Natalie Dormer wasn’t absolutely gluttonous out a activity like Picnic at Hanging Rock aback it came beyond her lap aftermost year. After all, the 1967 Joan Lindsay atypical on which the six-episode Amazon Prime miniseries is based, is broadly advised to be one of Australia’s best admired texts. But it was a personal angle in the anatomy of a letter Dormer received from showrunner and administrator Larysa Kondracki that quickly diminished any advisedly she may accept had about demography on such sacred, complex source material.
“When I batten to Larysa Kondracki, I accomplished how adventurous and alarming she was in her eyes for the show. It was array of infectious,” Dormer tells ET. “Having apprehend the aboriginal three scripts, which were so beautifully accounting byBeatrix Christian, it was the aggregate of the autograph and audition Larysa allocution so foolishly about her eyes that absolutely drew me to it.”
Set in 1900, the adventure — told through a avant-garde lens — revolves about the abstruse dematerialization of four schoolgirls from an Australian boarding college, headed up by the cunning and austere headmistress, Mrs. Hester Appleyard (Dormer), during an innocent Valentine’s Day barbecue at Hanging Rock. The after-effects of their abrupt dematerialization unravels a account of repercussions for the school, its students, its agents and the surrounding community. As the chase for the missing schoolgirls heats up, the abstruse Hester’s been ambuscade about who she really is begins to absorb her. (The account was ahead acclimatized into a 1975 blur by administrator Peter Weir.)
“I was aloof like, ‘Who the hell is this woman?’” Dormer says of her antecedent acknowledgment to Hester. “She’s acutely not who she says she is, so you boring band aback the layers to acknowledge her accurate cocky and what she’s active from. Larysa beatific me this admirable letter, area she wrote, ‘We’re in crisis of authoritative her a two-dimensional villain. I charge an extra who can acculturate her and flesh her out.’ It was a massive compliment.” The above Game of Thrones brilliant singled out one book in Kondracki’s letter that still rings in her apperception to this day: “‘I charge an extra who can be alarming one moment and accessible the next,’ and I was absorbed by the claiming of accomplishing that by adorning this bully.”
It wasn’t a difficult chase for Kondracki — whose aboriginal anticipation was “Absolutely not!” aback she was asked to advice advance the miniseries for television — to acquisition the absolute extra to comedy Mrs. Appleyard. Her aboriginal and alone best was Dormer. “We got on the buzz and she didn’t appetite to do it,” Kondracki recalls. “We talked for like two, three hours and she was like, ‘F**k, I’m advancing to Australia.'”
“First of all, she’s a absurd animal actuality and has such gravitas onscreen. She can be accessible yet strong, and she had comedic timing, and was able to be in a cerebral thriller. It’s a actual ambitious role. She’s addition who’s abundantly ablaze and an amazing partner,” she says, abacus that Dormer contributed to the activity in “almost a producerial capacity.” Kondracki believed that the 36-year-old actress is one of Hollywood’s best underrated actresses. “She’s someone, who, I don’t anticipate accomplished the aiguille of her career yet. She’s been accomplishing actual well, she has a massive afterward and she’s a big star, but you can acquaint that there’s a ache there to analyze more. That’s the best affair in an actress.”
It wasn’t until afterwards Dormer committed to the miniseries that she apprehend Lindsay’s book, immediately falling in adulation with the annoying storytelling, abundant visuals and nuanced writing, able that the adjustment mirrors that aforementioned energy. “Joan Lindsay leaves so abundant subtext, so abundant larboard unsaid, so abounding questions adopted on who these bodies are,” Dormer says. “Bea absolutely grabs that [and she] deliciously delves into who these assorted bodies are and the dynamics of them all calm in the deathwatch of this tragedy. The spirit and appearance of Joan Lindsay is actual prevalent.”
Dormer, though, was afraid by the abstruse depression she acquainted while arena Hester and said she “never acquainted adequate in her shoes.” Kondracki, for her part, aggregate that the shoot was one of the best difficult of her career.
“I wasn’t assured to acquisition myself so afflicted as the extra attractive in,” Dormer says. “I consistently attending at my roles a little bit like accompany and I appearance Hester as a adverse antihero. She’s accustomed so abundant pain. She’s not self-aware at all. She hasn’t candy any of her history or her trauma, and unfortunately, unwittingly, she doesn’t beggarly to be cruel. It wasn’t her original intention. She was aggravating to appropriate the wrongs of her past, but in a bearded way, she concluded up actuality backbreaking and a tyrant. To me, that’s sad. To me, that’s tragic. I acquainted greatly apologetic for her in the end.”
For Kondracki, Barbecue atHanging Rock is “a brainwork on the achievement of time.”
“[Lindsay’s] point was that the rock was there a actor years ago and it’s activity to be there a actor years into the future, and we’re aloof little all-overs that abide a tiny space, and again we go away. So who the f**k do we anticipate we are?” she muses. “In that sense, what the appearance is analytical is timeless. Added than the corsets and the actuality that there are horses not cars, I chronicle to every distinct appearance actuality — continuing up for yourself, addition out who you are, actuality a adaptation of your best cocky and accurate to yourself after giving into what you think society wants you to be. That’s tough.”
Filming commenced on Barbecue at Hanging Rock months afore the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements took authority aftermost fall, but the accommodation in its capacity makes it abundant added than a aeon drama. “Everyone’s got problems and things are accident abaft bankrupt doors that we don’t know, so it feels abundantly relevant. It has edge. It acquainted like Heathersand The Breakfast Club meets The Shining,” Kondracki says. “Hopefully we’re accretion to that conversation. On the added hand, it’s sad to me that [this is the case], but I’d rather be a allotment of it than not.”
Picnic at Hanging Rock is accessible to beck on Amazon Prime.
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