Natalie Dormer isn’t one to shy away from playing a strong female character – and she believes ‘feminist men’ are one of the keys needed to bring more of them to the screen.
‘People often say Hollywood doesn’t have a heritage of strong female protagonists,’ she told Glamour. ‘I disagree – we do. It’s just that in conventional male storytelling, when a female protagonist is determined or unorthodox, she typically finds herself coming to an unhappy end.’
When it comes to fighting against sexism in the film industry, the 36-year-old actress believes feminist men to be the ‘solution for lasting, effective change’.
Hope: Natalie Dormer, 36, spoke out in favor of ‘feminist men’ in a new interview, saying they’re key to bringing ‘lasting change’ in the movie industry
Working couple: For her latest movie, In Darkness (pictured), Natalie worked with director Anthony Byrne, who is also her fiance
Duo: Anthony and Natalie (pictured earlier this month) started writing In Darkness nine years ago, which she said was a ‘tough’ process because she was working with her significant other
‘Women should celebrate what we are achieving right now without forgetting to embrace our feminist, equalist men,’ she said. ‘Because they are there. It is bizarre to think we can solve issues of gender inequality without half of society’s participants. Men must be viewed as part of the solution for lasting, effective change.’
She added that the idea of being a feminist is centered around choice, and that it’s her choice to work with men who want to change the narrative when it comes to female characters.
‘We all have the right to speak up, but we also have to listen,’ she said. ‘We’re all terrified, and we have good reason to be. The world is a terrifying place right now. But what our foresisters fought for was choice.
‘Do I want to be a high-powered CEO? Do I want to be a mother with five kids? No one choice is more feminist than the other. The feminism is in the choice. So I choose to focus on working with men who want to change the way stories about unorthodox and complex women end.’
Opinion: ‘Men must be viewed as part of the solution for lasting, effective change,’ she said
More acting work: Natalie is also starring in a Amazon mini-series called Picnic at Hanging Rock (pictured), which premiered on May 25
For Natalie’s latest movie project, In Darkness, the Hunger Games actress worked with director Anthony Byrne, who is also her fiance, to create the character of Sofia, whom Natalie said was born ‘from our mutual frustration with the landscape of female characters in this genre’.
The movie, which Natalie and Anthony co-wrote, premiered on May 25. It follows a blind musician (played by Natalie) who is pulled into a criminal underworld after she hears a murder being committed in the apartment above her.
Natalie said: ‘My writing partner, the director Anthony Byrne, is very aware of this history in film noir. Anthony is a feminist. He believes in equality, and his short films (like the award-winning Short Order) have always been female-centric.’
Anthony and Natalie started writing In Darkness nine years ago, which she said was a ‘tough’ process because she was working with her significant other.
In 2016, she told People: ‘It’s tough! I don’t know if you’ve ever been in a writing room but I wouldn’t recommend it with your other half.’
Clever: The actress played the cunning Margaery Tyrell in Game of Thrones (pictured)
Conversation: Natalie said she discussed the importance of female protagonists with Jennifer Lawrence in press junkets for Hunger Games (pictured)
But despite the ‘interesting process’, Natalie was grateful for the chance to act in something she wrote and for the opportunity to create interesting characters – both male and female.
Along with her new film, Natalie is also starring in an Amazon mini-series called Picnic at Hanging Rock, which also premiered on May 25 and follows Hester Appleyard (played by Natalie), a teacher who disappears with three of her female students in 1900.
Natalie’s search for complex female characters is a topic that has been on her mind for a while.
‘In so many press junkets for Hunger Games, in which I played the tattooed rebel Cressida, Jennifer Lawrence and I discussed the importance of female protagonists who are imperfect, who are neither angel nor whore,’ she told Glamour.
‘And while In Darkness may look like part of a recent wave of feminist films, this moment in entertainment took almost a decade to build.’