Emilia Clarke says she learned a lot from her early Game of Thrones nude scenes.
During an interview on Armchair Expert with GoT superfan Dax Shepard, the actress, 33, talked about being a newbie to Hollywood productions when she landed the role of Daenerys Targaryen — and because of that, she agreed to the extensive nudity asked of her in the first season.
However, she later realised that she had the final say and told someone to “f*** off” when she felt she was being pressured.
“Now things are very, very, very different and I’m a lot more savvy with what I’m comfortable with and what I am okay with doing,” Clarke said on the podcast. However, she said, “I’ve had fights on set before where I’m like, ‘No, the sheet stays up,’ and they’re like, ‘You don’t wanna disappoint your Game of Thrones fans.’ And I’m like, ‘F*** you.'”
Clarke said that having been cast in the HBO show “fresh from drama school,” she quickly learned, “Oh, there’s the catch” when she found herself doing numerous nude scenes during Season 1. But she approached it “like a job” with the mindset of “If it’s in the script, it’s clearly needed” and “everything’s gonna be cool.”
As a newbie, she said she found herself “floating through the first season” with “no idea what I’m doing... I’ve been on a film set twice before then and now I’m on a film set completely naked with all of these people.”
Clarke said, “Regardless of whether there would be nudity or not, I would have spent that first season thinking I’m not worthy of requiring anything,” for having landed such a dream job.
“I have that anyway — imposter syndrome times a million — so whatever I’m feeling is wrong. I’m going to go cry in the bathroom and I’m going to come back and we’re going to do the scene and it will be completely fine.”
Though she quickly discovered that Googling herself to see how people felt she was doing in the role wasn’t completely fine.
“I learned it very early and I don’t look at anything at all ever, ever, ever was because when I did, after Season 1, I just saw articles about like how fat my ass was,” she said. “I was like: I’m a kid, man. Cut me some goddamn slack.”
Clarke, who is starring in the film Last Christmas, said that she’ll be forever grateful to her co-star Jason Momoa for looking out for her in those early days.
“It was definitely hard,” she admitted. “Which is why the scenes, when I got to do with Jason, were wonderful, because he was like, ‘No, sweetie, this isn’t okay,’” when too much was being asked of her, “And I was like, ‘Ohhhh.'”
Clarke said that Momoa “took care of me in an environment in which I didn’t know I needed to be taken care of.” She recalled him asking someone on the set, “Can we get her f***ing robe? She’s shivering.’ ... He was so kind and considerate and cared about me as a human being.”
And while she agrees that nudity was important for the character — “You have to see it” to see the character’s vulnerability — she now has a better sense of how much or little is really necessary as she moves on to her post-GoT roles.
“I’ve seen enough now to know what’s needed [for a love scene],” Clarke said.