om­nipresent, right? And it’s how we cathar­ti­cally vent it.

How big of a sci-fi and fan­tasy fan are you?

Mas­sive. I’d be ly­ing if I said I wasn’t ex­cited about the new Star Wars movie, and that’s not just be­cause my friend Gwen [Christie] is in it. I am very ex­cited about it. I have that Dune quote on my arm for a rea­son! I’ve al­ways thought that sci-fi is a way for peo­ple – like we just said – to vent con­cerns at a safe dis­tance. I’ve al­ways had a soft spot for it.

Have you got any gos­sip out of Gwen?

She’s sworn to se­crecy! She won’t tell us any­thing. I asked her about her cos­tume a year ago, and she just went, “I can’t tell you any­thing, Natalie.” And it’s re­ally an­noy­ing. All of us on Game Of Thrones, we’re all used to keep­ing se­crets – but not from each other!

Speak­ing of se­crets – how many peo­ple have asked you if Jon Snow is alive?

Quite a few... Are you about to add to that list? Course not! Go­ing into se­ries six of Game Of Thrones, is it any dif­fer­ent for you now that the show has gone past the books?

It’s not a pres­sure that I feel the cast are aware of. That re­spon­si­bil­ity lies more with the cre­ators. But Dan and David seem to be tak­ing it very much in their stride. They had a big pow-wow with Ge­orge a cou­ple of years ago in case this even­tu­al­ity was go­ing to hap­pen, and Ge­orge is ob­vi­ously a pro­ducer on the show, so I feel like it has been dis­cussed and kicked around. And what­ever choices they have made, would’ve been made with the bless­ing of Ge­orge RR Martin. There’ll be a few book purists that maybe will look at it dif­fer­ently, but I don’t think it’s that big a deal. I say that re­spect­fully.

This is un­charted ter­ri­tory for Mar­gaery, though – do you get ner­vous ev­ery time a script comes through?

She’s a wily one – give her some time. She’ll be al­right.

How have you found her de­velop over the last few years?

Like most peo­ple in Game Of Thrones, she’s had her fin­gers burnt enough to be a bit jaded and scep­ti­cal. I en­joy play­ing her. There’s a sort of the link be­tween Cres­sida and Mar­gaery, ac­tu­ally – a year and a half of my work has gone into two women that ex­celled in pro­pa­ganda and spin.

How long do you think you would ac­tu­ally last in the Hunger Games?

Not very long. I’m no Kat­niss Everdeen!

And your weapon of choice?

A cam­era! I’d film the whole thing and do an ex­posé when I fi­nally got out. You would al­most cer­tainly not get out.


The Hunger Games: Mock­ing­jay Part 2 opens on 19 Nov.

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