ARROW INDEPENDENCE DAY 2
From margaery to Mockingjay, and loving her sci-fi and fantasy
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.