Captivating Natalie Dormer / • • Your best source for everything Natalie DormerJust another WordPress site

Welcome to Captivating Natalie Dormer one of the largest and longest running sources dedicated to British Actress Natalie Dormer (formely at Natalie is best known for her role as Anne Boleyn in Showtime's The Tudors but you also may recognise her from Casanova, Flawless and Game of Thrones. Currently, you can find Natalie as the voice of Dr. Lexi T'Perro in the video game Mass Effect: Andromeda and in upcoming roles as Mrs. Appleyard in the TV Miniseries Picnic at Hanging Rock, as Sofia in In Darkness and as Eliza Merrett in The Professor and the Madmen.

Captivating aims your most up-to-date and comprehensive source for Natalie. Check back daily for all the latest news, photos and info. Thank you for visiting the site and supporting Natalie and her career!

February 10, 2012   /   Mel   /   2013 Photo Gallery Public Appearances

I have added some gorgeous photos of Natalie at the BAFTAS to the gallery.

Gallery Link:
February 10: EE British Academy Film Awards

February 02, 2012   /   Mel   /   Game of Thrones (2011) Projects The Fades (2011)

It just doesn’t seem right watching Natalie Dormer act in contemporary clothing, let alone with her natural blond hair.

“I do quite a lot contemporary stuff,” Dormer told me, laughing, during a phone interview from London, “but the American audience perhaps wouldn’t know me so well for that.”

What Americans do know the British actress for is her role as the brunette Anne Boleyn in “The Tudors,” Showtime’s bodice-ripping take of the lives and wives of 16th century British King Henry VIII. BBC America currently airs repeats of that series on Wednesdays, but fans can see the modern, blond Dormer in the network’s horror-comedy mashup “The Fades,” in which she plays Sarah, a ghost-fighting “angelic.”

Without spoiling—the network airs the fourth of six episodes at 8 p.m. Feb. 4 (but I recommend you find them and start from the beginning; my review here)—Dormer’s character is put through the wringer.

“I got a great kick out of this show because it was so physically demanding,” Dormer said. “A lot of extreme stuff happens, without giving too much away, we all had ash being blown in our faces or were covered in goo and glue or had to deal with peculiar, extreme physical situations.”

Dormer dons period costumes again for her role in Season 2 of HBO’s fantasy hit “Game of Thrones,” which begins April 1. She finished filming in December, but did not want to reveal too much about her character, Margaery Tyrell. Like Sarah in “The Fades,” practically anything you say about Margaery is a spoiler.

But I think it’s fair to say that Margaery is the sister of the Knight of Flowers, who after much drama marries a contender to the Iron Throne. And Dormer did say she’s signed on to the show for multiple seasons. “Absolutely. Margaery really comes into her own in series [seasons] 3 and 4.”

While you’re waiting for “Thrones” to return, you can see Dormer in the Madonna-directed film “W.E.,” which opens Feb. 10 in Chicago, and in modern clothes—and goo—in “The Fades.”

Dormer and I talked more about Sarah and “The Fades,” so stop reading if you’re not caught up. We also talked about “Games of Thrones,” “W.E.” and working for Madonna.

OK, so it’s been awhile since you filmed “The Fades” but hopefully we’ll—
You’ll jog my memory. [Laughs.]

I love that it’s this mix of comedy and heavy drama and romance and scariness. Is that kind of what struck you, too, and attracted you to it?
Absolutely. I think [creator] Jack Thorne [who also did the Brit version of “Skins”] is a master at sort of mixing these genres up. And his dexterity in the script was what really attracted to me to it. When I read the script initially, because he can jump [not just] in a few scenes but within a few lines from a very funny moment to, as you say, a very profound or a very scary moment. And that’s really down to Jack’s writing. That’s the way Jack writes. He’s very agile and dexterous in the way he writes and its kind of fun to have to keep up with the writing, so to speak.

But I think that’s what makes the show. I think that’s what made the show as popular as it has been, because it’s so hard to sort of pigeonhole it and say this is good for people who love their teen comedy or this is good for people who like to be scared. It’s got that little bit of everything as does human life, right?

True. It’s fun to see you not in a corset and long skirts for once, in period costumes—and with blond hair. How was that?
[Laughs.] I do quite a lot contemporary stuff, but the American audience perhaps wouldn’t know me so well for that. As you say, they’re used to seeing me in long skirts and a corset.

I got a great kick out of this show because it was so physically demanding. And it wasn’t just the same for me. It was for a lot of the cast. There’s a lot of running around. A lot of extreme stuff happens, without giving too much away, we all had ash being blown in our faces or were covered in goo and glue or had to deal with kind of peculiar, extreme physical situations that Jack had dreamt up. So I think any actor kind of really enjoys that, because if you get pushed and challenged physically it just adds to the whole fun of the game and playing it and finding something new, like surprising yourself.

With all the special effects and things going on, is it a challenge to act without that stuff being there in front of you?
We had the most amazing—considering the budget, I mean—it’s kind of testament to what grassroots like British TV can do. We in no way had any kind of budget that you would expect for this kind of show or maybe an American audience would be used to having. So it’s a testament to our effects team, how good a job they did.

And not as much was done, like CGI, as you would imagine. If they could give it to us physically, they would. I mean, like the make-up, they did an amazing job with the fades with prosthetics. And as the story continues, you see more and more gory stuff.
But it’s kind of a blank canvas, because Jack created this whole new mythology, this whole new theology based around the science behind the fades. So I think that the make-up and the special effects people had a lot of fun with this blank canvas, you know, creating this whole new world or parallel world.

It was fun for all of us in that way, because say with the vampire genre or the zombie genre, which everyone knows the answers to. We’re kind of acquainted with them after a certain point, because there have been so many shows or films, like the vampire thing, whether it be “Interview with a Vampire” or “Twilight” or “Buffy” or whatever it would be, those certain rules that we all know historically about like a vampire, like garlic, stakes through the heart, must be invited in, all that kind of stuff. And, similarly, with zombies there are those things.

What was great about this was we were all learning together, the writers, producers, actors, makeup. It was kind of like, “Can they do that?” “Can Fades do that?” And what do we think, what’s the answer to this question, you know, how would we portray that, how would we comment on that. It was a lot of fun for all of us, because we were writing a mythology from the start, from scratch.

It’s interesting that Sarah, even as a Fade, seems to be clinging on to her human life and especially to Mark. Did you find it fun to play that love story?
Yeah. It was really interesting. All goodsci-fi or supernatural asks really interesting, profound philosophical questions. There’s a lot of fun in there but you’re classic, great horror orsci-fi asks you philosophical questions about the human state as well.

And for me what was interesting was this whole thing about death and love and that love can live beyond the other side and this fear that we all have of what’s beyond and losing our loved ones and being alone. The show does ask some quite big questions, which I think is good and totally in context with kind of the teenage cast that sort of leads us in, because when do you have all that angst about life and death and your sense of identity? That’s when you’re a teenager, when you’re an adolescent, when you have all these profound questions hit you the first time.

And I just thought it was really cleverly done the way all the characters were interlinked. I had so much fun as well, so much fun, working with Johnny Harris, who’s a BAFTA-nominated actor in this country and he’s playing Neil in the show. And he was just such a good comrade to be working opposite. Sarah’s story, that sort of triangle of loyalty, [should she be] loyal to Neil and the angelics or be loyal to her husband in her other life was a real gift to play that friction, to be torn like that.

So tell me, do you believe in ghosts?
Do I believe in ghosts? [Laughs.] I’m sorry. I’m laughing; I get asked this in every interview to do with this show. It’s like I’m not saying that you’re unoriginal or anything. [Laughs.]

Well, it’s an obvious question, I guess.
Sure it is. Look, hey, the biggest question in life is death; that’s a cutesy thing to say, but it’s true. And what I find so fascinating is all the way that really different religions handle it, you know, be it Hinduism, Buddhism, Roman Catholicism, everyone’s got a take and set of answers for it.

And what I just love about Jack is Jack’s writing this whole thing and going, “Here’s my answer.” [Laughs.] It’s just like sure, why not? I mean, some people have got this kind of attitude to religion that would say, “Well, your answer is as good as the next persons.” That’s what I kind of find fascinating, really, is a fresh take on what could be the big unanswered question.

Right. So do you?
Do I believe in ghosts?

No, I’m probably going to give you a really “actor” answer. I believe in energy, so it depends on how that manifests itself. But, you know, I think Mr. Jack Thorne’s answer could be given as much credit as anyone else’s. [Laughs.]

Right. I loved the whole idea that they’re trapped and that man has sort of taken away their ascendant spots.
The idea that I really love in the show, Curt, is that life is unfair, so whoever said death should be fair? I think that fundamental premise of it being random. Some people have managed to ascend, some people haven’t. Death can be as crappy as life can in being unevenhanded in that way. I think that’s a really clever, interesting premise to start, and I like that a lot, that’s what attracted me.

With “Game of Thrones,” you’ve signed on to the biggest craze in the States, I think, probably around the world.
Well, again, all I can say is “Thrones” is just like “The Fades,” in so far as the quality is just there in the script, immediately, before you’ve done anything. When you’re just sitting down reading it, the quality just glares at you from the page.

And I kind of kept away from the show when I was taking the meetings. I wasn’t acquainted with the show before I went in to meet the delightful Mr. [David] Benioff and [D.B.] Weiss [exec producers].

And I’m kind of glad I didn’t, actually, because I think I would have been scared off [laughs], because it was so awesome when I watched it.

And I’m really, really proud to be a part of the “Thrones” family now. I just finished second series before Christmas and I’ll be doing third series in the summer. And I think, again, it’s really bravely written. It’s got a phenomenal cast, and, yeah, it’s a great privilege to be a part of the gang, and it’s a big gang.

It’s a huge gang, yeah.
It’s a huge gang. But I have to tell you it’s a really well supported, frankly, family. It really is, so it’s cool. I’m very proud.

One of your “Fades” castmates is in this, too.
Joe Dempsie [who plays John in “The Fades” and Gendry in “GOT”], yeah.

Tell me about your character, Margaery Tyrell, as much as you can say. It’s kind of weird, because saying anything, almost like with Sarah, saying anything is sort of a spoiler I think.
Yeah. Well, to be perfectly honest, I would have to agree with you there. So maybe I’ll ease off on that. [Laughs.] It’s really interesting, because both shows have this amazing cult following, you know? … It’s kind of intriguing to be opened up to the sci-fi, super horror or fantasy communities and seeing just how dedicated they are. I’ve never come across fans, like cult fans to these cult shows. They’re just so supportive and they’re so dedicated. And, as an actor, you really feel supported and you want to really push yourself, because there’s just so much enthusiasm.

I heard you’re a good fencer and I was wondering if Margaery is ever going to take up a sword.
Oh, well, you know [laughs], I have a few seasons in me. You never know what’s going to happen. [Laughs.] But Loras, the Knight of Flowers, my brother, is meant to be the greatest night throughout the Seven Kingdoms, so maybe she picked up a little bit, who knows? [Laughs.] We’ll have to wait and see, won’t we?

Give us a tease, a non-spoilery tease about Season 2, even if it’s just from your experience and what you saw.
Oh, a tease. [Laughs.] It’s war. It’s war and it’s serious. It’s the same with “The Fades,” the battle is on, life and death. The battle is coming, so it’s serious now. [Laughs.]

And you’re looking forward to more seasons, right?
Absolutely. Absolutely. Margaery really comes into her own in series [seasons] 3 and 4.

All right. Finally I wanted to ask you about “W.E.” You play the queen mum when she was young, right? How was that experience?
Yeah, that’s right. It was a really interesting experience. I just think in all stories there are two sides to every story and the Wallis Simpson story needed to be done and it was kind of fitting that a woman as strong and passionate as Madonna should do it. It was kind of fascinating to look at another part of our native history. I don’t know if it’s because of the Kate and Will’s marriage last year, but as you were saying you guys stateside [watched] as we did here there seems to be like this renaissance of interest in our royal family again. So it’s kind of interesting looking back a couple of generations and revisiting some of their stories. Yeah, interesting project.

Do you ever get a little nervous playing someone so revered who was real in history?
Definitely. But it was the same with the Queen Mother, it was the same with Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon as it was with Anne Boleyn, I read a stack of books. In the case of “W.E.,” Madonna actually pushed three biographies of Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon over the table and said, “Read.”

She did that with Andrea Riseborough and with James D’Arcy, all of us were told to read, because she knew everything. She’d read every book for the last decade or whatever, because she’d been so fascinated by the story, hence her obsession.

I studied Anne Boleyn myself for “The Tudors,” which I did myself under my own steam because I think it’s important as an actor to know what really did happen so that you can sort of be informed about the choices you make. Even if the text steers away from the reality because there will always be artistic interpretation, of course, you know what really did happen.

It’s always good to be informed. Although and you could argue similarly with “Game of Thrones,” it’s like to read the books and even though the scripts may diverge away from the books and as a series continues, how true is the series going to be to the books and everything. I think it’s always good for an actor to be as informed as they possibly can be about where their texts come from.

How was it working with Madonna?
Oh, man, she’s a workhorse. She is. That woman obviously doesn’t need to sleep. She’s kind of inspiring in that way. She’s one of those people who doesn’t believe in saying it’s not possible. She kind of reaffirms your kind of like possible mental attitude in life. It’s just like get it done, work hard.

And that was probably a good mindset to be in. I’m about to start a play. But I’m about to go into a grueling rehearsal period, every evening, doing a play. [Laughs.] The whole workhorse mentality is a good thing for me to be thinking at the moment. [Dormer is starring title role of the Young Vic Theatre’s revival of Patrick Marber’s “After Miss Julie.”]


January 12, 2012   /   Mel   /   2012 Photo Gallery Public Appearances

I have added tons of images of the “W.E” UK Premiere.

"W.E" UK Premiere - Arrivals "W.E" UK Premiere - Arrivals "W.E" UK Premiere - Arrivals "W.E" UK Premiere - After Party

Gallery Links:
Public Appearances > 2012 > January 12: “W.E” UK Premiere – Arrivals
Public Appearances > 2012 > January 12: “W.E” UK Premiere – After Party

January 12, 2012   /   Mel   /   Projects The Fades (2011)

Awkward teen Paul sees dead people. So what, right?

As you begin to read this review of BBC America’s “The Fade,” (8 p.m. Jan. 14, BBC America; 3.5 stars out of 4), you’re likely going to shrug, thinking you’ve seen plenty of ghost stories, not to mention TV shows and movies about teen outcasts trying to fit in and/or get lucky.

You haven’t seen “The Fades.”

Created by Jack Thorne (British versions of “Skins” and “Shameless”), this six-part horror series skillfully crosses “Superbad” with “The Sixth Sense” and just a drop of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” It’s a funny, creepy, touching thriller that had me laughing one second and peeking between my fingers the next.

When Paul (Iain De Caestecker) witnesses a dying woman and a man attacked by an inhuman creature with a tongue that would make KISS frontman Gene Simmons jealous, he’s so freaked out he can’t even tell his best friend, sex- and “Star Wars”-obsessed Mac (Daniel Kaluuya), what he saw.

That’s because he isn’t sure what is real and what isn’t. He’s also seeing people no one else can see and he’s been having nightmares so fierce that he wets his bed. Until now, he’s believed what his psychologist says: It’s caused by the anxiety he feels over his parents’ divorce.

Then Neil (Johnny Harris), the man who was attacked, tracks Paul down and tells him the truth. Paul can see ghosts, or Fades, because he is an Angelic, a supernaturally powered ghost buster of sorts. Neil explains that the Fades are trapped on earth, partly because humanity’s expanding concrete footprint has taken away too many “ascension points” through which they could move on. Their accumulating presence on earth threatens to cause an apocalypse.

“Can you imagine being trapped in a world you can’t see, can’t touch?” Neil asks. In other words, the Fades are pissed. Thanks to a new being—the one with the tongue—some of the Fades have learned a new trick: By eating human flesh, they can break the barrier between the living and the dead.

Paul, it becomes apparent, will have a major role in the upcoming apocalyptic war between the Fades and the Angelics—even though he’d rather do battle in bed with his sister’s pal, Jay (Sophie Wu from “Kick-Ass”). Unfortunately, Paul’s more earthly desire gets complicated by what can only be described as “Angelic-puberty,” which includes a hilarious side effect when he masturbates.

The premiere dumps a lot of information on the viewer, including themes of life, death and what’s in between. It’s a lot to take in, and maybe could have been spread out a little more, but the info overload didn’t really confuse me.

As far as the acting goes, the entire cast, which includes Natalie Dormer of “The Tudors,” is wonderful. De Caestecker, although a bit mopey at times, is endearing as he conveys Paul’s struggle with being a teen and the possible savior of mankind. Kaluuya excels as Mac, who initially kind of annoyed me with his non-stop chatter. But when Mac explains why the Eye of Sauron in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy is a sign of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “slightly twisted sexuality,” Kaluuya won me over. Perfect comic timing—and in later episodes he’ll break your heart with his own struggle at home.

So yes, you’ve seen parts of “The Fades” before—but never put together like this.

“The Fades” is followed by a new “The Nerdist” special, which is then followed by the Madonna episode of “The Graham Norton Show.”


December 31, 2011   /   Mel   /   Movie Productions Photo Gallery

I have added 1 new still and 1 new photoshoot image of Natalie in The Fades.

"The Fades (2012)" Promotional Still "The Fades (2012)" Promotional Photoshoot No Image No Image

Gallery Links:
Movie and Television Productions > The Fades (2011) > Promotional Stills
Movie and Television Productions > The Fades (2011) > Promotional Photoshoot

December 08, 2011   /   Mel   /   Projects Video Archive

HBO released this video for the Season 2 of Game of Thrones. You get a quick glimpse of Natalie as Margery. I will add this to the video archive ASAP!

December 08, 2011   /   Mel   /   Projects

Here’s the trailer for W.E, you get a quick glimpse of Natalie as Elizabeth!  I will cap the trailer and add the video to the new media archive ASAP!


November 07, 2011   /   Mel   /   Site

Hi everyone, I had to step away from all my sites for awhile, in late August I very unexpectedly lost my Grandma, who I was very close too, so naturally it’s been a touch few months, but to add to it, I feel very behind at uni and was having a very hard time coping, so I had to focus just on that.

But I am pleased to say the site is completely up-to-date again, bar The Fades.  Over the next week or so I will catch the site up with screen caps and video clips.  I will also be converting our media archive to wordpress media and I am considering organizing the photoshoots by year since there is a few now.

November 07, 2011   /   Mel   /   Movie Productions Photo Gallery W.E (2011)

I have added a Promotional Still of Natalie in W.E.

W.E (2011): Promotional Stills No Image No Image No Image

Gallery Link:
Promotional Stills

November 07, 2011   /   Mel   /   Projects

The least surprising thing to happen in Venice this month has not been a tourist going slack-jawed at the price of a gondola ride, or at least one Bellini cocktail being sunk in Harry’s Bar, but that, at the city’s annual film festival, Madonna’s new film should have been widely panned. Widely but not universally, for while its harshest critic (from The Guardian) dismissed her Wallis Simpson biopic, WE, as “a primped and simpering folly”, The Independent’s man on the Lido, Geoffrey Macnab, found much to admire in Madonna’s second turn behind the camera – noting that, while “the film is no masterpiece… many in Venice were anticipating (and some actively hoping) for a prize turkey and they’ll have been disappointed by the sheer zest and craftsmanship of WE.”

Andrea Riseborough’s sympathetic portrayal of the monarch-marrying American divorcee was particularly admired, but there has yet to be word on the actress playing Simpson’s dedicated foe, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the future consort of King George VI. Those of us with any interest will therefore have to wait until the film’s general release next January to catch Natalie Dormer’s portrayal of a woman we are used to thinking of as ‘the Queen Mum’, but who, as far as Madonna is concerned, is the villain of the piece.

“It’s true… she is the baddie,” says Dormer when we meet.” There are two sides to every story, and this is the counter-argument. What has timed very nicely is the success of The King’s Speech, which means that the general public is informed about the abdication from the other side, as well.”

But more of Madonna and the Queen Mother later, because those readers not acquainted with a certain TV history drama called The Tudors may not be familiar with Natalie Dormer, either. Those of us who were glued to this sudsy mix of sex and 16th-century politics will however know that the spark went out of the series when Dormer’s Anne Boleyn was sent to the scaffold, leaving centre-stage to Jonathan Rhys Meyer – never the most compelling of leading men – as a rather too trim King Henry VIII. Or as the Boston Herald put it: “Dormer’s unconventional beauty and frantic scheming made the first two seasons crackle every week and her departure leaves a void.”

“I didn’t just want to play her as this femme fatale – she was a genuine evangelical with a real religious belief in the Reformation,” says Dormer, showing how she might have been accepted for a place to study history at Cambridge University (fatally, she misread a question in her A-level exam and didn’t get the necessary grade). “The show was an absolute joy because it was an amalgamation of my two greatest passions – drama and history. I read everything by Starkey… good old Starkey… opinionated Starkey [this was soon after the historian’s controversial utterances about the August riots]… Antonia Fraser, all of them. But there is a lot of sex and violence in the programme, so it’s hard to explain it to the guy in the street who’s saying, ‘The Tudors? Tits, man!’.”

Indeed, Dormer’s naked romps with Rhys-Meyer are a YouTube favourite – often weirdly mashed with the most cloying of music (I have done my research) and not something the actress herself will ever be surfing. “It’s very traumatic, it really is,” she says. “Actors undress ourselves emotionally, and then it’s kind of like… ‘Fuck, he wants to do it physically as well’. It’s like a all-over medical examination that us women have to go through at the doctors – it’s never pleasant but it’s for the greater good. But that’s why it’s so important to trust in your writer and director.”

After 21 episodes of playing a brunette Anne Boleyn, Dormer has quite literally washed that girl right out of her hair – returning to her natural blonde. “I made the conscious decision to go back to my roots,” she says, laughing at her unintended pun. “I was finding that people would look at me and see Anne and I needed to get away from her.”

In The Fades, a new supernatural BBC3 drama created by Skins writer Jack Thorne that begins next week, Dormer is going for her “Fight Club moment” – a reference to the David Fincher film in which Helena Bonham Carter broke away from what Dormer calls “being tainted by the corset”. She has often compared herself to Bonham Carter for this reason – an actress who not only also played Elizabeth the Queen Mother (in The King’s Speech), but was Anne Boleyn to Ray Winstone’s Henry VIII in a 2003 TV movie. Dormer calls this form of costume-drama typecasting “Helena Bonham Carteritis”.

It’s hard to describe her role in The Fades without giving too much away, as something major happens to her character in the opening two minutes. But the show involves spirits trapped in the temporal plane, the eponymous Fades, and Dormer is embroiled in, yes, yet more sex scenes – this time, mortifyingly, with a close friend, Tom Ellis from Miranda.

“The Fades was my first experience of being asked to do a love scene with a friend,” she says. “I know his wife, he knows my fiancé, we’ve been to the pub. I actually found it harder because it’s difficult to turn that part of your brain off.

“Anyway, it was just nice to get out of long skirts for a change, and to run around and do some blood and guts and gore and action… really modern. I’ve done stuff like that in the past, but it’s not what I’m known for.”

A squash addict and one-time member of the London Fencing Academy, Dormer recently fulfilled her yearning to make an action movie with the big-budget Captain America. In person, she seems to be constantly on the move – and every time I look up from my notes she seems to have switched seating position. She’s tactile – giving my arm a squeeze on arrival and departure – and in repose has an interesting rather than a classically beautiful face. Her elfin features – a nose that’s somewhere between pointy and retroussé, and large blue slanted eyes – have been satirised by one journalist as belonging to “a member of the House of Elrond” (Tolkien’s Middle Earth-dwellers). Dormer becomes truly beautiful when animated, which is often – and rather fortunate considering that she’s primarily a film and TV actress and not a photographic model.

“I was a very physical child… I was a tree-climber, I was a tomboy,” she tells me, during her second attempt at describing her childhood in Reading, Berkshire. My first stab at exploring her early years had not exactly been rebuffed, although there did seem to be an almost unconscious deflection – or perhaps impatience – when she replied to a question about her upbringing with: “I was born and bred in Reading, so I’m… But to be perfectly honest with you, I moved to London when I was 18.”

She has never spoken to the press about her biological father, having been brought up as an only child by her mother and builder stepfather until a half-sister, Samantha, arrived when Dormer was seven. “I’m a quasi-only child,” she says. “With my brother and sister, I’ve more of a tendency to be semi-maternal. So, yes, I spent a lot of time talking to myself – I had this big dressing-up box and would just dress up as lots of characters and talk back to myself… Verging on schizophrenia, I suppose, if you analyse it carefully.”

Young Natalie was bullied at school (“Still to this day I can’t place why”), before becoming “head girl, a straight-A student… all of those things. Very boring, very repressed… repressed, not boring – boring’s wrong. I’m definitely a late bloomer… one of those who truly finds their niche in their thirties [Dormer is currently on the cusp of that decade] – no bad thing.”

No bad thing indeed. Having missed out on that place at Cambridge, Dormer decamped to London, living in a squat in King’s Cross while she auditioned for drama schools. “At the time it was the end of the world, but it forced me to commit. I always knew I wanted to be an actress, I kept it as a dirty secret in my heart, so instead of going to Cambridge and dallying in Footlights or whatever, it forced me to go, ‘This is what I want to do’ and trot off to London.”

She is an unusual mix of airy and down-to-earth, the philosophical (“I was frequently told at drama school that I was thinking too much”) and the ribald, and I like her description of coming out to her parents about her thespian ambitions. “It was like when your camp best friend tells you he’s gay and you’re trying really hard to look surprised.”

Dormer still had to endure “a couple of years of absolute hell. I did every job under the sun from bartending to ushering to temping. I can remember sitting and having a sandwich in Pimlico or somewhere when I was temping – and crying into my Tesco sandwich, thinking ‘What happened? I’m supposed to be sitting in a beautiful library in Cambridge’. I felt like I was a failure.”

After three years at the now-defunct Webber Douglas drama school in South Kensington (in the same class as Keira Knightley’s former boyfriend Rupert Friend), Dormer won a small part in the Heath Ledger-Sienna Miller movie, Casanova – only for her comedy chops to so impress director Lasse Hallstrom that he enlarged her role.

Although she got on well with the stellar cast on location in Venice, playing endless rounds of the American dice game Perudo (and was duly shocked when Ledger died three years later from an accidental prescription drug overdose) she remains realistic about friendships made on-set. “Actors have this amazing skill – we bond quite quickly but equally we move on quite quickly. There’s nothing particularly cold or capricious about it – we’re troubadours and lead a troubadour’s lifestyle. I had this amazing experience in Venice, and this massive budgeted movie, and then it really was back to earth with a bump due to mismanagement and a couple of projects falling though.”

In fact, a supposed three-picture deal with Disney never came to fruition and Dormer found herself unemployed for nine months. “That was very much a rude awakening for a young actress,” she says. “And it was the greatest professional lesson that I could have had so early on in my career.”

The Tudors rescued her, and it was on set in Dublin where she met her fiancé, Irish director Anthony Byrne – “an irreverent Irishman who swears a lot” – with whom she lives in Twickenham, south-west London. He proposed to her recently on a boating holiday in Kerala in India. “We were on a lake in the middle of nowhere… He’ll probably kill me actually, he’s very private.

“We haven’t set a date yet. Life’s too busy. All my friends are engaged, having babies, buying houses… I seem to have reached that point in my life.” Not that she’s ready for all of that quite yet, acknowledging the ” joy of being able to play a young twentysomething at the moment – I’ll capitalise on that for as long as I can.”

After The Tudors there was a leading role in an ITV Miss Marple whodunit, Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?; a low-budget film by X Files creator Chris Carter, Fencewalker (a biopic about Carter’s early life that she doesn’t think will see the light of day); the big-budget Captain America, and playing a trainee barrister in the BBC1 legal drama Silk. Silk has been re-commissioned, but without Dormer, who has signed up instead for HBO’s epic, on-going adaptation of American fantasy author George RR Martin’s staggeringly popular novel Game of Thrones. It’s great fun; check it out if you haven’t already.

“I start shooting that next week actually,” she says. “I’m going to be playing Margaery Tyrell; she marries to a contender to the throne. She really comes into her own for seasons three and four, so I’m sort of committed for a number of years, which I’m really excited about.”

She’s looking forward to poker sessions with the cast and crew (another unexpected hobby: Dormer was runner-up in the celebrity heat of Women’s 2008 World Open in London, and is particularly sharp at Texas Hold ‘em), but not to the sex scenes. More sex scenes? “Yes. Oh God, here I go, taking my clothes off again, I’ll have to start running round Richmond Park again.”

One director who hasn’t asked her to disrobe for the screen is Madonna, and Dormer is highly respectful of Her Madgesty. “She’s the icon who spans three generations – you might as well be in a room with Elvis Presley. As a child I used to prance alone in front of the mirror to The Immaculate Collection dressed in a rah-rah skirt, so it was really difficult walking into that room for the recall. It was terrifying, but you had to switch that part of your brain off. I’m an actor and she’s my director, so there is a democracy there, there is an equality. You need to in order to function.”

What surprised her most about Madonna? “Her sense of humour – a very, very sharp, dry sense of humour, which on a set is very important. She obviously knows what she wants. I don’t have to comment on that in an interview in The Independent… everyone knows how and why Madonna is the phenomenon that she is. But I take my hat off to her – she was on a very steep learning curve. I know from Anthony that a director gets asked hundreds of questions on a daily basis. It’s a massive mind mess-up of micro-managing.”

What of reports of an unhappy set, actress Margo Stilley storming out over ‘artistic differences’? “There is going to be so much air whipping around it because it’s Madonna,” says Dormer. “You can think what you like of Madonna – about her political choices, and her PR – but you have to respect her courage not to let the critics stop her exploring her potential.”

And right now Natalie Dormer is exploring her own potential, even if she has to wade through some un-Madonna like insecurities to get there.

“I feel like I’ve really earnt my stripes – I feel ready to play a lead,” she says. “I would just love to prove I’m good enough to carry a project. But like any actor I berate myself on a day-to-day basis – I’m not doing well enough, or I didn’t get that role, or I haven’t done enough theatre… I’m shit, I’m shit, I’m crap, I’m crap… Oh, God… you know. It is important to stop and look and think how far I have come. We all need some TLC and to pat ourselves on the back from time to time.”