Natalie Dormer: “I’m a geek”

The Mockingjay Part 2 star says the "tide is turning" for women in sci-fi, and she'd play a female Doctor Who "if the script was fantastic"

Mockingjay Part 2 star Natalie Dormer is probably best known as Game of Thrones’ Margaery Tyrrell, but she’s a veteran of the small screen, having brought a whole host of characters from The Tudors’ Anne Boelyn to both Irene Adler and Sherlock Holmes’ arch nemesis Moriarty to life on television.


But if the self-confessed sci-fi lover – “I’m a geek” she tells – was offered the the chance to play a female Doctor in Doctor Who, would she be up for the challenge?

“I would do any role if I thought the script was fantastic”, Dormer replies. “For me it’s always about the script” she continues, arguing that while any concept might sound great, it’s pointless “if the script and the detail and the multi-layering isn’t there.”

“It has to be real human beings, contradictory, flawed, complex multidimensional characters” she says. “It can’t just be concept. You know, female James Bond – CONCEPT. It has to have quality in the writing of real human psychology.”

Dormer – who plays no nonsense filmmaker and political exile Cressida in the final Hunger Games films – is no stranger to success in that department. 

She brought a female James Moriarty (aka Jamie) to life rather successfully on Elementary, the US Sherlock Holmes series in which Lucy Liu plays a female Watson to Jonny Lee Miller’s consulting detective.

Does her own experience inspire a belief that the door is now open for women to find more complex roles in sci-fi and fantasy?

“You have to be given the roles” says the actress, “and it was Rob Doherty as the creator of the show that gave me that role. You need the writers and the producers and the money men not to be scared.”

“Because at the end of the day it’s show business, so they have to make money. So as long as they feel, and that’s what Katniss Everdeen has proven, that it’s so commercially viable. It’s like ‘OK guys it can be done, shall we do some more of it?'”

And Dormer believes that with films like Mockingjay making waves, and good friend Gwendoline Christie being cast as Star Wars’ first female villain, change is not just coming but already creeping in.

“I’m an optimist” Dormer smiles. “I genuinely believe the tide is turning and it all starts with the writing. We need more scripts that do these things, that give the equality in the writing to the characters, because what we’re looking for ultimately is gender irrelevance.”

What does she mean by that exactly?

“That Coin (Julianne Moore) could have been played by a man easily, that Cressida could have been played by a man, that Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) could have been a young boy, a reluctant hero, as opposed to the reluctant heroine.”

“When we get to gender irrelevance, when a character is not defined by their gender, that’s when we’ll know we’re there”, says Dormer.

“We’re heading slowly in that direction and I think how wonderful that the tide is turning.”


The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 is released in UK cinemas on November 19th