Why Natalie From Love Hard Looks So Familiar
Netflix has a new romantic comedy coming soon, complete with a love triangle and a holiday setting. Directed by Hernán Jiménez and written by Danny Mackey and Rebecca Ewing, “Love Hard” follows an unlucky-in-love woman, Natalie (Nina Dobrev), who thinks she has finally met her match, a man named Josh. Natalie decides to surprise Josh in his hometown over the holidays — only to discover that Josh (Jimmy O. Yang) has catfished her, using photos of another man in town, Tag (Darren Barnet of “Never Have I Ever”). As an apology for catfishing her, Josh agrees to help Natalie date Tag — though it seems like Josh and Natalie may fall in love along the way.
It’s the perfect rom-com for the holiday season and will likely be watched by many Netflix users when it hits the streaming site on November 5. And while you’re watching, you may be struck by how familiar the lead, Natalie, looks. Natalie is played by Nina Dobrev, who has been acting for nearly two decades and has just under 50 acting credits to her name (via IMDB). If you’re wondering where Dobrev has popped up before, these are some of her most notable projects.
A young Dobrev starred in Degrassi: The Next Generation
Nina Dobrev’s breakout role came in 2006 when she began her recurring role on the sixth season of the teen drama “Degrassi: The Next Generation.” Portraying Mia Jones, Dobrev was made a lead cast member for seasons seven and eight. Mia is a teen mother who had her daughter Izzy at just age 13. After transferring to Degrassi from another school, Mia has a few tumultuous relationships, including with J.T. (Ryan Cooley), who tragically dies when he is stabbed by another student, and with Peter (Jamie Johnston), whose crystal meth addiction ultimately leads to the end of their relationship. She also pursues modeling while in school, finding it hard to balance the two, and ultimately moves to Europe to pursue it professionally.
In 2018, Dobrev appeared on Live with Kelly and Ryan and discussed how special it was to reunite with her “Degrassi” co-stars to appear in Drake’s (who starred for many years on “Degrassi” before his music career took off ) music video, “I’m Upset.” Dobrev told the hosts, “It was like a real-life reunion for us as a cast as well, we hadn’t seen each other in over ten years. We shot at the real high school, on the set of ‘Degrassi’ that we shot on when we were 14-years-old. It was really cool to get everyone together.” Elaborating on the reunion, Dobrev told ET Canada, “Getting back into our own stomping ground and running the halls was really special and really cool.”
Dobrev was the star of The Vampire Diaries
Easily her most notable role so far, Nina Dobrev starred in the teen CW drama “The Vampire Diaries” for six seasons from 2009 to 2015. Based on the book series by L.J. Smith, “The Vampire Diaries” follows Elena Gilbert (Dobrev), reeling from the death of her parents in a car accident, who meets and falls in love with a 162-year-old vampire, Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley). Their already complicated romance becomes even more so with the return of Stefan’s brother, Damon (Ian Somerhalder), who plans to bring back the woman that he and Stefan were both in love with, Katherine Pierce — who just so happens to look exactly like Elena (she’s also played by Dobrev). It was quite the feat for Dobrev, who played both characters throughout the first six seasons, and eventually two more doppelgangers, Amara and Tatia. Dobrev decided to exit the show after six seasons — meaning two seasons occurred without her — but returned for the series finale.
Dobrev discussed her time on the show while speaking to The Hollywood Reporter about her decision to leave after Season 6. She said, “The whole show was challenging in different ways throughout the six years. The multiple characters, the hours, creating characters, deaths. I was constantly crying, it felt like. But for that reason, it kept me occupied, I was never bored, it never felt stale. I always came to work excited, and looking forward to the next thing I got to do … I feel like I’ve learned so much and have grown so much because of every single person, and every single person I’ve worked with. They made me who I am, and I’m excited to apply that to the next chapter.”
Dobrev appeared in The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Let's Be Cops
Nina Dobrev had been in a few lesser-known films prior to her career taking off with “The Vampire Diaries,” but 2012’s “The Perks of Being Wallflower” marked her first major film role since she began her TV show. The film follows Charlie (Logan Lerman), a teenager with clinical depression who has recently been discharged from a mental health institution. As he begins his freshman year of high school, he meets seniors Sam (Emma Watson) and Patrick (Ezra Miller) who help him come out of his shy shell. Dobrev played Charlie’s older sister, Candace.
In an interview with Manny the Movie Guy about the film, Dobrev talked about how much it meant to her to be a part of “The Perks of Being a Wallflower. She said, “It’s a really powerful movie and it has a really important message and I am really, really proud to be a part of it.”
Two years later, she moved on to comedy with “Let’s Be Cops” starring two “New Girl” actors, Damon Wayans Jr. and Jake Johnson. The film focuses on two best friends Justin (Wayans Jr.) and Ryan (Johnson) who pretend to be cops after they attend a college reunion in cop uniforms — under the mistaken impression that it was a costume party — and see how much respect they get from their peers while in uniform. Dobrev plays Josie, a waitress at a local diner and Justin’s love interest. When Josie and Justin begin dating, Josie is fully under the impression that Justin is a cop.
Dobrev tried out horror with The Final Girls and Flatliners
In 2015, Nina Dobrev co-starred in “The Final Girls,” a comedy horror film by director Todd Strauss-Schulson. “The Final Girls” follows a group of teens as they find themselves transported into a 1980s cult classic slasher film called “Camp Bloodbath.” Dobrev plays Vicki, the former best friend of protagonist Max (Taissa Farmiga).
Describing her character to Collider, Dobrev said, “I gravitated toward the Vicki role because she’s the mean girl, but she’s the misunderstood mean girl that ultimately we learn to love and understand. I’d never had that opportunity before. And usually the mean girl is very one-dimensional, so I was excited to find one that had a little bit of heart and sadness. She really goes through an arc that is understandable, and I thought that was really fun.”
A few years later, in 2017, Dobrev explored another horror film, this time the sci-fi psychological horror “Flatliners” from director Niels Arden Oplev. “Flatliners,” a remake of the 1990 movie of the same name, focuses on five medical students (including Dobrev’s character Marlo) who begin conducting experiments to try to get a look into the afterlife through near-death experiences.
Dobrev came back to TV with Fam
In 2019, Nina Dobrev returned to TV — this time with a new genre. She starred in the CBS sitcom “Fam” for one season before the series was canceled. In the series, Dobrev plays Clem, a newly engaged woman who is enthusiastic about her future until her life gets turned upside down upon the unexpected arrival of her half-sister Shannon (Odessa Adlon). Shannon is fed up with their father, Freddy (Gary Cole), and wants to live with Clem and her fiancé Nick (Tone Bell). Clem, who has lied to Nick by telling him that her father is dead, must confront the family she was trying to distance herself from.
Around the premiere of “Fam,” Dobrev talked to W Magazine about her role and returning to television. She said, “I wasn’t really looking [for a television project], to be honest. This was an opportunity that came up, and I had never done a sitcom before. I’m a massive fan of ‘Friends,’ and the genre had really intrigued me, but I didn’t know much about it … I was a little apprehensive [about returning to TV] at first, but honestly, finding a great character and great people that you want to work with is such a blessing, and such a great thing.”
Along with “Love Hard,” Dobrev has a slew of other projects coming up. According to IMDB, she’ll next be seen in films “Redeeming Love” and “Sick Girl,” as well as the upcoming TV series “Woman 99.”