Natalia Tena – Itd be amazing to return to Harry Potter for HBO
Announcement trailer for Harry Potter Max original series
Natalie Tena is the type of person whose infectious smile can be felt through the other side of a phone call. “We only get one life!” she bellows while walking somewhere through London with her dog (a grumpy chihuahua mix), chatting about her new feel-good romantic comedy Up on the Roof.
“I have to remind myself,” she chuckled. “I go running a lot in cemeteries to kind of remind myself that everyone’s going to die. Take chances, do s**t, don’t sit on your a**e! It empowers me and inspires me to just get on with it.”
Although Tena is a bonafide Hollywood icon, she seems to have the ability to float under the radar a little. I’ve no idea how, considering she previously held down the main role of Osha in HBO’s Game of Thrones, as well as appeared in a Star Wars TV show, The Mandalorian, and Netflix’s Black Mirror. Not to mention Nymphadora Tonks in the Harry Potter franchise. Most recently, she took on the role of the sister of John Wick’s sister, Katia Jovanovich, in John Wick 4.
But, between jumping around multi-million dollar sets, she takes time to work on smaller independent romantic comedies – like Up on the Roof. A picture about two lovers who, decades ago, lost their connection, but after a classic meet-cute moment, are left pondering whether now is the right time to give love a second chance.
Thankfully, this kind of subject matter came naturally to Tena.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Tena confessed: “I’ve always been an incredible risk-taker with love. I get very much led by the heart – but I’m very f***ing lucky. I’ve been with my fella [for] 15 years. But yeah, I think it’s always important to take chances, always keep going forward.”
This is something her character, Emily, has to deal with when she’s met with her once-boyfriend Stephan (played by Piotr Adamczyk). And when she’s tasked with tearing her guard down, panic ensues.
Tena confessed letting her guard down was something that she was all too familiar with, as well: “I think all of us have been vulnerable in love, and not wanted to show our hands. That’s a pretty common thing that happens. Whether it’s with a new boyfriend or a new partner.”
Up on the Roof is a story tinged with heartbreak and anguish – on both sides of the camera. The movie’s title track was the last song recorded by UB40’s Brian Travers before he tragically died in 2021. (He also brought the song to life with The Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde, who recorded her vocals in lockdown.)
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Tena strived to see the good in the character and the story, however. “Every time you get a different character you approach it from so many different ways,” she mused. Sometimes I think of a close friend – and when I read [Up on the Roof] it really reminded me of a friend a few years ago, and where she was in this life. And I was like: ‘I’m just going to be that person!’ That’s how I kind of entered it.”
It’s a technique Tena uses to get the most out of her characters, and luckily, this time around it ended well for her friend (“She had a great ending! Very, very happy.”)
It’s painfully clear that Tena has a real passion for bringing her characters to life in different ways through various projects. She’s endlessly bubbly and excited to talk about her old jobs – as if they were fleeting love affairs she has enjoyed over the years.
So it’s no wonder she’s so excited by the recently announced reboot of the Harry Potter series.
Tena played, perhaps, the most beloved side character in the entire franchise: Nymphadora Tonks. The shapeshifting witch who tragically lost her life alongside her husband, Remus Lupin, during a battle with Lord Voldemort’s Death Eaters.
Last month, HBO announced they will be adapting JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series from scratch once again – but this time, in TV show format.
Tena heard about this reboot through a friend and recalled: “I was like, ugh, do you think… I could get a role now? But as a teacher?! That would be amazing!”
Tena went on to stress she has “no idea” how HBO is going to bring the beloved series to life this time, but she is all ears.
“I’m quite interested in [what] their take on it will be,” she said. “But yes, I would absolutely love to be an older witch.”
Looking past the show and movies, Tena was keen to stamp out any criticisms of the source material. The impassioned actress announced: “I think the books are great. I’ve loved how it’s still… there are still things in it that are relevant.
“What I love about it is, essentially, there’s a kid being abused by his family – you know, dealing with child abuse – and assimilating death, helping children understand death, but also realising family – your family – doesn’t have to be your biological family. You can find family everywhere. I think that’s such a wonderful message.”
With her trademark cackle, she added: “And we love magic! We love dragons and witches and wizards and all that good stuff!”
Up on the Roof is out now.
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