NEW YORK, NEW YORK – NOVEMBER 25: Natalia Dyer takes part in SAG-AFTRA Foundation Conversations: “Stranger Things” at The Robin Williams Center on November 25, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
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HFPA in Conversation: Natalia Dyer Goes Back to High School

Natalia Dyer is best known for her role as Nancy Wheeler on Stranger Things. The Tennessee born actress faced another kind of challenge when she accepted a role in her latest movie Yes, God, Yes. She plays a 16-year-old catholic girl growing up in the Midwest in the early 2000s. 

“It follows Alice and her dealing with the feelings that come up around her sense of sexuality and all the funny and heartbreaking and confusing things that ensue in that setting. It’s about high school and navigating your peer groups and the beliefs that you hold and the sort of intuition,” Dyer tells HFPA journalist Kristien Gijbels. 

The movie is based on a short film that Dyer starred in 2017. It is also has the same director, Karen Maine. “She wrote this story, it was her script. And she had worked on this film that I really liked called Obvious Child a few years before. So, when I got the chance to look at her script, I thought it was really interesting and funny and something that I really hadn’t seen before in a role and a story. I think she has such a good mix of strength, but also of listening to people, being a strong woman on set.

Dyer could relate to her character. High school in general is a hard time. “You are figuring yourself out and you want to fit in, but you kind of want to be yourself, there’s a lot of confusing things going on, especially if your school and your entire peer group is of a certain mindset, in Alice’s case catholic.”

Dyer also went to religious school herself in her younger years. “I think one way that I maybe relate to Alice is just there comes a time when you sort of realize, if you grew up with all these ideas around you and you just take them for that, that this is how life is. But then I guess for some people, and it comes at different times and places in their life, but you realize that oh, that’s not what everybody thinks, there’s ways to think about things, there’s other ideas going around. I think that there’s definitely some parallels, but I didn’t go to a Catholic school.”

Listen to the podcast and hear how she reacts to the feedback she gets from the audience; why she is not watching herself on TV or movies; how her lockdown in Atlanta has been so far; how she describes working with the Duffer Brothers on Stranger Things, how was her first day on the set and what was she thinking about 80s clothes and surviving without internet; is she worried that her character Nancy won’t make it to the end?; how she likes to work with green screen and crazy monsters; how she got into acting and whether her parents were supportive; what is her dream role; how she feels about being famous; what makes her extra anxious at red-carpet events; what kind of new red-carpet trend she would like to start; how she feels when people approach her during the Covid-19 pandemic; whether she has time to self-reflect; how has it been sharing a house with other people during the quarantine; and where she sees herself 10 years from now.