But before that we’ll see her in Bel Ami, a big screen adaptation of Guy de Maupassant’s amoral 1885 novel due out next month. She plays a prostitute in a starry cast which includes Uma Thurman, Christina Ricci, Kristin Scott-Thomas and an old friend – Twilight heart-throb Robert Pattinson.
They met in their late teens on a photoshoot for up-and-coming British actors. Afterwards they went to the pub and got drunk. Tena was holding down two bar jobs at the time, so actor Tom Sturridge, also on the shoot, rang her boss and said she’d had an accident and wasn’t coming in. “Needless to say I got fired,” she says. They then decided to go to Berlin, but only got as far as Tena’s flat. She couldn’t find her passport.
“We had this summer of being really close,” she says. “Then I remember Robert taking me out a few months later. He was like, ‘I’m just saying goodbye because I’m going to America for a few months to do some vampire thing.’ I said ‘Cool, I’ll see you when you get back.’” And she explodes into laughter. “Now he’s massive. Literally massive. He used to be like a labrador puppy, but he’s much more mature and serious now.”
So no problem with the sex scene in Bel Ami, then? “Because we know each other, it was cool,” she says. “We just took the piss. I said ‘You just bang me. Can we make it like anal sex, because it looks worse?’”
Like everything else about Natalia Tena, her answer is direct, honest and raucous. She is, in that sense, a rock chick to her bones.
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