Icons / January 2018

Rake-in-Progress: Natalie Dormer

Natalie Dormer tells us how acting has become her form of catharsis and why classic tailoring is not just for the boys…

White gabardine, double-breasted, two-piece bespoke suit, Edward Sexton; The London Collection white-gold and diamond bracelet, William & Son.

Publicists are an interesting breed. They are the gatekeepers of popular culture, guarding the people we want to get to know. Avaricious periodicals seek access to tell a good, saucy story, and the publicist is the alkaline to that acidic form of journalism. We at The Rake like to think our mould is different. We want to celebrate people rather than destroy their reputations, and the Rake-in-Progress feature was always intended to pick out younger men who personify the nuances of style and substance.

A few months ago a publicist contacted me with an idea — to feature women in this column. Ah, I thought, this magazine was built on the notion of making certain men relevant, empowering the XY sex and giving the reader confidence that his classical tastes are not antediluvian. With that in mind, if we were to feature a woman, we realised she would have to have something extra special, a bar that, depending on her identity, might be insurmountable. “Natalie Dormer” was the response I got. Bar cleared.

Dormer’s work could have appeared on your radar from a number of places. It could have been in her role as the ill-fated Anne Boleyn in The Tudors, or as Cressida in the blockbuster epic The Hunger Games, or as Margaery Tyrell in that lesser-known show Game of Thrones. In a series that deals in androgynous powerplay and raw sexuality, to come in late and bring something new, as Dormer has done in GoT, requires a rare and idiosyncratic talent — the acting umami, if you will.

Dormer’s red-carpet appearances often see her in bold suits with a cracking selection of colours. For her taste, her craft and, as we discovered on meeting, her humorous and kind disposition, we are delighted to say, Hello to Natalie Dormer, our first female Rake-in-Progress.

On a scale of one to 10, how annoyed are you at interviewers still asking you about Game of Thrones?

Annoyed is the wrong word. I am respectful of what that show did, profile-wise, to my career, and it helps that I love the creators of the show and I don’t begrudge Dan [Weiss] or David [Benioff] a moment of their vision and success, and I am fucking proud to be part of something that is so part of the zeitgeist. I just never want to be defined solely for any role, but I know that with Game of Thrones it will take a few more years than other roles to go; I am not her, I have the ability to change. That is why The Hunger Games was great for me... Doing those two roles at the same time helped me find the money for my own film that I co-wrote — without them, the financing would be harder to find. It’s about tipping your cap when you look back and say, ‘Thanks, guys, that was fucking amazing’.

Do you think as an actress you get to be part of today’s influential youth culture by default?

Yes, definitely. I was at the GQ awards and Stormzy came up to me asking for a selfie. I knew who Stormzy was, but I am not into grime. I kind of think the fact this guy wanted to have a selfie with Margaery Tyrell blew my mind.

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Contributor

Tom Chamberlin

Editor of The Rake Magazine