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Welcome to Captivating Natalie Dormer one of the largest and longest running sources dedicated to British Actress Natalie Dormer (formely at natalie-dormer.com). Natalie is best known for her role as Anne Boleyn in Showtime's The Tudors but you also may recognise her from Casanova, Flawless and Game of Thrones. Currently, you can find Natalie as the voice of Dr. Lexi T'Perro in the video game Mass Effect: Andromeda and in upcoming roles as Mrs. Appleyard in the TV Miniseries Picnic at Hanging Rock, as Sofia in In Darkness and as Eliza Merrett in The Professor and the Madmen.

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June 04, 2018   /   Claudia   /   News Picnic at Hanging Rock (2018) Television Productions
This entry was posted on Monday, June 4th, 2018 at 9:24 am and is filed under News, Picnic at Hanging Rock (2018), Television Productions. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Amazon Prime’s latest limited series is a new twist on a classic—a genuine reimagining. Widely considered to be one of the best Australian novels of all time, Joan Lindsay‘s 1967 Picnic at Hanging Rock is the story of three young women and a teacher from upper-class Appleyard College who mysteriously vanish from a picnic at the titular landmark on Valentine’s Day 1900.

The novel has been adapted multiple times for the stage, and notably for the screen by director Peter Weir in 1975. Weir’s film is critically revered, and its influence has touched creations as varied as the films of Sofia Coppola to Damon Lindelof‘s acclaimed series The Leftovers to the work of fashion designers.

From showrunner Larysa Kondracki and writers Beatrix Christian and Alice Addison, Amazon’s six-hour miniseries has much of what made the Weir film so powerful—nightmarish, quietly horrifying qualities and haunting mystery—but thanks in part to its expansive length and scope, there’s much more on the table this time ’round: this Picnic has provocative, sexy romance, black humor, and an edgy, universal tale of identity and coming into one’s own. It’s suddenly quite timely too—a unique meditation on femininity and girlhood released mere months after the dawn of #MeToo.

The series stars Game of Thrones‘ Natalie Dormer as unremittingly strict headmistress Hester Appleyard. Lily Sullivan (Mental) co-stars as Miranda Reid, and Lola Bessis (Thirst Street) plays young governess Madameoiselle Dianne de Poitiers.

Parade spoke with Dormer and other members of the cast and crew about this new take on a classic, its relevance amidst the backdrop of the #MeToo movement, and equality in the entertainment industry and beyond.

Because the 1975 film is so esteemed, did you feel pressure to live up to it?

Bessis: I love the ’75 film so much, and I said that the first time I talked with Larysa on Skype, but she said, “Don’t worry, this is going to be really different.”

Kondracki: Absolutely, but these scripts are so different. It’s much more about who these girls were. Ours is a little darker, too. The scripts are very truthful to the book.

Dormer: We have six hours to delve into the novel in ways Weird couldn’t in two hours.

What makes this story set in 1900 so relevant today?

Kondracki: Other than the corsets, not much has changed. Having the strength to find yourself, stand up for yourself, and be true to who you are, for a woman or a man, is really really tough. It’s hard to find your place in the world. I think that question has gotten harder with the Internet.

Sullivan: The themes of this story—suppressed sexuality, identity, rebellion and female friendship—are still relevant today. This show really showed me the action revolution and evolution of women before us, and to have a respect for that journey.

Dormer: I know there are pretty dresses and it’s period, but the themes it deals with: coming-of-age, oppression vs. liberation, are universal. I love my action movies. I don’t see why my 28-year-old straight brother can’t enjoy Picnic at Hanging Rock.

Is the fact that this is a female-driven show with many women behind and in front of the camera something that made you want to be a part of it?

Dormer: From our viewpoints, it was just this idea of working with some really talented women. Not because they’re women, but because they’re talented human beings. Larysa is a genuine cinephile. She thinks in those terms and she sees it. It’s not a manifesto we set out with, it was a meritocracy that got me involved; it was an organic osmosis. There’s nothing forced about it.

There’s an ethereal grace to the filmmaking of this show, but—and this might surprise some—it’s also quite muscular. 

Dormer: I love that word. And why do they have to be disparate things? It has a sensuality to it, but it’s dark and it’s strong. It’s visceral. Which is the human condition. Forget about the female condition and the male condition. We also have a great deal of male energy behind the scenes. [Cinematographer] David Eggby shot the original Mad Max!

What is it about the Australian bush that lends itself so well to horror—like PicnicKilling Ground and Wolf Creek?

Kondracki: Because it’s enormous and people die. People get lost. It’s scary but also beautiful. It’s stunning, and there’s so many types of landscapes there.

What are some of your other favorite female-driven works on the big and small screens?

Kondracki: Blue Is The Warmest color is stunning. Sofia Coppola is amazing. Cait Shortland [Berlin Syndrome] is fabulous. Silkwood [co-written by Nora Ephron] has always been one of my favorite movies. Veepis genius. 

Is there anything you wish men and boys knew or saw about the opposite sex that they might not? 

Bessis: That we’re just like them. We’re not paintings or angels. We can be wild and bold and sweet. We don’t have to fit in a box.

Sullivan: This is a really exciting time, but also a stressful time because a lot of it is getting blurry. A lot of it feels aggressive at the moment; it feels like it’s about sexism vs. powerism. I would love so much for all the gentleness we have in us, and want—for there to be this realm of we are all the same. The baton of power can be put down. I just want to find a gentle center in the midst of all of this change, and the evolution of how we perceive each sex.

Dormer: [laughs] If I could answer that, I could answer world politics! I don’t want to kick men to the side and say, “Our turn now!” That’s not the answer; it’s a different kind of exclusivity.

This female-driven show was already shot when #MeToo began, but has it changed things for those of you involved in the production in the months since?

Kondracki: It’s changed the way we’re asked about it—and it’s changed things for me a little bit. When you read about the bravery of these women that came out and told their stories… this happened to that person? This is a show that’s trying to understand how hard it is to stand up for yourself as a woman. I guess it’s terrifying to me how much more relevant it is. The only way things are going to get corrected is if you keep talking about it and putting it out there.

Are you hopeful that things will continue to change for the better in the entertainment industry?

Dormer: We will hopefully one day get to gender and sexuality irrelevance. That’s when we’ll know we’ve won, but we have to over-correct in order to swerve back. That’s what I’m telling myself. But we won’t know in the entertainment industry for another two or three years, because that’s how long it takes to commission, find financing, get the talents’ schedules to line up, shoot the thing, edit the thing, get a release date… We’ll know in 2021, depending on how many females are being recognized behind and in front of the camera. It’s about qualifying the worth of each individual.

Sullivan: To see these women unveil known secrets, I feel proud to be a part of a time that’s having its own revolution. For while I thought it was all about Instagram, and I was worried for my generation [laughs].

Bessis: Women have been speaking up for ages, but people just didn’t listen. You’re always stronger when you’re supported and together.

Sullivan: And that’s what our show’s about!

All six episodes of Picnic at Hanging Rock are now streaming on Amazon Prime.

Source: Parade

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