It seems impossible now, but before Game of Thrones, Gwendoline Christie was just another struggling actor.
She had bit parts in Terry Gilliam movies, but found bigger roles often hard to come by. So, for a little extra income she became thespian Simon Callow’s researcher and dog walker.
“He would shout at me about my lazy and disorganised mind, throw books…” she reveals in an interview with The Guardian.
But it was all done in fun. In fact, today she credits the actor as being one of the most important figures in her life, even taking to Twitter in 2012 to call him “ one of the best men on earth.”
The day she went for her interview with Callow though she found herself “pouring with sweat”. But she knew it was going to be ok when he opened the door. “This kindness poured out of him,” she explains.
Her time with the Dickens specialist helped her grow as an actor.
“I suppose he coaxed me out of my shell… At the time I was scared to say that I wanted to be an artist. I was scared of how that sounded. That it was naff, or a cliche, or corny. That it wasn’t realistic. Simon would say: ‘Be an artist.’ He came to my plays and gave me feedback. Which, sometimes, could be incredibly near the knuckle.”
In the interview, she also talked about what drives her, which, as it turns out, is “anything that makes someone gasp… it deprives their brain of oxygen and they enter a slightly different state. It’s an extraordinary thing.”
She was given the advice by a boxing coach on Game of Thrones, but it extends to everything from her acting roles to her fashion choices (Christie also models). It’s no wonder then, that when she walked on New York Fashion Week last month for designer Tomo Koizumi she ended up wearing something she describes as “a sexy sea cucumber”.
So delighted was she with the outfit that she posted a shot of the creation on her recently opened Instagram account.
The final series of Game of Thrones starts on Monday night on Sky Atlantic.