She's still on the brink of breaking out into mega mainstream stardom, but Natalie Dormer's in a pretty awesome place in her career. From The Tudors, to Game Of Thrones, to Elementary, she's played a string of truly complex, layered women, something that shouldn't be a feat in this day and age but certainly is. But the problem is, there's a dearth of the kind of characters Dormer's such an expert at playing in Hollywood.
The Mockingjay actress lays it all out in her profile for Flare:
'We don’t have enough young, female antiheroes. We don’t accept women as antiheroes the way we do the men. Unless there’s a family get-out clause.' She cites Katey Sagal’s character in Sons of Anarchy and Tatiana Maslany’s in Orphan Black. 'We accept women being complete c-nts if they’re doing it for a child.'
Looking at the evidence, that certainly rings true: One of the only major female cable antiheroes of the era where white dude antiheroes ruled cable television was Nancy Botwin of Weeds, whose motivation for entering the drug trade initially revolved around scraping by an income for herself and her kids after the death of her husband. Orange Is the New Black and Girls are two modern examples of that starting to change — they don't seem all that concerned with the "likability" of their leading ladies, and children are rarely a major factor. We don't just need less of a reliance on likability, we need a range of these characters that 1) covers a wider racial, physical, sexual, and ideological spectrum, and 2) relies less often on children or romantic interests as motivation.
TV's always had more older female villains — it's that Disney trope that women over 35 fall turn into witches or hags or are the main character's mothers who die — but we certainly could use more of what Dormer's describing. TV and film, take note: More Gone Girls, more Natalie Dormers, less baby steps.