Interview with Natalia Tena

We’re excited to bring you a series of exclusive interviews with members of the Game of Thrones cast. Kicking things off is our interview with fan-favorite Natalia Tena. Natalia plays the character Osha in the show. The Osha of the novels is a hardened 50-something wildling woman, so when they cast the beautiful Tena in the role, some fans were left scratching their heads. But so good was her take on the character that none can doubt now that she was a great choice for the role. The fans even voted her the Best Supporting Actress of season one in our WiCnet Awards and George R. R. Martin has gone out of his way to praise her work several times.

But that’s not all Natalia is known for. She is perhaps best known for her role as Nymphadora Tonks in the Harry Potter films. She is also a talented musician and her band, Molotov Jukebox, has been slowly building a fan base playing gigs in the UK and is set to release their second EP on May 21st.

Nat took some time out of her busy schedule of touring with her band and filming a movie in Spain to answer a few of my burning questions…

Winter is Coming: I know you can’t get into any details, but how was filming for season two? How do you think this season will compare to last season?

Natalia Tena: Funny, cold, plus got to meet some more cast that joined season 2 and they are absolute gems!!!

WiC: You have a lot of scenes opposite Isaac Hempstead-Wright who plays Bran Stark. Tell us a little about working with Isaac.

NT: He’s a dude!! He’s attentive, focused and playful. I think he’s a banging person.

WiC: Last season the direwolves were played by real dogs, and while they were cute, they reportedly had trouble following direction. This season they’ve decided to use CGI wolves instead [Ed. note: since asking this question, it has come to light that they may be using a combination of CGI, animatronics and live animals]. Which is harder, acting with real animals or imaginary ones?

NT: Last year it was tricky working with them because in scenes where the dogs were meant to growl at you they would instead come up and lick your face!!! They where beautiful!! I got to have practice with CGI doing Harry Potter so it wasn’t as hard the 2nd time.

WiC: Osha has a very distinct hairstyle, I like to call it “wildling chic.” So is that your real hair or just a wig?

NT: Hahahaha, wilding chic!!! It was my hair! They back combed the hell out of it so I would look like crazy medieval bag lady! The best is when I didn’t have time to sort it out before getting on a flight to Berlin to play with my band Molotov Jukebox when we supported The Kooks last November and I would get amazing looks and stares from airport security!

WiC: You played Nymphadora Tonks in the Harry Potter films. With Game of Thrones now sky rocketing in popularity, when out in public, are you recognized more for Tonks or more for Osha?

NT: I’m hardly ever recognised!! Sometimes I’ll get someone [that will] stare at me and ask ‘do I know you from somewhere?’ to which I answer ‘the pub?’

WiC: We totally appreciate the fact that you did a video thank-you for winning Favorite Supporting Actress on Did it surprise you that Osha resonated so strongly with the fans?

NT: YES!! Didn’t think that anyone would even notice me!!!

WiC: George R. R. Martin was quoted as saying you were one of those rare people who had played her character different from the one he had written in his books, and in a positive way. So much so he’s thought about subtly changing the book Osha to have a few of your character’s qualities. What is your response to that? And how did you approach the character in your audition and then the actual filming?

NT: I’D NEVER HEARD THAT!! I’m so chuffed he said that, wow!! When I went to the audition I wore a long scraggy brown dress I had and put a garland of ivy I had found at a festival on my head and went in thinking what sort of animal she would be. I thought a leopard, controlled and ready to pounce, so that’s what I went for! I’m so lucky they liked it!

WiC: When season one was airing, you said you read all 4 books. Have you had a chance to read the 5th book yet? Do you think having read all the books has helped you in playing your role?

NT: I BOUGHT IT IMMEDIATELY!! I love the books, I literally cannot wait till the next book!!!! Reading the books definitely helps you get into the mindset of the world of Game of Thrones and therefore massively helps you slot your character into that universe.

WiC: You are very passionate about music. Where did your love of music come from? What other bands/musicians are you a fan of?

NT: My love of music comes from as long as I remember. I begged my mum to learn piano for a year when I was 4, she wanted to make sure I was serious and I wanted to be Chuck Berry when I grew up!!! We were a very musical family, my mum would play guitar and her, my dad and aunt would sing and harmonize!! I love Tom Waits, Amy Winehouse, Aretha Franklin, Otis Reading, Buena Vista Social club.

WiC: So if given the choice between super-stardom as an actress or a musician, which would you choose?

NT: Both, simultaneously!!

WiC: Any other upcoming projects of yours we should be on the lookout for?

NT: Our EP release on the 21st of May and on the acting side I’m currently filming in Seville and Madrid ‘The Blind Man of Seville’ the first in the epic criminal series, I’m absolutely loving it, plus the cities are so beautiful, it makes you want to weep!!


Winter Is Coming: Thanks so much to Natalia for the interview! We’re really looking forward to seeing more of her as Osha in season two. In addition, you can see her in the film Bel Ami, alongside fellow Potter alum Robert Pattinson, which opens tomorrow in select theaters. Lastly, be sure to check out her band, Molotov Jukebox. Below is the video for their song “I Need It” and you can follow them on Facebook and Twitter.