Nathalie Emmanuel Explains The Outlander Easter Egg In The Invitation, And Why It Makes Sense For Her Horror Character

Sony Pictures Entertainment’s upcoming feature The Invitation is being advertised as a horror movie… and it’s certainly that. But the label doesn’t tell the whole story being laid out by co-writer and director Jessica M. Thompson. Those who check out the movie in theaters will discover an undercurrent of Gothic Romanticism, as Game of Thrones standout Nathalie Emmanuel embarks on a journey across the pond to attend a mysterious wedding, and finds herself falling in love with the dashing Thomas Doherty. 

I started to get an indication that The Invitation was striving for something out of the ordinary and beyond the hinting of its packaging when Nathalie Emmanuel’s character, Evie, sported a t-shirt in an early scene for the wildly popular Starz program Outlander. Fans of that show – and other shows just like it – know that it’s largely an historical drama series, but it also embraces time travel and sci-fi fantasy, taking its storyline to new levels. So the moment the Outlander mention surfaced, I started waiting for another shoe to drop. And as Emmanuel told me during a recent press day, all of that was intentional. As were the costume choices made throughout the movie. 

Evie evolves into a luxurious Renaissance portrait as the movie progresses. Some of it could be grooming by Thomas Doherty’s character, Walter. The rest of it involves Evie taking control of her situation, as Emmanuel tells us:

I think when we meet Evie, she’s got a very mismatched, thrift store, artistic, colorful – you know, it’s things that she’s acquired over her travels, and gifted from her mom. She’s very creative in her fashion. And then even just having the cultural reference of Outlander on her t-shirt, it just gives her a sense of who she is and the things she likes. It’s cool. It’s almost like a real expression of her personality, through her clothes.

The Invitation begins with Evie in New York City, starting to open up a can of worms involving her ancestry through a process that’s similar to 23 and Me. The results of her genetic test point her to a family she never knew she had in the UK, and so she ventures off to a family wedding being held with her “relatives” to get to know her family better. 

Nathalie Emmanuel goes on the explain that as Evie’s journey goes on, and she finds herself being controlled by these new family members, the clothing choices made in The Invitation reflect this, as well. Emmanuel tells CinemaBlend:

Her look becomes much more uniformed, much more proper, and traditional, in a way. Conventional, for their world, and their traditions and their culture. It’s received as this very generous gift. But it’s obviously to try and make her into something that she isn’t, as well.

And that’s before you even get to the hook of The Invitation which, if you don’t yet know it, has nothing to do with time travel or Gothic romance. So if you want to go into it unspoiled, stop reading about it online and just head to the theaters to check it out. If you are a big fan of Nathalie Emmanuel, either because of Game of Thrones or her run in the Fast & Furious movies, we have a list of her upcoming movies. And you know that The Invitation belongs on our list of Upcoming Horror Movies landing in multiplexes this year, so bookmark that and stay up to date.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.