Actress Emilia Clarke, who played Queen Daenerys Targaryen on Game of Thrones, opened up during a recent interview on actor Dax Shepard’s podcast Armchair Expert about performing in nude scenes on the HBO fantasy drama series. Clarke described the nude scenes as “terrifying.”
Clarke, who gained notoriety due to her role in the sexually explicit and violent scenes early in the series, said she felt distressed about participating in the scenes.
She also revealed that she has come under pressure to shoot other nude scenes since she appeared in the scenes from the early episodes of the Game of Thrones series.
Clarke, who was only 23 when she first filmed Game of Thrones, said she has grown “a lot more savvy” since then and that she is better at managing the pressure.
She was taken aback when she first read the scripts after she joined the Game of Thrones cast. However, she was fresh from drama school at the time, so she approached it believing that she had to do it because it was in the script.
“I’d been on a film set twice before then, and I’m now on a film set completely naked with all of these people, and I don’t know what I’m meant to do, and I don’t know what’s expected of me,” she said.
Clarke said she suffered “imposter syndrome times a million,” but added that her Game of Thrones co-star, Jason Momoa, did his best to guide and protect her.
In one particularly violent sex scene, Momoa’s character, Khal Drogo, “virtually rapes” Clarke’s character Daenerys on their wedding night.
Clarke said that Momoa “was crying” during the scene “more than I was.”
She added that she later realized she was fortunate that she performed the sex scenes with an actor as experienced as Momoa. Clarke said that Momoa mentored her and used his experience to guide her through the “terrifying” scenes.
“He was so kind and considerate and cared about me as a human being,” she said. “He took care of me, he really did.”
Clarke, 33, said she has grown “a lot more savvy” since she first filmed Game of Thrones Season 1. She now relies more on her own judgment about the level of nudity that is necessary for a scene and she is able to assert herself about what she is comfortable with.
“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.’ I feel like I’ve seen enough now to know what is actually needed.”
According to Mashable, Game of Thrones hired an intimacy coordinator to manage the show’s nude scenes in 2018, but that was long after Clarke appeared in the show’s controversial nude scenes from Season 1.