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For some reason, Emilia Clarke best remembers the fruit plate.
It was 2010, and the actress was standing before Game of Thrones‘ casting director and several of the show’s producers. But all she could see was the produce. “There was a huge, incredible plateau of fruit,” Clarke, 28, recalls in her chirpy British accent. “I was like, ‘Wow, I’ve arrived. This is a serious audition.’ “
Just one year out of the famed Drama Centre London (other alums include Colin Firth, Michael Fassbender and Tom Hardy), the self-described “country girl” who grew up in Berkshire near Oxford University (where her father is a theater sound engineer and her mom a marketing exec) was struck by the extravagance. But Clarke was auditioning for the role of a queen, Daenerys Targaryen, potential heir to the Iron Throne. And HBO was willing to spend like a Lannister — $8 million for the pilot, $50 million to $60 million for the first season — in order to build the series. The snacks better be good.
Of course, in the five years since, Game of Thrones has become the most successful show in HBO history, surpassing even The Sopranos, with an average 18.4 million viewers an episode across all platforms. The series has grown so big, it’s being used as the cornerstone of HBO’s new business model; it’s no accident that HBO Now — a service that can bypass the cable companies and allows access to its programs via Apple TV for a monthly charge of $15 — is launching right before GOT’s fifth-season premiere April 12.
“Never in a million years did I think Game of Thrones was going to take off like it did,” says Clarke, settling into her chair at a Greenwich Village bistro with a cafe Americano (she lives in London but is in New York for the upcoming GOT publicity blitz). “It’s taken me five years to catch up with it. I’m still not sure I’m there.”
Oh, she’s there. Game of Thrones is a kingdom teeming with ambitious actors hungry for a big break. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau took his shot last spring in the Cameron Diaz rom-com The Other Woman. Kit Harington had his chance playing a gladiator in February 2014’s Pompeii. But Clarke is the only castmember who’ll be stepping onto the big screen with better billing than Arnold Schwarzenegger, starring as no less a film icon than “Sarah f—ing Connor” — as Clarke refers to her — in Terminator: Genisys, Paramount and Skydance’s $170 million reboot of the 31-year-old series (out July 1). She also was, presumably, the only GOT actor approached to play Dakota Johnson’s role in Fifty Shades of Grey (unless Peter Dinklage is hiding something), which she ended up turning down. “No regrets,” she says, sipping her coffee.
LOOK.co.uk – There aren’t many people who can add ‘working with dragons’ to their CV, but Emilia Clarke, 27, is an exception. Next month, she’ll return to our screens, almost certainly winning hearts and conquering her next kingdom, as Game Of Thrones’ most powerful female character Daenerys Targaryen, mother of dragons.
Emilia’s role as a goddess-like figure has turned her into an international star, especially as she spends a lot of time naked on the show. Talking about getting her kit off on TV in front of millions, she laughs about auditioning for the role and being told there might be some nudity involved: “I was given scenes to read and was told there may be nudity – a smidgen, I think, was the word used,” Emilia says. “I read the final script and my jaw dropped to the floor.”
If you haven’t managed to catch the show (seriously, where have you been?!) you only have until 9 April to catch up, because series five is set to be epic and with even bigger dragons. Gulp. We sat down with the GoT star to discover a little bit more about those nude scenes and why we’re all obsessed with the show…
Theirs was a deep, passionate celibate romance: Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and Ser Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen). In Sunday’s Game of Thrones, Dany finally learned of her most trusted adviser’s early fleeting treachery, how the grizzled exiled knight who fled Westeros spied on her for the crown in an attempt to earn a pardon for trading in slaves. Of course, viewers know Jorah fell madly in love with the Breaker of Chains soon after joining her revolution on the ground floor in season one and it that he would never dream of betraying her today. “It’s something she’s aware of on one level,” Clarke says of Ser Jorah’s royal crush.
We chatted briefly with Clarke about Sunday’s break-up scene, which the actress says was the most difficult moment for her to shoot in the fourth season.
“Emotionally for me it was so intricate,” Clarke says. “Jorah’s been with me since day one, season one. The scene itself is unpleasant because I — Emilia — know that what Dany is doing is wrong, And it was the first time I’ve ever felt that.”
It’s a good point. Dany has been largely masterful in her decisions throughout the series, rising from an indentured bride for horselord Khal Drogo, to the ruler of the cities of Slaver’s Bay with an army and trio of dragons backing her up. But now by falling prey to Tywin Lannister’s poisoned pen letter, she’s throwing away one of her most valuable assets.
“I’m looking at Ian Glen thinking: ‘Don’t leave!’” she says. “I’m banishing him and all I want to do is cling to his ankles. It was really hard it marked one of the biggest decisions of this character to date.”
We know that Thrones characters often pay huge prices for relatively small mistakes on this show. Could the dismissal of Ser Jorah be the start of Dany’s downfall? (source)
Emilia Clarke on her character Dany in Game of Thrones season four
Emilia is featured in the March Spring Fashion issue of WSJ. Magazine. She talks about the dynamic between her and her Game of Thrones costars; how she landed the role; and the trials and tribulations of being a drama student. The photoshoot and article are available online.
These are some of Emilia quotes from the article, be sure to check it on WSJ. Magazine site or in the issue that will hits newsstands Saturday, February 15!
Emilia Clarke Quotes
• Since Clarke’s character is often alone, she has yet to share a scene with many of her costars: “We’re [often] in totally different locations. You’re at an awards show, saying ‘Lovely to meet you. We’re in a show together, apparently. You’re really good!’”
• Her GOT audition went something like this: “I did the robot, followed by the funky chicken. I think it sealed the deal.”
• On her insecurities during season one of GOT: “I spent season one just hoping I was doing it right.”
• Clarke increasingly sees more of Dany in herself: “It’s the growth of a girl into a woman. She’s being thrown into the deep end, to see if she can sink or swim, and she decides to do it her way. It was wonderful to see a character with such humble beginnings, and such low self-esteem, beginning to trust herself. So my feelings within filming it were echoed—in a much more dramatic way, obviously.”
• On her very first audition for a play in London at 10 years old: “I was learning a folk song in school about a donkey, so I decided to sing that. They said, ‘Do you know anything more current?’ I then gave them my best rendition of the Spice Girls, complete with dance moves—that’s where my musical career ended. It made me realize that I wasn’t quite ready. I think my parents were trying to give me a healthy dose of realism early on.”
Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss Joint Quotes
• On Clarke’s sense of humor: “She’s effing funny. Does that mean we’ve written hilarious scenes for her? No. But someone should.”
• On the dynamic acting skills that set Clarke apart: “We needed an actress who could convincingly embody both the timid, voiceless Dany we first meet, and the Mother of Dragons she later becomes. Only Emilia nailed both.”
June 2013: the internet announces the engagement of Emilia Clarke, 26, actor known for her role in HBO fantasy epic Game of Thrones, to James Franco, film star, director, writer, thinker. Text messages fly in from Clarke’s friends, some of whom she hasn’t spoken to since she was about four years old. “I had my aunt from America calling me up and being like” – Clarke slips into a brassy East Coast accent – “‘Where’s the ring?'”
She lets out a peal of laughter so gleeful you can almost hear the exclamation marks. She had met Franco only twice when the gossip sites, intoxicated by the sight of them visiting an art fair together in New York, announced their utterly nonexistent betrothal. “It’s hilarious,” says Clarke. “He is, of course, beautiful. But I feel there’s only a handful of women who could form an engagement after two meetings, and I’m not one of them.”
This is what happens when you are Hollywood’s latest crush. Clarke’s Game of Thrones role as Khaleesi, the ivory-haired warrior queen, has transformed her, in an eyeblink, from drama-school graduate to red-carpet beauty and potential Mrs Franco. In the two years since landing the part, Clarke has had an Emmy nomination and a lead role on Broadway; she has travelled the world to shoot Game of Thrones (Croatia, Morocco, Iceland); she has dated one of the wealthiest men in Hollywood (Seth MacFarlane). And now she’s in a film with Jude Law, which is as good way as any of saying that life is pretty great.
Photoshoots > Session #038 [+7]
An “old” interview Emilia did after she discovered her Emmy nomination:
What show would you want to guest-star on?
My very best friend ever, Rose Leslie, who plays Ygritte on [‘Game of Thrones’], was on ‘Downton Abbey.’ My Brit sort of says maybe that one. One of the other shows I would very much love to be a part of is ‘Mad Men’ — walking around that office. Or being a meth head in ‘Breaking Bad’ — that would be wicked. Then I’d really start seeing dragons.
What would you be doing if you weren’t acting?
Something in music. Something creative. I do love singing. I wouldn’t say I’m any good, but I definitely love it, especially jazz singing.
If you could duet with Neil Patrick Harris during the show, what would you sing?
“The Way You Look Tonight.”