Natalie Dormer

Natalie Dormer (born 11 February 1982)[1] is an English actress. She received widespread praise for her portrayal of Anne Boleyn on the Showtime series The Tudors (2007–08), and was nominated for two Gemini Awards for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Drama Series.

Natalie Dormer
Natalie Dormer by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg
Dormer at the San Diego Comic-Con in 2015
Born (1982-02-11) 11 February 1982 (age 38)
NationalityBritish
Alma materWebber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art
OccupationActress
Years active2005–present

She made her stage debut at the Young Vic in 2010 in the play Sweet Nothings, and portrayed the Duchess of York in Madonna's film W.E. (2011) and Private Lorraine in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011). In 2012, her lead performance in After Miss Julie at the Young Vic attracted widespread critical acclaim. Dormer gained international attention with her performance of Margaery Tyrell on the HBO series Game of Thrones (2012–2016), for which she was nominated for two Screen Actors Guild Awards (2014–2015). She is also known for playing Irene Adler/Moriarty on the CBS series Elementary (2013–15), Cressida in the science fiction adventure films The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014) and Part 2 (2015), and Sara Price/Jess Price in The Forest (2016). She also starred as Magda in the Showtime series Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, which told the story of 1938 Los Angeles.

Early lifeEdit

Dormer was born in Reading, Berkshire, England, on 11 February 1982, the daughter of Gary Dormer and wife Claire Richards.[1][2][3][4] She is also of Norwegian,[5] and Welsh descent.[6][citation needed]

Dormer attended Chiltern Edge Secondary School before moving to Reading Blue Coat School. She has said that she was the victim of bullying while at school, but "still to this day [she] can't place why".[7] At school, Dormer was head girl, a first-class student, vice-captain of the school netball team, and traveled the world with her school's public speaking team.[8]

During her school years, Dormer trained in dance at the Allenova School of Dancing.[9] She describes herself as the "academic hopeful" of the family and was provisionally offered a place to study history at the University of Cambridge; but, in her A-level History exam, she did not achieve the A grade she needed to attend after she misread an exam question.[7] Dormer decided she would audition for drama schools and decided to train at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Her first professional acting role was in the Shakespeare comedy The Comedy of Errors in 2003.[citation needed]

CareerEdit

Career beginningsEdit

Six months after graduating from Webber Douglas, Dormer won the role of Victoria in Casanova.[3] This was her film debut and it was released in 2005. The director, Lasse Hallström, was so impressed with Dormer's comedic timing that he had the scriptwriter expand her part.[3] In 2005, Dormer had a small part in Distant Shores. After the filming of Casanova, Dormer was out of work for ten months, which she ascribes to "bad representation". She was attached to an independent film which kept being delayed because of financial problems. Taken off the audition circuit, Dormer worked as a waitress and in data entry to support herself.[3][10] She has said that being out of work for so long "was the best lesson I could have had in the first 12 months of my career".[8]

2007–2011: The Tudors and breakthroughEdit

I'm interested in playing women who feel real, who are fighting for something or desire something or are scared, as all real women are – or let’s not make it a gender thing, as all human beings are.

 – Dormer on her choice of roles.[3]

In 2007 and 2008, Dormer played Anne Boleyn in the first two seasons of The Tudors, for which she received highly positive reviews. Robert Abele of LA Weekly wrote: "Natalie Dormer presents a painterly exquisiteness and complexity in her portrayal of Anne Boleyn... her enigmatic, time-halting loveliness is a boon for The Tudors, and damn near worth losing your head over".[11] After her character's death at the end of the second season, The Boston Herald noted: "Dormer gave Anne Boleyn life, making her not just a beautiful schemer but a rebellious, defiantly independent tragic hero in the tradition of Rebel Without a Cause and Cool Hand Luke... her departure from The Tudors leaves a tremendous void."[12]

In 2008, Dormer played Moira Nicholson in Agatha Christie's Marple: "Why Didn't They Ask Evans?" and appeared in the film City of Life. Dormer's Marple appearance aired in the US in the summer of 2009 as part of the PBS Masterpiece Mystery anthology series. Also in that year, she appeared in Incendiary, but her scenes were cut from the final film.

Following Marple, Dormer went on to film some new roles, including the Duchess of York in Madonna's film W.E., Pvt. Lorraine in Captain America: The First Avenger, and Niamh Cranitch in the BBC court drama Silk. She returned to The Tudors as Anne Boleyn in a dream sequence for the fourth and final season in mid-2010.[13]

2012–2016: Game of Thrones, The Hunger Games and worldwide recognitionEdit

From 2012 until 2016 Dormer played Margaery Tyrell in the HBO fantasy TV series Game of Thrones.[14][15] Dormer, along with the rest of the ensemble cast, was nominated for four Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series in 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2016, respectively, and the cast was awarded the Empire Hero Award in 2015 by the British film magazine Empire. For her performance in the third season of the show, Dormer won the Ewwy Award for Best Supporting Actress - Drama.[16]

 
Dormer in March 2013

In March 2013, she played the Lady Door in the radio play of Neverwhere, based on the novel by Neil Gaiman. Later that year, she appeared in the car racing drama Rush and the thriller The Counselor. She also appeared in A Long Way From Home. In 2013, Dormer played Irene Adler in the final three episodes of the first season of the CBS series Elementary; she reprised the role in the second season.[17] Dormer played Cressida in the films The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 and Part 2.[18] In preparation for the role, she shaved the left side of her head.[19]

In November 2014, it was announced that Dormer was to star as the scandalous 18th-century noblewoman Lady Worsley in a BBC drama called The Scandalous Lady W, based on the book Lady Worsley's Whim by the historian Hallie Rubenhold; it aired in August 2015.[20][21][22] In August 2016, Dormer was cast in The Professor and the Madman alongside Mel Gibson and Sean Penn.[23]

Dormer starred in the Lava Bear Films/David S. Goyer-produced horror film The Forest,[24] directed by multiple award-winning music video and short-film director Jason Zada, as his feature film debut.[25] Focus Features has the North American distribution rights to the film, which was released in January 2016.[26][27]

2017–present: Picnic at Hanging Rock and behind the cameraEdit

In September 2014, Deadline Hollywood announced that Dormer has been cast in Screen Gems' action thriller Patient Zero, alongside Matt Smith and Game of Thrones co-star John Bradley-West. The film was directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Stefan Ruzowitzky and based on a script by Mike Le.[28] Patient Zero was released through video on demand on 14 August 2018, before receiving a limited theatrical release on 14 September 2018, by Vertical Entertainment.[29] In February 2017, it was announced that Dormer was cast as schoolteacher Mrs Hester Appleyard in Picnic at Hanging Rock, an adaptation of the 1967 Australian novel of the same name by Joan Lindsay. The 6 episode feature aired on Amazon Prime[30] and on BBC2 in the United Kingdom.[31] Dormer's performance was described as "commanding"[32] and "delicious".[33]

In May 2018, Dormer starred as a blind pianist in revenge thriller In Darkness which she also co-wrote.[34]

Following her previous audio work on Neverwhere, in August 2018 it was announced that Dormer would narrate the audiobook for Pottermore Publishing’s Harry Potter: A History of Magic. Of the role, Dormer commented that she had "always adored the Harry Potter books" and it was "fun to join the wizarding world family".[35]

Dormer will play Vivien Leigh in miniseries Vivling. The series will focus on Leigh's classic films, including Gone with the Wind and A Streetcar Named Desire, and Dormer will also develop and produce the show.[36] Vivling will be Dormer’s first series of a first-look production deal with Fremantle which was announced in November 2018.[37]

In 2019, she was the voice of Onica in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.

In 2020, she starred in Showtime's series, Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, playing multiple roles.

On the stageEdit

March 2010 saw Dormer make her stage debut at the Young Vic theatre in London as Mizi in the play Sweet Nothings. In The Observer, theatre critic Susannah Clapp praised the performances of the cast and wrote: "Natalie Dormer is lissome as a dirty, delightful gadabout, pushing aside an entire chess game in order to put down her hat".[38] She then went on to her next stage role of Pat in .45 at Hampstead Theatre in November 2010.[39]

In March 2012, Dormer was back on the stage at the Young Vic to play the title role in After Miss Julie by Patrick Marber.[40] Her performance received critical acclaim, with reviews describing her as "little short of sensational",[41] "outstanding",[42] and "the perfect Miss Julie".[43] The online theatre magazine Exeunt wrote that her portrayal of Miss Julie contained "all the anger, desire, wit, loneliness, merriment, melancholy and desperation of the casts of several plays together... Dormer has still more presence and eerie beauty than is apparent from her appearances on-screen, and she shape-shifts almost supernaturally between seductress, child, and tormentor."[44]

Dormer returned to the stage at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in October 2017 for the lead role in David Ives' Venus in Fur. The Telegraph described her performance as "sensational"[45] while Lyn Gardner wrote that Dormer was "dominant in every way".[46]

Personal lifeEdit

Dormer identifies as a feminist, saying, "it upsets me that the younger generation of women think it's a dirty word, and associate it with a kind of militantism or a sense of female superiority. It's not. It just means liberation, and equality."[47]

In a 2018 interview, Dormer said that she does not use social media due to a fear of being taken out of context online, highlighting that she has often been misquoted regarding controversial elements of her career. Regarding her appearances in film and television where she performed nude, Dormer said, "To set the record straight, I have never been comfortable doing sex or nude scenes. Are you joking? How many people would be? My job specification is finding motivation in the text. I've turned down roles this year that have involved sex, solely because of the way I've been misrepresented. I'm so terrified at the moment of perpetuating that clickbait image of me."[48]

...You couldn't make The Tudors now, exploit the female body like that. When I took [that role], I was 24 and just grateful to be on set. I didn't know I could query things, say if I felt uncomfortable. Now I have some profile and influence on a project."

 – Dormer in an interview with Suchandrika Chakrabarti for the New Statesman in November 2018[49]

Dormer co-wrote the film In Darkness, released in July 2018, with her ex-fiancé Anthony Byrne and both have described the process of writing together as "challenging".[50][51] The film was criticised for what some critics called "gratuitous nudity".[52][53] Dormer dismissed this in an interview with The Guardian, saying that "There has to be sexuality in the power play of a thriller. We have all got bodies, after all. In this film the sex scene, which for me was a love-making scene, is a metaphor for the way my character connects with the part played by Ed Skrein. Nakedness is a good equaliser and the shower scene also shows the tattoos on my character’s body and makes it clear she is not quite who you think."[54]

Natalie Dormer has been in a relationship with David Oakes since 2018.[55]

Charities and advocacyEdit

Dormer has run the London Marathon twice; first in support of Barnardo’s in 2014[56] and then in 2016 for Childline.[57]

On World Humanitarian Day in 2016, Dormer gave a speech at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. The event aimed to highlight the plight of refugees around the world. Dormer specifically highlighted the violence suffered by women and girls and called for men and boys to be engaged in the conversation.[58]

In 2017, Dormer visited Tanzania with the development and humanitarian organisation Plan International. The visit was part of a drive to ban child marriage in the country.[59]

FilmographyEdit

FilmEdit

Year Film Role Notes
2005 Casanova Victoria Debut
2007 Flawless Cassie
2009 City of Life Olga
2011 W.E. Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon
Captain America: The First Avenger Private Lorraine
2012 Electric Cinema: How to Behave Lauren Bacall Short film
2013 A Long Way from Home Suzanne
Rush Nurse Gemma
The Counselor The Blonde
The Ring Cycle Millie Short film
The Brunchers Her
2014 The Riot Club Charlie
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 Cressida
2015 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2
2016 The Forest Sara Price
Jess Price
2018 In Darkness Sofia Also writer
Patient Zero Dr. Gina Rose
2019 The Professor and the Madman Eliza Merrett
2020 Pets United Belle Voice

TelevisionEdit

Year Title Role Notes
2005 Distant Shores Mobile Woman Episode #1.1
Rebus Phillippa Balfour Episode: "The Falls"
2007–2008;
2010
The Tudors Anne Boleyn 21 episodes
2009 Masterwork Mo Murphy Pilot
Agatha Christie's Marple Moira Nicholson Episode: "Why Didn't They Ask Evans?"
2011 Silk Niamh Cranitch 6 episodes
The Fades Sarah Etches
2012–2016 Game of Thrones Margaery Tyrell 26 episodes
2013–2015 Elementary Jamie Moriarty / Irene Adler 6 episodes
2015 The Scandalous Lady W Seymour Worsley Television film
2018 Picnic at Hanging Rock Mrs Hester Appleyard 6 episodes
2019 The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Onica (voice) 10 episodes
2020 Penny Dreadful: City of Angels Magda Main cast

Video gamesEdit

Year Title Voice role Notes
2014–2015 Game of Thrones Margaery Tyrell Based on the TV series of the same name
2017 Mass Effect: Andromeda Dr. Lexi T'Perro

Music videosEdit

Year Title Artist
2015 "Someone New" Hozier

StageEdit

Year Title Role Notes
2003 The Comedy of Errors Adriana The Cliveden Open Air Theatre
2010 Sweet Nothings Mizi Young Vic
.45 Pat Hampstead Theatre
2012 After Miss Julie Miss Julie Young Vic
2017 Venus in Fur Vanda Jordan Theatre Royal Haymarket

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Association Category Work Result
2008 Monte-Carlo TV Festival Outstanding Actress - Drama Series The Tudors Nominated
Gemini Awards Best Performance by an Actress in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role Nominated
2009 Best Performance by an Actress in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role Nominated
2014 NewNowNext Awards Best New Lead Film Actress The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 Won
Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (shared with the cast) Game of Thrones Nominated
2015 Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (shared with the cast) Nominated

ReferencesEdit

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Further readingEdit

External linksEdit