Emmy-nominated actress Nathalie Emmanuel is best known for her remarkable performance in the role of Missandei in the critically acclaimed HBO series Game of Thrones. She also made a mark as Ramsey in the seventh and eighth installments of the blockbuster film series Fast and the Furious. Now, Emmanuel stars in the lead role of Evie in Columbia Pictures’ new horror thriller The Invitation.
After the death of her mother and having no other known relatives, Evie (Emmanuel) takes a DNA test…and discovers a long-lost cousin she never knew she had. Invited by her newfound family to a lavish wedding in the English countryside, she’s at first seduced by the sexy aristocrat host but is soon thrust into a nightmare of survival as she uncovers twisted secrets in her family’s history and the disturbing intentions behind their generosity.
Emmanuel was attracted by Evie’s story being given a modern point of view. “Marriage can be a beautiful thing, but if you think about it, a long time ago, marriages were made so that two families could further their prosperity, in money or land,” says Emmanuel. “We’re making that modern. Times have changed and Evie has real power and agency. When things take a turn, she is going to fight back.”
Emmanuel’s portrayal of Evie is as a very compassionate person, in a way that doesn’t fit in with her newfound family. “When she gets to the castle, she introduces herself to the maids, she gets to know their names and who they are as people – to the horror of her aristocratic English family,” says director Jessica M. Thompson. “She sees humans as humans, and not as a class or status. And she maintains that throughout the film – if she’s going to go down, she’s going to go down fighting for these women, to save them from her fate.”
For producer Emile Gladstone, part of the key was setting up Evie as a character yearning for something. “There really isn’t a nightmare unless there’s a dream first,” he says. “It starts off Gatsby-esque and inspirational: Evie goes to this incredible wedding and finds this incredible guy, and finally thinks the worm has turned for her. And then the penny drops, and the dream turns to nightmare.”
“Nathalie has a beautiful presence,” shares Thompson. “She’s the most empathetic person – she really feels deeply for her characters and finds the humanity in them. All of the nuances – from the way she wears her clothes, to the way she creates her art, to the way she honors her mother… all of those little details give Evie so much breath and life.”
In Philippine cinemas August 24, The Invitation is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. Connect with the hashtag #InvitationMovie