It felt like the end of an era, says Game of Thrones actress Nathalie Emmanuel about the show's final season

A chat with Nathalie Emmanuel on the Fast & Furious franchise, notorious GoT parties, and the price of fame

Nandita Ravi Published :  10th August 2018 06:00 AM   |   Published :   |  10th August 2018 06:00 AM

Nathalie Emmanuel

Missandei on Game of Thrones is Khaleesi’s trusted advisor and a true friend in need. And in real life, British actress Nathalie Emmanuel, who plays Missandei, admits that she is no different. “I am a private person. I have a small group of friends, an intimate family, who I rely on and who rely on me. They keep me grounded,” begins Nathalie. Ahead of the TV premiere of her film The Fate of the Furious (2017), we chat up the 29-year-old actress on her role as a hacker, dealing with the sudden fame that came to her after the success of Game of Thrones and working on sets that are inclusive of actors from different cultures.

Ramsey rules
Nathalie first joined the Fast and Furious franchise for Furious 7 (2015), as Ramsey, a whiz at hacking computers is also an ally of Vin Diesel. Ask her what is different in The Fate of the Furious, and she says, “Ramsey is very much a part of the gang now. She came in the last film and wasn’t really adjusting well,” She feels that she can relate better to the character this time. “We are both very independent, smart and have a dry sense of humour. But in terms of hacking abilities, I will be honest; I get locked out of my email, more than I would like to admit (laughs).”

A still from The Fate of the Furious

Being inclusive 
The franchise is a happy mix of people of different ethnicities, backgrounds and races, something that was an instant draw to Nathalie. “It is very important to me that film and TV reflect the worlds that we live in. It was an eye-opening experience because the majority of the set is mostly white and mostly men. In more recent years, the whole world is a bit more focused on inclusivity but that has been happening for over 15 years in this franchise alone. I am always very enthusiastic to be a part of that kind of conversation,” she explains.

The price of fame
Her biggest claim to fame is Game of Thrones (2013).  Life changed overnight for her, with her Instagram followers shooting up to 3 million in a matter of days. Then there was also being recognised on the streets. “It is a process, dealing with this fame,” she says. “When I first started getting recognised the reaction was anxiety, a kind of fear of the unknown. It has taken a lot of time to just acknowledge that it is different now. When Fast & Furious happened, it was such a big shift once again. It felt international and it was another level of adjustment.” 
With the show’s end approaching Nathalie feels she will miss the cast and crew, who are like family now. “HBO throws us these notorious premiere parties, and the last one was so special because it was one of the last ones. We had Snow Patrol perform live. The cast hung back after the party and we were all just reminiscing. It felt like the end of an era, and we were trying to make the most of it.”