Natalia Tena – The Deathly Hallows: Part 1

November 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Interviews

Since 2007, actress Natalia Tena has portrayed Nymphadora Tonks in the “Harry Potter” franchise. Her introduction into the wizardly world came during “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” followed by “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” Now, Tena, 26, wraps up the series with the first part of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” which opens Friday. Part two hits theaters next summer.

Tena, who is British of Spanish descent, spoke to me about how acting in a film like “Harry Potter” is different from her work on stage, and whether or not it will be hard for her to say goodbye to her enchanting character.

I read you have dreams based on some of the movies you are working on. Did that happen with “Deathly Hallows?”

Yeah, I would be doing a forest scene and that night I would imagine I was running in a forest. The world of this film hangs over you and messes with your conscious. Even on the stage, sometimes I’ll be doing my lines over and over again and then when I finish the play I’ll still have dreams where I have to say my lines again. My dreams are quite vivid.

Do you attribute the dreams to anything? Nerves maybe?

Every film and performance you do you always get scared and you always freak out like you’re not going to do it right. But your emotions always change. The first time I did a play, after I got off the stage, I cried and I was depressed for a month. But you get better at that. You get better at letting go and looking forward to the next one.

What came first for you, theater or film and which medium is more rewarding as an actress?

I started with the film “About a Boy” when I was 16 and then at 18 I started in theater. I love performing live whether it’s with my music or acting. (Tena is a member of the band Molotov Jukebox). You’re dealing with that moment and that situation. With film I sometimes find it hard to wait around for it and not knowing when you’re going to do it. You could be waiting around for three hours hyped up to do a scene and you might lose the momentum. Then you have to turn it on again. It’s just a different way of working.

Where should someone start to understand who you are as a musician?

It’s funny because on [Nov. 15] our new single “Laid to Rest” [came] out. We recorded it at a great studio. It captured the energy and the natural aesthetic of what it feels like to play on stage. People should listen to that.

How did you feel when you read about what happens to your character in the last book?

I liked that my character got to do so much in one book. She gets married, she gets pregnant, she has kids, she goes to battle and she dies. That’s pretty cool.

Were you there on the final day of shooting? I read it was pretty emotional.

No, I wasn’t there. I was there three or four months before. But the wrap party was pretty emotional because you have to say goodbye to everyone all over again.

The fantasy genre is not over for you after “Harry Potter.” You’re now going to be in the new HBO series “Game of Thrones.” How is that going?

It’s amazing. We’re shooting in Belfast. We’ve been doing scenes in the forest. The forest is beautiful. There is a lot of shade so we’ve been working during very cold days. I think the show is going to be something quite impressive.

It’s hard to believe the “Harry Potter” franchise started in 2001. Why do you think these stories have stayed popular for all these years?

The books work. On paper it’s fantastic. There’s no way anyone could fuck it up. It’s like that new “Walking Dead” series, which is one of my favorite comics. They just have so much material to work with. The key to the success of it are the books.

Is it going to be difficult for you to let this character go and start working on other projects?

It’s not going to be too hard. I’ve been in and out of these films. It kind of felt like it was done for me, maybe because I was doing other things in between. For actors who have been on set day in and day out I’m sure it’s a bigger deal.

How have you seen yourself change as an actress over the last eight years?

I have so many more things to draw from. Every person I talk to or every time anything good or bad happens in your life it is going to affect your acting. That’s what I’m hoping anyway.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

November 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint
Directed by: David Yates (“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”)
Written by: Steve Kloves (“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”)
Don’t anticipate some sort of shocking cliffhanger at the end of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1,” the first half of the final chapter of the imaginative franchise that started back in 2001. It’s almost as if director David Yates (his third “Potter” film) and screenwriter Steve Kloves (who has adapted all but one of J.K. Rowling’s “Potter” books) found a reasonable stopping point, hit the pause button, and asked us to come back in eight months.

It wasn’t a bad decision to split “Deathly Hallows” into two parts other than the fact that “Potter” fans will be climbing the walls until next July when Part 2 hits theaters. Although “Deathly Hallows” is much less action-driven than its predecessors, it’s evident the material from the original book was much too extensive to try to squeeze into a single feature. To do the final book justice (and to wrap up the nine-year adventure the right way), “Deathly Hallows” needed extra time to manifest.

In “Deathly Hallows,” Yates and Kloves understand exactly where our heroes are at this point in their lives, not only based on Rowling’s narrative, but also on a deeper, more emotional level. It’s the most mature film of the series and also the best since Alfonso Cuarón’s “Prisoner of Azkaban.”

Playing like an epic version of hide-and-seek, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson), and Ron (Rupert Grint) are far from the comfortable confines of Hogwarts, which has been taken over by the Death Eaters. Now, on a journey to find the last remaining Horcruxes (if you don’t know what those are by now hurry and catch up), the trio evades the even-more-terrifying Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) and spends most of their time trying to understand clues left behind by the now-deceased Dumbledore. How else will Harry get revenge for the murder of his parents during his inevitable final battle with the dark lord? These clues include the “Deathly Hallows,” three powerful objects that Harry may need to defeat Voldemort, who is becoming more powerful by the second. The eerie animation built-in with the mythology of these objects is impressively artistic.

Knowing the franchise is almost complete makes “Deathly Hallows” all the more serious as we inch closer and closer to the finale. While there are less spells cast and typical Harry Potter moments from earlier films, fans can find satisfaction in the darker elements and conflict between our heroes. We’ve invested in Harry, Hermione, and Ron for nine years. Now it’s time to reap those benefits. Sure, it’s might be impossible to get the full effect of what this film will be until the story is complete, but “Deathly Hallows: Part 1” is an impressive start to what we hope will lead to a memorable showdown.