Tell us about this version of Irene Adler and how you play her. Natalie Dormer: When I went into the meeting with [executive producer] Rob Doherty to talk about playing her, we talked about how you have to choose an angle at how to play Irene depending on who your Sherlock is. The wonderful thing about the way Rob writes Elementary is that Sherlock has this issue of his addiction and this darkness and this vulnerability that he has due to being an addict. You could argue it’s a nice nod to the Arthur Conan Doyle novels in a way that other incarnations of modern-day Sherlocks don’t actually pick up on. So for me and Rob to have a conversation on how to tackle Irene, you’re very much aware that Irene Adler has to be the woman, the only woman who has ever gotten under the skin or close to — to terrorize or to invigorate — Sherlock. She’s intelligent, fiery, and Rob said she’s got a bit of the devil in her. She’s a nice yin to Sherlock’s yang. She’s stimulates him mentally as well as other areas, as we all know that’s what Sherlock responds to: being challenged and stimulated mentally. She’s a good foil. She makes him feel alive and feel human. In present day, she’s been held captive for a long time, so what is the initial interaction like between Sherlock and Irene? Dormer: They’ve both been traumatized. She essentially has been incarcerated for 18 months and he’s been incarcerated within himself and dealing with his addiction, so they’ve both gone through a heavily traumatic experience. It’s that thing when you’ve been incredibly close to someone — the closest you can be to someone on a mental and emotional level — and then you go through trauma that changes you, then how do two people who have been so close react to each other when they meet as if they’re strangers? They’ve both come out of the other side that has altered them and their sense of self and identity and everything they thought and knew and believed about themselves. It’s really interesting to play. It’s a gift of a role and a story line for that reason because the chemistry is obviously still there. There was a bond between them which can never be denied and yet they’re strangers at the moment because of what they’ve been through. It’s very human in that it’s a heightened version of what it is to lose someone or the love of your life and find them again and the trauma in that.
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Jonny Lee Miller’s Sherlock Holmes was left devastated in last week’s “Elementary” by the revelation that the woman he has been grieving, and whose death lead him spiraling down the path of addiction — Irene Adler — is actually alive.
And Natalie Dormer, who continues her arc as Irene in the two-hour Season 1 finale tonight, can actually credit her duties as a member of the “Game of Thrones” cast for helping introduce her to the CBS drama — something that happened at the perfect time.
“It was like serendipity because I’d seen the show on the transatlantic flight. … I was skimming through all the different TV shows when I was flying over to do ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 3 press, “ Natalie explained to AccessHollywood.com about how she first became familiar with the “Elementary” take on Sherlock Holmes, shortly before being asked to meet with the show’s Executive Producer, Robert Doherty. “It was really peculiar because less than a week later, I had a phone call going, ‘Rob Doherty would really like to meet you,’” Natalie continued. “There was kind of like a big secret as to why. They didn’t want to go into detail. So I was like, ‘This is weird because I just watched the show for the first time on the plane on the way over.”
Just like she helped sculpt her role on Showtime series “The Tudors” (where she played Anne Boleyn), Natalie helped craft the “Elementary” version of Irene, and she shared details of her input, with Access, as well as hinted at what’s ahead in the show’s season finale, which airs tonight at 9 PM on CBS. Natalie also addressed whether she thinks her “Game of Thrones” character, Margaery Tyrell is on par with Varys and Littlefinger, or just plain sincere (or maybe both!).
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