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24 September 2014
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The Tudors 
 Natalie Dormer as Anne Boleyn © 2008 CPT Holdings, Inc

The Tudors – series two

Natalie Dormer

Natalie Dormer is a natural. The actress has an innate charisma and vivacity that chimes perfectly with her part of Anne Bolyen.


Henry VIII was attracted to the sheer feistiness of Anne Boleyn, who became his second wife before meeting an unfortunate end.


Natalie Dormer, aged 25, who was born in Reading, says she was drawn to her character's in-born fieriness, which marked Anne out in an age when women were expected to be deferential wallflowers.


"I think Anne really stood out – she had fire and intelligence and boldness," Natalie says.


"In comparison to the English roses that were flopping around court, she would've stood out. And Henry noticed that."


The actress, who has also starred in Casanova, Flawless, Distant Shores and Rebus, expresses pleasure that Anne was a blank canvas on which Natalie could paint her own characterisation.


"Anne's infamous in history, and yet there's not a great deal of documentation about the woman herself. You've got the great thing of everyone knowing who Anne Boleyn is, but you've also got carte blanche to do what you want with it."


Natalie, who trained at the Webber Douglas Academy in London, has done a great deal of research into the period and outlines why Anne's marriage to Henry caused such a political storm.


"The Reformation is difficult to explain to modern audiences. It was a social and religious revolution where faith and politics were synonymous.


"Anne Boleyn was like a communist marrying the president of the United States. Henry thought he was the supreme embodiment of God on Earth. Why should he answer to the Pope? And how do you argue with people who say, 'This is God's will', whether that is Henry VIII or an Islamic terrorist?"


Her portrayal was aided by the bond she formed with Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who plays Henry. They established a connection at their very first audition.


"Chemistry was of obvious significance and importance, and Jonny and I just hit it off. Within five minutes of meeting him, we were doing love scenes. I mean, this is the actor's life!


"I walked away from the audition thinking, 'well, if I don't get the job, it doesn't matter – I've kissed Jonathan Rhys Meyers!'"


She continues: "When Jonny walked into the room, I was like, 'mmm, ok, I'll happily settle for that'. I guess that, when we think about Henry VIII, we think of the older man. But the younger man was a very athletic type."


Natalie concludes by reflecting that she is in her dream job – she has wanted to be a performer for as long as she can remember.


"I danced from the age of three," she recalls. "I was always in amateur dramatics and I did a lot of public speaking. So when I told my family I was going to be an actress... well, it was like when your camp best friend tells you he's gay and you're trying really hard to look surprised.


"Even so, when I started out, it was one of the worst years of my life. I was an usher at The Lion King show. I was an office temp – the epitome of spiritual bankruptcy – and even a cocktail waitress... sorry, a mixologist. I can still free-pour a double vodka!"







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