Natalie Dormer has said that before that she knows how Game of Thrones ends, but appreciates she’ll be “sued” if she shares her intel. What she will say is what she hopes will happen were she given script-writing duties.
“I would like humanity to be saved please,” she laughs. “It’s really just that in a nutshell – that humanity was saved against the White Walkers. I’m hoping for a continuation of humanity in Westeros if possible.”
The British actress, who played queen Margaery Tyrell in the popular show, assumes another regal role in her latest project, featuring as a queen in a new satirical Nespresso advert with George Clooney. She admits that, along with her love of coffee, working with Clooney was a big draw. The two traded notes on Berkshire, where she grew up and where the actor now lives with wife Amal and his twins.
“He is as delightful, witty and intelligent as he appears to be in his interviews,” she says. “It’s lovely to meet someone who matches the positive public profile that they have. He’s a generous human being and has time for everyone. His work catalogue speaks for itself and then there’s his humanitarian work. He’s very grounded, which is refreshing to find of someone of his fame or profile. It was a delight to spend a few days with him.”
Clooney and coffee aside, Dormer is currently working on a television series about Vivien Leigh, the wildly talented Gone With The Wind actress who spent her life battling with bipolar disorder. Dormer, who has spent the past few years producing and developing the show, was recently announced as the lead. The project is still in script development stages as it searches for a distributor.
“She’s an incredible woman,” Dormer says. “She just grabbed me because this screen siren is just so misunderstood. The bones of what we’re trying to do is present how brave she was in battling an incredibly intense bipolar condition. We’re coming at it from a mental health stance, how her pain and struggle was also, in a mad paradox, the secret to some of her genius. It was a gift as well as a burden.”
While Leigh might have died in 1967 when she was 53, some of her life struggles still, depressingly, feel very modern.
“It’s inspiring looking at a woman, especially back in those days, who was disempowered by a chauvinist studio system and the afflictions of a potent bipolar condition, but still succeeded anyway,” says Dormer. “With the number of female-focused dramas on screen at the moment, that I would like to think that a story like this will speak very strongly both to those who know who Vivien Leigh is to those who don’t. Yes, it’s glamorous and beautiful to look at by the nature of it, but there’s also some very modern messages there too. I hope that it’ll only be a short time in development.”
The Vivien Leigh series won’t be the first project where Dormer has taken on more than an actor credit. In July this year, she released thriller In Darkness, which she co-wrote with her fiancé Anthony Byrne, which received mixed reviews.
“It was a steep learning curve and when I write again I have learnt tonnes about what to do differently,” she muses. “But that’s the nature of life. We have to go out there, try something and do it again differently with the experience that we learnt first time round. I would like to think that it’s made me a more thoughtful actor through what it’s taught me as a process, especially in terms of giving me a greater sense of team responsibility and comradeship.”
Nonetheless, In Darkness explores the idea of antiheroines – a role has become more and more pervasive with the success of Killing Eve and London Film Festival highlights such as The Kindergarten Teacher, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal. Dormer was arguably one of the first to the party by introducing this a morally questionable, nuanced female character, having started writing the film back in 2009.
“The revolution started to happen a while back and female roles are being written as three dimensionally as men,” she says. “Some people use the term antihero, or you could just say human. We are all with foibles and flaws. It’s hopefully the demise of women being viewed as two dimensional. Humans are contradictory. Thank god, our female protagonists are finally being represented as such.
“There’s no two ways about it, we represent 50 per cent if not slightly more of the population,” she concludes. “It’s about time.”
From: Harper’s BAZAAR UK