When we heard that Natalie Dormer, who's skyrocketed to fame after playing Margaery Tyrell in Game of Thrones and Cressida in The Hunger Games, was starring in a horror movie, we knew we had to see it. The British actress is known for portraying strong, cunning characters in a way that's both graceful and bad**s, and her role in the MTV-produced The Forest is no different: She slays.
Set in the Aokigahara Forest, a real place situated at the foot of Mount Fuji in Japan, the film follows Sara (Natalie) as she travels to the forest in search of her lost twin sister (also played by Natalie, of course), alongside Taylor Kinney, a handsome writer that she meets in Japan who takes a strong interest in her plight. The forest, both in the movie and IRL, is a place where many people go to commit suicide - Inverse reports more than 100 bodies are discovered there most years - and many believe the densely populated woods are haunted.
We got the chance to speak to Natalie about her experience filming the upcoming movie, and somehow managed to hold a conversation without turning into a total fangirl.
CAMBIO: Natalie, do you like scary movies?
NATALIE DORMER: Yeah, I'm known to like the odd scary movie. I'm not really a thrill seeker, I don't like being scared, per say.
I feel the same way!
Yeah, I'm a bit of a wimp that way. Actually, in doing this film, I made an effort to watch more horror movies and really, really enjoyed them.
Tell me what it was like to film a scary movie? Have you done one before?
No, this was my first horror and it was a lot of fun. It was a very physical shoot, but for me, I just liked the psychological element of it. I loved the idea that a girl really, really loves her sister, she adores her sister, she'd do anything in the world for her sister, and her sister goes missing. And so I think we can all imagine someone we really love, traveling the other side of the world to find them when they've gone missing. And then from there it all starts to go wrong, and she's left in a forest without her cell phone working - I mean, what's a girl to do when your phone stops working? You start looking inside your own head and dealing with your own demons.
Yeah, I never knew what was real or what was happening in the character Sara's head. While filming, what was it like for you to enter that head space? Did you have to do any preparation?
Going a bit crazy is maybe something that we're all closer to than we'd like to think that we are! Sara is repressing a trauma, so, you know, when really bad stuff has happened to you - I mean, bad stuff has happened to me in my life - it sits a lot closer to the surface sometimes than we like to think it does. So it was interesting to be able to play someone having to deal with issues that she's been trying to repress for a long time.
For you, what terrified you the most when you were a part of it? What did it bring up inside of you?
I've got brothers and sisters and the idea of losing...if I ever felt like I'd lost the plot and I didn't really know what my motivation was or what I was doing, I just thought of my little sister. And I would be standing in the middle of the dark, at 3 a.m., in a forest in the middle of a foreign country, which is what Sara does, and I would be like, "Just imagine standing here and I can't find my sister," and that kind of got me straight back into it. Then, there's a lot of fun, like you said - what's real, what isn't real? Taylor plays Aiden and he's so hunky, then you're like, "Is he a good guy? Is he a bad guy? Can I trust him? Can I not trust him?" so there's a lot of mind games and fun going on there.
Theres a scene in the film where your character Googles the forest, and I did that same Google search and a lot of images came up - the same ones that came up in the film.
They're real images. It really makes you think.
The Forest hits theaters on January 8.