We also hear about her acting alongside digital dragons and eating 28 hearts! Read on for more and the rest of our interviews can be found in the links below.
- Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jamie Lannister)
- Michelle Fairley (Catelyn Stark)
- Kit Harington (Jon Snow)
- Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy)
You’re hair colour has changed (as Emilia is currently a brunette!)?
It’s a wig! It’s a wig in the show. (Laughs!)
And your brother?
Yes, that’s a wig too. Harry (Lloyd) is my very good friend in real life and he’s got the same hair colour as mine in real life. We do look like siblings anyway, when we’re both naturally brunettes!
How does it feel now that Game of Thrones is such a massive success?
My life is pretty much unrecognisable to what it was before. It’s incredible! Never in a million years did I think I’d be doing something like this now, this early on so fresh out of drama school. Even having Game of Thrones, I never knew that it would be the success that it was and hopefully will continue to be.
They [HBO] took a massive risk with me. I had a couple of auditions then a screen-test in LA and then they gave me the part it was as simple as that, there’s no huge story to tell.
When you read the script, did you think straight away that this is something you wanted to do, even with all the nudity?
When I first auditioned, they said there might be a bit of nudity (a smidgen!) and it was only on a family holiday prior to filming that I got the full final draft of the script through and jaw-to-the-floor shock and petrifying moment. I’d read the books and I loved Daenerys [or more affectionately Danni] and I knew was needed to do to get the integrity of the role across and what he audience needed to see to glean the empathy that was required to do Danni proud. I just as an actor threw myself into it in that sense. HBO were there to catch me, they are incredible! Really tasteful – you put your trust in them and it pays off. Also, Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo) is an all-time legend and was just certainly so easy.
Jason is huge, enormous! I call him Tigger! He’s big, bouncy, loud and brilliant! There was one time when we were filming and he was working out. He decided to ditch the workout stuff and use me instead!
Other cast members have described the cast and crew as ‘a family’. Is it hard when you go back for Season 2 and they’re not there?
Yeah, hugely. Harry came to the screenings episode of episodes one and two of season 2 the other night and I hang out with Jason all the time. It’s very sad being on set without them but in that sense it fuels the character because it’s sad for the character as well. Everything you feel as an actor, you can put into your work so in that sense it was helpful but at the same time it was a quieter set.
Do you think she uses her sexuality with a purpose, to obtain a position?
I don’t think that she uses her sexuality, I think first and foremost she’s a survivalist and she knows what she needs to do to survive. Unlike many other characters in the show, she doesn’t have an egotistical need or desire or want for ‘the Iron Throne’, it’s something that is her destiny, that she genuinely doesn’t have any control over. ‘Heavy is the head that wears the crown’ if she didn’t have to do it then she probably wouldn’t. In terms of that she just realises what her options are and has to take an incredibly difficult choice. I have a problem with her using her sexuality, it’s more, she knows what she has to do and as a result of that, finds the love that she finds with Khal and grows in confidence.
In the book, your character was much younger?
She was, it’s shocking. Whilst it’s not set in a specific time period because it’s fantastical, it’s kind of loosely based around where you may believe to be social situations to be in medieval times. In that sense, everything was younger, people died younger so it’s less shocking in terms of that. But at the same time, it just proves that she’s more of a complex incredible character that she came to those realisations so young.
You replaced Tamsin Merchant in the role as Daenerys Targaryen, were you aware of that?
I was only aware of it when we got down to the final stages really, that they had already cast someone that was in a pilot that was only seen internally. Tamsin had the role and they filmed the pilot internally so HBO were the only people that saw it. Once they decided the give the whole show the go-ahead, they decided to do a number of recasts including Danni as a character.
What was it like when you had to eat the heart in the show and what did they use?
It was kind of like congealed jam! Sort of solidified jam but tasted of bleach with raw pasta running through it! I think it was very helpful of HBO to give me something truly disgusting so there was no much acting required! I think I ate roughly 28 hearts in total throughout the days filming. Then the map that I was kneeling on had a lot of….. [remnants] and then there was the spit bucket that I was vomiting in quite a lot (laughs)!
What was it like when you saw yourself on screen for the first time?
If I never had to watch anything I ever did, I’d be the happiest person alive. I spent the vast majority of it hiding behind the sofa kind of retching! I find it incredibly difficult to watch myself. When we watched episodes one and two of season 2, I was closing my eyes for my bits and then enjoying the rest!
What was it like when you saw your family for the first time after they saw the show?
Christmas was interesting! (Laughs) My friends and family for good reasons, I love and trust them and they love and trust me. I think the biggest thing is that they are just incredibly happy that I’m happy because it’s difficult to find a happy actor with how difficult it can be. I told my parents I wanted to be an actor and they were getting ready for a life of unemployment so they’re just happy I’m in work (laughs)!
What are you looking forward to the audience seeing with Daenerys in Season 2?
I just think her getting stronger and stronger. She gets her trust boundaries tested to the max in season 2 so in that sense it’s intriguing. She’s coming up with having to deal with not only a woman but a young girl in a man’s world in a male orientated society that she has to come up against and even having dragons doesn’t seem to make a huge amount of difference.
What was it like working with the CG dragons?
In the camera rehearsals we had these life scale models that were weighted that I got very attached to and maternal over. I didn’t get to keep them but they were very helpful. When we were actually filming there was nothing there at all but in that sense it was very good for my imagination.
When did you finish Season 2 and when does Season 3 start shooting?
We wrapped in December and I think we start shooting again in June.
What are you working on other than Game of Thrones?
I was recently in LA and there’s lots I can’t speak about but there’s something I’m filming at the moment in Manchester called Spike Island which is about the Stone Roses which is really really good. Imagine Game of Thrones and then imagine the complete opposite, that’s what I’m doing!
What’s your favourite bit of Season 1?
Episode 10. All of it coming together in a beautiful way. I’ve got my favourite characters, I dont think there’s any particular one moment, it’s just the summation of season 1.
Who are your favourite characters?
I’ve got a few of them. Arya (Stark) is pretty high up there for me and I love Tyrion a huge amount and season 2 wise I love Theon Greyjoy (our interview Alfie Allen who plays him here) with , I think he’s brilliant!