Natalie Dormer, 31, is leaving her bodices from The Tudors and game of Thrones behind to star with James McAvoy in the radio dramatisation of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere
So why are you in Croatia? I’m doing Game Of Thrones [as Margery Tyrell]. Dubrovnik is one of our locations. It’s nice work if you can get it.
Is Game Of Thrones fun? There are like a million people in the cast, aren’t there? Yes, it is. We’re a huge family and the joy of it is you get to watch it as a fan because there are so many characters and storylines that a lot of the time you don’t really know what’s going on.
You were Anne Boleyn – everything you do seems to involve a bodice… In the two US shows that people know me for – Game Of Thrones and The Tudors – it’s about the long skirt and dark hair but I’m getting to the stage where, thanks to being in TV drama Elementary, Ridley Scott’s The Counsellor, Ron Howard’s Rush and the radio drama Neverwhere, I’m breaking out of that. It’s funny, you celebrate the stuff you do that’s successful but then, like any professional, you achieve a level in a certain box and you’re scrambling to get out of it.
Neverwhere has quite a cast… It’s amazing. You look at the length and breadth of the table and you see Christopher Lee, Benedict Cumberbatch, James McAvoy, Sophie Okonedo, David Harewood and Johnny Vegas… everyone! It’s testament to the quality of the original material: I think a lot of people came out as [writer] Neil Gaiman fanboys and fangirls. And actors all have in their hearts that they want to do radio drama.
Do they still have coconut shells to do horses clip-clopping and stuff? The sound designer did a much more physical recording than you would usually do for radio. When me and James had a drunken scene, we were rolling around on the floor swigging our water.
Water? You should have insisted on G&T! Oh, wouldn’t that have been great? I think it was a Wednesday morning. If only they had scheduled that for Friday afternoon. But to be honest, I laughed until I cried nearly every single day on that.
And nice to go to work in jogging bottoms and a T-shirt… No early call for hair and make-up, absolutely. And the beauty of audio is that the visual effects budget is off the scale because it’s people’s imaginations.
And you’re in Hunger Games, the third and fourth ones? I am really looking forward to starting that because I loved the first movie.
And Ridley Scott’s The Counsellor has one of the starriest casts ever. I know. It’s off the charts, isn’t it? Brad Pitt, Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Michael Fassbender…
You’re the only person nobody’s ever heard of! [Laughs] Dot dot dot and Natalie Dormer. I have a vintage poster of Ridley’s Blade Runner on my wall so I went with my Blade Runner poster rolled up under my arm on my first day on set and was nervously trying to find an opportune moment to get Ridley to sign it for me. Look at me, fangirl! And bless him, he did. I put it back into its frame on my wall.
Not directly on to eBay so you could bag a fortune for it? That would be sacrilege! How could you even say that?
How was Madonna as a director when you were in W.E.? I really enjoyed working with her. With all her years of re-invention, she really knows how to draw a striking, impressive image in an immaculate way, no pun intended.
Were you scared to meet her? Well, it’s your own baggage that you take along really, isn’t it? Her music was playing in my room when I was a little girl. I was truly obsessed with her music but as an actor, you just have to switch that overawed part of your brain off. You need to think: ‘I’m an actor, this is my director,’ and talk to them as a human being.
Was it difficult to play the Queen Mum? I read a couple of biographies about her and the only similarity between the Queen Mother and me is we both like a gin and tonic. When it comes to my passion for gin, it was NAR – no acting required.
Have you got an acting nemesis? You know it changes year on year. The same names in my business pop up again and again and then you find yourself going up for the same jobs. It’s funny how it changes.
Do you all hate each other? No. We’re all dependent on each other in my game. We all need each other.
Is there someone where you’re following their career thinking: ‘Bitch! She got that part and I wanted it’? F***, no! I’m far too old to think like that any more. If you were talking to a 13-year-old actress, maybe.