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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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The Fades – interview with Natalie Dormer

Natalie Dormer

Natalie Dormer (The Tudors, Silk, W.E.) is Sarah, beautiful, complicated and damaged. Cursed by her powers and torn from the comfort of her loving home and family, she eventually managed to rebuild her life and find solace with Mark (Tom Ellis). Before things went wrong all over again. Sarah can be tough and determined and is incredibly loyal. She is Juliet to Mark's Romeo – hopelessly in love but always just out of reach.

Tell us about Sarah?
Sarah is a woman who has had a very unhappy past. She has been struggling to maintain a schizophrenic existence, she's got two lives. She's been an Angelic, she has this gift, she sees this other very dark scary world and she's had a history of mental problems because she's had this gift since she was very young. She therefore has grown up into this very delicate woman who has fallen in love with Mark, Tom Ellis's character and is desperately fighting to maintain some normality. She is the only Angelic who has done that, who has tried to have a real life, tried to do the superhero thing of 'I can be two people' and of course we all know you can't do that.

The interesting thing about playing Sarah is that friction and that she's a very loyal person, I love playing her because she feels a great loyalty towards Johnny Harris's character, Neil and the Angelics and realises her duty and responsibility there. But she also is incredibly loyal to her husband, she loves him dearly even though their marriage has had some very bad issues and they've broken up because she's tried to maintain two lives. It's that juggling act that you find her in when you first meet her and then it all just goes to pot after that!

Any special preparation necessary to play the role?
What I've drawn on is that I've been in love, so I know what it is like to be in love and regardless... even if the apocalypse is happening, all you want to be is with that person. You would die for them. Then there's the fight and the struggle in realising that she has responsibility elsewhere and that maybe love can be a very selfish act, sometimes too selfish and you need to take responsibility for other human beings and indeed, in Sarah's case, the whole human race.

What is her relationship with the main character Paul?
The show centres on our young coming of age hero, Paul. He gets entangled in this alternative world, this parallel world that is happening at the same time as daily life. He finds out he is an Angelic, or has powers like an Angelic and what I love about Jack's (Thorne) scripts is his extreme dexterity at mixing this teenage sixth form world, the day to day trivia, the politics and everything that comes with that and right next to it is this story of the struggle for humanity, theology, a whole mythology and deep profound questions of life and death simultaneously. There is this great juxtaposition between the two worlds.

How would you describe the series?
I was doing an interview the other day and a journalist asked me what would people compare The Fades to? You hear people banding round titles like True Blood, Buffy, Skins or Jack's (Thorne) other work but my answer is that people will only compare it before they have seen it. Once you've seen it you'll stop comparing it to anything else because it stands on its own. It's so strong, it mixes all the genres. The Fades is what people will start comparing other shows to because this show has broken the boundaries and it's merged everything beautifully and as I was saying before, I just love Jack's dexterity at being able to jump in tone. The humour is so funny, it is laugh out loud in places but then it is heartbreaking in other places and hopefully really quite scary in parts too. It's a real rollercoaster ride.

Any anecdotes from the set?
This has been one of the most physically demanding jobs I've ever done! I couldn't begin to list everything, but it was crazy! For example, being submerged in freezing cold gloop and goo all day, vomiting black stuff, ash being thrown in your face for three or four days, you name it we've done it. There's been a sort of hellish physical experience for all the cast at one point or another. We've all been supportive of each other when it's been that person's turn! We've really been pushing the boundaries especially in the second half of the series.

Do you actually believe in the supernatural or had any supernatural experiences?
What I find very interesting about Jack's scripts is the completely invented theology, the mythology and the culture of the Fades. It's interesting to think when you have a completely clean slate and you have to tackle questions on life and death, religion and faith and identity and I find it fascinating where he's taken his inspirations from and created this whole new mythology. It's been a real stab in the dark; we've all been making our way through together.

Why should people watch The Fades?
Watch the first ten minutes that's all I'm asking, and if you're not hooked in the first ten minutes then I'll be very surprised!

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