VARIETY – The last time we saw Daenerys Targaryen at the end of Season 5 of “Game of Thrones,” things didn’t look good for the Queen of Meereen: she was being overtaken by a horde of Dothraki. Now, on the cusp of the April 24 premiere of the HBO masterpiece’s sixth season, Emilia Clarke offers a few cryptic hints about what’s in store.
What’s in store for Daenerys this season?
Oh, a lot’s happened this next season! Every season’s really difficult as to the anticipation of what’s going to come out. I say this every season, but I mean it more than ever this time, this is the biggest thing. I’m going to be surprised if people’s televisions don’t explode, like actually explode or computers have to be pushed aside. It’s huge, it’s ridiculously huge. I remember reading the scripts and being like, “So, everything we’ve ever managed to do in one entire season, we’re like doubling and putting into Season 6?” It’s astonishing. It’s really, truly astonishing how much work has been done out of one season. It’s the biggest, baddest season so far, for sure.
How did it feel going into this season where there are no more books to follow? Did it feel different for you as an actor?
I think everyone was like, “What’s going to happen?” We’ve all known and now we don’t know what’s going to go on. From day one [showrunners Dan Weiss and David Benioff] make everyone feel confident. They keep things from us in a good way. I can be like, “Guys, let’s go for a drink.” Three drinks in, I’ll be like, “So, does Daenerys die or does she win?” They don’t want to tell me. They’ll joke about it but they won’t ever tell you. There’s a beautiful thing about them really kind of making sure that the actor’s getting what they need and not knowing too much.
Coming into this season, there was even more of that. It’s kind of exciting. The whole cast gets sent the scripts ahead of filming, so let’s say we start filming in June. At the end of May, we’ll all get the script. We’re all texting each other saying, “Oh my God.” There’s a big moment when you get your script. This season was epic with that one. Everyone was much more like, “What is going to happen?” It just means that there’s even more fairy dust in the air.
I think they’ve done pretty well so far with the books, so I’m confident that the people, the fans aren’t going to be disappointed, that much is certain.
What’s your relationship with them on set?
They are one of the few continuous presences on set. They are literally there every day. Every day that they can be there, they are there for someone, for one character or another. They are on set making sure that you’re okay, making sure that everything is cool, cracking jokes, keeping the environment relaxed and fun… because they keep killing everyone. In the current script you’re reading, you make friends and they die. Then you make friends, and they die.
Dan and Dave are my closest mates on set. I totally consider them my friends. They are always trying to set me up with someone. It’s the funniest thing. I’m always like, “Can we talk about the characters?” And they’re like, “We’ve got this new guy for you. We think he’d be really good for you.” It’s just magic, working with them. They’re so full of life and funny. You see it in the writing. You have to be incredibly intelligent to be that funny.
I think there’s just that secret rule at “Game of Thrones” that’s the No Asshole Rule. I don’t know how they’ve done it, but there aren’t any assholes who work on our show. There just aren’t any in any department, in any cast. You have to be this nice, cool, funny, intelligent person to work on the show. I think they set the precedent because it happens from the top down. They set the tone for everyone, even if you wanted to be an asshole. You just couldn’t. It wouldn’t be allowed.
GLAMOUR: What kind of kid were you?
EMILIA CLARKE: I was the drama kid. I wanted to be in the popular crowd, desperately, and I never was. I was hanging on to their coattails like, “Be my friend!”
GLAMOUR: Your mother is a vice president at a management consultancy. What did you learn from her?
EC: My dad worked away a lot, on tour, so my mom would pick my brother and me up from school. She’d be on a conference call on loudspeaker while hanging out with us, so I’d be listening and saying things like, “I don’t think John knows what he’s talking about.” I absorbed a business mentality. In terms of feminist issues, my mom never told me, like, “It’s gonna be tough. You’ve got boobs.” But I saw that there was no difference between my mom and my dad in terms of what they were capable of because of their genders.
GLAMOUR: You went to acting school. Can great acting be taught?
EC: They taught me to invest myself, feel vulnerable, commit to a character. But it was an uphill struggle. I never got cast as Juliet. There were some rarefied beauties my year; they were blond, knew Shakespeare, had all the right things. With me, they’d be like, “Can you play the Jewish grandmother?” “Uh-huh! Sure!”
GLAMOUR: You’ve joked that after you told your dad you wanted to become an actress, he said the only line you’d ever need to learn would be “Do you want fries with that?”
EC: He gets so upset with me [for joking about that]: “Milly, stop saying that I’ve said these terrible things.”
GLAMOUR: But there is an element of genuine worry in that: Jesus, that’s a tough job.
EC: If I had kids and they asked, Do you want [me] to be an actor? I would say, If there’s anything else that you can imagine doing, do that—’cause there’s so much heartache and failure and sh-ttiness that doesn’t get on the front of the magazine.
GLAMOUR: Before you landed Game of Thrones, you worked as a telemarketer to make your rent. Were you good at it?
EC: I was upselling for charities: “Thank you for giving five pounds a month; have you considered giving six-pounds-fifty?” Soul-destroying. People responded by saying things like, “You evil person. I’ve just lost someone close to me.” I did four shifts and walked out.
ESQUIRE – Years ago, when I was a grad student, I worked at an ice cream shop in Oxford called George & Davis’. Students from Teddies, one of the local private schools just up the road, used to come in all the time. One of them was Emilia Clarke.
She’s twenty-eight now, one of the stars of Game of Thrones, the mother not just of dragons but of John Connor in the latest Terminator movie, and Esquire’s Sexiest Woman Alive. It’s Sunday lunchtime. I was supposed to be taking my kids to Legoland. But I’m not—I’m going to interview Emilia.
My taxi pulls up at a house in Hampstead, an inner London suburb. Academics and writers used to live there. Now only bankers and lawyers and movie stars can afford it—you hear a lot of American accents on the street. Emilia’s house is part of a beautiful Georgian “terrace” (English for a section of row houses) with long front lawns, pretty pastel-colored stucco walls, big windows you can step out of. It’s just across the road from Hampstead Heath: eight hundred acres of hills, hedgerows, and countryside in the middle of London.
The weather is classic English summer’s day. It rained the night before, it will rain later that evening, but at lunchtime there’s a kind of chilly truce and the overcast sky has a certain brightness to it. Emilia comes out of the house to meet me—the buzzer isn’t working, and she shouts instructions apologetically from the doorstep as I fumble with the garden gate. She’s wearing dark jeans and low cowboy boots and a cloud-soft and cloud-colored cashmere top.
“I’m sorry if I’m shouting,” she tells me. “I was at a Metallica concert last night.”
Be sure to check in the gallery, the beautiful outtakes from the Esquire related photoshoot! Emilia looks SPLENDID! She’s just so so gorgeous! Scans from the issue will be added as soon as I get my hands on it. Enjoy these for now:
Emilia spoke with the Los Angeles Time about her Emmy’s nomination:
I was, hilariously, I was at the doctor’s waiting to go in [when I found out I was nominated]. It was a very embarrassing moment. There’s a lovely British girl waiting in the doctor’s office, and you’ve got the best news ever, and you’re very excited and a bit loud on the phone. All you want to do is just scream and shout, and you have all these people glaring at you thinking, ‘What is that woman on?’ So, yeah, I had to try and contain my excitement for that moment. But it was pretty brilliant nonetheless.
THE SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE – The secret about overnight success in Hollywood is that it never actually happens that way.
To the casual observer, Emilia Clarke might look like one of the lucky ones: The young British actress was seemingly plucked out of the ether to star as Daenerys Targaryen on HBO’s wildly popular “Game of Thrones.” Just a few years later, she was chosen to make the leap to a summer blockbuster as Sarah Connor, one of action’s most iconic heroines, in “Terminator Genisys,” out Wednesday.
The ebullient Clarke, who nearly jumped out of her seat to answer questions in a recent interview, is the first to stress that she’s lucky to have reached these heights by age 28. But her path to playing some of the big and small screen’s most powerful women wasn’t exactly laid out before her.
Though Clarke is not from a royal Hollywood bloodline, she likes to say that she “grew up backstage” at the theaters of London, where her father was a sound designer. Clarke has also said she wanted to act since she was 3 years old, although that makes her laugh now.
“It was one of the first interviews I’d ever done and it was like, pick a number, any number, and I was like, ‘Let’s go with 3. Sure. Why not?’ Basically I just wanted to say from very young. I just can’t even think of a time in my life where I didn’t want to be an actor,” she said.
After hearing her prattle on for years about acting ambitions, her parents trotted her out to look at a drama school when she was 11. Clarke was terrified.
She saw the other kids in the school, hyper serious and driven, and decided she wanted to stay with her regular studies, work hard and get good grades, “just in case.”
If she still wanted to be a part of that world when she turned 18, she would go to drama school.
Awaiting my slot with the breakout star of HBO’s wildly successful series Game of Thrones, I’m already getting the impression the 28-year-old Brit isn’t anything like Daenerys Targaryen, the character she plays in the show.
It’s testament to the popularity of Clarke’s flaxen-haired heroine, aka Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, that she’ll be pulling in a reported $7 million salary by the time the series hits its seventh season (Season Five has just finished airing). And while she might have dismissed the figure as “not even close”, her star is undoubtedly about to go thermonuclear.
We’re here today to talk Terminator Genisys – the latest instalment of the series that began in 1984, in which Clarke reprises the role of the gun-toting warrior woman Sarah Connor opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger. The movie has blockbuster written all over it and is being billed as her ticket to the big time. Once I’m ushered into her suite, I’m greeted with the warmest of hellos and a huge, engaging smile. A petite 1.57m, Clarke’s flowing brunette hair frames a face that’s a step up from girl-next-door pretty, while a tight cream top and flirty skirt by Proenza Schouler hint at the curves that have, in part, thanks to plenty of nude scenes in the early days of Thrones, made her famous.
She must be too young to remember the original Terminator, I note. “Aw, bless you!” she trills. “But I was very aware of it. Sarah Connor is such an iconic character and there really was this mantle to uphold. But the beauty of this script is that it takes James Cameron’s original characters and puts them in an entirely new scenario, with a new history and everything.”
But while her backstory has been tweaked, Connor (played by a muscular Linda Hamilton in the original franchise) is still the kind of woman who catches bullets in her teeth for breakfast. For Clarke, preparing for the role meant: “Gun training. Lots of gun training. And they said I was really good… but then I was the one holding the gun!” From there: “It was just a case of putting on those Doc Martens and feeling like a badass.”