Born and raised in London, Natalie Stone had a flair to drama from an early age, appearing in stageshows as a child before gaining a scholarships through her talents. Eventually she relocated to the United States to study at the prestigious Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, before making her television debut in Casanova’s Love Letters. In 2006 Stone appeared in the low budget exploitation homage Werewolf in a Women’s Prison, a movie that paid tribute to both The Howling and the women-in-prison flicks of the 1970s.
Her next substantial role came a year later with 30,000 Leagues Under the Sea, which would lead to further productions such as Allan Quatermain and the Temple of Skulls and Richard III. After returning to the small screen for 10 Dates from Hell, Stone appeared in the Oscar Wilde documentary Wilde Salomé, directed by Hollywood icon Al Pacino.
Natalie Stone discusses her experiences in the industry and her thoughts on how women are portrayed in modern cinema.
Although you weren’t born in America, your career was launched after you studied at the acclaimed Method Technique at the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute. What do you recall of your time there and what impact did this have on your life?
I really enjoyed studying there; it was very intense but I had always been fascinated by his teaching and the Method Technique. I had no choice but to cross the pond and study there!!! It had a great impact on my life; I ended up staying in LA after the course and working on films there rather than going back to London as planned.
Which would you consider to be your first substantial role and did you find that being English caused difficulties being cast in American movies?
I would probably consider 30,000 Leagues Under the Sea my first substantial role, as I was the lead opposite Lorenzo Lamas and it is aired all the time. Being English has not caused difficulties for me, as often the role has been changed accordingly, but I don’t get to audition for as many American parts as I would like to.
Your first feature after relocating to the states was the B-movie Werewolf in a Women’s Prison. Were you dubious about being cast in a low budget horror that was filled with nudity and did this cause any issues for you during the production?
Yes of course I was dubious. I was not familiar with the script at casting but I knew that the leading roles I wanted to audition for involved nudity, which I wasn’t prepared to do and there was no way around it. I ended up taking a smaller role. To be honest, ’till I saw it I had no idea how much nudity was in it but I enjoyed filming; it was my first film and the director, who has become a friend of mine, had a great attitude that I think the girls involved in those scenes found it easier.
Many actors reluctantly begin their careers with horror before moving onto more ‘respectable’ material. Do you consider your earlier B-movies something to be ashamed of or are you a fan of the genre?
I am a fan of the genre and am not ashamed of them, but at the same time I don’t advertise them either. It does not exactly showcase your acting talent. As much as I would love my first role to be the Oscar-winning acting piece, I would rather be working and learning on set than waiting; the whole production of films interests me.
Young actresses are often under pressure in the industry to strip for their roles, while magazine shoots to promote their films will sometimes include scantily-clad photo shoots. How do you feel about this and have you had to deal with similar obstacles?
Yes, it may be the case that you lose roles if you are not prepared to strip, but you don’t want to do something you regret later or feel uncomfortable doing. I think the only time I felt pressure is when I had to let the role go, but I don’t regret any of those choices. I have not come across the role that I would strip for yet, but I wouldn’t write it off if I felt it justified. I recently did a play where I had to strip and, as challenging as that was, and believe me there were a lot of obstacles I had to deal with, it was a very rewarding experience too.
If I am in a film where I am scantily clad, I would have no objection doing a photo shoot to reflect this. I don’t think there is anything wrong with a sexy photo shoot; women are beautiful, why not embrace it?