Natalie Dormer has defended the nude scenes of her early career — as she swaps cult supporting roles for her first lead part in a film.
The actress rose to fame as Anne Boleyn in The Tudors, before playing armed rebel Cressida in The Hunger Games and manipulative queen Margaery Tyrell in Game Of Thrones.
Now she is the star of The Forest, a psychological thriller released next month.
She told ES Magazine:
“It means the work has paid off. First things first, I can pay the bills doing the job I love — my 16-year-old self would be very content with that. But, of course, your ambitions change.
“I’ve had the responsibility of carrying projects on stage and TV, so it was the next thing I had my eyes on, to prove I could do it on film.”
The Forest tells the story of Dormer’s character Sara, who flies to Japan to trace her missing twin. She ends up in the ancient forest of Aokigahara, a notorious suicide spot, where she starts to lose her sanity.
Period drama: Dormer with Jonathan Rhys Meyers in The Tudors
Dormer, 33, studied at Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in South Kensington before winning her role in The Tudors. The show, which starred Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Henry VIII, was renowned for its nude scenes.
“When I started my career, I was grateful to get the job. People would say, ‘The Tudors was so hyper-sexualised, why on earth would you make that decision?’ Well, I made the decision because I was unemployed. I didn’t know what The Tudors was going to be, I didn’t have all 10 scripts; I’d just got a job, for f***’s sake.”
Dormer, who lives in south-west London with her director fiancé Anthony Byrne, has learned to navigate the industry but said sex was an essential part of art.
“There’s plenty of male nudity in Game Of Thrones, too. Sex is part of life, ergo it’s part of art. If you’re representing real life, then you will represent sex.”
She said the strong female characters in The Hunger Games, which also stars Jennifer Lawrence, had been a game-changer for the industry. “The money men now know that it’s not going to damage their revenue to have a fully fleshed-out, three-dimensional female in the lead,” she said. “Like, hello, guys? It doesn’t hurt to write for 50 per cent of the population. But, you know, it’s not just the film industry. It’s a society problem — we just have the platform to talk about it in our industry.”