When she isn’t playing her band Molotov Jukebox, Natalia Tena is gearing up to reprise, for the final time, her role as the hot-headed wizard Tonks in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”
But before she begins filming in August, Tena took some time to tell Hero Complex about having wizard war dreams, why Tonks’ hair looks rather, well, strange in “Half-Blood Prince,” and why she thinks the script for the final film is bloody brilliant.
DM: What was the best part of working on “Half-Blood Prince”?
NT: Well, I just had one scene, and we shot it in the middle of the night. I was doing stunts, which is what I love most. They wanted to get stunt doubles and I was like, “No, I want to jump through fire!” Sometimes you do feel a bit stupid. I remember standing with David Thewlis [who plays Lupin], and it’s 3 in the morning, and going, “Yeah, David, fight invisible fire snakes.” It’s like basically dancing to nothing. You do feel a bit stupid at times, but it’s funny.
DM: Tonks is in just one scene — which I won’t spoil — but in fact, it’s a scene that doesn’t exist in the book, right? Any idea how its creation came about? [Very minor spoilers in her answer.]
NT: I don’t know. I think they wanted to keep Tonks in it somehow. In the book, she’s very depressed all the way through until she finally she gets with Lupin, that’s when she gets her normal hair color back. In the film, they just had me looking very strange with Lupin and that’s why her hair is a bit dark [instead of her favorite pink] and short, though they don’t explain it. In “Half-Blood Prince,” a lot was edited, and actually I thought a lot of stuff was added in unnecessarily. But I haven’t seen the film yet, so for all I know it works out well in the end.
DM: Tonks’ hair is very, um, distinct this time.
NT: I had a mullet, mate! For ages, I had this mullet until someone on the street stopped me and said, “Darling, can I cut your hair for free? Because you look a bit weird.”
DM: You start shooting “Deathly Hallows” next month. What can you tell us about the script?
NT: I’ve read Part One and it’s brilliant, I wasn’t so sure about the last movie but this one I was like, “Yeah, they got it spot on.” I’m re-reading the book right now. I started having insane dreams again. Whenever I start a Potter film, I get these dreams. The last dream I had I was in a war and the sky was blotted with broomsticks and I couldn’t find my wand. It was so intense. I always have mental, intense, war wizard dreams when I’m doing the films.
DM: Had you read the books before you were cast?
NT: No, I hadn’t read any of them. My friends were obsessed but I never got into it, probably because my friends were so obsessed. They came with me to my audition to try and translate the language for me, like explain what muggles and Gryffindor was. I had no idea what was going on. By the third audition — I had done two and I wasn’t getting it right — director himself reamed me. He said, “I’m going to give you one more go at this” – this never happens, by the way – “I’m going to give you one more go because I feel like you’re it.” By that point I had done my homework and read the books and I walked in and did it once and he screamed, “That’s it!” And they filmed it and I got the part.
DM: What do you think you did differently?
NT: I feel like I was just in it. Before I had no idea what was going on. Before my third audition I sat in a trailer and I watched all of the movies and I loved them.
DM: Do you remember how you felt when you read the last book?
NT: Very intense. Suddenly you see my parents in the book and my mom is supposed to look exactly like Bellatrix. It was intense. And I love the fact that Tonks is pregnant. That she got married in the middle of all this chaos. It’s like she thought it would be a really good idea to get married and get pregnant and keep fighting.
I just reread the bit where Lupin tries to join Harry, Ron and Hermione on their journey and Harry gets really angry at him because Harry’s lost his parents and he says the one thing you should never do is run away from your wife and your kid. That was quite a cool thing for Harry to do. Tonks is over the moon and Lupin is freaking out. I ask you: What’s wrong with a sterile wolf cub that changes color? It’d be lovely. He’d be the coolest kid at school.
DM: Right, but it doesn’t end so well for Tonks.
NT: Like a lot of people, I love a bit of blood and gore. I was a bit sad that Tonks didn’t get a death scene in the book! I was really hoping that Bellatrix would kill me in midair while I’m stabbing her with a wand. But apparently you just see me dead. But I love that you get to see my son when he’s older.
DM: Back to the “Deathly Hallows” script. What specifically made it so good for you?
NT: I like the last because it’s trial times. You really get a sense of what everyone is worth. There’s a point where Ron leaves and I was like, “Wow, Ron actually isn’t up for it for a bit.” Also, I really got a sense in the script that while Harry is important, it’s his mates that do a lot. Actually, if he didn’t have these two mates he really wouldn’t be winning. He needs everyone to believe. It’s quite an interesting concept because then you ask, well, is it interchangeable? Could it be anyone else that could have been the Chosen One?
— Denise Martin
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Photo credit: Warner Bros.