Nathalie Emmanuel reveals she is ‘hopeful but sceptical’ to see how Hollywood responds to the Black Lives Movement, as she lifts the lid on working with industry megastars, such as John Travolta.
The Fast and Furious actress, 31, explained that she is ‘interested to see if people’s outrage is real or whether it was just performative’ in an interview alongside a striking shoot for Rollacoaster Magazine.
The movement hit the headlines after thousands took to the streets in protest of the killing of George Floyd in May, when police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck in Minneapolis for nearly nine minutes.
Skeptical: Nathalie Emmanuel has revealed that she is ‘interested to see if people’s outrage is real or whether it was just performative’ after the Black Lives Matter movement
Nathalie explained she is excited to see ‘actual change within society’ and particularly in the film industry – something she admitted she is ‘sceptical’ about.
Speaking to Rollacoaster Magazine, she continued: ‘I’m excited to see how Hollywood and the world responds to the Black Lives Matter movement.
‘I’m really interested to see if people’s outrage is real or whether it was just performative, and whether we see actual change within society.
‘Also from the industry point of view – for entertainment, TV, film and media – I’m sort of curious to see how that pans out.
‘I’m hopeful but also with a healthy amount of scepticism because sometimes it comes and goes, and there’s a few movies that get made and are great, and then it dies off again.
Inclusivity: The Fast and Furious actress, 31, said she is excited to see ‘actual change within society’ – particularly in the film industry, something she admitted she is ‘skeptical’ about
‘For me I’m looking for the more behind-the-scenes action: the crew, the writers, the producers, the filmmakers themselves or the directors themselves becoming more inclusive. I’m skeptical to protect my own heart.’
The Game of Thrones star has most recently starred in action-comedy Die Hart, alongside industry megastars John Travolta and Kevin Hart.
The Quibi series sees her playing up-and-coming actress Jordan King, who is sick of her job co-starring alongside a robot in a sitcom and wants to be an action star.
The strong-willed woman plays Kevin Hart’s rival, which sees a fictional version of Kevin trying to break out of his comedy typecasting.
Nathalie lifted the lid on what it was like to work alongside industry heavyweights for the series, describing herself as ‘such a nerd’ when meeting the Hollywood stars.
Action! The Game of Thrones star has most recently starred in action-comedy Die Hart, alongside industry megastars John Travolta and Kevin Hart
‘I have this moment on most sets to be honest where I can’t believe that I’m there, and I’m like such a nerd so I’m freaking out, and just trying to pretend to hold it down,’ she explained.
‘I was basically stood there with all these people that I’d grown up watching, being like, this is my life, this is crazy.
‘It’s a mental game at the end of the day, I knew I could do it, I just threw myself into it and had so much fun.’
Discussing her ‘badass’ character, she believes that it is inspiring to see a woman who does not ‘want to be a side chick’ but ‘the action star’ – a message she hopes others will listen to.
She continued: ‘The world will tell you what you are but you don’t have to listen, and I think that is the key.
‘That’s what’s so great about Kevin’s story. It’s like, I don’t want to be a side chick anymore, I want to be the action star, and I think that is just a really great message.’
Reflecting on her own journey from sitcoms to movies, just like her character Jordan, the former Hollyoaks star said the ‘transition is really tough’ because of a ‘snobbery’ around sitcoms and its actors.
Freaked out: Nathalie lifted the lid on what it was like to work alongside industry heavyweights in the series, describing herself as ‘such a nerd’ when meeting the Hollywood stars
She added: As someone who started out in a soap in England, and with Jordan’s journey – she’s been on this long-running sitcom and she just wants to be in movies – and that transition is really tough because, especially in England, there’s snobbery around shows like that and actors that do shows like that.
‘The idea of chasing something else and breaking that barrier, I can totally connect to that story and I’ve been in that mindset.’
Nathalie made her TV debut in 2006 as Sasha Valentine in Hollyoaks and appeared on the British soap opera until 2010, before receiving global acclaim as Missandei on Game of Thrones a few years later.
She described the HBO series as ‘life-changing’ as she was ‘unemployed in an acting sense and working in retail’ at the time.
The actress said customers would sometimes recognise her from Hollyoaks and then treat her badly as ‘people love a fall from grace’.
Soap operas: Reflecting on her journey from sitcoms to movies, the former Hollyoaks star said the ‘transition is really tough’ because of a ‘snobbery’ around sitcoms and its actors
But securing her job on the hit fantasy series gave her ‘confidence’ and opened up new opportunities in the film industry, something she is ‘incredibly grateful’ for.
She explained: ‘It hugely changed my life, in every sense. I got Game of Thrones after I’d been out of Hollyoaks for a couple of years almost, and I was very unemployed in an acting sense and working in retail.
‘I experienced some customers who recognised me from Hollyoaks and then quite enjoyed treating me badly – people love a fall from grace. And then Game of Thrones happened and it just sort of just put the fire back in my belly.
‘Suddenly I had this confidence because first of all, they just don’t cast anybody, and then the job itself opened me up to a part of the industry that I had never had access to before and opportunities I never had before. I’m incredibly grateful.’
Nathalie has since starred in hit blockbusters including the Maze Runner franchise, action movies Fast and Furious and TV miniseries of Four Weddings and a Funeral.
Pre-order Rollacoaster Magazine’s Autumn/Winter 2020 issue to read the full feature.
Life-changing: Nathalie said getting a role on HBO’s Game of Thrones in 2013 changed her life, as she was ‘unemployed in an acting sense and working in retail’ at the time